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The Talks at Google podcast - where great minds meet.

Talks at Google brings the world’s most influential thinkers, creators, makers, and doers all to one place. Every episode is taken from a video that can be seen at

Apr 23, 2024

Professors Bob Sutton and Huggy Rao visit Google to discuss their book “The Friction Project: How Smart Leaders Make the Right Things Easier and the Wrong Things Harder.” This book is a useful guide to eliminating the forces that make it harder, more complicated, or downright impossible to get things done in organizations.

Every organization is plagued by destructive friction. Yet some forms of friction are incredibly useful, and leaders who attempt to improve workplace efficiency often make things even worse. Drawing from seven years of hands-on research, Sutton and Rao teach readers how to become “friction fixers.”

Sutton and Rao unpack how skilled friction fixers think and act like trustees of each others’ time. They provide friction forensics to help readers identify where to avert and repair bad organizational friction and where to maintain and inject good friction. The heart of the book digs into the causes and solutions for five of the most common and damaging friction troubles: oblivious leaders, addition sickness, broken connections, jargon monoxide, and fast & frenzied people and teams.

Sound familiar? Sutton and Rao are here to help. They wrap things up with lessons for leading your own friction project, including linking little things to big things; the power of civility, caring, and love for propelling designs and repairs; and embracing the mess that is an inevitable part of the process.

Visit to watch the video.