Steve Jobs Was Wrong About The Beatles

The Beatles were four of Steve Jobs’ favorite musicians; perhaps only Bob Dylan could rank higher. Jobs confirmed this fact at the end of the famous 2007 All Things D Steve Jobs/Bill Gates interview stating, “I live my live though either a Beatles or a Bob Dylan song” (1 or 1a). It was one of his life’s works, despite all the legal turmoil he experienced with Apple Corps (the music publishing arm of the Beatles), to finally get the Beatles on iTunes in 2010.  Yes, the Beatles were a passion of Steve Jobs; so much so that on more than one occasion, he likened his management philosophy to that of the Beatles.  While he was right about so many things throughout his career, Steve Jobs was wrong about the Beatles.

The following paragraphs will first outline Steve Jobs’ management philosophy and then detail two fatal flaws in his Beatles worldview.  The article will conclude with a glimpse into Jobs’ true intent with his “brutally frank” nature and how Apple has adjusted in the post-Jobs era under Tim Cook’s leadership.

 Steve Jobs’ Beatles Management Philosophy

Perhaps the best exemplar of Steve Jobs’ Beatles management philosophy was expressed during a 2003 60 Minutes interview (2). In brief, Jobs said:

“My model of business is the Beatles.  They were four very talented guys who kept their negative tendencies relatively in check. They balanced each other and the total was greater than sum of its parts. And that’s how I see business.  Great things in business are never done by one person; they are done by a team of people and we’ve got that here at Pixar and we’ve got that at Apple as well.  So that’s what lets me do this. Well you know, when the Beatles were together, they did truly brilliant innovative work and when they split up, they did good work but it was never the same.  And I see business that way too.  It’s really always a team.” 

Jobs was a master storyteller as any of his keynotes or the 2006 Stanford graduation speech will attest. Many of his stories had reoccurring themes, although Jobs often retold these parables with slight variations. In 2004, Jobs’ Beatles management philosophy resurfaced in an interview with Fast Company journalist Brent Schlender (3):

“My model of management is the Beatles. The reason I say that is because each of the key people in the Beatles kept the others from going off in the directions of their bad tendencies. They sort of kept each other in check. And then when they split up, they never did anything as good. It was the chemistry of a small group of people, and that chemistry was greater than the sum of the parts. And so John kept Paul from being a teenybopper and Paul kept John from drifting out into the cosmos, and it was magic. And George, in the end, I think provided a tremendous amount of soul to the group. I don’t know what Ringo did.”

While Ringo may have got short-changed in this version of the story, one can see some common themes in Jobs’ Beatles metaphor.  First, the team is stronger than the individual as the sum is greater than the parts. Second, individuals may have bad tendencies and there is a need for those negative tendencies to be kept “in check.”

The most interesting variant, as well as, the most unique, can be found in Robert X. Cringely’s 1995 “Lost Interview” (4).  After a back and forth conversation on product development and the evolution of an initial concept to final product, Jobs says:

“…when I was a little kid, there was a widowed man that lived up the street and he was in his 80s and he was a little scary looking and I got to know him a little bit – I think he might have paid me to mow his lawn or something.  One day he said, “Come into my garage I want to show you something.” He pulled out this dusty old rock tumbler with a motor and a coffee can and a band between them and he said, “Come out with me.”  We went out to the back (yard) got some rocks – some regular old ugly rocks.  And we put them in the can with a little bit of liquid and a little bit of grit powder and he closed this can up and turned this motor on and he said, “Come back tomorrow” and this can was making a racket while the stones were (banging around).

I came back the next day and we opened the can and we took out some amazingly beautiful polished rocks.  The same common stones that had gone in, through rubbing up against each other, creating a little bit of friction, creating a little bit of noise, had come out these beautiful polished rocks.  And that has always been my metaphor for a team working really hard on something that they are passionate about.  That it is through the team, through that group of incredibly talented people bumping up against each other having arguments, having fights sometimes and making noise, and working together they polish each other and they polish the ideas and what comes out are these really beautiful stones.” 

Even in this early version of Jobs’ Beatles management philosophy, some common themes reoccur; team over the individual, the sum is greater than the parts, and there needs to be some tension or conflict to achieve the best result.

Two Fatal Flaws

There are two fatal flaws in Steve Jobs’ Beatles management philosophy: first, Jobs only viewed the Beatles from a fan’s perspective, that is, looking from the outside in. The second fatal flaw is that “keeping each other in check” can equates to… “It’s OK to be an asshole to other people.” Each of these fatal flaws will be discussed in turn.

The opposite perspective of outside in, is naturally, the inside looking out and even a causal Beatles historian would say that keeping each other “in check” or the existence of a “healthy tension” among the “Fab 4” would be a gross understatement, particularly in their later years.  In a Jobsian worldview, strong tension, heated discussion, and/or multiple disagreements among the leadership team would eventually produce a result that would be significantly better than if everyone had just sat around and blindly agreed with each other.  The Beatles did have a healthy tension during their earlier albums, particularly between John and Paul, but that tension went unchecked, turned toxic, and eventually stifled collaboration among the four Beatles leading to the band’s break up.

Once the Beatles grew beyond their chart-topping, pop-friendly albums, the boys from Liverpool created three albums, namely Rubber Soul, Revolver, and Sgt. Pepper that can easily be described as “greater than the sum of its parts.”  In other words, at this time in the band’s history, the Beatles were still collaborating as a team and it was rare to have a song completely dominated by one member of the band.  At that time, there was a healthy collaborative tension and the Beatles pushed each other to create the most cutting edge music in their field.

Unfortunately for the fans, the health tension did not last, turned toxic and the Beatles stopped working as a team.  While Pepper can be listed in the “the sum is greater than its parts” category, the landmark album represented a turning point in the history of the Beatles.  In multiple interviews describing the milestone album, George and Ringo confessed that their involvement  was not the same as previous Beatles works.  In other words, Paul’s or John’s individual dominance, as well as the tipping point from healthy tension to unhealthy tension, was the beginning of the end.

Post Pepper, that period (the critical misstep of the Magical Mystery Tour EP & Film, The White Album, Yellow Submarine, Let It Be, and Abby Road) can be characterized, as the parts are greater than the whole. During this time in the band’s history, it was rare for the band to create a song together.  Rather, it was much more common to have individual band members write and record songs and lobby to get them on the record.  Despite their team enhancing “corporate retreat” to Rishikesh, of which most of the White Album was produced during this time, the lads soon fell into old habits of back-biting and snarking each other’s work.  At one point during the production of the White Album, producer Sir George Martin recalled, “I remember having three studios operating at the same time.  Paul was doing some overdubs in one.  John was in another, and I was recording some horns…in a third” (5).

During the White Album sessions, a famous story in Beatles lore perfectly illustrates the parts are greater than the whole argument.  George was so upset with John and Paul after a 14-hour session where they half-heartily played on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” that he asked Eric Clapton to play on the track.  Clapton recalls, that he knew the other Beatles “wouldn’t like it” but George insisted stating, “It’s nothing to do with them.  It’s my song, and I’d like you to play on it.” (5).

Please understand, some of the most beloved songs by the Beatles occurred during this later time period.  In reality, however, these were not really Beatles songs but rather a Paul, or John or George song completed with the world’s best backing band.  Jobs’ management philosophy emphasizes the team over the individual, yet for the latter half of the Beatles existence, there was no team; the tension and the infighting were too strong for that to happen.  No one was able to keep each other in check, their negative tendencies were not balanced out and only Paul wanted the band stay together.  With the inside out view of the band, Jobs’ Beatles management philosophy does not hold.

Jobs second fatal flaw is well documented, as it was not uncommon for Steve to verbally cut someone down (6).  This second fatal flaw in his Beatles management philosophy is that “keeping each other in check” equates to… it’s OK to be an asshole to other people.  Jobs was famous for his brutal honesty which we know he used for effect to add some grit power into a conversation.  In the authorized biography, Walter Isaacson gave Jobs the last word at the very end of the book.  In his commentary, Jobs called his brutal honesty “the price of admission” (7):

“I don’t think I run roughshod over people, but if something sucks, I tell it to their face.  It’s my job to be honest.  I know what I’m talking about, and I am usually turn out to be right.  That’s the culture I tried to create.  We are brutally honest with each other, and anyone can tell me they think I am full of shit and I can tell them the same.  And we’ve had some rip-roaring arguments, where we are yelling at each other, and it’s some of the best of times I’ve ever had.  I feel totally comfortable saying “Ron that store looks like shit” in front of everyone else.  Or I might say, “God, we really fucked up the engineering on this” in front of the person that’s responsible.  That’s the ante for being in the room:  You’ve got to be able to be super honest.  Maybe there’s a better way, a gentelmen’s club where we all wear ties and speak in the Brahmin language and velvet-coded words, but I don’t know that way because I am middle-class from California (page 567). 

Perhaps it was Jobs’ outside in view of the Beatles that formed his brutal honest equals to being an asshole view of dealing with people.  He was a big Beatles fan had to be aware of the conflict among the Fab 4.  As a passionate fan, however, Jobs could have mistaken that the reason the band created such amazing music was because of the tension or the forceful nudging of each other; they kept each other in check.

I could not disagree more on this point.  I believe in honesty and I believe in being direct, but at no point do I believe anyone has to belligerent to get one’s point across. In an interview with the Harvard Business Review, perhaps Dr. Maya Angelou said it best (8):

“I know there are people who say, I’m brutality frank. Well, one doesn’t have to be brutal about anything. One can tell the truth and tell it in such a way that the listener hears it and really welcomes it.” 

A plausible theory is that the Jobsian brutal honesty was more a management tactic than pure personality. To further emphasize this point, a recent 60 Minutes interview with David Kelly, founder of IDEO and dear friend of Steve Jobs touched on this issue (9).  In the interview, Charlie Rose asked:

What is the biggest misconception about him?”

And Kelly responded:

I think the misconception about him was…he was kind of malicious.  He was not trying to be mean to people.  It wasn’t…he was just trying to get things done.  And you just had to learn to react to that.”

Apple in the Post-Jobs Era

As an academic interested in leadership, I have been studying Apple for the better part of two decades. I believe that Kelly’s assessment is the more accurate picture of Jobs. That said, I am not so sure Jobs understood the downside effect of this tactic. In other words, as with the Beatles, brutal honesty could break up the band. Tim Cook has the same view as David Kelly and learned to translate Jobs’ brutal honesty.  In a handful of times in the authorized biography, but particularly when Jobs returned from the Liver transplant, Cook often called Jobs’ brutal honestly “his passion” and attributed it to Jobs always striving for the best. On his first day back from second major medical leave, Jobs called a meeting and ripped into the upper management team.  As described by Isaacson (7):

“But was truly telling was the pronouncement he made to a couple of friends late that afternoon. ‘I had the greatest time being back today, he said.  “I can’t believe how creative I’m feeling, and how the whole team is.”  Tim Cook took it in stride.  ‘I’ve never seen Steve hold back from expressing his view or passion,” he later said.  “But that was good.” (489)

The Apple of today does not operate in the Beatles management philosophy; that was Steve’s mental model, not Tim’s (10).  Over the past 18 months but particularly in October 2012 when Apple and Scott Forestall parted ways, Tim Cook has been striving for more honesty and less brutality. Forestall is a brilliant engineer and was one of the key architects of Apple’s iOS mobile operating system, yet Forestall (sometimes called mini-Steve) was more interested in politics, power and fiefdoms.  Since iOS powered devices are responsible for over 80 percent of Apple’s revenues, Forestall felt he was more important than the team (i.e., the parts are greater than the whole).  Other influential managers, by their actions, indirectly confirmed Forestall’s worldview.  For instance, Bob Mansfield unexpectantly retired in early 2012 then un-retired to another senior manager role once Forestall was ousted.  Jony Ive did not want to be in the same room nor work with Forestall.  In a Jobsian worldview, Forestall was the tension, the grit powder that Jobs believed would eventually result in a better song. Cook sacrificed Forestall for the sake of the team, as the tension was unhealthy, unchecked and holding Apple back from its next stage of new songs.

I am optimistic on Apple’s future, as I believe Cook is unafraid of ghost of Steve Jobs.  While Forestall’s ousting was clearly a major indicator of Tim’s willingness to do what is best for the future of Apple, it is also a major indicator that Tim does not envision himself as just the torch carrier of Apple’s past. Beyond the October 2012 senior management shakeup, there are other indicators as well such as, Apple’s corporate social responsibility in China, the disbursement of dividends, taking on debt, and charitable giving just to name a few.  Cook knows the Apple of the past cannot be the growth engine of the Apple of the future. If the rapid and radical update to iOS 7 is any indicator, I am optimistic that Apple will not be resting on its laurels in the Tim Cook era; Cook wants the tension to be healthy, the collaboration among the band leaders to be strong, and most important, the songs to be amazing for years to come.

 

Best regards,

Dr. Dan-o

 

Daniel M. Ladik, Ph.D.,

Associate Professor of Marketing

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

 

 

Facebook, Microsoft, Non-Verbal Communication and a Bunch of Other Stuff!

Hola Todos!

Now that we are past the Super Bowl, it’s time to get caught up with EVERYTHING… including DigNuggetville.  I’ve been stockpiling potential post for weeks now and with so many interesting articles, it would be March before I get to anything new.  So to unclog the logjam, here’s a meta-list of super nuggets!

Enjoy!

 

Happy Birthday Facebook – what did you get for your 10th birthday?

-A nice 10-year highlight video 

Five Key moments that changed Facebook

-CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the Today Show with a nice video of FB’s headquarters

 

Microsoft has a New Leader

-Microsoft has a new CEO – How Satya Nedella will change the company

-Satya Nedella: Signs of Leadership

 

Nonverbal Communications Nuggets

-5 Keys to Great Nonverbal Communication

-What if…. Details Determined Good Communication?

-7 Steps to Earn Others’ Trust without Saying a Word

-Does Body Language Shape Who You Are?

 

 

A Bunch of Other Stuff (to unlock this reference, watch this video)

-The Logic Behind 19 Common Interview Questions

-How to Network Purposefully

-Five Things Dale Carnegie Can Teach You about Social Selling

-Jeff Bezos: A Strong CEO

-How Daydreaming Can Actually Make You Smarter

-Content Marketing Challenges

-Content Marketing and ROI

-Steve Jobs would go for a walk to clear his head

-Apple’s New Retail Executive: Angela Ahrendts

What is SquareSpace with headquarters in New York City?

 

Best regards,

Dr. Dan-o

 

Daniel M. Ladik, Ph.D.,

 

Associate Professor of Marketing

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

 

 

Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.: One of Our Greatest Leaders

Hola Todos!

Dr. King was truly one of our greatest leaders and perhaps we should spend just some of day today reflecting back on his legacy.  CNN has a nice article on some of his lesser known but still excellent speeches.  Previous DigNuggetville posts includes a comment from Dr. Maya Angelou, 5 leadership lessons from Dr. King, and one of the best U2 songs ever created.

Best regards,

Dr. Dan-o

 

 

Daniel M. Ladik, Ph.D.,

Associate Professor of Marketing

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

 

 

Super Bowl Boulevard: An Experience That Cannot Be Missed In New York City

Hola Todos!

Today is all about the NFC and AFC championships but tomorrow, millions of fans will be planning their trip to our region to be part of Super Bowl XLVIII.  The centerpiece of the fan experience will be Super Bowl Boulevard – 13 blocks from Herald Square to Times Square. Open from noon to 10PM daily starting Wednesday January 29th, Super Bowl Boulevard will feature a 60 foot high, 180 foot long Toboggan Run in the middle of Times Square, a pavilion with the Vince Lombardi Trophy, the Huddle Shuttle and an autograph stage. If the Toboggan Run is not unique enough for you, the nightly LED outdoor Video Park (between 35th and 36th Streets) will be a total immersive sensory experience using the buildings up and down Broadway as screens.

The Super Bowl Host Committee along with the NFL prepared an excellent video showing the highlights of Super Bowl Boulevard – it can’t be missed.

For more information on all the Super Bowl XLVIII events and updates, visit www.nynjsuperbowl.com or follow them on Twitter @NYNJSuperBowl.

Best regards,

Dr. Dan-o

 

Daniel M. Ladik, Ph.D.,

Associate Professor of Marketing

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

Welcome Back DigNuggetville: 2014 Edition

Hola Todos!

I hope the New Year has been treating everyone well and I hope we are sticking to our 2014 New Year resolutions.

Before I begin, I believe I owe the people of DigNuggetville an apology – or at the very least – an explanation; this is the LONGEST gap between posts in the two and a half-year history of DigNuggetville.  One of my mantras (as posted multiple times) is Big Rocks First – a philosophy to prioritize the many things I juggle day in and day out.  This philosophy forces me to think ahead and plan longer-term.

In November and December, I had rocks that were bigger than the blog (most noticeably – my tenure review and working with the 2014 NY/NJ Superbowl Host Committee).  Moreover, I was totally spent at the end of the Fall semester and took time during the semester break to really rest up; I shut everything down to enjoy the time with the family.

2014 and the Spring semester is here and as usual, there are many exciting things to tackle.  There is still much work to be done on the tenure front – the Social Media Communications Center will be in full swing starting Monday January 20th – and I have some interesting classes (Principles & Social Media – undergrad; Sales Management – MBA) this Spring semester.

I look forward to an exciting 2014!

Best regards,

Dr. Dan-o

 

Daniel M. Ladik, Ph.D.,

 

Associate Professor of Marketing

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

 

 

 

My Definition of Marketing

Hola Todos!

I found it hard to believe that after 2 years and 261 posts, that I NEVER had an explicit post on my definition of marketing: Find out what people want and give it to them!

Recently, former student Jimmy Miguel, emailed me the following:

“Dr. Dano – How you doing? Tell you what, you have some crazy good timing, I was in a Marketing workshop just last weekend and the guy that was presenting went around the room asking what we do for a career. Once everyone was done he stopped and asks out loud: “what is marketing?” Obviously, considering the majority of the audience were marketing professionals, we all knew what it was but there was some ambivalence on how exactly to describe it. After a couple valiant but feeble attempts by my cohorts I piped up and said “Finding what people want and giving it to them.”

 He was kinda taken aback because everyone was using all this sophisticated vernacular to describe what it was, but in its most basic form, that’s it. He did use a different choice of words to describe it, but he pretty much agreed that it was an accurate definition. All these years later, I still use that as my definition… Sounds like a good Nuggetville posting to me haha.” 

Agreed Jimmy.  It does sound like a good Nuggetville post and I was really surprised that since starting the blog in August 2011, that “the definition” was never a post in-it-of-itself (note: while never detailed, it has been mentioned previously).  Over the last 10 years as a marketing professor, I have been teaching Principles of Marketing or the foundation Marketing class on the graduate level at least 3 to 4 times per year and I tell the students that the definition highlights the three most important chapters in the textbook:

“Find out (marketing research) what people want (consumer behavior) and give it to them (segmentation, targeting, and positioning)”

Truth be told, I learned my definition of marketing while working on my MBA at Saint Joseph’s University.  In my foundation MBA marketing class, professor John Stanton was the first person I heard use it (he was working on a book at the time, Success Leaves Clues).  I know a nugget when I hear one and I, like Jimmy in the quote above, never forgot it.

Something to think about today…

Best regards

Dr. Dan-o

 

Daniel M. Ladik, Ph.D.,

 

Associate Professor of Marketing

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

 

 

 

 

Campbell Soup CEO Visits Seton Hall University

Hola Todos!

We, in the Seton Hall community, had the pleasure of welcoming Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup Co. (and only one of twelve female CEOs in the Fortune 500) as the keynote speaker for our Fall Integrity & Professionalism Convocation (the video of the presentation can be found here). CEO Morrison discussed the future of Campbell Soup Co. but devoted much of the talk discussing her personal journey to the CEO seat.  I felt it was an incredible experience for the Seton Hall students, particularly for my two freshmen sections of BUSI 1000 (Introduction to Business) that are examining the functions of the firm through the lens of Campbell Soup.

The keynote presentation was part of a week of events including a Go Soups and Skillet Sauces tasting on campus.  The following are my nuggets – favorite takeaway or quotes from the presentation:

– – -“You can’t do it all at once but you can do it all over time”

– – – Denise started her career in sales at Proctor & Gamble and spent much of her pre-CEO career in the sale function; one of many Fortune 500 CEOs who rose to the position from the sales function.

– – – “The art of the zig-zag; Look at a company as an opportunity to gain different experiences” Meaning you make meaningful shifts in your career to gain difference experiences.  I really like this one as it echo’s Sheryl Sandberg’s metaphor from Lean In that your career is more of a jungle gym (i.e., there is more than one way to get to where you want to be) as opposed to a ladder where there is just one way up (or down).

– – – “Its not work life balance but work-life integration; you cannot be in balance all the time but you can balance out over time.”  I do not believe Sandberg’s book ever said this so clearly.

– – – “Networking is not fooling around.  Networking is hard work – building relationship for when you need them.”  This echo’s Reid Hoffman’s mantra in The Start Up of You that farming is a much better metaphor than hunting when thinking about networking.

– – – “Integrity and ethics is not an extra curricular activity.  It is who you are.”

– – – “Serve as a leader, live a balanced life, and apply ethical principles to make a significant difference.”  I believe in being more of a Y-type servant leader (here and here) than an X-type command and control leader.

Many thoughts to think about out today…

 

Best regards

Dr. Dan-o

 

Daniel M. Ladik, Ph.D.,

 

Associate Professor of Marketing

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

 

 

 

Why College Graduates Lose Out On Jobs

Hola Todos!

I often do Topic Talks in class when the students take over and bring in excellent nugget-worthy articles to share.  The other day, Chris Borkes sent me a great topic talks for my current and future graduates.  Chris summarized:

I came across this article that has a pretty good presentation that is easy to read and quick to get through at its length. It may seem to be common sense but I think some of these things are overlooked by soon to be or recent grads.  Figured you might be able to share it with some of your students if you find it of value and could potentially help them be even more successful and effective in their job search.

All the best,
Chris   

I when through the powerpoint deck in the link highlighted above, I saw some really strong tips, as well as, pitfalls to avoid when going through the interview process.  I’m sure there are at least two if not more nuggets for you to add to your journal.

Something to check out today…

Best regards

Dr. Dan-o

 

Daniel M. Ladik, Ph.D.,

Associate Professor of Marketing

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summertime Book Recommendations

Hola Todos!

As you know, I believe in nuggets – or takeaways that you can use throughout your business career.  One excellent way to pick up new nuggets (and perhaps slide them in your journal) is to read an excellent book.  Many of you have been asking for recommendations so I decided to do a blog post on the topic.

These are in no particular order – go to Amazon to find further detail on these titles.  If there is a more particular interest, drop me an email and we’ll go deeper into a more specific topic OK.

ENJOY!

Dr. Dan-o

 

The Classics (these are three of my top recommendations of all time)

How To Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie  – an excellent networking and persuasion book

Influence: Science and Practice, by Robert Cialdini – the best persuasion book ever written

Made to Stick, by Chip and Dan Heath – the 2nd best persuasion book ever written

 

Anything by Malcolm Gladwell but particularly The Tipping Point and Blink – why you might ask? First, they are excellent and second, everyone else has read these so get in the loop!

Anything by Jim Collins but particularly Good to Great and Build to Last – see comments above about Gladwell

 

The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, by Barry Schwartz – my favorite consumer behavior/consumer choice book and the inspiration of much of my academic research at the moment

 

Other excellent consumer behavior/consumer choice book you ask?  Check out,

The Art of Choosing, by Sheena Iyengar

Nudge, by Richard Thaler & Cass Sunstein

Predictably Irrational, by Dan Ariely

 

I can’t forget How Customers Think, by Gerald Zaltman – a classic!

 

Social/Digital Media Books

What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis

The Wisdom of Crowds, by James Surowiecki (although this one pre-dates social media – it uses all the best theories to describe the power of social media)

The Long Tail, by Chris Anderson

Crowdsourcing, by Jeff Howe

 

Books I just finished this month:

Contagious, by Jonah Berger – a great persuasion/word-of-mouth book

The Storytelling Animal, by Jonathan Gottschall – I love books on storytelling

How Children Succeed, by Paul Tough – this is a child behavior/learning theory book which highlights the grit test

 

How can I forget about Apple?

Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson

Inside Apple, by Adam Lashinsky

 

Books I have for this summer:

What’s The Future of Business? By Brian Solis (I am reading this one right now)

Lean IN, by Sheryl Sandberg

The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg

The Start-Up of You, by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha (a networking book from the founder of LinkedIN

The No Asshole Rule, by Robert Sutton – an interesting leadership book

Wired for Story, by Lisa Cron – I love storytelling books

This is Your Brain on Music, by Daniel Levitin – a neuroscience book that is close to storytelling

 

-The Why of Networking: Interpersonal vs. Social Networking, by Daniel M. Ladik and Chris Strom – sorry this one is not available yet – we’re writing it…

 

 

One of the Best Valedictorian Speeches…

Hola Todos!

Well it’s that time of the year…graduation time.  Perhaps you just walked in the Izod Center a few days back.  Perhaps you will be walking in a cap and gown in a year or two.  Perhaps you walked a few years ago and are reflecting back on that day vis-à-vis your current career trajectory.  No matter what, graduation provides us with one of those lockdown “moments in time” on your life journey.  In other words, you will always be able to easily frame your past in terms of pre or post-college.

While sitting in the crowd this week, I had the pleasure of listening to Bradley Childs deliver the valedictorian address to the Seton Hall University Class of 2013.  I was one of Bradley’s 38 plus professors (he was in two of my classes) during his time at Seton Hall and to have a perfect 4.0 for 8 semesters straight is a special accomplishment.

So I guess it should not have surprised me much when Bradley nailed his address to the students.  First, the pace, tone, verbal inflections but most important, consistent eye contact (did he memorize it?) was impressive.  Second, and even more impressive was the content.  I have talked about storytelling a number of times here on DigNuggetville and Bradley employed multiple storytelling-like phrases such as “our book would be written on our own terms.”

Bradley was kind enough to share his speech with me so I could share with you today.  Think of it as a Super Topic Talk!  But more importantly, use this address to reflect back on where you were (or will be) on your life journey.

Bradley the floor is yours…

 

Valedictorian Address to the Seton Hall University Class of 2013 by Bradley Childs

1,359 days of wondering, wondering if we would make it to this day. Today marks the culmination of our 1,359 day journey – we are the graduating class of 2013. Fellow graduates, join me in welcoming our esteemed guests: Archbishop Myers, Dr. Arkes, Father Ker, members of the Board of Trustees, members of the Board of Regents, President Esteban, Senior Associate Provost Guetti, members of the Executive Cabinet, deans, faculty, families, and friends.

Graduation is one of those awkward times in our lives when we are torn between the joy of our memories and the excitement of our future. Should we look back on what were the greatest four years of our lives – times filled with joy from the boisterous sounds of that first spring day out on the green, the aroma of chicken finger day in the cafeteria, the resounding ring of the University bells, or the calmness of the chapel? Or instead should we focus on the next stage in this journey called life? We’ve been impatiently waiting for this day for four years – and now, we just want to hit pause. We want to slow it down, and enjoy the last fleeting moments. Our lives will be forever altered after we toss our caps into the air.

We entered the loving confines of our beloved Seton Hall University four years ago as an unwritten book eager to fill the pages.  It seems like just yesterday we were lugging our countless bags into Boland. It seems like just yesterday we had orientation and had the pleasure of doing uncomfortable icebreakers together. We walked onto campus for the first time as students in the fall of 2009 with a gloomy world around us stricken by a global recession.

As the months passed we grew, and we learned to not allow external circumstances to define us. That’s right, my colleagues, our book would be written on our own terms. The friends we sit with today became additions to our family and are undoubtedly some of the main characters in our book of life. We grew up together in South Orange, and at times in Hoboken and New York City. Our campus provided us not only with a place to learn, but a true home. We were fortunate to experience what the phrase emblazoned on that acceptance letter we received truly means – we learned what a home for the mind, heart, and spirit meant in its full reality.

The diploma that we receive represents success and achievement. But we must remember more the journey that accompanied this achievement – both the heartache and happiness. The diploma itself is gently tucked away in the appendix of our book, while the journey to attain it fills pages.

We are now set to begin the next chapter in our book. Our book will veer off from the outline we created, for therein lies the beauty of our journey. Seton Hall has instilled in us a tremendous fire, a passion for life, and a desire to make the world in which we live better.

We owe it to each other, our family, our professors, our University, our country, and our God to pursue our wildest dreams. Our professors and classmates have pushed us to the brink for four years.

As graduates of Seton Hall University, we can do anything.  In the words of the great Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” So, class of 2013, let us commit ourselves to the belief that we can accomplish anything. With this belief, our book is destined to be a bestseller.

We came onto campus 4 years ago with different backgrounds and different life experiences. We leave this campus 1,359 days later as a collective unit – we are the class of 2013. No matter the school we come from – whether Nursing or Theology, Business or Education, Diplomacy or Arts & Sciences – we are all members of this one University community. Let us put aside the joy of our memories and the excitement of our future for the time being. For as Mother Teresa said: “be happy in the moment, that’s enough.” At this moment, we are in absolute bliss. We are all Seton Hall University Pirates – and it does not get any better than that. God Bless. Elizabeth Ann Seton: Pray for Us.

 

Bradley Childs

Seton Hall University Class of 2013