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Good People: The Only Leadership Decision That Really Matters Hardcover – April 25, 2017
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About the Author
Anthony Tjan is an entrepreneur, strategic advisor, and venture investor. He is coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck and CEO of the Cue Ball Group, a private investment and venture capital firm based in Boston. He is also the chairman and cofounder of the retail service brand MiniLuxe. Prior to joining Cue Ball, he served as senior advisor to the CEO of the Thomson Corporation (now Thomson Reuters) and founded the pioneering Internet advisory group ZEFER. He began his career at McKinsey & Company and served as vice chairman of the Parthenon Group for nearly fifteen years. Tjan holds degrees from Harvard College and Harvard Business School, where he contributes to the Harvard Business Review. He serves on several boards and is a member of the Advisory Council for the MIT Media Lab.
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As Tony mentions in his book, many have become disenchanted and disappointed by the current state of the financial and business worlds, often perceiving an abundance of unfairness and self-serving behaviour, at the expense of not only others, but often the natural world too. What I like about Tony’s book is that he offers a perspective that may help people avoid ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater’, in response to the current dissatisfaction.
Of course, Tony’s book is not about introducing any new or groundbreaking philosophy per se. Much of what he discusses has been said in one form or another throughout the ages, about the merits, even the imperative of living a life that is true to oneself, while at the same time serving a greater purpose. However, I was impressed by how the way in which Tony articulated himself quite obviously revealed the depth of his understanding of such philosophies and ways of thinking, no doubt after significant contemplation, discussion with others, and most importantly, testing it out in the real world, that is to say, his professional and personal life experiences.
What Tony says seems to bestow an intuitive sense of truth, and I’m sure it was no easy task to extract thought from head and articulate in such a way. I very much enjoyed reading various lines, pausing (sometimes at length) to consider them, but also to try and step in to Tony’s shoes, and ‘feel’ the place from which such thoughts and words sprang.
Tony’s book is unique, in that he has sprinkled in a few parts philosopher, a few parts entrepreneur, a few parts corporate executive, and a few parts beautiful human being. This, I believe, has resulted in his message not only being highly digestible to a range of diverse perspectives, but also in making the validity of his message powerfully self-evident.
In a time where it is absolutely essential that we re-define how business is conducted, re-imagine how products and services can serve the people of earth without destroying it, and perhaps most importantly, re-connect and re-discover the highest versions of ourselves, it is extremely satisfying to see respected voices in the business world doing their best to live and inspire that change. The more we can all begin to do this, the more we may powerfully engage our energies toward the achievement of our most meaningful goals, and increase our empathy and understanding of others to such a degree that we not only have the capacity, but also find great joy in helping them do the same.
I’m an eternal optimist, and when I observe business leaders speak and act in such a way as Tony has, I feel less like that is a result of wishful thinking, and more like it is a rational observation of the changes afoot.
Much gratitude for leading the charge, Tony!
I think the book is helpful and don't really see anything wrong with it. Tjan identifies the main problem with the topic as being the fact that words like "good" and "goodness" have become over used and misused and have almost no real meaning anymore. He attempts to revive a true meaning of good; however, even in doing so he defines it and describes it according to his own bias and perspective. This book offers an approach to being a good leader; however, I think writing about being a good person requires much more depth and breadth than a book on business leadership can explore. I'm not sure Tjan recognizes his own limitations and bias in writing on this topic. That being said...this book certainly serves to engage readers and move them in the direction of goodness. Tjan asserts that we are all capable of becoming good leaders. Similarly, the entire book conveys an encouraging "You can do it!" tone to readers.
Tjan identifies what it takes to lead with good character in any situation. He asserts that goodness leads to better success in business and also helps spread goodness. He encourages mentoring ten people toward goodness. The goal of mentoring is to help them flourish. Tjan identifies and discusses several areas of tensions involved in leading with goodness. He summarizes by emphasizing the value of "pragmatic idealism" that I think is a good way to approach these tensions. Ultimately for Tjan, "goodness is a proactive commitment to making yourself and others the fullest versions of who you can be."
I think readers will find plenty of good in this book on Good People. For me, I read this through the lens of my Christian faith and find it to be a helpful book in light of how my faith informs my view on goodness. There were plenty of helpful topics to consider, reflect on and incorporate into my life and leadership.
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The first four chapters can be summarized as follows:
Chapter 1: Good is good
Chapter 2: It's good to be good...Read more