Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Humble CEO

Do you have heart, smarts, guts or luck? Maybe you're hitting on all cylinders?

The question is posed in a new book co-authored by a fascinating guy, Richard J. Harrington, who is in large part responsible for the success of information behemoth Thomson Reuters.

I had a fun conversation with Harrington for a Q&A I wrote recently. Sometimes a man that powerful and experienced is no fun to interview, preferring to talk down, patronize and rush me off the phone if he thinks I'm asking too many questions.

(Salon republished a great piece on this kind of guy recently.)

Not so with Harrington. Like many of the best entrepreneurs, I found him authoritative and intelligent but also humble, friendly and interested in a two-way conversation, rather than delivering me a sales pitch or droning on with a lecture.

Really refreshing. It's even more refreshing to see that that attitude is the norm rather than exception for the most powerful people I interview - believe it or not.


  1. PS- Thanks for the Rebecca Solnit link in Salon. Fascinating and aggravating.

  2. Des, when I find out where they are giving out the luck, I'll let you know! ;-)

  3. I found the same to be true in my acting career. The biggest stars and most famous directors were usually a pleasure to work with. Not all lesser-knowns were jerks, but all jerks were lesser-knowns.

  4. Interesting how that works, isn't it, Petrea?

  5. It is.

    My theory is that they became successful because they're decent people who are easy to work with, and not that they became decent and easy to work with because they're successful. There are exceptions, of course--successful, mad geniuses who are hard to like. But they say exceptions prove the rule.