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Ever wonder why some companies become larger and more successful than others? Why do projects at one company always pay off while others don’t?
Sean Ammirati’s book The Science of Growth explains how this happens. Its subtitle reads: How Facebook beat Friendster – and How Nine other startups left the rest in the dust. This sums up the premise of the book.
Comparing Companies
The book contains interesting case studies that show how one company has been successful while the other has not. After studying the performance of these companies, author (along with his research team who also get a mention), has developed a formula to explain what makes one company succeed and others fail.
The team reviewed Tumblr and Posterous, Mint. Wesabe, Automattic, WordPress, Six Apart (Movable Type), YouTube and LinkedIn. We also looked at PayPal, McDonald’s, Tumblr, Posterous and Mint.
It is a blueprint to create successful businesses and avoid what made others go extinct.
The Magic of Teams
Ammirati explains that having the right people around you is key to creating sustainable growth. This is broken down into four areas that have been key to the success of case study companies in delivering a high-performing team. These are:
A recruitment process that is relevant to the company’s needs
Leadership stability and consistency at the top
Intentionality about who is responsible for the recruitment and onboarding process (which boils to getting senior leaders involved so that they can establish culture and consistency from top).
Strong, but adaptable culture (which Ammirati refers to high consensus among employees about what the cultural norms should and were – all team members must buy into the company’s values).

These are the things you can take and put into practice when you recruit your project group. A well-organized group of people can help you manage conflict in teams.
How relevant is this for projects?
Ammirati believes that you can use the principles to support and grow any endeavor, e.g. your church community, your social enterprise, your project.
However, there aren’t any case studies and very few tangential mentions. Therefore, you would have to extrapolate and believe that the’science of science’ will work.
Although I don’t see any reason why this book shouldn’t be used for non-profits it would have been great to weave this concept through the book. It would have more useful and wider applications for the majority readers.
It was enjoyable to read and I found the stories and concepts very interesting. I especially liked the quotes from people who have worked in less successful companies. It’s a great guide for startups.