A week ago, I started a new job at Hubspot, a startup based in Boston. I was excited to hit the ground running but wanted to make sure I didn't screw up in a major way the first few weeks. (I say "major" as I've accepted the fact that I will make several mistakes and pray that they are minor). Having not been much of a business book reader in the past I wasn't sure where to seek advice but some Amazon reviews indicated Right From The Start (Ciampa, Watkins) was decent.
The advice in the book that I found most useful, at least in the first 80 pages or so (at which point I remembered why I don't read self-help business books and switched to watching random bad TV), was essentially:
You don't know squat about what really matters at your new company.
Three months after you start, you will learn what squat really matters. But you still won't know what to do about it.
Forming genuine relationships with the team is more important than learning about squat because even if you know what needs to be done you can't do it by yourself.
The advice is sound but what's been surprising is how right #1 has been. Already, a few times I've thought "ah-ha! this should be fixed" only to learn later that not only is it not broken but there is a good reason why it's the way it is. Malcolm Gladwell espouses trusting your instincts but I think mine are a bit shot.
Perhaps not coincidentally, at my first meeting, an all-day product review, my boss Brian Halligan astutely suggested that I observe more and opine less. Wise man that Halligan.