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From the creator of How I Built This, host Guy Raz invites you to listen in as he talks to leadership experts and the visionary leaders of some of the world's biggest brands. Along the way, you'll hear accounts of crisis, failure, turnaround, and triumph, as the leaders reveal their secrets on their way to the top. These are stories that didn't make it into their company bios, and valuable lessons for anyone trying to make it in business.
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Author, podcaster and speaker Jon Acuff, known for his humorous approach to leadership and goal-setting, is the author of seven best-selling books. The son of a Baptist minister, Jon worked as a copywriter throughout his twenties. His blog “Stuff Christians Like” caught the attention of personal finance guru Dave Ramsey (also a guest on Wisdom From…
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David Novak has been a driving force behind brands like Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, KFC, and he co-founded YUM! Brands Inc., one of the biggest players in the quick service restaurant industry. He's written bestsellers including Taking People With You, The Education of an Accidental CEO, and his latest, co-authored with Jason Goldsmith, titled Take Charg…
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One of the things Andrea Jung remembers Steve Jobs saying was "fail forward." If you don't fail you're not risking enough. For over a decade as CEO of direct-sales giant Avon, Andrea Jung was one of the most powerful women in the cosmetics industry. During her tenure, Jung saw striking success, but also faced daunting challenges with a failed produ…
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When he was a young management consultant at Boston Consulting Group, Morten Hansen put in long hours–up to 90 a week, regularly. The highest performer in his office, however, was a colleague who clocked significantly less hours and rarely came in on weekends. This experience helped inspire Hansen’s research on work and is a central topic in his la…
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When Maria Ross was trying to teach her son that empathy was a way to success, the world around them seemed to be sending the exact opposite message. So Ross took her years of experience as a management and brand consultant to make the case for empathy not as a moral imperative, but as a business strategy. It's an equation worth studying. Here, in …
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Explorer, writer, and publisher Erling Kagge came from a childhood enriched by an artistic household (the likes of Chet Baker and Eubie Blake once visited his home) and by ready access to nature. He was the first person to complete the Three Poles Challenge -- reaching the South Pole, the North Pole, and the top of Mt. Everest -- on foot. He talks …
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Jeff Jones has had a few front row seats to crisis. From the 2013 Target data breach to a tumultuous period at Uber, he’s helped navigate companies out of some tough situations. So, when Jeff became the President and CEO of H&R Block in 2017, he was prepared. How a young man from West Virginia went from being an ad guy to heading one of the biggest…
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There was a devastating data breach, a failing foray into Canada, and they were losing US customers fast. In 2014, Target seriously needed a win—Brian Cornell was that win. He’d turned around plenty of other retailers like Safeway, Michael’s, and Sam’s Club, but this time he was thinking bigger. In this 2019 conversation: Playing the long game to m…
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Sarah Robb O'Hagan is brutally honest about the many, many times she messed up on the way to transforming Gatorade. She was a rabble-rouser at Virgin, which ended with her getting fired. She took a job at Atari, even though she hated video games. How those disasters made her into the right executive to pull Gatorade out of double-digit declines.…
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When the COO of Chase Bank told Jacqueline Novogratz that she had the potential for a high level career at Chase, she knew she had to quit her job. She continued to use the skills she learned from investment banking, and used them to change the way the world sees capitalism and philanthropy. Today Acumen has delivered more than 100 million dollars …
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Black Entertainment Television launched in 1980--at a time when MTV didn't play Hip hop or "urban music. Not only did BET fill a vital programming void, it was the first Black-owned business traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and it helped make the first Black Billionaire in the US (Bob Johnson). Debra Lee, a young Harvard-educated lawyer drawn…
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Growing up in a small town in India, Leena Nair overheard her mother say it was too bad Leena was born a girl, because it meant her smarts and talents would go to waste. But Nair went on to join Hindustan Unilever, becoming the first female manager to work on a factory floor, the first woman to serve on the management committee, and the youngest-ev…
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Shellye Archambeau knew as a teenager she wanted to grow up and become a CEO. But when Shellye started as an undergraduate at the Wharton School of Business in 1980, there were just two female CEOs of large corporations, and none of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies were Black. Despite the lack of representation, Shellye became the first Black woma…
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When a mentor, and now friend, told Kenneth Chenault during a hiring process at American Express that he was "looking for catalytic agents of change," it struck a deep chord--because it's exactly what Chenault wanted to be. Kenneth Chenault learned early on to only worry about the things he could control; this helped him when life—and business at A…
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Jason Fried, the CEO and co-founder of 37signals (maker of Basecamp) doesn’t want you to come to meetings. He insists that you work no more than 40 hours a week; 36 in the summer. He doesn’t really want you coming to the office either…and this approach has helped make Basecamp hugely successful. In this episode, Fried describes how he’s built an in…
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On taking what you learn shaking up one industry and applying it to an entirely different industry: Mark King has a reputation for turning businesses around by moving fast on innovative, and sometimes expensive, endeavors. Before his current tenure as CEO of Taco Bell, Mark served as president for Adidas’ long-stagnant North American division, rein…
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Ken Coleman calls himself “America’s Career Coach.” In his syndicated call-in show, and in books like The Proximity Principle and One Question, Coleman helps people think about what kind of work they would find meaningful, and how they can connect with people that will help get them into that work. Coleman came about the knowledge he imparts honest…
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Joe Keohane is a longtime journalist and editor who believes that talking to strangers can not only help people feel happier and more empathetic, but can actually make the world a better place. In his first book, The Power of Strangers: The Benefits of Connecting In A Suspicious World, Joe talks to psychologists, anthropologists and plenty of stran…
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David Epstein is a science writer and investigative reporter. His articles have spanned a wide range of topics, from crime and violence, to athletes using steroids, to the intersection of science and the Olympics. And, he’s the author of the books The Sports Gene and Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World. But, before all of that, Da…
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What does it take for a person to change? BJ Fogg, founder of Stanford’s Behavior Design Lab, says the key to behavior change isn’t what we’ve always been taught. In Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything Fogg draws upon true experiments--from his lab and his life--to outline a system anyone can use to create good habits or unravel t…
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Stacey Vanek Smith has reported on business and the economy for over 15 years now, first for public radio’s “Marketplace,” and as the host of Planet Money’s daily podcast “The Indicator.” Over that time, she’s seen the same barriers blocking advancement for women in the workplace again and again. Recently, she’s started to recognize that a lot of t…
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Throughout his life, Chad Sanders found himself having to navigate white culture; at school, in the tech industry, and eventually in his career in entertainment. He learned to cope with the frustration of having to do that by writing, and he wrote his first screenplay at a cafe just across the street from Spike Lee’s studio in Brooklyn—where he wou…
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When Ken Hicks became CEO of Foot Locker in 2009 the company didn’t have a leg to stand on: the economy was in a recession, sales were down almost a billion dollars, and the brand was widely expected to collapse along with indoor shopping malls themselves. How Hicks used a commitment to better storytelling to help Foot Locker get back on the right …
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Josh Silverman built Evite and turned around eBay. Then, in 2017, Etsy came calling. The online marketplace for creative goods was in deep trouble. Growth had plateaued and the company was on the verge of being sold. Josh stepped in as CEO and got the team focused on one simple metric that made all the difference. Originally published in 2020.…
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