Are Great Leaders Born Or Made?

There are certain qualities that many leaders have in common. Are these qualities learned or are they inherited? What makes a leader great?


Analyze the Billionaires of a Society to Gauge Its Economic Health | Ruchir Sharma

Billionaires: what have they done for us lately? Well, some of them have developed the tech you're reading this on (scoring good points), but others have gamed the system and nepotismed their way to the bank (bad, bad billionaires). Sharma's latest book is "The Rise and Fall of Nations


The lottery of life

We tend to look patronisingly at people convinced they might win the lottery. But we often harbour equally misguided hopes for our romantic and professional lives.


Success at school vs Success in life

"We want to do well at school for an obvious reason: because – as we’re often told – it’s the primary route to doing well at life. 

Few of us are in love with the A grades themselves – we want them because we’re understandably interested in one day having a fulfilling career, a pleasant house and the respect of others.

But, sometimes, more often than seems entirely reassuring, something confusing occurs: we come across people who triumphed at school – but flunked at life. And vice versa…”


Increase Your Productivity by Mastering Singular Focus and Mindful Meditation | Emma Seppälä

Emma Seppälä, Ph.D., is the science director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, the founder of the popular news site FulfillmentDaily.com, and a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review and Psychology Today. Her work has appeared in Scientific American Mind, The Huffington Post, and Spirituality & Health. Seppälä holds degrees from Yale, Columbia, and Stanford. Her book is The Happiness Track: How to Apply the Science of Happiness to Accelerate Your Success. More at www.emmaseppala.com.


The Most Valuable Skill that Nobody Teaches: How to Listen, with Tom Yorton

Tom Yorton is co-author of the book Yes, And: How Improvisation Reverses "No, But" Thinking and Improves Creativity and Collaboration--Lessons from The Second City. Since 2002 Yorton has served as CEO of Second City Works, the b2b arm of The Second City -- one of the world’s premier comedy theater and school of improvisation. Before joining Second City, Tom worked in advertising and marketing at agencies like Ogilvy, Grey, and Hal Riney before jumping to the client side, with stints as a marketing vice president at Sears and 3Com, where he actually hired Second City Works on a couple of occasions. Second City Works now does more than four hundred engagements a year, half with Fortune 1000 companies. Tom and his team focus on refining The Second City's unique capabilities—creating funny short-form content and using improv to develop vital skills in businesspeople—to help companies communicate, collaborate, and innovate better in a web-first, social-everything world.


Tony Robbins - How to make your dream happen ?

Tony Robbins is a #1 New York Times best-selling author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. For more than 37 years, millions of people have enjoyed the warmth, humor and dynamic presentation of Mr. Robbins' corporate and personal development events. As the nation's #1 life and business strategist, he¹s called upon to consult and coach some of the world¹s finest athletes, entertainers, Fortune 500 CEOs, and even presidents of nations.


Derek Sivers: Weird, or just different?

"There's a flip side to everything," the saying goes, and in 2 minutes, Derek Sivers shows this is true in a few ways you might not expect.

Why you should listen

Derek Sivers is best known as the founder of CD Baby. A professional musician since 1987, he started CD Baby by accident in 1998 when he was selling his own CD on his website, and friends asked if he could sell theirs, too. CD Baby was the largest seller of independent music on the web, with over $100M in sales for over 150,000 musician clients.

In 2008, Sivers sold CD Baby to focus on his new ventures to benefit musicians, including his new company, MuckWork, where teams of efficient assistants help musicians do their "uncreative dirty work."

What others say

“Derek Sivers is changing the way music is bought and sold. A musicians' savior. One of the last music-business folk heroes.” — Esquire


Get Inside the Mind of a Recruiter with These Top Tips for Job Seekers

Job hunting is one of the more frustrating things to do in life. While many companies offer online job applications, it can feel almost useless to send in a resume to the deep portal of a submission box. When there is no response, after weeks of waiting, it can feel like a waste of time and effort, and make the job hunter's sense of worth plummet. Two-thirds of all jobs are gotten by personal referrals, so where does that leave the unconnected among us?
It takes a certain mindset to go into a job interview and come out on top. James Citrin, executive recruiter and author, has spoken before to Big Thinkabout the three factors that need to be considered for any potential job prospect. He also points out that everyone needs a place to start off – the pinnacle of your career will be a result of whatever stepping stones you take along the way, so you just need to get it started any way you can. Working is better than waiting.
The jumping off point for any application is of course the resume. Citrin says as you start to get your feet wet in the job hunt, you should keep your resume at just one-page long, max. New grads aren’t likely to have a lot of job experience, but what they do have can neatly fill up one page, with internships, high school employment, and what experiences school has given them. No accomplishment is too small if it shows a valuable job skill like dedication or a level of responsibility, even if it was just shoveling snow or mowing lawns.
Something else to note is one of the main questions any job interviewer is likely to ask: why do you want this job? No employer wants to hear that it’s for the money. Of course the main point of a job is to feed yourself, but the employer wants to hear how this is a passion for you, that it's the opportunities you’re looking for, or that the company has ideals that you support. An employer understands that people want money, but they can get a paycheck from other companies, too. The goal is to impress this particular company, and stand for more than just self-interest.
Citrin explains that career progression isn’t always going to be a direct move up the ladder, so manage your expectations and look for the value in each new role. Each company is going to offer different experiences. You may have to move laterally or slightly backwards at a new company, to get further in the long run. If the new company is going to teach you something the last company didn’t, it’s a good thing. From there, you can have a broader view of the world, and have more skills and experience to offer.
James Citrin's book isThe Career Playbook.


Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are

Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.

Why you should listen

Amy Cuddy wasn’t supposed to become a successful scientist. In fact, she wasn’t even supposed to finish her undergraduate degree. Early in her college career, Cuddy suffered a severe head injury in a car accident, and doctors said she would struggle to fully regain her mental capacity and finish her undergraduate degree.
But she proved them wrong. Today, Cuddy is a professor and researcher at Harvard Business School, where she studies how nonverbal behavior and snap judgments affect people from the classroom to the boardroom. And her training as a classical dancer (another skill she regained after her injury) is evident in her fascinating work on "power posing" -- how your body position influences others and even your own brain.

What others say

“Using a few simple tweaks to body language, Harvard researcher Amy Cuddy discovers ways to help people become more powerful.” — TIME Game Changers, March 19, 2012


Amy Cuddy on Authentic Learning and Why You Can’t Choreograph Success

Motivation works in some complex ways. There are reward systems, giving a person something they really want after completing a task. There’s reinforcement, punishing bad behavior and buttressing good behavior. These are ways to manufacture motivation, but sometimes it’s just not there.
When a task seems impossible, there’s little way to encourage motivation. Going from a D student to an A in a few weeks can really be impossible, so why bother studying when there’s no way it can happen? Losing 15 pounds by summer? Yeah right. Breaking a bad habit you’ve had for years seems near impossible, when it’s a part of who you are, so why bother trying?
This is why Amy Cuddy, social psychologist and associate professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, suggests keeping goals smaller in order to complete them, and to avoid being outcome focused. This is why people’s New Year resolutions fail, because many people look at a whole year, the whole 52 weeks instead of one week at a time. She recommends letting go of a fixed mindset, instead focusing on the process of improvement (and perhaps even enjoying it – gasp!) rather than the end goal. You will get to where you want to be without even realizing.
Since Amy Cuddy’s TEDTalk Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are, she has received many letters, mostly about how yes, people whose motivation in themselves increased as they started to stand up stronger. Many of them have just one thing in common, they were focused on their inner selves, how they felt, how motivated and proud they were, rather than if they actually succeeded. A lot of the time, in these letters, they even forgot to mention to her whether they got the raise or the job or resolved the argument with their friend. It always seems to turn out better, or at least on a happier note, when people seem more focused on how they feel rather than if they won or not.