Executive Education

Two Essential Reads for Modern Business Leaders4 min read

July 9, 2024 3 min read


Two Essential Reads for Modern Business Leaders4 min read

Reading Time: 3 minutesReading Time: 3 minutes

The 2024 spring gave us two new books essential to read for business leaders. These are The Venture Mindset: How to Make Smarter Bets and Achieve Extraordinary Growth by Ilya Strebulaev and Alex Dang, and Co-Intelligence: Living and Working with AI by Ethan Mollick, which offer transformative insights for navigating this complex landscape. Let’s discuss them.

Co-Intelligence: Living and Working with AI

Ethan Mollick’s Co-Intelligence explores the profound impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on business and education. As a Wharton professor, Mollick provides a practical guide for integrating AI as a co-worker, co-teacher, and coach.

With pragmatic advice and real examples, the book demystifies AI’s impact across industries. From augmenting productivity to driving innovation, it explores best practices for humans and machines to thrive together.

Whether AI is still a mystery or you’re already an early adopter, Co-Intelligence is a must-read for future-proofing your career and business.

Key Takeaways:

  1. View AI as a collaborator that enhances human intelligence
  2. Implement AI tools that complement your team’s strengths, such as using AI-driven analytics to provide deeper insights from data, enabling better decision-making. For example, a marketing team can use AI to analyze consumer behavior and tailor campaigns more effectively.

  3. Understand AI’s impact through practical examples
  4. Follow industry experts on LinkedIn and read recent research papers to stay updated on successful AI integrations. For instance, learning from insights about how companies like Amazon use AI for inventory management and personalized customer recommendations can help you identify similar opportunities in your business.

  5. Navigate the balance between using AI’s power and maintaining human identity
  6. Ensure that AI implementation does not erode the human element of your business. Maintain a customer service team that uses AI to enhance interactions rather than replace them, such as chatbots handling routine inquiries while human agents manage complex issues.

Mollick’s insights are crucial for leaders looking to use AI to stay competitive. The book challenges readers to think deeply about AI’s role in their organizations and how it can foster innovation and efficiency.

The Venture Mindset: How to Make Smarter Bets and Achieve Extraordinary Growth

The Venture Mindset presents a comprehensive guide based on the strategies of successful venture capitalists. Ilya Strebulaev, a Stanford professor, and Alex Dang, a technology executive, refine their extensive experience into several actionable principles, including fostering innovation by embracing failure, encouraging dissent, and making long-term strategic decisions.

The core premise? Extraordinary growth requires an investor’s mindset of constantly assessing risks vs. rewards. You’ll master strategies for maximizing upside while limiting downsides when pursuing new opportunities.

Key Takeaways:

  1. View failure as a necessary step toward success
  2. Create an environment where failure is seen as a learning opportunity. Encourage teams to experiment and iterate, such as Google’s approach with its “moonshot” projects, where even failed initiatives contribute to long-term innovation.

  3. Promote diverse opinions to avoid groupthink
  4. Foster a culture of open dialogue and debate by regularly holding meetings where team members are encouraged to present alternative viewpoints. For example, at Amazon, the “disagree and commit” principle allows for diverse opinions while ensuring unified execution once a decision is made.

  5. Prioritize sustainable growth over quick wins
  6. Focus on long-term strategies that build a strong foundation for future growth. In business, invest in employee development and customer loyalty programs, which emphasize long-term customer relationships over immediate profit maximization.

For those hesitant to dive into the book, Strebulaev’s podcast, The Art of Saying No: How Closing the Wrong Doors Helps You Open the Right Ones, provides an excellent introduction to these concepts. The podcast focuses on efficient decision-making and learning from failure, offering a glimpse into the venture mindset.


By learning from venture capitalists’ strategies and understanding AI’s transformative potential, you can make smarter decisions, foster innovation, and drive extraordinary growth in your organizations.

Do not forget that:

  1. Failure is not only inevitable but beneficial for long-term innovation. Encouraging dissent and diverse perspectives can prevent groupthink and lead to more creative solutions.
  2. Don’t fear the machines (yet). Rather than being threatened, use AI as a multiplier on human talents and ingenuity. AI can be more than a tool; it can be a collaborative partner that augments human capabilities and decision-making processes. Integrating AI ethically and effectively can transform business operations and drive substantial growth.

Ilya Strebulaev is the David S. Lobel Professor of Private Equity and Professor of Finance at Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he has been a faculty member since 2004, and a founder of the GSB’s Venture Capital Initiative.