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Vicario Reinaldo · June 4, 2019

How working in a hypergrowth company hyper grows my reading habit

I have been working in GOJEK for around two years. In case you have not heard about it, this video provides you a quick introduction about what we do.


During this period, I discovered a new hobby that transformed my life: Reading books.


Prior to joining GOJEK, I rarely read books. I used to think that reading books just wasted my time. I preferred reading articles because it offered me the information I needed within a short period of time. While I still think that’s true, reading books offers something that reading article can’t do: changing your mindset.


Let me give an example. When I watched TED Talk about Grit, I found that Grit is an important predictor for success. When I read the book, I learned more case studies where grit really trumps talents, how we can grow grit within ourselves, and how we can help others to be grittier. This book also helped me understand that with some effort, we can grow grit.


I can talk more about what’s good about reading books but I guess you can find it with one simple Google search. Let’s discuss the elephant in the room. While a lot of people realize that reading books is important, it takes a lot of effort. Sometimes taking that effort is a daunting task. It requires a huge motivation to do it.


Working in GOJEK provides me the motivation to read more and more books due to a couple of reasons. I’ll elaborate three of them here


1. Supply difficult problem

One of the most interesting thing about working in a hypergrowth company is the problems it supplies. Problems come fast. Some of them are really complex. Since the tech industry is quite new, we don’t have what’s called as a “best practice” yet. For a lot of cases, we need to find a way to do it. This is where reading books comes handy.


Through reading books, I learned how other companies are doing it differently. At the same time, we should not follow prey by just doing what other companies do. It’s mainly driven by the fact that every company is different. The difference might lie in size, business model, culture, and other different things. Therefore, a certain level of adjustment is needed to implement what we read.


For example, I am currently working on a program related to organizational development. It’s extremely fascinating to find out organizations like Basecamp, Bridgewater, and Semco. Thanks to It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work, Principle, and Maverick to help me understand the other side of the world :)


2. Get surrounded by inspiring people

One of the things that I am really grateful for is how inspiring my colleagues are. A lot of them are amongst the smartest people I have ever met. Every time I meet them, I always want to know what they do to become who they are. Most of them mention 2–3 books that give significant impact in their life. I’ll share some of them here:


  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
  • Measure What Matters
  • High Output Management
  • Radical Candor
  • The Hard Thing about Hard Things
  • Thinking Fast and Slow
  • The Black Swan
  • Difficult Conversations

For longer reading list, you can find it here


We also have a group in Slack named #books, where people share about the books they read. Some of my colleagues read 3 books per week, some of them can pull a compelling philosophical argument, and some of them have even written books! This group inspires me to read more and more books. Meeting these people helps me to raise my bar of excellence.


3. Accelerate my personal growth

Not only professionally, but GOJEK also stretches me personally. There are moments where I really need to stay sane to keep my personal best.


The first time happened in my 6th month mark. At that time, I was overwhelmed by the amount of task that I got. At that time, I read Search Inside Yourself by Chad Meng Tan to establish a sense of inner peace.


The second one happened during my first-year mark. At that time, I was given a chance to manage a team. I really relied on Radical Candor by Kim Scott and High Output Management by Andy Grove to become a manager. I still screwed up but those books helped me in preventing bigger screw ups.


The third one happened on my 1.5-year mark. At that time, I felt that my life was not balanced. This time, Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans helped me to set a compass and design a life I want.


The last one just happened recently. I realize that sometimes I push myself too hard. I often criticize myself whenever I fail to achieve a target. I learned from Self Compassion by Kristin Neff the beauty of taking care of ourselves so we can help others in a sustainable way.


I am still very new in this reading journey and still have a lot to learn. I am writing this article with the hope to give you more reasons to read books. If you find difficulties to start reading, hope this article provides you tips to start embracing this journey.


Reading books plays an important role in my life and I hope it will affect you too :)


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