TIME Careers & Workplace

8 Inspiring Habits of Truly Remarkable Bosses

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Here's how to be the boss no employee will want to leave

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

Conventional wisdom—and a bunch of research—says people don’t quit their companies; they quit their bosses.

Of course that means the opposite must also be true: people who love their bosses should stay at that company even if they could find (within reason) better pay and benefits somewhere else.

So how can you be a boss everyone wants to work for? Start by realizing that the basics—professionalism, objectivity, ethical behavior, etc.—are a given. (As Chris Rock would say, those are things you’re supposed to do.)

You have to go further. You have to do things that don’t show up on paper, but definitely show up where it matters most: in the minds and even hearts of the people you lead.

You need to:

1. Take real, not fake risks.

Many bosses—like many people—try to stand out in superficial ways. Maybe they wear unusual clothing or pursue unusual interests or publicly support popular initiatives. They try to stand out—and they choose easy ways to do so.

Great bosses do it the hard way. They take unpopular stands, not because they hope to stand out, but because they want to do the right thing. They take unpopular steps. They’re willing to step outside business-as-usual to make things better.

They take real risks not for the sake of risk but for the sake of the reward they believe is possible. And by their example, they inspire others to take a risk to achieve what they believe is possible.

Great bosses inspire their employees to achieve their dreams: by words, by actions, and most important, by example.

Who doesn’t want to work with a leader like that?

2. See opportunity in instability and uncertainty.

Unexpected problems, unforeseen roadblocks, major crises—most bosses horde supplies, close the shutters, and try to wait out the storm.

Great bosses see a crisis as an opportunity. They know it’s extremely difficult to make major changes, even necessary ones, when things are going relatively smoothly. They know reorganizing an operations team is much easier when a major customer jumps ship. They know creating new sales channels is much easier when a major competitor enters the market.

Great bosses see instability and uncertainty not as a barrier but as an enabler. They reorganize, reshape, and re-engineer to reassure, motivate, and inspire—and in the process make the organization much stronger.

And that makes people want to stay, if only to see what tomorrow will bring.

3. Believe the unbelievable.

Most people try to achieve the achievable; that’s why most goals and targets are incremental rather than inconceivable.

Memorable bosses expect more—from themselves and from others. Then they show us how to get there. And they bring us along for what turns out to be an unbelievable ride.

No one is eager to step off of that kind of ride.

4. Wear your emotions on your sleeves.

Good bosses are professional. Great bosses are professional yet also openly human. They show sincere excitement when things go well. They show sincere appreciation for hard work and extra effort. They show sincere disappointment—not in others, but in themselves. They’re even willing to show a little anger.

In short, great bosses are people, and they treat their employees like people, too.

Treat me like a number and I’ll stay until a better number comes along. Treat me like a person and I’ll stay because, ultimately, that’s what we all really want.

5. Save others from onrushing buses.

Even good bosses sometimes throw employees under the bus.

Great bosses never throw employees under the bus.

Great bosses see the bus coming and pull their employees out of the way, often without the employee’s knowing until much, much later (if ever—because great bosses never seek to take credit).

When someone volunteers to take a bullet on our behalf they inspire incredible loyalty.

6. Go there, do that, and still do that.

Dues aren’t paid (past tense); dues get paid each and every day.

The true real measure of value is the tangible contribution a person makes on a daily basis.

That’s why, no matter what they may have accomplished in the past, great bosses are never too good to roll up their sleeves, get dirty, and do the grunt work. No job is ever too menial, no task ever too unskilled or boring.

Who wants to leave a job where they feel everyone—including and especially their boss—is in it together?

7. Lead by permission, not authority.

Every boss has a title. That title gives them the authority to direct others, to make decisions, to organize and instruct and discipline.

Great bosses don’t lead because they have the authority to lead. They lead because their employees want them to lead. Their employees are motivated and inspired by the person, not the title.

Through their words and actions, they cause employees to feel they work with, notfor, their boss. Many bosses don’t even recognize there’s a difference, but great bosses do.

It’s easy to leave a boss we work under; it’s much harder to leave a boss we stand with side-by-side.

8. Embrace a larger purpose.

A good boss works to achieve company goals.

A great boss works to achieve company goals and to serve a larger purpose: to advance the careers of employees, to make a real difference in the community, to rescue struggling employees, to instill a sense of pride and self-worth in others.

Great bosses embrace a larger purpose—and help their employees embrace a larger purpose—because they know business isn’t just business.

Business is personal.

We all seek to find meaning in our personal and professional lives. Find that meaning, and it’s hard to leave. Money is important, but fulfillment and self-worth are priceless.

TIME Careers & Workplace

Here’s the Only Secret to Being Truly Successful

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Your significant other has a huge impact on your success. Science says so

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

Your customers are hugely important. And your key employees. As well as the industry you’ve chosen, politics, macroeconomics, and education.

And luck.

While all those are important factors in the success of your business (or career) and your earning power, here’s one factor you probably haven’t considered:

Your spouse.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis found that people with relatively prudent and reliable partners tend to perform better at work, earning more promotions, making more money, and feeling more satisfied with their jobs.

That’s true for men and women: “Partner conscientiousness” predicted future job satisfaction, income, and likelihood of promotion (even after factoring in the participants’ level of conscientiousness.)

According to the researchers, “conscientious” partners perform more household tasks, exhibit more pragmatic behaviors that their spouses are likely to emulate, and promote a more satisfying home life, all of which enables their spouse to focus more on work.

As one researcher said, “These results demonstrate that the dispositional characteristics of the person one marries influence important aspects of one’s professional life.” (In nonresearch terms, a good partner both sets a good example and makes it possible for you to be a better you.)

I know that’s true for me. My wife is the most organized person I know. She juggles family, multiple jobs, multiple interests—she’s a goal-achieving machine. Her “conscientiousness” used to get on my nerves, until I realized the only reason it bugged me was because her level of focus implicitly challenged my inherent laziness.

I finally realized the best way to get more done was to actually get more done, and she definitely helps me do that.

And I try to do the same for her. Since my daily commute is two flights of stairs, I take care of most of the house stuff: laundry, groceries, cleaning (I don’t do all the cleaning, but I make sure it gets done), etc., so when she comes home she can just behome.

So, while she’s still much more conscientious and organized than I am, she’s definitely rubbed off on me in a very positive way.

Which of course makes sense: As Jim Rohn says, we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with—and that’s particularly true where our significant others are concerned.

Bad habits rub off. Poor tendencies rub off. We all know that. But good habits and good tendencies rub off too.

Plus, if one person is extremely organized and keeps your household train running on time, that frees the other up to focus more on work. (Of course, in a perfect world, both people would more or less equally share train-engineer duties so that both can better focus on their careers, whether those careers are in the home or outside.)

Keep in mind, I’m not recommending you choose your significant other solely on the basis of criteria like conscientiousness and prudence. As the researchers say, “Marrying a conscientious partner could at first sound like a recipe for a rigid and lackluster lifestyle.”

Nor am I suggesting you end a relationship if you feel your partner is lacking in those areas.

But it does appear that having a conscientious and prudent partner is part of the recipe for a better and more rewarding career.

So instead of expecting your partner to change, think about what you can do to be more supportive of your significant other. Maybe you can take on managing your finances, or take care of more household chores, or repairs, maintenance, or schedules.

After all, the best way to lead is by example, and in time you may find that you and your significant other make an outstanding—and mutually supportive—team.

How awesome does that sound?

TIME Careers & Workplace

5 Documentaries Every Entrepreneur Should Watch on Netflix Now

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Burt's Buzz poster. Everyday Pictures

As the new year sets in, bookmark these entrepreneurial, inspiring films now. Make it a truly motivating year

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

After Thanksgiving dinner, as the food-coma sets in and you suddenly realize the need to capture your extended family’s attention—or, let’s face it, you need a little “me time”—here are five films you should stream on Netflix.

1) Burt’s Buzz:

This film chronicles the humble beginnings of Burt’s Bees‘ namesake and co-founder Burt Shavitz and his Machiavellian struggle with co-founder Roxanne Quimby.

2) Inequality for All:

Former secretary of labor Robert Reich, with a little help from entrepreneur Nick Hanauer, explains the increasing problem of income inequality in America and its implications for our economy.

3) Happy:

Scientists, researchers, and thought leaders explain the latest information surrounding happiness (and reveal why your vast salary isn’t making you much happier).

4) Somm:

For all the winos out there, Somm follows the lives of a few folks compromising time, relationships, and other goals to study for and hopefully pass the Master Sommelier Exam.

5) 20 Feet From Stardom:

With interviews from music’s biggest stars, 20 Feet From Stardom unpacks the lives of backup singers and their immense contribution to the hits we all know and love.

TIME Careers & Workplace

Here’s How You Can Make One Million Dollars

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These steps are neither fast nor easy. But they're more likely to work than the quick and easy path

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

Say you want to become a millionaire. Or a multimillionaire.

Or hey, even a billionaire. (Why not?)

The goal is clear…but the path can be anything but.

But not to Dharmesh Shah, co-founder of HubSpot (No. 1,100 on the 2014 Inc. 5000 and a company that recently went public). Dharmesh sees a clear, if slow and difficult, path to becoming a millionaire–or to reaching whatever level of financial success you aspire to.

Here’s Dharmesh:

Money of course isn’t everything. Not by a long shot. Where your definition of success is concerned, money may rank far down the list. Everyone’s definition of “success” is different.

Here’s my definition: Success is making the people that believed in you look brilliant.

For me, money doesn’t matter all that much, but I’ll confess it did at one time (probably because I didn’t have very much).

So let’s say money is on your list. And let’s say, like millions of other people, that you’d like to be a millionaire. What kinds of things should you do to increase your chances of joining the millionaire’s club?

Here are the steps I’d suggest. They’re neither fast nor easy. But they’re more likely to work than the quick and easy path.

1. Stop obsessing about money

While it sounds counterintuitive, maintaining a laser-like focus on how much you make distracts you from doing the things that truly contribute to building and growing wealth.

So shift your perspective. See money not as the primary goal but as a byproduct of doing the right things.

2. Start tracking how many people you help, even if in a very small way

The most successful people I know—both financially and in other ways—are shockingly helpful. They’re incredibly good at understanding other people and helping them achieve their goals. They know their success is ultimately based on the success of the people around them.

So they work hard to make other people successful: their employees, their customers, their vendors and suppliers…because they know, if they can do that, then their own success will surely follow.

And they will have built a business—or a career—they can be truly proud of.

3. Stop thinking about making a million dollars and start thinking about serving a million people

When you only have a few customers and your goal is to make a lot of money, you’re incented to find ways to wring every last dollar out of those customers.

But when you find a way to serve a million people, many other benefits follow. The effect of word of mouth is greatly magnified. The feedback you receive is exponentially greater—and so are your opportunities to improve your products and services. You get to hire more employees and benefit from their experience, their skills, and their overall awesomeness.

And in time, your business becomes something you never dreamed of—because your customers and your employees have taken you to places you couldn’t even imagine.

Serve a million people—and serve them incredibly well—and the money will follow.

4. See making money as a way to make more things

Generally speaking, there are two types of people.

One makes things because they want to make money; the more things they make, the more money they make. What they make doesn’t really matter that much to them–they’ll make anything as long as it pays.

The other wants to make money because it allows them to make more things. They want to improve their product. They want to extend their line. They want to create another book, another song, another movie. They love what they make and they see making money as a way to do even more of what they love. They dream of building a company that makes the best things possible…and making money is the way to fuel that dream and build that company they love.

While it is certainly possible to find that one product that everyone wants and grow rich by selling that product, most successful businesses evolve and grow and, as they make money, reinvest that money in a relentless pursuit of excellence.

“We don’t make movies to make money, we make money to make more movies.” — Walt Disney

5. Do one thing better

Pick one thing you’re already better at than most people. Just. One. Thing. Become maniacally focused at doing that one thing. Work. Train. Learn. Practice. Evaluate. Refine. Be ruthlessly self-critical, not in a masochistic way but to ensure you continue to work to improve every aspect of that one thing.

Financially successful people do at least one thing better than just about everyone around them. (Of course it helps if you pick something to be great at that the world also values—and will pay for.)

Excellence is its own reward, but excellence also commands higher pay—and greater respect, greater feelings of self-worth, greater fulfillment, a greater sense of achievement…all of which make you rich in non-monetary terms.

Win-win.

6. Make a list of the world’s 10 best people at that one thing

How did you pick those 10? How did you determine who was the best? How did you measure their success?

Use those criteria to track your own progress towards becoming the best.

If you’re an author, it could be Amazon rankings. If you’re a musician, it could be iTunes downloads. If you’re a programmer, it could be the number of people that use your software. If you’re a leader, it could be the number of people you train and develop who move on to bigger and better things. If you’re an online retailer, it could be purchases per visitor, or on-time shipping, or conversion rate…

Don’t just admire successful people. Take a close look at what makes them successful. Then use those criteria to help create your own measures of success. And then…

7. Consistently track your progress

We tend to become what we measure, so track your progress at least once a week against your key measures.

Maybe you’ll measure how many people you’ve helped. Maybe you’ll measure how many customers you’ve served. Maybe you’ll evaluate the key steps on your journey to becoming the world’s best at one thing.

Maybe it’s a combination of those things, and more.

8. Build routines that ensure progress

Never forget that achieving a goal is based on creating routines. Say you want to write a 200-page book. That’s your goal. Your system to achieve that goal could be to write four pages a day; that’s your routine. Wishing and hoping won’t get you to a finished manuscript, but sticking faithfully to your routine ensures you reach your goal.

Or say you want to land 100 new customers through inbound marketing. That’s your goal; your routine is to create new content, new videos, new podcasts, new white papers, etc., on whatever schedule you set. Stick to that routine and meet your deadlines, and if your content is great, you will land those new customers.

Wishing and hoping won’t get you there—sticking faithfully to your routine will.

Set goals, create routines that support those goals, and then ruthlessly track your progress. Fix what doesn’t work. Improve and repeat what does work. Refine and revise and adapt and work hard every day to be better than you were yesterday.

Soon you’ll be good. Then you’ll be great. And one day you’ll be world-class.

And then, probably without even noticing, you’ll also be a millionaire. You know, if you like that sort of thing.

TIME Gadgets

6 Biggest Tech Debuts to Watch in 2015

Apple's iPhone 6 is displayed at an Apple store in Beijing, China on Nov. 11, 2014.
Apple's iPhone 6 is displayed at an Apple store in Beijing, China on Nov. 11, 2014. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

An even thinner iPhone, a smarter car, and maybe even a Wi-Fi maker robot could be coming our way

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

Technology is always advancing, but it can be hard to know which advancements are really worth watching. Next year, these giant leaps forward could impact your business. An even thinner iPhone, a smarter car, and maybe even a Wi-Fi maker robot could debut next year.

1. Adobe Photoshop Web

Last week, Adobe announced they are working on a pilot project for Adobe Photoshop to run on the Web. This is a bigger milestone than you might expect. In a demo, I saw how the app looks the same as it does in Windows and the Mac. The app is housed on a cloud server, then streamed (almost like a video) to the browser. Each click and action is interpreted by JavaScript but the processing takes place in the cloud. When all desktops apps run on the Web, there won’t be a need for the desktop anymore. All you will need is a thin Web client. The project is a pre-alpha but I’m hoping it goes mainstream.

2. Apple iPhone Air

Apple will likely release their thinnest model yet next fall and finally use the iPhone Air nomenclature. What might not seem as obvious with this model, especially among consumers who think this is just a follow-up to the iPhone 6 Plus, is that Apple will likely debut some new battery technology based on tech from 2014 that revealed how phones will charge in a few minutes, not an hour. In fact, in a sense, it’s already here. I’m expecting the iPhone Air to last two days instead of one. My prediction: It will be even thinner, much lighter, and might even have a slight curve like the LG G Flex.

3. Microsoft Surface Phone

After the success of the Surface Pro 3 (according to Gartner, market share for this tablet that also runs desktop apps grew a full one percentage point in Q3 of 2014), Microsoft will likely make a smaller tablet version similar to the iPad Mini. There are already widespread rumors on this one. My prediction is that Microsoft will take the Surface name and use it for a new smartphone (replacing the Windows Phone), but the big surprise is that computer chip technology, battery tech, and a few other innovations will mean this phone will also run Windows desktop apps like Photoshop or that one legacy accounting program you still use. We really won’t need to take a laptop on business trips at that point.

4. Belkin WeMo Maker

The maker movement is partly the result of lower cost 3D printing hardware, innovative small factories taking advantage of services like Maker’s Row, and just a desire to get back to the basics of more localized manufacturing and production. Yet, it’s also built on low-cost hardware, sensors, batteries, and other DIY kits (this is what essentially birthed the company 3D Robotics). One new sensor, the Belkin WeMo Maker, just came out and costs only $80. I’m expecting gadgets like this and the FirstBuild sensor to create a bigger buzz next year than they are making now. Using these low-cost wireless sensors, makers will be able to get more gadgets connected to the Internet–even things like curling irons (did you leave it on?) and your pool (is it clean?). My hope? They will also start building more robots that are connected to your home and, I don’t know, mop up after you.

5. Google Material Design

It might feel like an inside baseball project, but Google is pretty serious about revamping the look and feel of every app. It all started with Google Inbox and theNexus 6 smartphone. Material Design is a user interface concept that mimics how real paper looks and acts. Virtual “sheets” or notecards might have different lighting, thickness, or weight that mimic real cards. It’s cleaner, has more white space, and more colorful than the apps you use now, like Gmail. The big impact is that all of the Google products we use, from scheduling to location finding, will use this flat, clean look.

6. Toyota Mirai

I always like to include at least one car in my tech predictions, because automotive technology always seems to create a trickle-down effect. What starts with a car–like sensors that detect pedestrians or cameras that monitor traffic–might end up in other products. Toyota will finally debut the first production hydrogen fuel cell car in mid 2015. The car will drive about 300 miles per fill. The best news? These cars do not create any emissions. They run just as clean as a battery-powered EV but can be “refueled” much faster–usually about ten minutes.

TIME

10 Habits of Remarkably Polite People

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Go beyond good manners to make an incredible first—and lasting—impression

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

Occasionally, we meet a person who stands out in the best possible way. He might be remarkably charismatic. She might think remarkable thoughts. And remarkably giving people–they are impossible to ignore.

If you develop those traits, you won’t just be likable; those traits will make people want to work with you and do business with you.

That’s also why we love being around genuinely polite people. (Not fake polite–sincere polite.) They make us feel comfortable. They make us feel respected and valuable. We would love to be more like them.

And we love doing business with them.

Here’s how remarkably polite people do it:

1. They always step forward.

You’re at a party. A friend gestures to someone several steps away and says, “Let me introduce you to Bob.” Bob sees you coming.

And he stands there, waiting for you to come to him in some weird power move.

Remarkably polite people, no matter how great their perceived status, step forward, smile, tilt their head slightly downward (a sign of respect in every culture), and act as if they are the one honored by the introduction, not you.

(When I met Mark Cuban, that is exactly what he did. He heard I wanted to meet him and immediately walked across the room–where I was waiting to see if it would be OK–to say hello. The fact I remember how gracious he was tells you everything you need to know about the impression he made.)

In short, polite people never big-time you; instead, they always make you feel big time.

2. They keep using the name you used to introduce yourself.

You’re at an event. You introduce yourself to me as Jonathan. We talk. Within minutes, I’m calling you John. Or Johnny. Or Jack. Or the J-man.

Maybe your friends call you J-man, but we’re not friends (yet), and you definitely haven’t given me permission to go full diminutive on you, much less full nickname.

Remarkably polite people wait to be asked to use a different, more familiar name. They call you what you asked–or later ask–to be called because it’s your right to be addressed in the way you wish to be addressed.

Anything less would be uncivilized.

3. They don’t touch unless they are touched first.

(Handshakes excluded, of course.)

Polite people wait for the other person to establish the nonsexual touch guidelines.

While I know that sounds like no one will ever hug or pat a shoulder or forearm because no one can ever go first, don’t worry. Huggers hug. Patters pat. Backslappers slap. That’s what they do.

Remarkably polite people go a step further: They never pat or squeeze or slap (in a good way), even if they are patted or squeezed or slapped. Sure, they hug back, but they don’t reciprocate other forms of touch.

Why? Some people don’t even realize they’re touching you, but they definitely notice when you touch them. That makes them feel uncomfortable, and discomfort is the last way polite people want other people to feel.

4. They never let on they know more than they should.

Some people share incessantly on social media. And maybe you occasionally see what they’ve been up to.

But polite people don’t bring those things up. They talk about sports, they talk about the weather, they talk about how The Walking Dead is a metaphor for life in corporate America, but they only talk about personal subjects the other person actually discloses in person.

Maybe it seems like the person wants everyone to know about a personal subject, but in fact that’s rarely the case. So unless his or her social media broadcasts were specifically directed to you, always wait.

5. They never ignore the elephants.

An acquaintance’s mom died a few weeks ago. You see him, and you’re not sure whether to bring it up.

Remarkably polite people always bring it up. They keep it simple, like, “I was sorry to hear about your mother. I’ve been thinking about you and am hoping you’re doing OK.”

Awkward? Absolutely not. You’ve expressed your condolences (which you should), and now you can both move on: Your friend is no longer wondering if and when you might mention it, and you are no longer wondering whether you should.

Where relationships are concerned, the best elephant is a dead elephant.

6. They never gossip–or listen to gossip.

It’s hard to resist the inside scoop. Finding out the reasons behind someone’s decisions, the motivations behind someone’s actions, the skinny behind someone’s hidden agenda–much less whether Liam is really dating Jeannette from marketing–those conversations are hard to resist.

Remarkably polite people know gossiping about other people makes you wonder what they’re saying about you. In fact, when someone starts to talk about someone else, polite people excuse themselves and walk away. They don’t worry that they will lose a gossiper’s respect; anyone willing to gossip doesn’t respect other people anyway.

If you want to share the inside scoop, talk openly about your own thoughts or feelings–then you’re not gossiping, you’re being genuine. That’s what polite people do. But at the same time…

7. They never speak just to share the greater glory of themselves.

How can you tell? If you’re talking about something just because it feels really good to share it, and there’s no place for the other person to add value, you’re just patting yourself on the back.

When remarkably polite people want to talk about themselves, they ask for advice–but not humblebrag advice like, “I notice you keep your car really clean; what wax do you recommend for a Porsche?”

Ask a question that shows you truly value the other person’s expertise or knowledge. The person will feel good, because you implicitly show you trust his or her opinion; you actually get input you can use. Win-win.

And totally polite.

8. They never push their opinions.

We all know things. Cool things. Great things.

Just make sure you share those things in the right settings. If you’re a mentor, share away. If you’re a coach or a leader, share away. If you’re the guy who just started a paleo diet, don’t tell us all what to order unless we ask.

Remarkably polite people know that what is right for them might not be right for others–and even if it is right, it is not their place to decide that for you.

Like most things in life, offering helpful advice is all about picking the right spot–and polite people know the right spot is always after you are asked.

They never judge.

They don’t judge the person they are speaking to. They don’t judge other people. They don’t judge other cultures or countries or, well, anything.

Why? Remarkably polite people realize they aren’t perfect either.

9. They’re masters of the art of social jiujitsu.

You meet someone, talk for 30 minutes, and walk away thinking, “Wow, we just had a great conversation. She is awesome.”

Of course, when you think about it later, you realize you didn’t learn a thing about the other person.

Remarkably polite people are masters at social jiujitsu, the ancient art of getting you to talk about yourself without you ever knowing it happened. SJ masters are fascinated by your every career step, your every journey of personal transformation, your every clever maneuver on your climb to the top of your social ladder…

They find you fascinating–and that gives you permission to find yourself fascinating. (That’s an authorization we all enjoy.)

Social jiujitsu is easy. Just ask the right questions. Stay open-ended, and allow room for description and introspection. Ask how or why or who.

As soon as you learn a little about someone, ask how she did it. Or why she did it. Or what she liked about it, or what she learned from it, or what you should do if you’re in a similar situation.

And don’t think you’re being manipulative, because you’re not. Showing a sincere interest in people isn’t manipulative. It’s fun–for you and for them. They get to talk about things they’re passionate about, and you get to enjoy their enthusiasm and excitement and passion.

And if that’s not enough, think of it this way: No one receives too much respect. Asking other people about themselves implicitly shows you respect them.

Respect is the mother of polite.

10. They never stop being polite.

They don’t just turn on the charm the first time you meet. They don’t use it and lose it.

Remarkably polite people keep on being polite: partly because they know no other way to be, but also because they know there is no other way to be.

TIME Careers & Workplace

5 Reasons CEOs Should Offer Unlimited Vacation in 2015

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The results could build a better company

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

As a CEO, do the words “unlimited vacation” cause cold sweats and an overwhelming urge to hide all your employees’ passports? If so, you aren’t alone–most CEOs have some discomfort around the concept of unlimited vacation, which explains why only 1 percent of U.S. companies offer this program.

Among these 1-percenters is Netflix, an unlimited-vacation pioneer and the company that inspired Richard Branson to recently announce a similar policy for Virgin. As Reed Hastings explains in the 2009 Netflix “Freedom and Responsibility” practices, his company exercises a “trust policy” when it comes to scheduling their vacation days. It’s a policy that puts control in employees’ hands.

Unbridled PTO power is what makes some CEOs worry that their staff will shirk work responsibilities and opt for a four-day work week every week. As it turns out, employees do just the opposite. This vacation policy is not about giving employees the go-ahead to be lazy or unreliable. It’s about trust. It empowers them to best meet organizational and individual goals in the hours that make sense for both parties–and it works. Let’s face it, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. hours are not the hours of the digital age.

At SmartRecruiters, we’ve seen fantastic results from offering unlimited vacation and flex hours. It has driven employees to take greater ownership of their roles, collaborate better with their teams and work smarter while in the office. Success is measured not by how much time everyone spends in the office, but rather by “have I achieved my goals?”

Growing an organization-wide sense of trust has been the biggest benefit of an unlimited vacation culture at our company. Here are five more benefits you could see at yours:

1. It creates better connected teams and an agile workforce.

According to a 2014 Glassdoor survey, three out of five employees admit to doing work while on vacation. According to the survey, the main reason is that they are afraid of getting behind. This speaks volumes about the existence of unsupported team members. An open vacation culture encourages your employees to pitch in and cover one another’s work load, which then builds stronger, more versatile teams.

2. It shows you think of employees as adults which, in turn, makes them more responsible and valuable.

Empowering employees to define their schedule shows that they are valued and trusted peers. Say an impassioned employee works 40 hours in a week, yet they want to keep plugging away on a project. Without the ability to “get back the hours” at a later date, that employee will either have to push their work to the following week or forever lose their personal time to meet goals. This can lead to resentment and reduced eagerness to go the extra mile in future projects.

3. It boosts employee morale, happiness and productivity.

Studies have shown that employees perform better when they take time off to rejuvenate and have less stress in their daily lives. Unlimited vacation gives them the flex hours they need to harmonize work with other aspects of their lives. Besides, committed employees are always “on,” even during their time-off. They might come up with the next great idea for your company while relaxing on the beach or driving to their kid’s Little League game.

4. It can save your company money.

An unlimited vacation policy saves the cost of tracking and managing your organization’s PTO schedule. It also eliminates the liability and unexpected expense of paying out accrued and unused vacation days when employees leave (if you’re among the companies that follow this practice).

5. It will help recruit and retain the best candidates.

An open vacation culture can be a strong competitive differentiator for recruitment. Candidates, especially millennial job seekers, look favorably on unlimited days vs. the 16 days most U.S. companies provide. The impact can last long after recruitment. Netflix, for instance, saw an increase in employee engagement and retention after introducing its unlimited vacation policy.

Let me be clear, I don’t think there is a magic number of vacation days that businesses should all adopt. What I am advocating for is more freedom for employees to integrate their careers with the other pillars of their lives, such as getting to know their kids, discovering new perspectives through travel, and fueling creative thinking through passion projects –all things that lead to happier, more innovative and more committed employees.

In 2015, I hope unlimited vacation policies catch fire and more CEOs think of it not as merely a benefit or perk, but as part of crafting a high performance company culture built on trust and respect. The question to ask yourself isn’t “how many days off do my employees deserve?” but “how do I empower smarter, more responsible employees in 2015?”

Go ahead, take some time off to think about it.

TIME Careers & Workplace

10 Books That Will Make You a Better Person

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And tips from each one to get you started right away

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

Leadership is not about who you know, or why you know it, or how much you are paid to lead. It’s often about what you know and how you apply that knowledge. That’s why I’ve decided to scour the best books on leadership that were published this year and distill the information down to the most useful tip with a quote from the book (in my opinion).

1. Resilience is critical to success in leadership

“A few years ago, two former business school professors of mine, Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer, author of Power, and Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, did an informal study of my Stanford MBA classmates to discern what factors were the most influential in determining which students would “make it” and which would not. (As I recall, they were not looking for those who had made it as measured by dollars earned, but those who are most successful all around in achieving their goals and dreams.) After eliminating many different factors, they landed on resilience as the one defining skill and behavior that allowed some to stand out from the rest. After all it wasn’t that none of us face that adversity–we all did. But some were able to pick themselves up and brush themselves off and move on, while others were not.”

Denise Brosseau in her book Ready to Be a Thought Leader: How to Increase Your Influence, Impact, and Success

2. You must bridge the communication gap created by leadership

“Most successful people have little interest in listening to those individuals who cannot add value to a situation or topic but force themselves into a conversation just to hear themselves speak. Good communicators address both the what and how aspects of messaging so they don’t fall prey to becoming the smooth talker who leaves people with the impression of form over substance.”

Mike Myatt in his book Hacking Leadership: The 11 Gaps Every Business Needs to Close and the Secrets to Closing Them Quickly

3. Leadership is, at its core, about the mobilization of ideas

“Leadership is about setting a direction. It’s about creating a vision, empowering and inspiring people to want to achieve the vision, and enabling them to do so with energy and speed through an effective strategy. In its most basic sense, leadership is about mobilizing a group of people to jump into a better future.”

John P. Kotter in his book Accelerate: Building Strategic Agility for a Faster-Moving World

4. Good leaders are highly aware of their own vulnerabilities

“The role played by blindspots is to meditate between the poles of self-confidence and self-doubt. A leader with too many blindspots can be overconfident, even blindly arrogant, and exposed to a range of risks.”

Robert Bruce Shaw in his book Leadership Blindspots: How Successful Leaders Identify and Overcome the Weaknesses That Matter

5. Leaders equip people for success beyond their own purview

“Entrepreneurial leaders foster in people the feeling that they are personally successful–the hallmark of leadership.”

Derek Lidow in his book Startup Leadership: How Savvy Entrepreneurs Turn Their Ideas Into Successful Enterprises

6. The role of a leader is primarily to care for others

“And when a leader embraces their responsibility to care for people instead of caring for numbers, then people will follow, solve problems and see to it that that leader’s vision comes to life the right way, a stable way and not the expedient way.”

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

7. Take time to reflect and lead in the moment without stopping only to focus on problems

“Most leaders can barely breathe through the blur of activity, much less reflect on and register the best of what is happening in the present moment. And on the rare occasions when they do step back to assess the situation at hand, they focus on the problems, ignoring the opportunities.”

Kathryn D. Cramer in her book Lead Positive: What Highly Effective Leaders See, Say, and Do

8. Trust in leadership can be distilled down to four basic elements

“Trust in others (and their trust in us) depends on four elements: reliability, congruence, acceptance, and openness.”

Joanna Barsh and Johanne Lavoie in their book Centered Leadership: Leading with Purpose, Clarity, and Impact

9. Body language trumps spoken instruction

“Remember, every communication is two conversations, the spoken content and the body language. The body language always trumps the content when the two are in conflict. So in planning your content and failing to think much about your emotions, which drive your body language, you’re leaving that to chance–the more important of the two conversations.”

Nick Morgan in his book Power Cues: The Subtle Science of Leading Groups, Persuading Others, and Maximizing Your Personal Impact

10. Hope in leadership comes from analyzing success and feedback

“To increase your chances of moving toward your ideal self, challenge any self-defeating thoughts. Keep in mind your past accomplishments, candidly assess what has stopped you from achieving goals, as well as your personal beliefs about your abilities. Consider relevant feedback from others about what you have achieved and what your potential is. This helps increase your sense of hopefulness, which research has shown is critical in imagining and realizing the ideal self.”

Stewart D. Friedman in his book Leading the Life You Want: Skills for Integrating Work and Life

TIME Careers & Workplace

15 Tips for Being Happy at Work

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Want to be happier at work? Try taking time out for these proven techniques

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

Breaking news. In 2013, unhappy employees outnumbered happy ones by two to one worldwide, according to Gallup. Based on studies that took place in 142 countries and contained approximately 180 million employees, only “13 percent of employees worldwide are happily engaged at work.”

Of course, you probably didn’t need statistics to know that. Being miserable at work has just become a way of life. Or, has it?

I’ve been trying to be happier each and every day. With 2014 coming to an end, it’s time to turn over that new leaf and start actually being happy at work. But how can you accomplish such a seemingly hopeless task?

Try these 15 proven tactics that will make you happy at workplace.

1. Have a Sense of Meaning

In 1983 Steve Jobs convinced future Apple CEO John Sculley to leave his job at PepsiCo by asking him one question: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?”

Why was this so effective? Besides sparking his curiosity and imagination, it gave Scully the chance to do meaningful work. This has been backed by research from Wharton management professor Adam Grant, who has found that “employees who know how their work has a meaningful, positive impact on others are not just happier than those who don’t; they are vastly more productive, too.” Additional research from Harvard professor Teresa Amabile has discovered that no matter the size of a goal–whether curing cancer or helping a colleague–having a sense of meaning can contribute to happiness in the workplace.

2. Create an ‘Office Nest’

Jennifer Star, a founding partner of the Balance Team, notes on Monster that since you spend so much time at work, if you want to improve your happiness there you should “make your space your own, decorate your area as much as your company policy permits, and make yourself as comfortable and relaxed as you can be in your office.”

3. Find a Work Best Friend

Research from my free hosting startup Hostt has found “that having a best friend at work can turn a moderately engaged worker into a highly engaged worker.” When I hire people, I try and really pay attention to referrals of workers. When workers are engaged in friendships they contribute more to the bottom line.

Christine Riordan states in the Harvard Business Review that employees who “have friends at work perceive their job as more fun, enjoyable, worthwhile, and satisfying.” Furthermore, having friends at work can create a support system, comradery and a sense of loyalty.

4. Smile

Something as simple as smiling can improve your happiness at work because it tells your brain to be more happy–thanks to the release of neuropeptides. Smiling is also contagious and will make your co-workers smile as well.

5. Leave Personal Problems at Home

Julie Morgenstern, author of Time Management From the Inside Out, informs CBS News that “when your personal life is in tumult, a lot of emotional hijacking goes on. Emotions consume you and stress exhausts you.” When it happens that you have an inordinate amount of stress, it will seem like your work is never ending, you will watch the clock, and you will be distracted from being more productive.

While it’s easy for your personal life to carry over into your professional life, make sure that you attend to personal matters before heading out for the workday.

6. Be Future Oriented

According to experts like Geoffrey James, “you’ll make better decisions and be more satisfied with your results if you know that most of what you’re doing in your work at this time still fits into your long-term plans and goals. That’s only possible if you keep those plans and goals in the forefront.”

7. Say ‘Thank You’

Based on experiments from Professor Francesca Gino of the Harvard Business School and Professor Adam Grant of the Wharton School, “receiving expressions of gratitude makes us feel a heightened sense of self-worth, and that in turn triggers other helpful behaviors toward both the person we are helping and other people that are around us, too.”

In fact, their experiments have discovered that 66% of students helped a fellow student named “Eric” because he thanked them in advance for reviewing his cover letter.

Instead of just saying “thank you” to your peers–and even receptionists and maintenance–you can be proactive and ask for feedback to receive some much-deserved gratitude. Definitely don’t ask again if a person you have previously asked is determined to make you feel unappreciated, or if they are continually condemning you or your team.

8. Take a Breather

It’s incredibly easy to get burned out during the workday. That’s why you need to take a minute and breath before moving on to your next task. Sharon Salzberg, author of Real Happiness at Work, informs Business Insider that “without some breathing space in the face of constant demands, we won’t be creative, competent, or cheerful.” She also adds that by not taking a break, “we won’t get along with others as well, and we won’t take criticism without the possibility of imploding. It is a must to control the level of our daily stress.”

My friend and marketing expert Liv Longley states that employees also need to take time off to recharge from the stress of work. In fact, taking a vacation not only relieves stress and recharges us, it can also improve our overall health and make us more productive at work.

9. Eat Healthy and Stay Hydrated

According to Shirly Weiss, a certified holistic health and nutritional counselor and consulting expert for the Balance Team, “maintaining a good diet and keeping yourself properly hydrated throughout your workday can really make a big difference in your energy level and attitude.”

Instead of hitting the vending machine for lunch, have meals that involve yogurt, asparagus, honey, cherry tomatoes. Eating foods that keep your blood sugar within a normal range will stop headaches and fatigue, as well as help you concentrate better.

10. Get Organized

Chrystal Doucette suggests on Chron.com that having an organized workplace will help you be better prepared and work more efficiently. It can also improve your happiness since a “clean desk makes the work environment seem less hectic and stressful.” In short, you have enough stress with work, so avoid the additional stress that clutter and scrambling for lost items will cause.

11. Don’t Multitask

Despite the myth, multitasking isn’t effective. Clifford Nass, a psychology professor at Stanford University claims that multitasking “wastes more time than it saves.” He also states that it decreases concentration and creativity.

Instead of getting overwhelmed by the amount of work you’re trying to juggle through multitasking, focus on one task at a time. Many do well with a simple checklist to accomplish this.

12. Accept People for Who They Are

You can’t change who people are. Instead of letting their personalities or actions affect you, take a step back. You could try techniques like counting to 10 before responding to them, avoiding finger-pointing, and maintaining a professional attitude. There are many fantastic books on this subject as well.

13. Move Around

Whether it’s finding the time to take a walk outside, run up and down the stairs on your break, stretch, or do a 10-minute exercise, moving around throughout the workday has a number of beneficial effects–even if you already exercise and eat healthy.

As Lifehacker points out, sitting all day and working on a computer can lead to health concerns like weight gain, heart disease, eye strain, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

In short, when you feel better, you’ll be in a better place mood-wise as well.

14. Reward Yourself

Whether it’s by going out to dinner with your significant other, purchasing a new gadget, enjoying a piece of candy, or giving yourself a pat on the back, (the politician applause), find the time to reward yourself after you’ve completed a project or had a fruitful day.

You can even take that a step further and prime yourself to be happy. Research has found that doctors who prepared themselves to be happy were able to reach a diagnosis twice as fast as their colleagues.

15. Reflect on the Day

Why are you working so hard? You can answer that question by reflecting on the day and recalling something that was positive. When you record these moments in your notebook, smartphone, tablet, etc., you’ll have a reminder of why your work matters to you. You can refer to these statements of positive reflection whenever you need a boost.

TIME Careers & Workplace

These Are the 10 Best Business Books of 2014

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These 10 business books were the real eye-openers for entrepreneurs in the year 2014

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

Every year, I select 10 books that, IMHO, provided the most value to their readers. Some of these may already be on your radar, but others you might have missed. Enjoy!

1. How to Be a Power Connector

Author: Judy Robinett

Subtitle: The 5 50 100 Rule for Turning Your Business Network Into Profits

Why I like it: As somebody who is often overwhelmed by people who want to “connect” with me, Robinett’s system of differentiating between levels of contact was truly a revelation. It’s one of those books I wish I’d been able to read two decades ago.

Best quote: “For you to become a master of strategic relationship, you need to do more than just connect, care, and add value (although those elements are the most basic requirements of any relationship). You need to 1) pinpoint the relationships you will pursue and nurture; 2) reach beyond just friends, family, and profession and build a wide network of connections; 3) use a system for adding value to those contacts regularly; and 3) become the connector between connections–the person who can help people reach a resource they would never know about and could never reach if it weren’t for you.”

2. The Ambitious Woman

Author: Esther Spina

Subtitle: What It Takes and Why You Want to Be One

Why I like it: Unlike last year’s Lean In, this book is written from the viewpoint of a successful woman who didn’t ride the fast track to high-tech riches. Spina is a self-made woman who succeeded at commissioned sales, which is probably the world’s most difficult job.

Best quote: “If you want to be successful, then you must choose to do what ambitious people do. How about the stay-at-home mom who knows how to handle her kids and keeps her home running smoothly–she’s successful. What about the woman who can balance her career and family–she’s successful. The woman who is determined to earn her degree, the woman who is a visionary and is making her dream a reality, the woman who is consistent in character and the way she lives life–they are all successful. Why? Because they are Ambitious Women.”

3. Money: Master the Game

Author: Anthony Robbins

Subtitle: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom

Why I like it: I’ve been a fan of Robbin’s for many years, since it was during one of his seminars that I decided to quit my corporate job and become a full-time writer. I’ve had the opportunity to meet him personally and discovered that, unlike his slightly scary stage persona, in person he’s actually low key and easy to talk to. In any case, it’s been a while since Robbins has written a new book, and this one is particularly relevant for people struggling through today’s difficult economic times.

Best quote: “The secret to wealth is simple: Find a way to do more for others than anyone else does. Become more valuable. Do more. Give more. Be more. Serve more. And you will have the opportunity to earn more–whether you own the best food truck in Austin, Texas, or you’re the top salesperson at your company or even the founder of Instagram.”

4. The Gen Z Effect

Authors: Tom Koulopoulos and Dan Keldsen

Subtitle: The Six Forces Shaping the Future of Business

Why I like it: This book’s thesis is that technology, rather than separating the generations, actually brings them closer and that this is part of a larger shift in how people think about business and life. It’s an easy read but has depth, so that you learn a great deal and, more important, start seeing things in a different way.

Best quote: “The generational divides have stood in our way for so long, undermining our ability to innovate in what is quickly becoming a post-generational world. Post-generational thinking requires that we not only change our individual perceptions of the boundaries between generations, but also build organizations that can do the same.”

5. Scrum

Author: Jeff Sutherland

Subtitle: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time

Why I like it: I get really tired of people insisting that to get more done you have to spend more hours doing it. That’s simply not true. You want to work smarter rather than harder, and this book gives you some real-world techniques for making this happen.

Best quote: “Traditionally, management wants two things on any project: control and predictability. This leads to vast numbers of documents and graphs and charts … Months of effort go into planning every detail, so there will be no mistakes, no cost overruns, and things will be delivered on schedule. The problem is that the rosy scenario never actually unfolds … Every project involves discovery of problems and bursts of inspiration. Trying to restrict any human endeavor of any scope to color-coded charts and graphs is foolish and doomed to failure. It’s not how people work, and it’s not how projects progress. It’s not how ideas reach fruition or how great things are made.”

6. The Soft Edge

Author: Rich Karlgaard

Subtitle: Where Great Companies Find Lasting Success

Why I like it: In my view, companies spend far too much time worrying about the “hard” stuff, like finances and technology, and not enough about the “soft” stuff, like how people feel about what they’re doing and where they’re working. This book shows how that “soft edge” is not only as important as the “hard” edges but arguably more important.

Best quote: “Innovation in companies is very much like a healthy immune response in living organisms. People who enjoy long-term health don’t have episodic bursts of health. They are healthy nearly all the time. Their immune systems routinely fight off most threats. Can the same be true of companies? The analogy fits. In great companies, innovation is a natural response to threats.”

7. The Carpenter

Author: Jon Gordon

Subtitle: A Story About the Greatest Success Strategies of All

Why I like it: Unless you’ve had your head stuck in the sand, you’ve probably run across the numerous best-selling books by Gordon. I like all of his work, and his new book, The Carpenter, is truly a must-read. It is an engaging parable of a high-powered entrepreneur who recaptures his sense of purpose through working with (and learning from) a blue-collar artisan.

Best Quote:

  • I vow to stay positive in the face of negativity;
  • When I am surrounded by pessimism, I will choose optimism;
  • When I feel fear, I will choose faith;
  • When I want to hate, I will choose love;
  • When I want to be bitter, I will choose to get better;
  • When I experience a challenge, I will look for an opportunity to learn and grow;
  • When I experience a setback, I will be resilient;
  • When I meet failure, I will fail forward, toward future success;
  • With vision, hope, and faith, I will never give up and will always move forward toward my destiny;
  • I believe my best days are ahead of me, not behind me;
  • I believe I’m here for a reason and my purpose is greater than my challenges;
  • I believe that being positive not only makes me better, it make everyone around me better;
  • So today and every day I will be positive and strive to make a positive impact on the world.

8. Scaling Up Excellence

Authors: Robert Sutton and Huggy Rao

Subtitle: Getting to More Without Settling for Less

Why I like it: Entrepreneurs naturally want their company to grow and be more successful. However, many of them discover that once they’re successful as a startup, it’s very difficult to “level up” into a larger company. This book explains the specific challenges that entrepreneurs face, and therefore should be required reading.

Best quote: “Savvy leaders know that just bombarding employees with a quick PowerPoint presentation, a few days of training, or an inspirational speech won’t cut it if they want to spread some goodness from the few to the many. Certainly, there are junctures in every scaling effort when it is wise to choose the easier path or secure a quick victory. Yet as we dug into case after case, and study after study, we saw that every allegedly easy and speedy scaling success turned out to be one we just hadn’t understood very well. Scaling requires grinding it out, and pressing each person, team, group, division, or organization to make one small change after another in what they believe, feel, or do.”

9. Creativity, Inc.

Authors: Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace

Subtitle: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

Why I like it: By examining Pixar and its relationship to Steve Jobs and the team of people he recruited, this book makes clear that creativity must be built into the corporate culture and is not an attribute of its leadership alone.

Best quote: “The best managers acknowledge and make room for what they do not know–not just because humility is a virtue but because until one adopts that mindset, the most striking breakthroughs cannot occur. I believe that managers must loosen the controls, not tighten them. They must accept risk; they must trust the people they work with and strive to clear the path for them; and always, they must pay attention to and engage with anything that creates fear. Moreover, successful leaders embrace the reality that their models may be wrong or incomplete. Only when we admit what we don’t know can we ever hope to learn it.”

10. Business Without the Bullsh*t

Author: Me (plus the readers of this blog)

Subtitle: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know

Why I like it: Readers kept telling me they needed a “survival guide” to the corporate world, so I wrote this book. Many of the readers of my blog contributed to the writing by reviewing early chapters. Since I’m obviously biased, here’s what some others have said about this book.

Best quote: “Conventional wisdom is that business is complicated and its principles difficult to master. However, while every industry and every profession requires specific expertise, the business of business tends to be rather simple. However, the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of management consultants, industry analysts, and corporate trainers depends on keeping things complex–because, after all, once you realize the business is simple, why would you hire them? Beyond your own area of expertise, all you need to be truly successful in the business world is a handful of secrets and shortcuts. And that’s what Business Without the Bullsh*t is all about.”

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