Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is writing a book about his life, Microsoft, and how technology will shape the future. Titled Hit Refresh, the book is scheduled for a fall 2017 release through Harper Business. Nadella intends to give his proceeds to Microsoft Philanthropies.
This is Nadella's first book, and it sounds like he wants it to be a bit different than the typical book from a business leader. Hit Refresh, he says, "is not a 'how to succeed' book, nor is it a memoir." The word that pops up again and again in Harper's description of the book is "transformation" — Nadella has made it clear that his focus at Microsoft is transforming the company into one with a focus on the future; this book, it seems, will be about the importance of doing that elsewhere.
Here's the full description from Harper:
Hit Refresh follows three storylines: Nadella's personal journey of transformation, the change that is taking place today inside his storied technology company, and one that is coming in all of our lives as intelligent machines become more ambient and more ubiquitous throughout society. Nadella explores how people, organizations, and societies can and must transform — hit refresh — in their persistent quest for new energy, new ideas, relevance and renewal. Nadella writes that uniquely human qualities like empathy will become more valuable in a world where the torrent of technology will disrupt like never before.
Nadella says he's writing this book for "Microsoft team members, customers, and partners," which is sort of a strangely specific subset of people. That said, if you consider every Windows user to be a Microsoft customer — and Nadella probably does — then maybe he's just saying the book is for basically everyone.
This is certainly an unexpected project from Nadella, who presumably has his hands pretty full running Microsoft. But he has done some writing here and there on the side, recently publishing op-eds in the Financial Times and Slate. And the money will benefit Microsoft, even if it's ultimately meant for helping to nonprofits.
Harper says that Microsoft Philanthropies will specifically put Nadella's money toward nonprofits "working on public cloud for public good projects" — essentially, giving away Microsoft cloud services and processing time. So while Nadella may be donating his money, like Harper says, it's going to the company he runs to give away, and in doing so promote, products it sells. Microsoft's philanthropy arm was started up last year and announced plans in January to donate $1 billion worth of cloud resources.