Pushing from good to great

May 23, 2011
Confidence and ambition are fused for John Brenkus, host of ESPN’s “Sport Science,” a cavalcade of wacky experiments that explore the physics of sports. While he became good at sports, Brenkus was never great, so he decided to do two other hard things:

Barbara Walters’ weapon: empathy

December 3, 2010

At the center of all the advice to stop talking and start listening stands a premier example: Barbara Walters. The interviewer’s list of “gets” is a mile long and her genius has been to show her subjects she cares about them. She never engages in a battle of wits, never tries to win an argument and does not interrupt. The result is information no one has.

Cartoon great Chuck Jones’ success tips

November 24, 2010

Cartoon creator and producer Chuck Jones credits his success to a lack of constant supervision early on and his father’s string of business failures. Every time his father launched a business, he’d print new stationery and pencils. Using his cast-offs, Jones drew and drew. Here are his six success tips.

The tale of a bluegrass legend

August 13, 2010

Bluegrass music icon Ralph Stanley is quick to share both what he’s done right and what he’s done wrong. One thing he did wrong was trade away his favorite banjo, a 1923 Gibson Mastertone archtop. A great decision Stanley made was hiring two teenagers, Ricky Skaggs and Keith Whitley, even though he already had a full band …

Anderson Cooper faces fear head-on

May 17, 2010

From his early days as a reporter covering wars in Somalia and Burma and genocide in Rwanda, CNN newsman Anderson Cooper often traveled solo, learning to handle perilous situations—and fear. With experience came wisdom and a greater measure of security, but in the beginning, Cooper overcame fear by plunging in. He simply made a fake press pass, borrowed a camera and went to war.

For Spielberg, realism was key

May 14, 2010
When Steven Spielberg released Saving Private Ryan in 1998, Hollywood hadn’t made a successful World War II film in two decades. Yet, it earned $440 million worldwide and won five Academy Awards. How did Spielberg succeed so well where so many others had failed?

James Cameron defines leadership

April 12, 2010
An Oscar-winning director whose films bring in billions, James Cameron is known for exacting top performances from talent. Among his rules for leading: Motivate with a sense of exploration. For Cameron, innovation is a tool for uniting his team. “We’re doing extraordinary things that outsiders would not even understand,” he says.

American Beauties: Tips from the Dead

April 12, 2010

We never saw this coming: scholars studying the business model of the Grateful Dead. But a handful of fans did. Emerging from their archives is a portrait of visionaries in what’s now called customer value, social networking and strategic planning. Here’s how the Dead pioneered business practices embraced much, much later by corporate America.

James Brown’s road to Sunday afternoons

January 11, 2010

Sports commentator James Brown is driven by values that show up in his choices. Brown started early with a deeply religious upbringing that culminated at DeMatha Catholic High School, where he came under the influence of Morgan Wootten, the winningest coach in the history of high school basketball, whose values were: God first, family second, academics third and basketball fourth …