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Success Built to Last. By Jerry Porras, Stewart Emery, Mark Thompson

•Successful people take bold risks that they measure in small steps.


•I would characterize the start up of a company as a series of experiments.  Michael Dell


•Like most highly successful people, what Michael Dell had going for him on this roller coaster ride was an odd mixture of accountability AND audacity.  Its tough to find the right word for this leadership quality.  Were talking about a responsible form of chutzpahthe non-conformist gutsy audacity to create something despite all odds, for better or worse.  

















•Accountability means to stand and be counted, as a part, a cause, an agent, or a source of an event or set of circumstances.  Audacious accountability means you consider you life from the point of view that how it goes and what happens is up to you.


•This is one of the best lessons from human history: You may or may not be to blame for what happens to you, but either way you are responsible for doing something about it.


•So heres the problem: we love to keep score as long as we are winning!  When were not, well, we don't really want anyone to see the report card.  Highly successful people see it differently.



•It might not sound intuitive, but the best thing you can do about contention (differing viewpoints from your team) is throw fuel on the flames.  Successful people view contention as something they actually seek out.  We're talking here about gloves-off, brutally frank dialog.  It's what some pundits call naked conversation.


•Without providing the opportunity for people to offer their creative input, you're wasting their brains and talent.


•Creative contention can help your team avoid its own delusions of grandeur and dangerous self-agreement.


•When 2 men in business always agree, one of them is unnecessary.  William Wrigley


•Make contention not only acceptable, but required in a frequently held organizational gathering.  One of the keys to making this debate a healthy one is a clear set of ground rules.  


•Discuss, decide, support and when you walk out of the meeting where youve made decisions everyone agrees to support the idea diligently.


•Highly successful people spent the largest percentage of their time tracking down, surrounding themselves with, and developing the people they variously described as A players, top talent, leaders, enablers, great managersall credited as the people who supported the dream or actually did the work.


•Dont believe in wordsonly believe in behaviors.


•People judge you values and character based on the difference between you words and actions.  Everyone is better off when deeds and testimony match.

come up with more great ideas, and frankly get better opportunities to move up and contribute than people who only do things for a living.


•We spend our health building our wealth.  Then we desperately spend our wealth to hang onto our remaining wealth.  Wouldnt it be better to do what we love in the first place so we dont bankrupt our well being in a vain attempt to earn our way to freedom?  Robert Kiyosaki


•When you are deeply immersed in the process of doing whatever you are doing, and completely lose track of time and place, you are in a flow experience (in the zone).


•Enduringly successful people are more like nerds than supermodels.  When you find youve forgotten social graces while doing what you love, then that is probably a clue about your calling in life, or at least you have found one of your passions.  Passion is, by its nature, unbalanced and can be unappealing and irritating to people who dont care about your particular passion.  


•When you suppress your passion, you are teaching yourself to become a cynic.  Youre cynical because you care and dont want to risk getting hurt.  On the other hand, lovers win because they are willing to take that risk for the right reasons.


•The purpose of life is not to be happy.  It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.  Ralph Waldo Emerson


•Do we have our things or do our things have us? (drive to acquire more and more stuff that we dont need)


•The trouble is, you can never get enough of what you dont really need to make you happy.


•A simple way to look at whether BSO (bright shiny objects: our quest for more stuff) own youor whether you own themis to ask yourself; would you still want that stuff if people who mattered to you didnt care one way or the other?  How about if they hated it?  The idea here is to see whose BSO this is.  Ultimately, no form of acquisition (having) or activity (doing) can lastingly deliver what we long forthe authentic experience of being fully alive.


•Beware of your natural tendency to rationalize what you should or ought to do as defined by other people.  Humans are rationalization machines.  One thing we often rationalize is working to become pretty good at a profession we dont particularly like.


•The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.  And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.  If you havent found it yet, keep looking.  Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple


•If there was just one thing that every enduringly successful person we met had in common, it is that they are all really great at failure.  They learned from their mistakes more so than their successes.


•You cant change what you dont acknowledge.  Carl Lewis


•Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.  John Wooden


•One of the things that successful people do discard quickly is blame.  When you talk with them, what is clearly missing is the natural human tendency to dwell on blaming other people and things for our problems.  They look at what they can change and deal with that directly without whining.


•Successful people claim that its your choice to decide whether to be the victim or a beneficiary of what there is to harvest from the most difficult circumstances.


•I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, he more I have of it.  Thomas Jefferson

Creating a Life that Matters 


Executive Summary: The authors attempt to answer this important question: What inspires long-term achievers to make the kind of choices to struggle and grow despite all odds to create success that lasts?  Important note: success in this book is defined not as wealth, fame and power but as living a legacy, making a difference, creating lasting impact and engaged in a life of personal fulfillment.


They interviewed more than 100 successful people including; Warren Buffett, Bono, Michael Dell, Peter Drucker, Steve Forbes, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Guliani, Steve Jobs, Phil Knight, Nelson Mandela, John McCain, and Jack Welch just to name a few.  


The book unpacks the lessons they learn from the 100+ interviews which include the 3 essential elements of Success Built to Last: Meaning, Thought-Styles and Action-Styles (thought, action, and meaning).  


A few key themes; find what you are extremely passionate about and invest your life in it, do what you love and the money will follow, dont be so consumed with what others thinktake risks and follow your dreams, live a life fully engaged, invest a great deal of your time in choosing the right team and developing the leaders around you, audacious accountability (you own itnever blame others), dont believe in wordsonly believe in behaviors, follow your natural-born passion and talent and you will be rewarded with long lasting success.


Favorite quotes from the book:


•What story is worth your life?


•Until you figure out what success means to you personally and to your organization, leadership is an almost pointless conversation.  Peter Drucker


•Loving what you do is a necessary condition for success.


•Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Helen Keller


•What you do must matter deeply to you in a way that you as an individual define meaning.  Its something that youre so passionate about that you lose all track of time when you do it.  Its something that you are willing to recruit other people to, but will do it despite criticism and perhaps even secretly do it for free.  In fact, you could not be paid to not do it.


•I always worry about people who say, You know Im going to do this for 10 years.  I really dont like it very well, but Ill do 10 more years of this andI mean, thats a little like saving up sex for your old age.  Not a very good idea.  Warren Buffett


•Your coworkers or competitors who love their work try harder, try more things, move faster, 



Succeed More, Enjoy More 


Creative contention can help your team avoid its own delusions of grandeur and dangerous self-agreement.

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