Brandy Melville’s CEO loves libertarianism so much he named one of his brands John Galt and used copies of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ as store props

John Galt label on a Brandy Melville shirt
John Galt is a Brandy Melville sub-brand marketed towards teenage girls, named after an Ayn Rand character.

At teen fashion empire Brandy Melville, one surprising theme pops up again and again – an interest in libertarian philosophy.

A recent investigation by Insider found that every Brandy Melville store in the US is owned by an independent company. Each is named after a variation on Bastiat, an apparent reference to the libertarian economist Frédéric Bastiat. Brandy Melville’s operations in North America, for example, are controlled by Bastiat USA.

Brandy Melville also owns a sub-brand called John Galt, sometimes stylized as J. Galt, a reference to a character in Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged.” (Oddly enough, back in 2012, Lululemon faced backlash for its own libertarian product – a “Who Is John Galt?” bag.)

The interest in libertarianism appears to stem from Stephan Marsan, founder of Brandy Melville and president of Bastiat USA. Marsan is also director of two other companies with libertarian-influenced names: Thomas Aquinas, Inc. and Laissez Faire, Inc.

Soon after Marsan opened the first Brandy Melville store in the US in 2009, he began using copies of “Atlas Shrugged” as props in stores, a former employee who began working at a California store in 2013 told Insider. Marsan also donated $500 to Ron Paul’s presidential run in 2012, according to FEC documents.

Brandy Melville and Marsan did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment. (It also appears that the Google profile picture associated with Marsan’s email address, which was provided by a former Brandy Melville employee, is an image of Bastiat.)

Anti-taxation meme, Yvan Marsan and Salvatore Rianna supporting Trump, and a Bastiat quote
Political discussion was common in the group chat. In these images, from left to right: An anti-taxation meme, Yvan Marsan and Salvatore Rianna express support for Donald Trump’s reelection, and a Frédéric Bastiat quote

Insider also viewed screenshots from a group chat that included Marsan’s friends and coworkers. The private chat, which was active from roughly 2017 to 2020, according to people with knowledge of it, included multiple anti-taxation memes. It also included a photo of a Bastiat quote.

Marsan’s brother Yvan appears to have sent a selfie in a Trump 2020 hat, followed by a photoshopped image of Donald Trump as Rocky, caped in an American flag, sent by chief financial officer Salvatore Rianna.

Read the full investigation into Brandy Melville here

Read the original article on Business Insider

A Yahoo correspondent shares what she’s learned from interviewing top execs at companies like Google and Salesforce

Julia La Roche
Julia La Roche.

  • Julia La Roche is a correspondent for Yahoo Finance and an instructor at UNC at Chapel Hill.
  • She’s known for her exclusive one-on-ones with the business world’s top executives and dealmakers.
  • During a live Q&A with readers of The Profile, she discussed her career and interviewing strategies.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Google’s Sundar Pichai. Salesforce’s Marc Benioff. Starbucks’ Kevin Johnson. Blackstone’s Stephen Schwarzman.

Yahoo correspondent Julia La Roche has interviewed them all. Known for her exclusive one-on-ones with the business world’s top executives and dealmakers, La Roche often gets rare access to the CEOs who rarely agree to do sit-down interviews.

How does she land the initial interview and gain their trust? What has she learned about how they navigate their greatest successes to their most devastating failures?

La Roche participated in an hour-long, live “Ask Me Anything” with readers who are part of The Profile’s members-only Telegram chat.

In this Q&A, La Roche discusses the importance of preparation, persistence, and why she approaches every conversation with genuine curiosity.

Read more: This advertising expert grew an audience of 500,000 followers on his own media platform – here’s what he says is key to staying consistent and going viral

Below are the highlights of her Q&A with the readers:

Q: Who is one person you’ve interviewed that really surprised you (ie: how they were in person didn’t match public perception)?

La Roche: One of my all-time favorite interviews has to be Mark Bertolini, who served as CEO of Aetna, the third-largest insurance company.

I knew I wanted to interview him after hearing him speak at a Bloomberg conference in 2017. He showed up to our first interview that summer in a black T-shirt, wearing Vans sneakers, and with his tattoo on his arm exposed – not exactly the image you might have of a health insurance CEO.

He was awesome. What folks might not know is that Bertolini’s views of the health care system were shaped by two life-changing events – first, his son’s cancer diagnosis at age 16 (today, his son is the only known survivor of that rare and deadly form of lymphoma) and a year later Bertolini suffering a spinal cord injury in a horrific skiing accident.

Bertolini explained that those events made it apparent that we have big holes in the health care system that we need to fill and the importance of treating people as whole people. I recommend his book, “Mission-Driven Leadership: My Journey as a Radical Capitalist.”

How do you prepare for your interviews?

I love the preparation process! For some of my interviews, it’s taken me years to land them. I’m persistent, though. When I decide that I want to talk to someone, I keep a running Google Doc to add notes, whether it’s from a podcast, book, speaking appearance, article, or television hit. Some of these can get to be several pages long.

When I get that “yes,” I know I’ll have a solid foundation to work with. My first big on-camera interview was with Howard Schultz in December 2016. I didn’t do CEO interviews at that time. I didn’t even cover Starbucks.

Ahead of time, I made sure to read every book Howard had written (three at the time), watched past interviews, read memos he had written, watched a speech he had given the night before. I think it’s crucial always to do your homework before you sit in that interviewer’s chair.

Another example was Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, it took me probably three years to land an interview with him. I read all four of his books and continued making that ask.

Our first interview was in November 2019. My preparation was evident during that conversation. I think guests appreciate it when you’re prepared. It pays off. I did five interviews with Benioff in 2020.

What is one question you always ask each interviewee?

I don’t think I have a go-to question. I probably should! I’m trying to think about that actually. I do think it’s important to follow up with something that was said in a prior interview.

For example, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson made a commitment in 2020 during the depths of the pandemic to honor the benefits/pay, boost wages for partners working, and commit to no layoffs.

Right now, we’re hearing of companies facing labor challenges. During my interview with Kevin last week, I asked him about the results from that commitment, and the big takeaway he gave is that it built trust with those partners, which drove the company’s record results in Q3.

What are patterns you see in terms of how people respond to being wrong or making mistakes publicly?

I think those that come out and just own it do much better than those that don’t.

Many of these business figures rarely agree to do longform sit-down interviews. You’ve managed to interview some of them multiple times. What do you do to gain their trust, and how exactly do you approach them to get the initial interview?

I think that process has evolved. I’m fortunate enough to have a portfolio of past work now to show to help get that initial interview. I think it goes back to the preparation process and demonstrating that I care by showing that I’m willing to do the work.

I don’t look at “no” as being a rejection. Instead, it might mean, “not right now.” I’ve been told “no” many times! I remain persistent and focused in my efforts. When it comes to making that ask, I get out of my comfort zone, too. I’ll go up to folks and say hello at a conference or event or shoot a quick note when it’s relevant.

You previously recommended “Richer, Wiser, Happier” as a good read. What other business or investing books would you recommend?

There are so many to choose from.

In the Buffett/Munger universe, “Poor Charlie’s Almanack,” “The Tao of Charlie Munger,” “Damn Right!,” “The Snowball,” etc.

When it comes to mentality, I’d recommend Robert Cialdini‘s books (“Influence” & “Pre-Suasion“), “Atomic Habits” by James Clear (I’ve re-read this one so many times now), “The Psychology of Money” by Morgan Housel (highly recommend), “Mindset” by Carol Dweck.

Some other great business books Sam Walton’s “Made in America,” Bob Iger’s “Ride of a Lifetime,” “Trillion Dollar Coach,” Howard Schultz’s “Pour Your Heart Into It.

And for finance folks, “Reminiscences of a Stock Operator” never gets old. I know there are tons I’m missing here. That’s just off the top of my head.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How one DC-based startup is navigating a return to the office as more employees move away

A male-presenting and female-presenting coworkers bump elbows while walking past each other in an office.
Employees may be eager to return to the office occasionally, but many are against returning full-time.

  • Andee Harris has more than 20 years of experience leading new tech companies through growth stages.
  • Her startup, Challenger Inc., is navigating a return to the office after 40% of employees moved away.
  • She says some roles may be shifted or removed, but widening the talent pool is a big opportunity.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Andee Harris took over as CEO of the sales coaching and training startup Challenger, Inc. in January, 2021 – and still has yet to meet the majority of her new team in person. Oh, and that new team? During the pandemic, about 40% of them moved away.

Harris, an adjunct lecturer of innovation and entrepreneurship at Kellogg who has more than two decades’ experience leading young technology companies through rapid-growth stages, knew that taking over a company during the pandemic would be tricky. But finding a new way of working as the nation, and many offices, reopen is proving more challenging than expected.

So what will reentry look like at Challenger, and what can other companies facing similar challenges learn from Harris’s experience? Harris spoke with Kellogg Insight to share one startup’s road back to the office.

Read more: Verizon is letting job functions determine if its 133,000 employees should work from home, in the office, or both. 3 staffers shared how their routines will change.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Insight: So what does reentry look like at Challenger?

Harris: We have about 200 employees in the US, mostly based at our headquarter office in DC, and about 100 internationally, mostly in the UK.

The biggest surprise is that about 40% of our workforce moved during COVID-19. That really snuck up on us: individual managers knew, but there was no one at our organization gathering all that information.

Our workforce spans a wide age demographic. A lot of our younger employees moved back home just to save money. The DC area is fairly expensive, so a lot of them felt like why pay rent if they’re just going to be holed up in little apartments? Then a lot of our 30-somethings, many of whom have young families, also moved to save money. They bought or rented homes in cheaper areas because they didn’t have to be so close to the office. A lot of them have now resettled.

And then we had a whole group of employees who took it as an opportunity to live somewhere that they’ve always wanted to live. They moved to Colorado and California during the pandemic, and now want to stay.

Now we’re trying to figure out how to wrangle the team, what the new normal looks like, and how to get people energized to be back at work.

This includes simple, tactical things like how we file unemployment in the different states where people live now. But now we also have to think about company culture. All of a sudden, a lot of members of our team have become remote workers. Do we let them stay remote?

Insight: This seems to be a big question in the tech industry. What steps are you taking to determine whom to bring back?

Harris: I hired a chief people officer because I knew this transition back was going to be really hard. We did have an HR generalist and a recruiter, but I felt like we really needed someone to focus on our people and culture.

So we’re working with our chief people officer to figure out how we can transition collaboratively. Our policy is to have team members and their managers figure out if their jobs can be remote based on the parameters and expectations around the job.

For some of our employees, it’s okay. But for others, it’s not. To give you an example, our inside sales reps feed off of the energy of the office – you don’t really want people making cold calls in the basement by themselves. But for our senior consultants, who are typically working with remote clients anyway, it’s not as big of a deal.

But we’re trying to be as sensitive as possible and slow roll into the return to work. Even for the people who are still in the DC area, the idea of coming back to the office five days a week is not landing very well – understandably. In these 12-plus months, people have adopted new behaviors.

Insight: How do you get people to want to return, whether for five days a week or even just a few? And is that return picture complicated by your status as a startup?

Harris: It’s harder when you have a startup. The difference between a startup and a more mature company is a more mature company may still be growing, but they’re growing at a much slower pace.

When you’re trying to move really fast to scale a startup, it’s a lot easier to have people right there, because you don’t have a lot of the infrastructure and processes that a big company has in place. That gives you flexibility, but it makes a question like bringing a workforce back more complicated.

Insight: Do you feel like the answer is to bolster the infrastructure or to retain the flexibility? Or is it somewhere in between?

Harris: I think it’s a combination of both. We are trying to be flexible, but not at a harm to our business. If we feel like someone being remote is a detriment to the business, or it doesn’t make sense based on their job and their role, then we are trying to either transfer them to different departments or different roles – or transition them out.

Luckily our business model changed enough that we can still retain some of those employees even though they moved. We re-platformed our entire training system, so now people can swipe a credit card and do virtual training sessions. Before, training was pretty inaccessible unless you worked for a large company that had a pretty significant sales-training budget. This has enabled a lot of smaller businesses to access our training and coaching and allowed us to scale.

This has allowed us to switch some jobs that were always in-person to be remote.

Incidentally, we can now get talent all over the country, which is a change. We would typically not recruit outside of DC, Chicago, and the UK. It’s great that we have a much bigger talent pool. I think a lot of companies are excited about that opportunity.

But now we don’t want to just mandate that everyone come back to the office. Instead, we have to decide what to do with this huge office in DC. Do we need that office space? Does it make sense? We had a satellite office in Chicago, and we let the lease lapse during COVID-19.

We’re trying to figure out: What does our new office space look like, and what do we need it to do? We’re thinking about creative solutions to bring people together that don’t necessarily involve them physically working together.

Insight: You’re really asking a fundamental question, which is: What’s the function of socialization within the organization, and how can that be achieved in ways that are not necessarily the same as they have been in the past?

Harris: Companies and leaders have to look at it differently. I still think it’s important that teams are together, and that there’s bonding and collaboration. I still think that most conflict in the workplace could be resolved through better communication.

I was brought on as CEO at Challenger during COVID-19, so I’ve been remote the entire time. I met my leadership team, but I haven’t met most of the people I work with. I’m still a little bit of a stranger to them. If this were a normal time, I would’ve met the entire team by now, and would’ve had lunches and drinks with them, and gotten to know how many kids they have, and what they like to do for fun.

I can pick up on people’s energy when I’m in person with them. Over Zoom, it’s harder. And so, I can often say like, “Hey, it looks like you’re having a rough day. Are you feeling okay?” And as a CEO, it’s really important to be able to tune into that.

I think that it’s important that we get back together. I don’t think anything replaces that human connection. But I’m not advocating that people need to be in the office five days a week.

Insight: You lead a company that trains other companies, which might give you a particularly interesting perspective on this question: How do you see other companies responding to the challenges of bringing people together without them physically being together?

Harris: Not surprisingly, we’ve seen other companies as well as ours invest heavily in technology and people to fill this gap, things like paying for employees to get better internet and investing in Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Intra-office relationships drive competition, obligation to the team, and a sense of urgency to succeed. We have found that these bonds – made through team lunches, happy hours, and “watercooler” chats – improve employee retention and overall engagement, especially for young salespeople. Over the past year and a half, companies have needed to restore that engagement through other means. Virtual happy hours are great, but companies realized it would take much more to build a fair and motivating environment. Some made major changes to compensation plans to improve extrinsic motivation. Some changed their hiring strategies and assessed future employees on different behavioral traits than in the past, such as proof of their ability to work autonomously and stay self-motivated. Managers needed to increase their overall communication and the quality of their coaching and training sessions.

As important as that internal shift has been, a larger challenge for companies was in how they managed their interactions with external clients. Think about an account manager who used to go on-site with a customer for days or even weeks at a time. Yes, they would spend most of that time on project work, but much of that time was spent on relationship-building activities. Suddenly, an eight-hour project day was cut down to four – and then divided into 30-minute Zoom sessions to accomplish specific tasks relating to that project. Sellers who had relied heavily on relationship-based selling suffered immensely. So companies are reevaluating how they train sellers to sell and consultants to consult. As customer conversations changed, client-facing employees needed to change, too.

Insight: Any final thoughts about reentry?

Harris: We are really focusing on appreciation of our employees – just really going above and beyond to let our employees know that we care. We’ve launched a lot of initiatives around that.

Leaders and companies are going to have to be very empathetic as people transition out of this. There are going to be a lot of lasting effects of COVID-19, whether it’s people with long-hauler syndrome, people who lost loved ones, lost jobs. As companies, we need to be supportive of our employees’ mental health.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Happy Joe’s pizza restaurant’s chief happiness officer says laying off staff during the pandemic made him sad

Tom Sacco next to a picture of Happy Joe's pizza
Tom Sacco, Happy Joe’s chief happiness officer.

  • Happy Joe’s chief happiness officer, Tom Sacco, told Insider about the hardest part of his job.
  • Sacco usually creates positivity in the company but in March 2020, he had to make layoffs.
  • “Other than the loss of my parents, I can’t tell you when I felt sadder,” he said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Happy Joe’s pizza and ice cream restaurant has suffered highs and lows in recent years – and so has its chief happiness officer.

Its founder and CEO, Joseph “Happy Joe” Whitty, passed away in 2019 and not long afterwards, the pandemic struck.

Like most of the hospitality sector, store sales were down, restaurants were closing, and worst of all, there were staff layoffs, Tom Sacco, the company’s CEO and chief happiness officer, told Insider.

Sacco, based in Iowa, became CEO in 2019 when the company was looking for someone to inject life back into Happy Joe’s. A week into the job, he asked for a non-traditional job title as chief happiness officer.

The pandemic was the most challenging business climate that he’s ever worked in.

Day to day, Sacco’s role involves encouraging Happy Joe’s managers to talk about positive experiences at work to pass onto their teams. He also dishes out random acts of kindness, such as sending gifts to employees’ families, and walking elderly customers to the car when it’s snowing.

Despite being in charge of creating a positive culture at Happy Joe’s, Sacco was also responsible for laying off employees due to the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Other than the loss of my parents, I can’t tell you when I felt sadder and more helpless in my entire life as I did laying those people off,” said 68-year-old Sacco, who has worked in the restaurant industry for 30 years.

Happy Joe’s never shut during the pandemic. All of its 70 restaurants across America remained open only for food deliveries and drive-thrus, Sacco said. But it wasn’t enough to keep hold of its entire workforce.

“I cried more in that month of March in 2020 than I have cried in my entire life combined,” he said. “It’s very hard to tell people that have given you their heart and soul that you no longer can afford to have them work for you.”

Government financial aid helped the company to bring back employees, but some of those that had left the company had already changed industries, Sacco said. Some of the chefs went on to work in Amazon warehouses, he added.

For the Happy Joe’s employees who were laid off, Sacco provided them with references and letters of recommendation to help them move onto another job, he said.

“If they did get a call from another job, then it made me feel like at least I was helping them move forward,” he said. “I’m a firm believer in positive thoughts and overcoming lots of challenges, hence the chief happiness officer role.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

57 highly influential business and leadership books that can boost your management skills

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Some of the most influential business and leadership books include “Dare to Lead,” “The Lean Startup,” and “Grit.”

  • Reading is a common denominator among successful people in business.
  • New information and perspectives help us grow smarter, more innovative, and more resilient.
  • Below are 57 of the most influential business books, including memoirs and psychology books.

If you want to be successful, you should read about 500 pages per day. Or, that’s what Warren Buffet, arguably the most skilled investor of our time, might tell you. Buffet has estimated that he spends approximately 80% of his day reading: “My job is essentially just corralling more and more and more facts and information, and occasionally seeing whether that leads to some action,” he once said in an interview. As Buffett put it, knowledge “builds up, like compound interest.”

Many successful people are bookworms. Former President Barack Obama has described the ‘indispensable’ role books played in his presidency, while Stephen King reads about 80 books every year.

Below, you’ll find 57 of the most influential business books – from military tomes and canonical investing playbooks to contemporary titles focused on enhancing emotional intelligence (or learning from cautionary tales). You’ll also find memoirs which, as Nahema Mehta, CEO of Absolut Art, told Insider, “could easily be considered books on leadership.”

Descriptions provided by Amazon and edited for length and clarity.

57 influential business books:

‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ by Daniel Kahneman

Business books Thinking, Fast and Slow

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Two systems drive the way we think and make choices, Kahneman explains: System One is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System Two is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. 

Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman shows where we can trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking, contrasting the two-system view of the mind with the standard model of the rational economic agent. 

“Business Adventures” by John Brooks

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What do the $350 million Ford Motor Company disaster known as the Edsel, the fast and incredible rise of Xerox, and the unbelievable scandals at General Electric and Texas Gulf Sulphur have in common? Each is an example of how an iconic company was defined by a particular moment of fame or notoriety; these notable and fascinating accounts are as relevant today to understanding the intricacies of corporate life as they were when the events happened.

“Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think” by Hans Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund, and Ola Rosling

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When asked simple questions about global trends — what percentage of the world’s population lives in poverty; why the world’s population is increasing; how many girls finish school — we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess teachers, journalists, Nobel laureates, and investment bankers.

“Factfulness” offers a radical new explanation of why this happens, outlining the ten instincts that distort our perspective ― from our tendency to divide the world into two camps (usually some version of us and them) to the way we consume media (where fear rules) to how we perceive progress (believing that most things are getting worse).

“Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead” by Brené Brown

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Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure that define what it means to be vulnerable or to dare greatly. Based on twelve years of pioneering research, Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW, dispels the cultural myth that vulnerability is weakness and argues that it is, in truth, our most accurate measure of courage. “Daring Greatly” presents a transformative new vision for the way we lead, love, work, parent, and educate that teaches us the power of vulnerability.

“How to Win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

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Dale Carnegie’s rock-solid, time-tested advice has carried countless people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives. One of the most groundbreaking and ageless bestsellers, “How to Win Friends & Influence People” will teach you: six ways to make people like you, twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking, nine ways to change people without arousing resentment, and more.

“The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham

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The greatest investment advisor of the twentieth century, Benjamin Graham, taught and inspired people worldwide. Graham’s philosophy of “value investing” — which shields investors from substantial error and teaches them to develop long-term strategies — has made “The Intelligent Investor” the stock market bible ever since its original publication in 1949.

 

‘Radical Candor’ by Kim Scott

Business Books Radical Candor

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The idea is simple: You don’t have to choose between being a pushover and a jerk. Using Radical Candor ― avoiding the perils of Obnoxious Aggression, Manipulative Insincerity, and Ruinous Empathy ― you can be kind and clear at the same time.

Kim Scott was a highly successful leader at Google before decamping to Apple, where she developed and taught a management class. Since the original publication of Radical Candor in 2017, Scott has earned international fame with her vital approach to effective leadership and co-founded the Radical Candor executive education company, which helps companies put the book’s philosophy into practice.

“Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t” by Jim Collins

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The findings of the “Good to Great” study will surprise many readers and shed light on virtually every area of management strategy and practice. “Some of the key concepts discerned in the study,” comments Jim Collins, “fly in the face of our modern business culture and will, quite frankly, upset some people.”

‘Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance’ by Angela Duckworth

Business Books Grit

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In this instant “New York Times” bestseller, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed — be it parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people — that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.”

“The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business” by Clayton M. Christensen

The Innovator's Dilemma cover

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Offering both successes and failures from leading companies as a guide, “The Innovator’s Dilemma” gives you a set of rules for capitalizing on the phenomenon of disruptive innovation.

‘Emotional Intelligence 2.0’ by Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves

Business Books Emotional Intelligence 2

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Emotional Intelligence 2.0 delivers a step-by-step program for increasing your EQ via four, core EQ skills that enable you to achieve your fullest potential: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 is a book with a single purpose—increasing your EQ. 

“The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success” by William N. Thorndike

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In this refreshing, counterintuitive book, author Will Thorndike brings to bear the analytical wisdom of a successful career in investing, closely evaluating the performance of companies and their leaders. You will meet eight individualistic CEOs whose firms’ average returns outperformed the S&P 500 by a factor of twenty — in other words, an investment of $10,000 with each of these CEOs, on average, would have been worth over $1.5 million 25 years later.

You may not know all their names, but you will recognize their companies: General Cinema, Ralston Purina, The Washington Post Company, Berkshire Hathaway, General Dynamics, Capital Cities Broadcasting, TCI, and Teledyne. 

“Lead from the Outside” by Stacey Abrams

Business Books Lead from the Outside

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Leadership is hard. Convincing others ― and yourself ― that you are capable of taking charge and achieving more requires insight and courage. “Lead from the Outside” is the handbook for outsiders, written with an eye toward the challenges that hinder women, people of color, the working class, members of the LGBTQ community, and millennials ready to make change. 

“Noise” by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, and Cass R. Sunstein

"Noise" by Daniel Kahneman cover with a pencil scribbling on the book title

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Imagine that two doctors in the same city give different diagnoses to identical patients — or that two judges in the same courthouse give markedly different sentences to people who have committed the same crime. Now imagine that the same doctor or the same judge makes different decisions depending on whether it is morning or afternoon, or Monday rather than Wednesday. These are examples of noise: variability in judgments that should be identical.
 
In “Noise,” Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, and Cass R. Sunstein show the detrimental effects of noise in many fields, including medicine, law, economic forecasting, forensic science, bail, child protection, strategy, performance reviews, and personnel selection. Wherever there is judgment, there is noise. Yet, most of the time, individuals and organizations alike are unaware of it. They neglect noise. With a few simple remedies, people can reduce both noise and bias, and so make far better decisions.

“Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinek

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Simon Sinek starts with a fundamental question: Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over?

“Think and Grow Rich!” by Napoleon Hill

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Through researching billionaires, Napoleon Hill crafted the philosophy and lifestyle behind those who experienced financial success. Although Hill’s aim was to coach others to become like said billionaires, “Think and Grow Rich” is more about encouraging people towards their own perspective goals.

“Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant” by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne

influential business books

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“Blue Ocean Strategy” argues that cutthroat competition results in nothing but a bloody red ocean of rivals fighting over a shrinking profit pool. Based on a study of 150 strategic moves (spanning more than 100 years across 30 industries), the authors argue that lasting success comes not from battling competitors but from creating “blue oceans”— untapped new market spaces ripe for growth.

“Too Big to Fail” by Andrew Ross Sorkin

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In one of the most gripping financial narratives in decades, Andrew Ross Sorkin — a “New York Times” columnist and one of the country’s most respected financial reporters — delivers the first definitive blow-by-blow account of the epochal economic crisis that brought the world to the brink.

“Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ” by Daniel Goleman

The cover of Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

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Through vivid examples, Goleman delineates the five crucial skills of emotional intelligence, and shows how they determine our success in relationships, work, and even our physical well-being. What emerges is an entirely new way to talk about being smart.

“The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries

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Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. “The Lean Startup” is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.

“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey

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One of the most inspiring and impactful books ever written, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” has captivated readers for 25 years. It has transformed the lives of Presidents and CEOs, educators, and parents — in short, millions of people of all ages and occupations.

‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’ by Susan Cain

"Quiet" by Susan Cain

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At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. 

In “Quiet,” Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts — from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. 

“The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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A black swan is an event, positive or negative, that is deemed improbable yet causes massive consequences. In this groundbreaking and prophetic book, Taleb shows in a playful way that Black Swan events explain almost everything about our world, and yet we — especially the experts — are blind to them. 

‘Dare to Lead’ by Brene Brown

Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

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Four-time #1 New York Times bestselling author Brené Brown has spent the past two decades studying the emotions and experiences that give meaning to our lives, and the past seven years working with transformative leaders and teams spanning the globe. She found that leaders in organizations ranging from small entrepreneurial startups and family-owned businesses to nonprofits, civic organizations, and Fortune 50 companies all ask the same question: How do you cultivate braver, more daring leaders, and how do you embed the value of courage in your culture? 

In this new book, Brown uses research, stories, and examples to answer these questions in the no-BS style that millions of readers have come to expect and love.

‘Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t’
Simon Sinek

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In his work with organizations around the world, Simon Sinek noticed that some teams trust each other so deeply that they would literally put their lives on the line for each other. Other teams, no matter what incentives are offered, are doomed to infighting, fragmentation, and failure. Why?

The answer became clear during a conversation with a Marine Corps general. “Officers eat last,” he said. Sinek watched as the most junior Marines ate first while the most senior Marines took their place at the back of the line. What’s symbolic in the chow hall is deadly serious on the battlefield: Great leaders sacrifice their own comfort — even their own survival — for the good of those in their care.

“Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup” by John Carreyrou

The book "Bad Blood - Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup"by John Carreyrou

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In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the next Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with its breakthrough device, which performed the whole range of laboratory tests from a single drop of blood. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at more than $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.5 billion. 

There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work.

“First, Break All The Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently” by Jim Harter

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Gallup presents the remarkable findings of its revolutionary study of more than 80,000 managers in “First, Break All the Rules,”revealing what the world’s greatest managers do differently. With vital performance and career lessons and ideas for how to apply them, it is a must-read for managers at every level.

“Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” by Jim Collins and Jerry I Porras

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Drawing upon a six-year research project at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras took 18 truly exceptional and long-lasting companies and studied each in direct comparison to one of its top competitors.

‘Reset’ by Ellen Pao

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In 2015, Ellen K. Pao sued a powerhouse Silicon Valley venture capital firm, calling out workplace discrimination and retaliation against women and other underrepresented groups. Her suit rocked the tech world—and exposed its toxic culture and its homogeneity. Her message overcame negative PR attacks that took aim at her professional conduct and her personal life, and she won widespread public support — TIME hailed her as “the face of change.” Though Pao lost her suit, she revolutionized the conversation at tech offices, in the media, and around the world. In “Reset”, she tells her full story for the first time.

“Guerrilla Marketing” by Jay Conrad Levinson

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When “Guerrilla Marketing” was first published in 1983, Jay Levinson revolutionized marketing strategies for the small-business owner with his take-no-prisoners approach to finding clients. Based on hundreds of solid ideas that really work, Levinson’s philosophy has given birth to a new way of learning about market share and how to gain it.

“When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management” by Roger Lowenstein

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Roger Lowenstein captures the gripping roller-coaster ride of Long-Term Capital Management. Drawing on confidential internal memos and interviews with dozens of key players, Lowenstein explains not just how the fund made and lost its money but also how the personalities of Long-Term’s partners, the arrogance of their mathematical certainties, and the culture of Wall Street itself contributed to both their rise and their fall.

“The Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith

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[“The Wealth of Nations”] describes what builds nations’ wealth and is today a fundamental work in classical economics and touches upon such broad topics as the division of labor, productivity, and free markets.

“Barbarians at the Gate” by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar

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A #1 “New York Times” bestseller and arguably the best business narrative ever written, “Barbarians at the Gate” is the classic account of the fall of RJR Nabisco. An enduring masterpiece of investigative journalism by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar, it includes a new afterword by the authors that brings this remarkable story of greed and double-dealings up to date twenty years after the famed deal.

“The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron” by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind

the smartest guys in the room by bethany mclean and peter elkind

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The Enron scandal brought down one of the most admired companies of the 1990s. Countless books and articles were written about it, but only “The Smartest Guys in the Room” holds up a decade later as the definitive narrative.

“In search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies” by Thomas Peters and Robert H. Waterman

The cover of In Search of Excellence

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Based on a study of forty-three of America’s best-run companies from a diverse array of business sectors, “In Search of Excellence” describes eight basic principles of management — action-stimulating, people-oriented, profit-maximizing practices — that made these organizations successful.

“Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder” by Arianna Huffington

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In this deeply personal book, Arianna Huffington talks candidly about her own challenges with managing time and prioritizing the demands of a career and raising two daughters. Drawing on the latest groundbreaking research and scientific findings in the fields of psychology, sports, sleep, and physiology that show the profound and transformative effects of meditation, mindfulness, unplugging, and giving, Arianna shows us the way to a revolution in our culture, our thinking, our workplace, and our lives.

‘Steve Jobs’ by Walter Isaacson

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Based on more than 40 interviews with Steve Jobs conducted over two years — as well as interviews with more than 100 family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues — Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology. He built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering.

‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama

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In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her — from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it —in her own words and on her own terms.

‘Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future’ by Peter Thiel

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The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In “Zero to One,” legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things.

Thiel begins with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we’re too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.

‘Good Economics for Hard Times’ by Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo

Business books Good Economics for Hard Times

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Immigration and inequality, globalization and technological disruption, slowing growth, and accelerating climate change — these are sources of great anxiety across the world, from New Delhi and Dakar to Paris and Washington, DC. The resources to address these challenges are there — what we lack are ideas that will help us jump the wall of disagreement and distrust that divides us. Here, the winners of the Nobel Prize show how economics, when done right, can help us solve the thorniest social and political problems of our day.

‘Uncanny Valley’ by Anna Wiener

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Part coming-of-age-story, part portrait of an already-bygone era, Anna Wiener’s memoir is a rare first-person glimpse into high-flying, reckless startup culture at a time of unchecked ambition, unregulated surveillance, wild fortune, and accelerating political power. With wit, candor, and heart, Anna deftly charts the tech industry’s shift from self-appointed world savior to democracy-endangering liability, alongside a personal narrative of aspiration, ambivalence, and disillusionment.

“The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America, Fourth Edition” edited by Lawrence A. Cunningham

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[This book’s] popularity and longevity attest to the widespread appetite for this unique compilation of Buffett’s thoughts that is at once comprehensive, non-repetitive, and digestible. 

“Den of Thieves” by James B. Stewart

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“Den of Thieves” tells the full story of the insider-trading scandal that nearly destroyed Wall Street, the men who pulled it off, and the chase that finally brought them to justice.

“Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution” by Michael Hammer and James A. Champy

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Building on their firsthand experiences, Hammer and Champy show how some of the world’s premier corporations use the principles of reengineering to save hundreds of millions of dollars a year, to achieve unprecedented levels of customer satisfaction, and to speed up and make more flexible all aspects of their operations. The key to reengineering is abandoning the most basic notions on which the modern organization is founded.

‘Winners Take All’ by

Business books Winners Take All

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The “New York Times” bestselling, groundbreaking investigation of how the global elite’s efforts to “change the world” preserve the status quo and obscure their role in causing the problems they later seek to solve. An essential read for understanding some of the egregious abuses of power that dominate today’s news.

‘Mindset: The New Psychology of Success’ by Carol S. Dweck

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After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities.

People with a fixed mindset — those who believe that abilities are fixed — are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset — those who believe that abilities can be developed. Mindset reveals how great parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishment.

‘Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead’ by Brené Brown

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It is the rise from falling that Brown takes as her subject in “Rising Strong”. As a grounded theory researcher, Brown has listened as a range of people — from leaders in Fortune 500 companies and the military to artists, couples in long-term relationships, teachers, and parents — shared their stories of being brave, falling, and getting back up. She asked herself, ‘What do these people with strong and loving relationships, leaders nurturing creativity, artists pushing innovation, and clergy walking with people through faith and mystery have in common?’ The answer was clear: They recognize the power of emotion and they’re not afraid to lean into discomfort.

‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear

"Atomic Habits" by james clear

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No matter your goals, “Atomic Habits” offers a proven framework for improving — every day. James Clear, one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.

‘Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World’ by Cal Newport

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In “Deep Work”, author and professor Cal Newport flips the narrative on impact in a connected age. Instead of arguing distraction is bad, he instead celebrates the power of its opposite. Dividing this book into two parts, he first makes the case that in almost any profession, cultivating a deep work ethic will produce massive benefits. He then presents a rigorous training regimen, presented as a series of four “rules” for transforming your mind and habits to support this skill.

‘The Psychology of Money: Timeless lessons on wealth, greed, and happiness’

Business books The Psychology of Money

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Money ― investing, personal finance, and business decisions ― is typically taught as a math-based field, where data and formulas tell us exactly what to do. But in the real world, people don’t make financial decisions on a spreadsheet. They make them at the dinner table, or in a meeting room, where personal history, your own unique view of the world, ego, pride, marketing, and odd incentives are scrambled together.

‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ Timothy Ferriss

Business books The 4 hour Workweek

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Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, or earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, “The 4-Hour Workweek” is the blueprint.

‘Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future’ Ashlee Vance

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In “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future”, veteran technology journalist Ashlee Vance provides the first inside look into the extraordinary life and times of Silicon Valley’s most audacious entrepreneur. Written with exclusive access to Musk, his family and friends, the book traces the entrepreneur’s journey from a rough upbringing in South Africa to the pinnacle of the global business world.

Vance spent over 40 hours in conversation with Musk and interviewed close to 300 people to tell the tumultuous stories of Musk’s world-changing companies: PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX and SolarCity, and to characterize a man who has renewed American industry and sparked new levels of innovation while making plenty of enemies along the way.

‘Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know’

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Organizational psychologist Adam Grant is an expert on opening other people’s minds — and our own. As Wharton’s top-rated professor and the best-selling author of “Originals” and “Give and Take“, he makes it one of his guiding principles to argue like he’s right but listen like he’s wrong.

With bold ideas and rigorous evidence, he investigates how we can embrace the joy of being wrong, bring nuance to charged conversations, and build schools, workplaces, and communities of lifelong learners. You’ll learn how an international debate champion wins arguments, a Black musician persuades White supremacists to abandon hate, a vaccine whisperer convinces concerned parents to immunize their children, and Adam has coaxed Yankees fans to root for the Red Sox. 

‘Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy’ by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

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After the sudden death of her husband, Sheryl Sandberg felt certain that she and her children would never feel pure joy again. “I was in ‘the void,'” she writes, “a vast emptiness that fills your heart and lungs and restricts your ability to think or even breathe.” Her friend Adam Grant, a psychologist at Wharton, told her there are concrete steps people can take to recover and rebound from life-shattering experiences. We are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. It is a muscle that everyone can build.

“Option B” combines Sheryl’s personal insights with Adam’s eye-opening research on finding strength in the face of adversity. 

‘The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers’ by Ben Horowitz

Business books The Hard Thing About Hard Things

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Ben Horowitz, a cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup — practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover, based on his popular blog.

‘Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion’ by Robert B. Cialdini

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In this highly acclaimed “New York Times” bestseller, Dr. Robert B. Cialdini — the seminal expert in the field of influence and persuasion — explains the psychology of why people say yes and how to apply these principles ethically in business and everyday situations.

‘Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World’ by David Epstein

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David Epstein examined the world’s most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters, and scientists. He discovered that in most fields — especially those that are complex and unpredictable — generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. Generalists often find their path late, and they juggle many interests rather than focusing on one. They’re also more creative, more agile, and able to make connections their more specialized peers can’t see.

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Here’s what happens when nonprofit CEOs are kept out of the board meetings that decide their pay

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  • Since 2013, New York has prohibited nonprofit CEOs from attending meetings where their pay is discussed.
  • A group of researchers found this change lowered local nonprofit CEO salaries by 2% to 3%.
  • Nonprofits may also face pressure from donors to avoid executive pay that could appear excessive.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.

The big idea

Keeping nonprofit chief executive officers out of meetings when members of their boards discuss or vote on compensation can lead to these CEOs making less money and working harder.

This is a key finding from a study of nonprofit pay I recently completed with two fellow finance scholars, Benjamin Bennett and Rik Sen. We reached this conclusion after reviewing data for more than 14,700 nonprofits across the country from paperwork most nonprofits must file with the Internal Revenue Service every year, known as Form 990, and the associated Schedule J, which includes compensation.

We zeroed in on 1,698 nonprofits located in New York to see if their CEO pay changed after new regulations took effect in 2013. Since then, New York has prohibited nonprofit officers from being present at meetings where their pay is being discussed.

We found that compensation was an average of 2% to 3% lower than expected by comparing pay for nonprofit CEOs in New York with pay in other states. We also compared the change in CEO pay with compensation changes for other executives’ pay at the same nonprofits – since they weren’t affected by this legislation.

We also found that many nonprofits changed how they handled executive compensation. That is, they were more likely to set up compensation committees, perform an independent compensation review, or adjust pay to be in line with similar organizations. Nonprofit CEO bonuses also became more correlated with the growth of an organization’s budget – a strong indicator of overall performance.

And we found that, despite earning less than they might have expected, nonprofit CEOs spent about 2% more time working – without any additional turnover.

Interestingly, we also determined that by some measures, the nonprofits became better-run after the legislation took effect. For example, 2% more people chose to volunteer, and funding from donations and grants grew by 4%.

Why it matters

High CEO pay is a hotly debated topic.

Nonprofit CEOs make considerably less money than corporate CEOs and have experienced a slower wage growth over the last decade. Based on our estimates, corporate executives saw their annual pay grow by 54% from 2009 to 2017 to an average value of US$3.2 million, while nonprofit executives experienced a 15% increase in pay, reaching an average value of $396,000 in 2017 – the most recent year for which we obtained IRS data.

Nevertheless, because most nonprofits are exempt from income tax and many accept donations, it’s only natural that the government and funders would not want to waste their money on excessive compensation. For example, food bank donors might prefer to see nonprofits spend more of their dollars on feeding the hungry as opposed to perks and big pay packages.

In recent years, some alarming accounts of exorbitant CEO pay and self-dealing practices at nonprofits have come to light. These include the scandals that have rocked the Wounded Warrior Project and the National Rifle Association.

What’s next

One possible reason why nonprofit CEO pay is growing much more slowly than for-profit CEO compensation is that nonprofit leaders are committed to specific causes and have more motives aside from money to excel at their work than their corporate counterparts. Other possibilities could be that nonprofits face pressure from donors to avoid high executive pay or that nonprofit CEOs have little leverage.

We hope that our future research will answer this question.

Ilona Babenko, associate professor of finance, Arizona State University

The Conversation
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Jeff Bezos is now devoting his time to building multi-billion dollar rockets. Here’s how his space company, Blue Origin, hopes to colonize the solar system.

Jeff Bezos Blue Origin
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

  • Jeff Bezos is focusing more on his space firm, Blue Origin, now he’s stepped down as Amazon CEO.
  • Blue Origin, founded by Bezos in 2000, aims to transform space travel and colonize the solar system.
  • The company’s first human mission flew Bezos and three crewmates to space on July 20.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Just a month after leaving Amazon, Bezos flew into space onboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.

It’s a sign that, having left Amazon, Bezos is dedicating more time to Blue Origin, the space company he founded in 2000. The company’s aim is to transform space travel.

In a letter to Amazon employees in February, Bezos said that as Amazon’s executive chairman he would “stay engaged in important Amazon initiatives but also have the time and energy I need to focus” on projects such as Blue Origin, the Washington Post, his Day 1 Fund, and the Bezos Earth Fund.

Bezos will therefore be more involved in Blue Origin going forward. The company wants to continue to build more rockets and engines to launch people, and other payloads, beyond Earth’s orbit, and to ultimately colonize the solar system.

“We’re committed to building a road to space so our children can build the future,” the company says on its website.

What is Blue Origin?

Blue Origin is an American aerospace manufacturer and spaceflight company headquartered in Kent, Washington. It’s owned by Bezos and is currently headed by CEO Bob Smith.

Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000, and says it’s his ‘most important work’

Bezos, the world’s second-richest person, founded Blue Origin in September 2000, with the goal of making space travel cheap, frequent, and more accessible, through reusable launch systems.

jeff bezos amazon
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in 2019.

Bezos said in a 2018 interview with Axel Springer that the spaceflight company was his “most important work,” – more important than Amazon.

“I’m pursuing this work because I believe if we don’t, we will eventually end up with a civilization of stasis, which I find very demoralizing,” he said.

The billionaire’s passion for his space-travel company stems from his childhood. Insider’s Dave Mosher reported in 2018 that Bezos spent his childhood summers on his grandparents’ large ranch in South Texas learning about machinery. He also went to the local library to read science fiction novels about space exploration.

Blue Origin’s motto is “Gradatim Ferociter,” Latin for “step by step, ferociously.”

Bezos often uses the hashtag in his Instagram posts about the firm.

What Blue Origin will do next

In July’s flight, Bezos flew to the edge of space with three crewmates: his brother Mark; 82-year-old aviator Wally Funk; and 18-year-old Oliver Daeman from the Netherlands. The 11-minute flight was Blue Origin’s first crewed mission, and it traveled 62 miles above the Earth’s surface.

Blue Origin has a host of projects in the pipeline for Bezos to get stuck into.

NASA greenlighted Blue Origin in December for future Earth observation missions, planetary expeditions, and satellite launches with its New Glenn rocket, taking the space company one step closer to the stars.

In May, Blue Origin was awarded $1 billion from NASA to produce initial designs for a human-landing system for the Artemis 3 mission, which aims to land humans on the moon in 2024.

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Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.

Blue Origin is competing against Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Alabama-based Dynetics to land NASA astronauts on the moon in 2024. Bezos said in an Instagram post in December the company could possibly take the first woman there, too.

Read more: Meet the Washington Post executive working with Jeff Bezos to turbocharge the media titan’s IT system

The aerospace firm was also among 17 US companies to be picked by NASA in November to develop new tech for space missions to “the moon and beyond.” The selected companies will get access to NASA’s testing facilities and expertise, which it valued at about $15.5 million.

The rockets in Blue Origin’s pipeline

Bezos is pouring billions into the design, building, and launching of Blue Origin’s orbital and suborbital space vehicles.

Jeff Bezos Blue Origin

The company’s New Shepard suborbital rocket, named after Alan Shepard, who was the first American to go into space, ultimately aims to offer a 100-kilometer (62-mile) journey above Earth’s surface that lasts 11 minutes.

The most recent successful flight of New Shepard was on January 14, when it carried a crash-test dummy named “Mannequin Skywalker” into space.

The New Glenn rocket, named after pioneering astronaut John Glenn, is a 310-foot reusable heavy-lift launch vehicle that can carry payloads to orbit.

Blue Origin said that New Glenn is designed for a minimum of 25 flights, and can lift 45 tons into low-Earth orbit – as a comparison, SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy can lift 70 tons into low-Earth orbit. It’s expected to be launched in 2021.

In 2019, Bezos unveiled a giant lunar lander called “Blue Moon” that he said is “going to the moon” and would help Blue Origin populate space. The final goal is to establish what the company calls a “sustained human presence” on the moon.

Blue Origin has also developed five rocket engines since its founding – BE-1, BE-2, BE-3, BE-4, and BE-7. In line with the company’s reusability objective, the engines are designed for multiple uses and are tested at its test site in Van Horn, Texas.

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What America’s CEOs are saying on inflation: We’re going to charge you more

In this photo illustration, hands are seen counting US $100 bills.
In this photo illustration, hands are seen counting $100 bills.

  • Inflation, or increased pricing for goods, is on the rise as the economy reopens.
  • Biden’s administration and the Fed says the price increases should be temporary.
  • But CEOs of major companies are saying that higher prices could persist.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The country is reopening and the economy is recovering from the pandemic, and while COVID-19 cases are down, prices for goods and services are on the rise. President Joe Biden’s administration says this phenomenon, known as inflation, is not a cause for concern, but CEOs of major companies are warning that they’ll probably keep raising prices.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly Consumer Price Index release showed that inflation in June was much higher than expected, with prices surging 0.9% over May, the highest month-over-month inflation rate since April 2008’s 1.0% increase. It was fueled by big price increases for used cars, beef, and pork, and the government insists it should cool down soon.

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh told Insider in early July that he’s not worried about the increase in prices for goods, especially given that wages also increased in June.

“The one thing that we are not concerned about is … inflation,” Walsh told Insider. “We’re still in transition, so we’re not concerned about that. So I think anytime we can push for higher wages – and the president’s been very vocal on this – that’s a good thing for people.”

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in May that the high prices should only last through the end of this year, and Biden said during a June press conference that the “overwhelming consensus” is that inflation should “pop up a little bit and then come back down” – similar to the consensus from America’s central bank, led by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

The economics field is not close to that consensus. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has pointed to Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus as the “least responsible” fiscal policy in 40 years, one that could potentially trigger the dreaded hyperinflation. Increasingly, executives are saying that price increases are here to stay. Here’s what else they’re saying:

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon.
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said during an earnings call on July 13 that inflation “could be worse than people think.”

“I think it’ll be a little bit worse than what the Fed thinks,” Dimon said. “I don’t think it’s only temporary.”

In June, Insider reported that Dimon said the bank was stockpiling $500 billion in cash in anticipation of higher inflation, during which he expressed the same concerns with the nature of inflation, in that it will be more persistent than what people are saying.

JPMorgan did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

 

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink

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Larry Fink, the CEO of investment management corporation BlackRock, reiterated Dimon’s concerns on the nature of inflation in a CNBC interview on July 14.

“[Policymakers] are saying jobs are more important than consumerism,” Fink said. “That is going to probably lead to systematically more inflation.”

Biden has consistently touted job growth as a primary achievement of his administration so far, and Republican lawmakers have even cut off unemployment benefits early in an effort to incentivize people to return to work.

But Fink said that move takes the focus away from consumers, causing large-scale price increases.

“I’m hearing from every CEO that they have huge price increases, and they’re passing them on across the board, here in the United States and in Europe,” Fink said.

BlackRock did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

PepsiCo CFO Hugh Johnston

FILE PHOTO: Bottles of Pepsi are pictured at a grocery store in Pasadena, California, U.S., July 11, 2017.   REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Bottles of Pepsi are pictured at a grocery store in Pasadena

To help counter the effects of inflation, some business leaders are explicitly saying they’re raising prices for their goods on consumers. PepsiCo’s CFO Hugh Johnston is one of them.

“Is there somewhat more inflationary pressures out there? There is,”  Johnston said on an earnings call on July 13. “Are we going to be pricing to deal with it? We certainly are.”

The CEO of industrial supplies company Holden Lewis echoed Johnston on an earnings call the same day, saying that “based on what cost is doing,” the company will have to increase prices on consumers.

Lewis said, though, that a previous price increase the company made was received “fairly well,” suggesting consumers might not be discouraged by increased prices. 

Pepsi did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 25 best CEOs of small and midsize companies, ranked by employees of color

Alessio Alionco standing in an office. There are other employees working in the background.
Alessio Alionco.

25. Ray Grainger, Mavenlink

Ray Grainger standing in an office
Ray Grainger.

Location: Irvine, California

Industry: Computer software

Employee quote about the CEO: “Diverse, inclusive, and fosters the development of deep, long-term relationships.”

24. Todd Olson, Pendo

Todd Olson standing in front of a brick wall.
Todd Olson.

Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

Industry: SaaS/enterprise software

Employee quote about the CEO:  “Transparent, diversity-minded, and modest with employees.”

23. Ziv Elul, Fyber

Ziv Elul wearing a Fyber shirt and a blazer in an office.
Ziv Elul.

Location: San Francisco, California

Industry: Digital marketing platform

Employee quote about the CEO:  “Put together a diverse group of people who have Fyber’s main interest in hand.”

22. David Grace, Deem

Headshot of David Grace.
David Grace.

Location: Oakland, California

Industry: Mobile and cloud technology

Employee quote about the CEO: “Transparency and inclusion from both a knowledge as well as a people perspective.”

21. Eran Gilad, Fuel Cycle

Eran Gilad with his arms crossed and wearing a suit.
Eran Gilad.

Location: Los Angeles, California

Industry: Market research 

Employee quote about the CEO: “CEO is very inclusive in the big picture.” 

20. Joel Hyatt, Globality

Joel Hyatt wearing a blue dress shirt in the Globality office.
Joel Hyatt.

Location: Menlo Park, California

Industry: Software and technology services

Employee quote about the CEO: “Empathetic, loving, intelligent, and charismatic. They see talent like no one else does.”

19. Brady Brim-DeForest, Theorem

Headshot of Brady Brim-DeForest wearing a suit.
Brady Brim-DeForest.

Location: Encino, California

Industry: Information technology and services

Employee quote about the CEO: “Openness to feedback and awareness that they are not perfect, with a commitment to continuous improvement and radical candor.”

18. Gleb Polyakov, Nylas

Gleb Polyakov.
Gleb Polyakov.

Location: San Francisco, California

Industry: Computer software

Employee quote about the CEO:  “Gleb puts a lot of weight into fostering and maintaining a culture of acceptance and diversity.”

17. Gene Berdichevsky, Sila Nanotechnologies

Gene Berdichevsky.
Gene Berdichevsky.

Location: Alameda, California

Industry: Electrical and electronic manufacturing

Employee quote about the CEO:  “Recognizes the value of all Silazens and takes care to ensure an inclusive culture.”

16. Wes Schroll, Fetch Rewards

Black and white photo of Wes Schroll.
Wes Schroll.

Location: Madison, Wisconsin 

Industry: Mobile rewards app

Employee quote about the CEO: “I like the goal of mindfully diversifying the leadership team. It’s important to be in a company that understands the need for representation.”

15. Jessica Mah, inDinero

Headshot of Jessica Mah standing outside. There are trees blurred in the background.
Jessica Mah.

Location: Walnut, California

Industry: Financial services

Employee quote about the CEO: “Modern and progressive in her thinking.”

14. Hunter Madeley, Vena Solutions

Hunter Madeley talking
Hunter Madeley.

Location: Toronto, Canada

Industry: SaaS/enterprise software

Employee quote about the CEO: “CEO is inclusive and makes sure that every employee feels valued and appreciated. I have not worked for a company before where leadership genuinely cares about everyone!”

13. William J. Tessar, Civic Financial Services

William J. Tessar is wearing a suit and sitting on some stairs.
William J. Tessar.

Location: Redondo Beach, California

Industry: Financial services

Employee quote about the CEO: “The CEO is transparent, honest, and is always looking to improve. We demonstrate diversity successfully and have the right people on the right seats.”

12. Ashvin Kumar, Tophatter

Ashvin Kumar
Ashvin Kumar.

Location: San Francisco, California

Industry: E-commerce

Employee quote about the CEO: “Real passion for building and supporting the global team. Each employee is cared for and treated like a member of the family.”

11. Alex Canter, Ordermark

Alex Canter talking into a microphone
Alex Canter.

Location: Los Angeles, California

Industry: Food tech

Employee quote about the CEO: “Transparency, authenticity, inclusiveness and accessibility.”

10. Brad Hoover, Grammarly

Brad Hoover with his arms crossed standing in front of the Grammarly logo on the wall behind him.
Brad Hoover.

Location: San Francisco, California

Industry: Computer software

Employee quote about the CEO: “Humble, focused, empathetic, high integrity.”

9. Larry Dunivan, Namely

Headshot of Larry Dunivan.
Larry Dunivan.

Location: New York, New York

Industry: HR software

Employee quote about the CEO:  “Diversity in the workplace is promoted by the CEO! He and the other leaders are always striving to utilize each individual’s unique strengths.”

8. David Muse, Elemica

Headshot of David Muse wearing a suit
David Muse.

Location: Wayne, Pennsylvania

Industry: Information technology and services

Employee quote about the CEO: “The CEO is driving needed change.”

7. Alessio Alionco, Pipefy

Alessio Alionco standing in an office. There are other employees working in the background.
Alessio Alionco.

Location: California City, California

Industry: SaaS

Employee quote about the CEO: “Humanity, transparency, empathy, importance given to diversity.”

6. Ross Wainwright, Alida

Ross Wainwright wearing a suit.
Ross Wainwright.

Location: Toronto, Canada

Industry: Computer software

Employee quote about the CEO: “Leads by example. Encourages diversity, equity and inclusion. Encourages personal well-being and healthy culture.”

5. Amir Movafaghi, Mixpanel

Amir Movafaghi wearing a blue sweater on a gray background.
Amir Movafaghi.

Location: San Francisco, California

Industry: Data analytics

Employee quote about the CEO: “I love that he has set goals about diversity and inclusion and have really shown up to support women and other minorities in the workplace with career progressions.”

4. Steven Sugarman, The Change Company

Headshot of Steven Sugarman on a blue background.
Steven Sugarman.

Location: Irvine, California

Industry: Financial services

Employee quote about the CEO: “Accessible, hands on, consistent, and fair.”

3. Martijn Atell, VoteBash

Headshot of Martijn Atell.
Martijn Atell.

Location: Wilmington, Delaware

Industry: Market research

Employee quote about the CEO: “What I like a lot about our CEO is that he is cooperative and open to questions and focused on diversity and respect.”

2. Doug Hirsch and Trevor Bezdek, GoodRx

Doug Hirsch and Trevor Bezdek.
Doug Hirsch and Trevor Bezdek.

Location: Santa Monica, California

Industry: Pharmaceutical healthcare

Employee quote about the CEO: “They are inclusive and aimed at creating the best work environment possible while bringing out the best in each of us.”

1. John Berger, Sunnova Energy

Headshot of William J. (John) Berger on a white background.
William J. (John) Berger.

Location: Houston, Texas

Industry: Renewables and environment

Employee quote about the CEO: “I love the diversity and open mindedness John instills in the company.”

Here’s the full list for small and midsize companies:

Graphic of Comparably's list of the best CEOs for diversity at small and midsize companies

Method and data source

Comparably collects workplace ratings from employees at companies belonging to different industries and creates multiple rankings a year based on these anonymous ratings.

The annual ranking of the top-rated CEOs for diversity uses anonymous ratings from non-white employees over a 12-month period. Ratings were collected from June 23, 2020 to June 23, 2021.

In the small and midsize company list, or companies with less than 500 employees, there were only a few non-white male CEOs who made the top 25. Only two non-white CEOs made the top 10.

The full ranking of the best CEOs according to employees of color is available on Comparably. Employee quotes and industries were shared with Insider by Comparably. Some quotes have been edited for grammar.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 25 best CEOs of large companies, ranked by employees of color

Eric Yuan is talking before the Nasdaq opening bell ceremony
Zoom founder Eric Yuan speaks before the Nasdaq opening bell ceremony on April 18, 2019 in New York City.

25. Aman Bhutani, GoDaddy

Headshot of Aman Bhutani.
Aman Bhutani.

Location: Scottsdale, Arizona

Industry: Website hosting platform

Employee quote about the CEO: “I love that he is attempting to be more accessible by hosting AMAs, rolling out Slido, listening to feedback, and being more diverse.”

24. Carl Russo, Calix

Headshot of Carl Russo
Carl Russo.

Location: San Jose, California

Industry: Telecommunications software

Employee quote about the CEO: “Warm, professional, flexible, inclusive and open.”

23. Tomer Weingarten, SentinelOne

Headshot of Tomer Weingarten
Tomer Weingarten.

Location: Mountain View, California

Industry: Cybersecurity

Employee quote about the CEO: “Transparent and inclusive in his communication, prioritizing company and employee growth.”

22. Carlos Rodriguez, ADP

Headshot of Carlos Rodriguez.
Carlos Rodriguez.

Location: Roseland, New Jersey

Industry: HR management software

Employee quote about the CEO: “Throughout this unprecedented year, Carlos and our leaders served as our north star managing with transparency, empathy, confidence and trust with employee well-being as their clear top priority.”

21. Mike Walsh, LexisNexis Legal & Professional

Headshot of Mike Walsh.
Mike Walsh.

Location: New York, New York

Industry: Legal information and analytics

Employee quote about the CEO: “Besides the business, he has a strong vision on L&D.”

20. Leslie Stretch, Medallia

Leslie Stretch in a suit standing outside
Leslie Stretch.

Location: San Francisco, California

Industry: SaaS Platform

Employee quote about the CEO: “Our CEO is proactive and transparent about our position on important issues.”

19. Sumit Singh, Chewy

Headshot of Sumit Singh standing outside.
Sumit Singh.

Location: Dania, Florida

Industry: E-commerce

Employee quote about the CEO: “I believe he truly cares about diversity, inclusion, and building an excellent culture.”

18. Kumsal Bayazit, Elsevier

Headshot of Kumsal Bayazit on a gray background.
Kumsal Bayazit.

Location: New York, New York

Industry: Publishing

Employee quote about the CEO: “Kumsal is a super star leading the way in inclusion and diversity and how a global company can be sustainable and profitable.”

17. Bradley Jacobs, XPO Logistics

Headshot of Bradley Jacobs.
Bradley Jacobs.

Location: Greenwich, Connecticut

Industry: Freight brokerage

Employee quote about the CEO:  “Strives to be inclusive and always helping us build new skills and praising us for the ones we have.”

16. Andy Lee, Alorica

Headshot of Andy Lee on a blue background.
Andy Lee.

Location: Irvine, California

Industry: Customer service

Employee quote about the CEO: “He is always ready to help. It is very human. He is the best leader I have ever had.”

15. Robert G. Painter, Trimble

Robert Painter on a gray background
Robert Painter.

Location: Sunnyvale, California

Industry: Software and hardware technology

Employee quote about the CEO: “Caring and compassionate. Progressive approach to allowing employees time to act upon diversity, equity and inclusion.”

14. Cesar Carvalho, Gympass

Headshot of Cesar Carvalho on a white background.
Cesar Carvalho.

Location: New York, New York

Industry: Health and wellness

Employee quote about the CEO: “The Global CEO remains humble and mission-focused. He treats all with respect and values his employees.”

13. Bryce Maddock, TaskUs

Headshot of Bryce Maddock.
Bryce Maddock.

Location: Santa Monica, California

Industry: Customer service outsourcing

Employee quote about the CEO: “Empowerment, inclusivity, investment in people, and transparency.”

12. Sundar Pichai, Google

Headshot of Sundar Pichai.
Sundar Pichai.

Location: Mountain View, California

Industry: Internet cloud computing

Employee quote about the CEO: “Does the right thing for everyone, truly cares. Dedicated to inclusion, diversity, opportunity, and outreach to help communities.”

11. Satya Nadella, Microsoft

Satya Nadella on a white background
Satya Nadella.

Location: Redmond, Washington

Industry: Computer software and consumer electronics

Employee quote about the CEO: “Satya Nadella is really inspiring. He has a good vision and the global strategy is excellent.”

10. Brian Halligan, HubSpot

Brian Halligan on a black background
Brian Halligan.

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts 

Industry: CRM software

Employee quote about the CEO: “Appreciate his efforts to keep attracting and retaining the best human talent, and to be a company with empathy and equality.”

9. Chris Caldwell, Concentrix

Chris Caldwell sitting in a chair and smiling
Chris Caldwell.

Location: Fremont, California

Industry: Customer service outsourcing

Employee quote about the CEO: “The concepts of diversity, inclusion, development, and opportunity are not just lip service.”

8. Henry Schuck, ZoomInfo

Zoominfo CEO Henry Schuck
Henry Schuck.

Location: Vancouver, Washington

Industry: SaaS

Employee quote about the CEO: “I appreciate his openness to discuss tough issues like diversity and growth.”

7. Kenneth Lin, Credit Karma

Headshot of Kenneth Lin on a white background
Kenneth Lin.

Location: Oakland, California

Industry: FinTech

Employee quote about the CEO: “It’s rare to see such an ethical and thoughtful CEO that ‘walks the talk’ the way he does.”

6. Arvind Krishna, IBM

Arvind Krishna with his arms crossed and wearing a blue suit
Arvind Krishna.

Location: Armonk, New York

Industry: Computer enterprise software

Employee quote about the CEO: “Embraces the culture of equality and inclusiveness in every internal process and policy.”

5. Rich Lesser, Boston Consulting Group

Headshot of Rich Lesser.
Rich Lesser.

Location: Boston, Massachusetts 

Industry: Management consulting

Employee quote about the CEO: “Compassionate and cares about what really matters to individuals (e.g. social issues).”

4. Dan Rosensweig, Chegg

Dan Rosensweig on an orange background
Dan Rosensweig.

Location: Santa Clara, California

Industry: Online education and training services

Employee quote about the CEO: “Always evolving, making positive changes, driving company growth, providing amazing employee benefits.”

3. Shantanu Narayen, Adobe

Headshot of Shantanu Narayen wearing a suit
Shantanu Narayen.

Location: San Jose, California

Industry: Enterprise software

Employee quote about the CEO: “So proud of Shantanu and the steps that he has taken not only after COVID-19, but also regarding the racial strife this year.”

2. Vladimir Shmunis, RingCentral

Vladimir Shmunis on a gray background
Vladimir Shmunis.

Location: Belmont, California

Industry: SaaS/enterprise software

Employee quote about the CEO: “Vlad is inclusive and caring about employees’ well-being.”

1. Eric Yuan, Zoom Video Communications

Headshot of Eric Yuan wearing a blue shirt
Eric Yuan.

Location: San Jose, California

Industry: Video conferencing software

Employee quote about the CEO: “We have a diverse and approachable leadership team. Our CEO Eric is my hero, such an inspiring person. His focus on happiness — for customers and employees — is infectious and permeates the organization from the top down.”

Here is the full list for large companies:

Graphic of Comparably's list of the best CEOs for diversity at large companies

Method and data source

After publishing the best CEOs based on ratings from female employees, career site Comparably released its ranking of the best CEOs based solely on ratings from employees of color. Ratings were collected from the end of June 2020 to the end of June 2021.

Eric Yuan ranked at the top of the large company list, or those with over 500 employees. On Comparably, Yuan has an overall approval rating of 98 out of 100 and high ratings from non-white employees. 

The complete list of top CEOs for diversity is available on Comparably. Quotes and industry categories listed above were given to Insider by Comparably and have been edited for grammar.

Read the original article on Business Insider