Hit Refresh is a book that illustrates the future of new technologies that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has charted out, for Microsoft and the world at large. I was indeed enthralled by a lot of what Nadella had to say, be it about quantum computing, the cultural change he is attempting to institute in his company, his story, emerging technologies, and how he thinks the world will (and should) progress in the future.
Contrary to what I had expected, he seldom (if at all) mentions Windows and its future or the innovative Surface line of Microsoft-branded hardware that seems to project what the company believes to be the future of computing. It seems to make it clear that Nadella firmly believes that the future of Microsoft is in the cloud, and not in hardware or the Operating System that catapulted them where they are today.
While reading this publication that switches, sometimes awkwardly, between the author’s personal life story, the future of technology, the importance of empathy, and of course, the vitality of every entity hitting refresh in their own manner; one does feel thankful for not feeling that they’re reading a book that is oriented completely towards businesspeople.
But that soon begs the question - who is this book for, then? Is it for the business executive? Clearly not, as it goes from speaking about what a leader should be like and how they should empathise with their customers and working with rivals, to speaking about the future of technology. Then is it for a technology enthusiast, like me? I’d say not, as it too often dabbles into business practices in the middle of speaking of emerging technologies. And for someone wanting to learn about an inspiring life story of the man at the forefront of a revolution (or as Nadella would more aptly put it, a refresh) in Microsoft - and possibly the technology industry as a whole, I’d say to look elsewhere. This book will not give you that, as I was hoping prior to turning its pages.
And that’s my primary qualm with Hit Refresh. It contains some remarkable thoughts on emerging technologies and the world in the future that is impacted greatly by them, excellent advice for leaders, as well as thought-provoking words about developing and changing the world as a whole. It even throws in narrations of the personal life of Nadella, which, if extended, would have done only good to the book. That further compounds the feeling of wanting more, in all the previously mentioned aspects.
Yet a book that too often feels like it’s trying to deliver more than it could reasonably accommodate is hard to recommend.