C.E.O. Libraries Reveal Keys to Success

July 21, 2023


Michael Moritz, the venture capitalist who built a personal $1.5 billion fortune discovering the likes of Google, YouTube, Yahoo and PayPal, and taking them public, may seem preternaturally in tune with new media. But it is the imprint of old media — books by the thousands sprawling through his Bay Area house — that occupies his mind.

Jim Wilson/The New York Times
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Books in the California home of Michael Moritz.

“My wife calls me the Imelda Marcos of books,” Mr. Moritz said in an interview. “As soon as a book enters our home it is guaranteed a permanent place in our lives. Because I have never been able to part with even one, they have gradually accumulated like sediment.”

Serious leaders who are serious readers build personal libraries dedicated to how to think, not how to compete. Ken Lopez, a bookseller in Hadley, Mass., says it is impossible to put together a serious library on almost any subject for less than several hundred thousand dollars.

Perhaps that is why — more than their sex lives or bank accounts — chief executives keep their libraries private. Few Nike colleagues, for example, ever saw the personal library of the founder, Phil Knight, a room behind his formal office. To enter, one had to remove one’s shoes and bow: the ceilings were low, the space intimate, the degree of reverence demanded for these volumes on Asian history, art and poetry greater than any the self-effacing Mr. Knight, who is no longer chief executive, demanded for himself.

The Knight collection remains in the Nike headquarters. “Of course the library still exists,” Mr. Knight said in an interview. “I’m always learning.”

Until recently when Steven P. Jobs of Apple sold his collection, he reportedly had an “inexhaustible interest” in the books of William Blake — the mad visionary 18th-century mystic poet and artist. Perhaps future historians will track down Mr. Jobs’s Blake library to trace the inspiration for Pixar and the grail-like appeal of the iPhone.

If there is a C.E.O. canon, its rule is this: “Don’t follow your mentors, follow your mentors’ mentors,” suggests David Leach, chief executive of the American Medical Association’s accreditation division. Mr. Leach has stocked his cabin in the woods of North Carolina with the collected works of Aristotle.
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Executive Intelligence

July 21, 2023

leadership trainingby Travis Wright
I’m currently reading this great book on leadership, called Executive Intelligence by Justin Menkes. This book delivers many gems, such as this quote from Andrea Jung, CEO of Avon:

“Decision-making in today’s business environment is decentralized. Decisions are made at the local level, or at a functional or operating level. You can’t grow a business around two to three good thinkers anymore, because your success depends on quality decisions from people at every level- salespeople, marketing people, strategy people, and so on. Everyone has to be able to think smart.

If you don’t have the right amount of quality thinking in a complex growth company like ours, it is going to manifest itself in terms of marginalized discussions that rely upon wrong inputs and unskilled questions. And that’s what drags down businesses. Thats’s why companies don’t have good minds throughout their ranks get stuck at 100 million in revenue and don’t get to 1 billion.”

Executive Intelligence is a book for people who are leaders or looking to become a leader. Decide to be the best you can become. Find others with a similar outlook, then move forward as a collective team. There are no lone eagles. It is a nest of eagles…. all moving in unison.

Great book. Get it.

Five Tips to Enjoy Your Family Reunions

July 20, 2023

leadership trainingBy Beth Banning

Seems there’s always another holiday gathering or family reunion right around the corner. But do you ever leave wondering why you went? Are some of your in-laws and extended family members a little hard to deal with? It can be different. How would you like to walk in feeling excited about being there, knowing that you’ll leave happy about your whole experience? It’s your choice. Discover five tips that will show you how to plan your next family reunion experience just like you’ve always wanted.

Are you wondering how your next family gathering will turn out? Is it tough to relate to some of your family, in-laws, and extended family members? Do you sometimes leave feeling drained and wondering why you went at all?

It can be different this year. Imagine walking into your next family reunion feeling excited about being there and knowing that you’ll leave feeling happy about your whole experience.

It’s your choice. You can use these five tips to make your next family gathering the experience you’ve always wanted.

Tip #1 - Decide What You Want to Experience

We call this creating an intention. If you aren’t very clear about what you do want to experience, then it will be difficult to make that happen. And it may be hard for you to even notice it when it is happening. How do you get clear about your intention? Ask yourself these questions:

“How could my family and I benefit from this?”
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Thank And Grow Rich

July 18, 2023

By Rebecca Fine

No, that title isn’t the written expression of my old Okie* accent kicking in. “Thank” is EXACTLY the right word! (My apologies to the late Napoleon Hill, author of the classic, Think and Grow Rich.)

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Gratitude is like a muscle. It takes regular exercise to strengthen it and make it strong. And if you find yourself in a situation where it SEEMS like there’s nothing much to be grateful for, you’ll find it of little avail to try to FORCE gratitude. It’s slippery that way — kind of like trying to force yourself to sleep when you’re wide awake.
In those times, the key is simply to relax and just let yourself be WILLING to be grateful. To just let yourself look around with “soft eyes.” I heard it said once that there is no one who has so little that gratitude is impossible — and there is no one who has so much that gratitude is inevitable.

It’s a choice. In every moment.

Once your gratitude muscle is toned up from regular use and repetition, you’ll find things that were formerly difficult become effortless — just as walking up four or five flights of stairs doesn’t “wind” you when you’re in shape.
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