Talent, by Tyler Cowen
Talent, by Tyler Cowen

I’m convinced that the most important decision you make as a people manager is who to hire. After all, that decision plays the key role in determining the quality and quantity of work that your team will produce. A team of superstars will obviously outperform a team of duds in any meaningful comparison.

Tyler Cowen (one of the two authors) is prominent for his blog, marginalrevolution.com, which discusses a huge variety of different things, and seeks to bring powerful logic and economic thinking to many different issues in our community. One key lesson I’ve learned in part from his blog has been the importance of thinking at the margins: understanding that the improvement required to get from 7/10 to 8/10 is very different from the improvement required to get from 0/10 to 7/10.

Talent, then, seeks to help you make better hiring decisions by helping you to think better about how to find marginal improvements in your hiring process. If you have advertised well, and if you have a decently competitive job market, the credible applicants for a given job are likely to be in the right ballpark. His book, therefore, seeks to find ways to differentiate between different candidates (especially for creative tasks) by prompting you to think about how to ask creative questions.

It is useful, and I think has already helped me to make better hiring decisions as a people manager.

Michael Josem is a long-term consumer advocate, most prominently as a global leader in combating fraud in the online gambling industry. He was in part the inspiration for the 20th Century Fox Movie, Runner Runner, starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake.

Josem has over a decade of experience as a senior business leader working across various high-tech and online industries, and takes action to build a better community. His primary volunteer roles include service for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and Graih, the homelessness charity.