Ten Steps Ahead: What Separates Successful Business Visionaries from the Rest of Us

Ten Steps Ahead: What Separates Successful Business Visionaries from the Rest of Us

by Erik Calonius
     
 

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How do the most extraordinary entrepreneurs create a bold vision for the future-and follow through against all setbacks?

Visionaries like Steve Jobs and Thomas Edison are the stuff of legend. Yet we still fumble in describing what they actually do. Drawing on recent insights from neuroscience about the roles that intuition, emotional intelligence, and

Overview

How do the most extraordinary entrepreneurs create a bold vision for the future-and follow through against all setbacks?

Visionaries like Steve Jobs and Thomas Edison are the stuff of legend. Yet we still fumble in describing what they actually do. Drawing on recent insights from neuroscience about the roles that intuition, emotional intelligence, and courage can play, Ten Steps Ahead reveals what makes visionaries tick and how they develop and use their extraordinary powers. We learn, for instance,

? how Richard Branson had the insight to trademark Virgin Galactic in the early 1990s, when private spaceflight was science fiction
? how Richard Feynman made breakthroughs in quantum mechanics by pretending he was an electron
? why Jeff Hawkins walked around with a block of wood and a chopstick to help design the first Palm Pilot

Erik Calonius, who has interviewed many of the greatest living visionaries across disciplines and industries, weaves together their stories, highlights their shared attributes, and draws on science to help us understand what sets them apart and shows how we too can see (and make) the future. It's not that some people can magically see opportunities-it's that the rest of us are blind to the ones around us.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
There’s always one visionary who has an uncanny ability to see where the world is heading and who has the moxie to forge the way. A journalist with the Wall Street Journal and Fortune magazine, Calonius argues that the trailblazers who can anticipate that trend, technology, or new business model boast unique intuition, courage, and emotional intelligence. He profiles Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, and the Wright brothers as he discusses recent neuroscience discoveries along with the behavioral research he conducted with Dan Ariely on Ariely’s groundbreaking Predictably Irrational, painting an intriguing picture of how visionaries think, work, and create. Finally, he suggests that vision can, in fact, be learned—if we train our brains to recognize and work with inspiration and perspective. An intriguing, if somewhat perfunctory, look at extraordinary thinkers and how they achieve what they do. (Mar.)
Library Journal
As the Wall Street Journal's former London correspondent, Calonius has rubbed shoulders with many of the world's biggest names in business. Given his claim that these so-called visionaries have something that sets them apart, we might ask the same question posed by the Cowardly Lion, "What have they got that I ain't got?" And the answer in both cases would be the same: courage. Well, that along with conviction, vision, intuition, a little charisma—and luck. This book combines Calonius's private encounters with entrepreneurs with the latest research in neuroscience and psychology to demonstrate just what attributes combine to make a Steve Jobs or a Richard Branson. His vignettes are drawn not just from formal interviews but from personal visits to country estates, fabled garage incubators, or wild airplane rides. The reader gets to witness these thinkers in their native habitats and see what makes them tick. VERDICT Calonius explains the neuroscience behind the visionaries' accomplishments as successfully as he tells their stories. This breezy read even offers advice to those wanting to increase their own visionary abilities.—Carol J. Elsen, Univ. of Wisconsin-Whitewater Lib.
Kirkus Reviews

A journalist who has tried to understand visionary business entrepreneurs by hanging out with them adds a study of brain science to the mix.

Calonius (The Wanderer: The Last American Slave Ship and the Conspiracy that Set Its Sails, 2006) interviewed Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and other famous business visionaries while reporting for the WallStreet Journal and Fortune. Eventually, the author decided he needed to supplement what the visionaries told him about their successes with an intense study ofneuroscience, including the field of cognitive psychology. The human brain recognizes patterns, and Calonius hoped to determine how thepatterns recognized by his subjects led to success. The author looks at Branson at the Virgin group of businesses, Jobs at Apple computing, Berry Gordy Jr. atMotown records, Andy Grove at Intel and a few others (women entrepreneurs are nearly absent, except for second-tier attention to clothing designerDiane von Furstenberg). Although the path to success is littered with luck (treated in its own chapter), Calonius isolates human factors that he labels awakening, seeing, intuition and scaling up the vision. He explains each factor through a mixture of anecdotes and tutorials on brain functioning. Visionaries sometimes surprise family members, high-school classmates and others who knew them before they broke through, and they do not tend to be voted most popular in the class. However, if they do win thataccolade at a young age, they areeven less likely to be votedmost likely to succeed. Although some of the author's portrayals are infused with hero worship (especially regarding Branson), the personalnarratives make the hagiography palatable. Through no fault of Calonius, some of the lessons are maddeningly vague. Intuition, after all, istricky to describe in concrete language, especially when it seems like nothing more than "going with the gut."

A breezy account, with a special attraction for those who would rather not digest full-length biographies of Jobs, Branson et al.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101476116
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/17/2011
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
1,084,862
File size:
447 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Erik Calonius is a former reporter, editor, and London correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and served as an editor and writer for Fortune, where he was nominated for the National Magazine Award. He collaborated with Dan Ariely on Predictably Irrational and is the author of The Wanderer.

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