Radical Candor – Kim Scott Book Summary

Radical Candor – Kim Scott | Free Book Summary

Radical Candor – Kim Scott

This book is about developing a team that shares the same radical principles and working with people who are incredibly committed, personal, and honest. If used properly, this strategy guarantees continued success and team members who have skin in the game.

Consistency isn’t the best way

We are frequently told that changing our position constitutes “flip-flopping” or “lack of principles.”

Subscribe to Miniwise Newsletter (Free!)

Miniwise newsletter brings you one great bite-sized idea every day, curated from world's best non-fiction books, articles, podcasts..and more. An entire new world in just 5 minutes!


The key, of course, is communication. Someone could reasonably complain, “You convinced me of X just two months ago, and now you’re telling me maybe not-X after all.” 

You must be able to explain why things have changed in a clear and convincing manner.

Free book, podcast summaries


When we are overwhelmed by our work and personal lives, it is the most difficult to learn from our mistakes and begin the cycle all over again. 

That is why, as a manager, you are at the very center of the wheel that propels you forward. First and foremost, you need to care for yourself. Of course, it’s easier said than done.

Work-life balance is a zero-sum game

Bring your best and most complete self to work every day, and take it home with you as well.

Instead of thinking of it as a zero-sum game where anything you put into your work steals from your life and vice versa, think of it as a balance between your work and personal life. Consider it as work-life integration instead.

Stick to the basics

There is a ton of advice out there, but what is profoundly wise for one person may be complete nonsense for another.

Whatever suits you, do it.  

Simple hygiene practices include getting eight hours of sleep, exercising for 45 minutes, and eating breakfast and dinner with your family.

Great relationships

Avoid attempting to prevent, manage, or control other people’s emotions in order to develop radically candid relationships. Do acknowledge them, and when you feel strongly about them, respond with compassion. And do make an effort to control how you respond to other people’s emotions.

Being helpful

  • Declaring your desire to be helpful may weaken defenses. when you assure someone that you are not attempting to undermine them but are genuinely trying to assist.
  • Show, don’t tell. 
  • Finding assistance is preferable to providing it yourself. 
  • Guidance is a gift, not a stick or a carrot.

Providing feedback

Radical Candor requires you to provide guidance as quickly and casually as possible.

  • Say it in 2–3 minutes between meetings.
  • Maintain slack time on your calendar or be prepared to be late; don’t “save” guidance for a 1:1 or a performance review.
  • Guidance has a short half-life, so tell it like it is as soon as possible.
  • Unspoken criticism is like a dirty bomb that explodes.


Criticizing better

Public criticism tends to elicit a defensive reaction, making it much more difficult for a person to admit and learn from their mistakes.

  • Criticism differs from corrections, factual observations, disagreements, and debates. 
  • Criticizing someone should be done privately.
  • Don’t personalize the issue.
  • Don’t tell the person who is being criticized not to take it personally.

Your hiring mentality

Here are some simple steps you can take to ensure you hire the right people:


  •  To reduce bias, define team fit as rigorously as you define skills.
  • Formal interviews reveal less about team fit than informal interviews.
  • Make interviews more productive by taking notes right away.
  • In-person debriefing/decision: if you aren’t desperate to hire the person, don’t make an offer.

A result-oriented approach

Your role will be to encourage that process of listening, clarifying, debating, deciding, persuading, and executing to the point where your team works as a unit to complete projects and then learns from their outcomes.


Get the book!

Sign Up for nextbigwhat newsletter

The smartest newsletter, partly written by AI.

Download Pluggd.in, the short news app for busy professionals