THE THESIS
THE PROCESS
THE RESPONSE

“Fadell has distilled his wisdom in this book, providing wildly useful mentorship in a delightfully readable set of stories.”

Walter Isaacson
Author & Biographer of Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein & Leonardo DaVinci

“This is the most fun—and the most fascinating—memoir of curiosity and invention that I’ve ever read.”

Malcolm Gladwell
Host of the Revisionist History podcast. Author of Outliers & Talking to Strangers

“Insightful. Funny. Instructive. Unvarnished. A book brimming with energy and enthusiasm to coach you through every stage of your career.”

Joanna Hoffman
Ex. VP Marketing at General Magic & Member of the original Macintosh team

“Priceless advice for any young person who wants to build something great or change the world for the better.”

Ben Horowitz
Founding Partner, Andreessen Horowitz

“Tony Fadell distills his epic career into refreshingly candid, often contrarian advice that you can put into practice right away.”

Adam Grant
Author of THINK AGAIN & Host of the TED podcast WorkLife

“Tony’s insights, instincts and wisdom are essential reading and a precious gift for any inventor hungry to change the world.”

Thomas Heatherwick
award winning designer & founder Heatherwick Studio

Everyone deserves a mentor Everyone deserves a mentor
HOW TO THINK ABOUT CHOOSING A JOB. how to be a better manager. how to approach design. how to start a company. how to run it.

For every career crisis, every fork in the road, you need someone to talk to. Someone who’s been there before, who knows exactly how wobbly and conflicted you feel, who can give it to you straight.

HOW TO THINK ABOUT CHOOSING A JOB. how to be a better manager. how to approach design. how to start a company. how to run it.

Tony Fadell learned all these lessons the hard way. He spent the first 10 years of his career in Silicon Valley failing spectacularly, and the next 20 building some of the most impactful devices in history – the iPod, iPhone, and Nest Learning Thermostat. He has enough stories and advice about leadership, design, startups, mentorship, decision making, devastating screwups, and unbelievable success to fill an encyclopedia.

So that’s what this book is.
An advice encyclope­dia.
A mentor in a box.

But Tony doesn’t follow the standard Silicon Valley credo that in order to build something amazing, you have to reinvent everything, throw out the old, start from scratch. His advice is unorthodox because it’s old school. Because it acknowledges that products evolve from humans, and human nature doesn’t change.

You don’t need to reinvent how you lead and manage – just what you make.

And Tony’s ready to help everyone make things worth making.

Building together. Building together.

This is Dina Lovinsky. She helped Tony write this book. 

She also helped him build Nest. For almost six years, Dina defined the Nest voice, writing websites and packaging, ads and videos, app copy and blog posts and instruction manuals. Together, Tony and Dina and an incredible team built a brand they were deeply proud of.

A few years later, Tony began filling a spreadsheet with ideas for a book. Just scraps of advice, tips, lessons, stories that he’d recounted hundreds of times to people trying to build difficult things. As he reached row 115, he found out through the grapevine that Dina was free.

There was nobody else he could imagine doing this with. The stars aligned. It was time to write a book.

Building a book.

This book took around two years to complete, start to finish. 

That includes the time it took to figure out what it could be, write a proposal, get a publisher, and then for Dina to have a baby and the entire planet to shut down with COVID-19.

After that, all it took was endless hours of calls to debate how to structure the book, how to organize it – the intros, the chapters, the sections – and what to put in. How much story? How much advice? How to balance the two? And then the back and forth and back again in the doc – tweaking, revising, discovering new things Tony wanted to say or new ways that Dina could say it. Every chapter got rewritten at least three times. One chapter – Assholes – faced at least seven or eight rewrites. It’s hard to polish an Asshole to a diamond, but they got there eventually.

MORE
THAN
WORDS

And they didn’t just iterate on the words. These are just a few of the ideas that Matteo Vianello, the designer for Build and the former Creative Director of Nest, came up with for the cover.

The manuscript ballooned to 500 pages, 600 pages. You couldn’t open it on your phone anymore. You could barely open it on your computer. They reached the limit of Google Docs, a thing they had not realized existed. 

And then it was time to cut. Hack and slash 200 pages out of it. And to show it to other human beings for the first time. To wait, wondering, hoping, worrying. And then to decide what advice to take, which feedback to ignore. 

It felt literally endless. And then, suddenly, it ended. And they had made something worth making.

What the outside world is saying.
Tiny startup founders, big company CEOs, venture capitalists, authors, designers, architects, and photographers have all read Build. This is what they said.

“Tony has an uncanny ability to take his infinite wisdom and legacy of leadership, mentorship, innovation and success and break it down into a practical, no nonsense how-to-guide on what it means to build something with meaning that will endure.”

Daniel Ek
Founder and CEO, Spotify

“While most business writers pontificate from the mountaintop, Fadell is pure Hemingway: on the front lines, in the trenches, showing us the scars he’s earned along the way. And this will perhaps be his true legacy: the C-Suite zombies he finally wakes up when a new generation puts a dent in the universe with bellies full of butterflies and this book in their hearts.”

Scott Keogh
President & CEO, Volkswagen Group of America

“Tony Fadell is the rare combination of engineer and entrepreneur, with the soul of a storyteller. Build takes you far away from the beige box and into the glistening white world of the man who gave us the iPod, iPhone, and NEST, while providing actionable advice for formulating, launching, scaling, and even selling a business.”

Benjamin Clymer
Founder of HODINKEE

“Build is the new Bible for anyone interested in creating successful products and companies. Fadell’s frank account of an epic period in Silicon Valley is so engrossing you won't realize how much you have learned until the finish.”

Randy Komisar
Kleiner Perkins, Author of The Monk and the Riddle

“Tony Fadell takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride revealing what it's really like to work in Silicon Valley and simultaneously providing a compelling instruction manual for anyone who wants to follow in his footsteps.”

John Markoff
Author of Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots

“Tony’s compelling ‘advice encyclopedia’ includes tried-and-true rules of engagement that really work. Anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur — or understand the craft — should find this book to be an invaluable resource.”

Mary Meeker
Co-founder, BOND

“To build, to make, to design, is the biggest adventure one can embark on. Tony Fadell’s storytelling of how he built 21st century product icons is not just a fascinating read, it is also a manual we can all learn from. Sometimes funny, often irreverent and always insightful, there is a kinetic energy to BUILD that mirrors Tony’s drive to give us the future.”

Yves Behar
Founder and CEO, fuseproject

“This is an insightful overview into Tony’s extraordinary life at the junction of the biggest technological revolution of humankind. It is an amazing blueprint on how creative thinkers can negotiate their way to making ideas come to life in the world.”

Sir David Adjaye OBE
Architect

“Fadell leaves no stone unturned in the art and science of turning ideas into reality. This book is pure muscle for the next generation of product leaders and outfits us all with actionable tactics. Absorb it deeply and then get to work.”

Scott Belsky
Founder of Behance, CPO, Adobe

“You owe it to yourself to benefit from Tony’s amazing journey and the advice he received from iconic mentors like Steve Jobs and Bill Campbell. Candid, often bold straight-talk that will help you immensely on your journey.”

Bill Gurley
General Partner, Benchmark

“Truly historic anecdotes, backstories and straight talk advice from a hall of fame entrepreneur who has seen and done it all. I thought I’d be too busy to read this book once. I read it twice. TWICE.”

Jim Lanzone
CEO of Yahoo

“This isn’t your typical business book. It’s a loud, passionate, mission-driven anthem about how to build, from one of the greatest product designers of all time. If you want to learn something about how to start a company, be a CEO, design world-changing products, or build anything great: This is it, right here.”

Steve Vassallo
General Partner, Foundation Capital

“Tony has created another lasting product. This time, his personal life and career journey articulated and captured in his style and words - valuable lessons from the lens of a serial innovator, a hard-driving founder, a CEO and mentor.”

Jenny Lee
Managing Partner, GGV Capital

“Tony is undoubtedly among the most authentic and impactful builders in the last few decades. When risk takers share insight, read it. In the case of Tony, read it twice. I enthusiastically recommend.”

Tony Conrad
Founder about.me, sphere and Partner, True Ventures

“Tony’s experience can be applied to any builder or creator anywhere in the world. The challenges are always the same and Tony shares a number of insights on how to navigate them.”

Micky Malka
Managing Partner, Ribbit Capital

IN
THE
PRESS

All proceeds benefit the Build Climate Fund.

Any proceeds from this book will go to fund companies and philanthropies that could save the world.
The Book Illustration