Measure What Matters by John Doerr – Book Summary and Review

Are you laser-focused on success metrics?

Do you know what your life goals and business objectives are?

Measure What Matters by John Doerr helped me realize that maybe I don’t know what my goals are, and maybe I’m not ready for an intense OKR process just yet.

Hardcover of Measure What Matters book by John Doerr plus notecards
Notes and discussion topics from our book club about Measure What Matters

Our Business Book Club read this and met about it in October 2018.

Objectives and Key Results (OKR)

OKRs are the goals that we define and assign.

  • An OKR culture is an accountable culture.
  • Leaders who operate using OKRs are focused, solemn, and sober.
  • They have a foundation of discipline.

Book Club Meeting

We met in a large conference room office space near 5th Avenue and 26th Street.

Attractive gentlemen plus one guy holding a copy of the book Measure What Matters by John Doerr
L to R: Derek Halpern, Wayne Mulligan, me, Steve Kamb, and Ramit Sethi

This meeting had many firsts for us, including the first time:

  • Meeting at night (all prior book clubs have been in the morning)
  • We watched a video (see below)
  • We had handouts (see below PDFs)
  • We tried breakout groups

I’d rate my skills facilitating this book club as a 6/10. I tried a lot of new things, and they didn’t all work. Failure is OK because we keep evolving.

Resources Used

To talk about Measure What Matters, we tried to go beyond the book. The first way we did that was by watching a few minutes of this TED Talk by the author, John Doerr.

TED Talk by John Doerr


Watch the TED talk on YouTube here: Why the secret to success is setting the right goals | John Doerr

Picture: Watching John Doerr’s TED Talk

Four men watching a TED Talk by John Doerr in a conference room
This 11-minute talk was informative. It was the first time we watched a video during our book club. L to R: Derek, Ramit, (Wayne leaning back), Steve. Tacos on the table were from Dos Toros and FWIW they weren’t my favorite but SOMEONE in the group loves Dos Toros.

Handouts and Case Studies

I made up two different handouts for our book club review of Measure What Matters.

You can print the links below to do the same.

Handouts for OKR discussion, two sheets of paper
Two handouts that were provided during our Book Club for us to read and discuss about OKRs


Continuous performance management is a two-part, interwoven process. The first part consists of setting OKRs; the second entails regular and ongoing conversations, tailored to your needs. Use (this document) to plan and have more effective conversations with your team.


No one has more collective experience in implementing OKRs than Google… Use (this document) to understand how one very effective organization has used OKRs to achieve audacious goals—and to inspire your own approach.


Sadly, I didn’t like this book as much as the other books that we’ve read in our business book club.

I have friends who use OKRs at bigger organizations, and I bet they’d like this book.

But for me, Measure What Matters seemed too far-reaching or complicated for my current scrappy, entrepreneurial mindset.

The resource that I enjoyed the most was the Performance Conversations worksheet. It inspired me to think of better 1:1 questions for my colleagues and friends.

Links and More Information

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