Book Review: Moonshot!

Moonshot! Game-Changing Strategies to Build Billion-Dollar Businesses

By John Sculley

216 pages

The big idea: In recent decades, there have been countless innovations that completely reset the narrative in an industry. In Silicon Valley, that kind of innovation is known as a “moonshot.” As a former CEO of Pepsi and Apple, John Sculley has seen and actively participated in his fair share of moonshots. Now, he shares some of the lessons he has learned along the way — lessons that the book posits can be applied by anyone to build their own billion-dollar business. Sculley ruminates on the changing power dynamics in the global economy that have effectively put the customer in charge, as well as the dramatic expansion of the middle class in emerging markets. He also includes no shortage of anecdotes from his years working closely with Steve Jobs and other visionary innovators.

Read it: Sculley has a seemingly never-ending trove of interesting stories from his decades in the business world, including the time he pitched Pepsi products to Walmart executives and amazed them with the company’s new, seemingly indestructible plastic bottle. He gives insights into the early days of some of today’s most innovative companies, ranging from Apple and Microsoft to some of the smaller ventures he is currently involved with. Sprinkled throughout each chapter is advice from Sculley that could prove valuable to ambitious entrepreneurs in any industry.    

Skip it: The book contains a fair amount of name-dropping of the “that time I had dinner with Kobe Bryant” variety, and you may find yourself wishing sometimes that Sculley had skipped a few anecdotes and elaborated more on some of the advice he wants to convey to would-be innovators.

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