Best Business Books of 2020

How Netflix Exported Its Unusual Corporate Culture Across the Globe

An interview with Erin Meyer, co-author of ‘No Rules Rules,’ one of Marker’s ‘5 Best Business Books of the Year’

Kaushik Viswanath
Marker
Published in
13 min readDec 17, 2020

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A view of the Netflix logo on the exterior of its corporate office at Sunset Bronson Studios in Los Angeles.
Photo: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images/Getty Images

In Marker’s analysis of the “best of 2020 business books” lists, the book that appeared on most lists from the business media and booksellers was No Rules Rules by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer. Hastings, co-founder and co-CEO of Netflix, and Meyer, a professor at the business school INSEAD and author of The Culture Map, take turns narrating this book about how Netflix’s unique organizational culture evolved and how it works.

Built around maxims like “We are a team, not a family” and “Adequate performance gets a generous severance,” doing away with controls like vacation limits and expense approvals, and allowing all employees to have visibility into the company’s decision-making and finances, Netflix is, in many ways, a culture of extremes. This has led it to become one of the most effective workforces of any business, earning nine times more per employee than Disney.

Marker spoke with Meyer about her experience writing the book with Hastings, what she learned about the organization’s culture as an outsider, and how Netflix scales its culture to thousands of employees in various different parts of the world.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Marker: No Rules Rules is an unusual book in that it’s presented as a back-and-forth between you and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. Was that always how the book was conceived?

Erin Meyer: I struggled quite a bit at the beginning trying to figure out how to deal with the fact that Reed and I were co-writing the book but are different people—we’re not a “we.” There are, of course, a number of business books that were written by co-authors as “we.” Other business books written by co-authors, like Sheryl Sandberg’s…

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Kaushik Viswanath
Marker

Previously: Creators & Marker @Medium and business books at Penguin Random House.