A book to read: Smart and gets things done

Smart and gets things done by Joel Spolsky

One of my responsibilities, as part of a hiring committee, is to hire ‘the best talented individuals’. A friend and colleague suggested me a book called “Smart and Gets Things Done” by Joel Spolsky.

The author is a very intelligent and talented individual but more than that, he has the experience that makes him an authority in this subject. If you are hiring a computer engineer or, if you are a computer engineer looking for a career move, I strongly recommend you this book.

The chapter 6 is indeed one of the best chapters and goes straight to the point, making a clear argument that a ‘maybe we should hire’ decision should clearly be a ‘no hire’ decision. A bright person is not the one that knows the answer to a ‘definition’ that is in the reference book but the one that understands the problem even if all the theoretical knowledge is not ready for the interviewer. These people will learn faster and create more.

Something that could have had a bit more evidence there the soft skills. They also play an important role here (even for positions that the person will not interact with a client). I believe soft skills get things done, in the sense that they could mean ‘the extra mile’, the push to make the project work, to get he buy in from all stakeholders. If you are hiring for a small team or for a big corporation go for the bright friendly guy and not just for the bright (that is not friendly). The book, aims mainly for the bright and not for the bright and friendly and it can also bring problems (maybe not as big as if you are hiring only the nice guy, well described in the book) but, this bright person can also cause problems in the team, can become uncooperative, isolated or even pass a bad image of the whole department and, if interacting with clients, the company brand might be damaged.

Finally, Hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.

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