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October 15, 2009

News & Opinion: A Second Look at How to Castrate a Bull

By: Jack @ 2:10 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

We are in the middle of reveiewing books that have been submitted to us for consideration in our 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards. One side effect of this is that I have to take a second look at books that I initially passed on. One book that I passed on was How to Castrate a Bull by Dave Hitz with Pat Walsh, published in January by Jossey-Bass. Dave is the Founder and EVP of NetApp and, coincidentally, had a roommate at Princeton named Jeff Bezos—founder of Amazon and 1999 Time Magazine Man of the Year. The book is the tale of Hitz's journey from an actual job of castrating bulls to starting a Silicon Valley success in the early 90s, and the lessons from the former enterprise he applied to the latter. I think the title over-influenced my opinion of the book the first time it crossed my desk. Now that the book has been submitted for consideration in the Biographies & Narratives category, I was forced to take a closer look. And what a treat. I want to share a entertaining piece of the book about being a CEO of a Silicon Valley start-up.
… He explained that the founding CEO of a start-up has the shortest employment life expectancy in Silicon Valley, and he said that the job came with two rules:
Rule Number One: Never keep more in your office than you can fit in a gym bag.
Rule Number Two: Always keep a gym bag in your office.