August 24, 2011
Childhood Games to Career Success?
Joanne Gordon, New York Times bestselling co-author of Onward, is truly living out her childhood dream. With her love of writing stories as a girl coupled with an innate curiosity about what makes people tick, she feels that her current job – as a ghostwriter – allows her to get a rare peek into others’ minds as she helps them write about their life and work.
Essentially, Gordon gets paid, and has permission, to spy on others.
A former Forbes reporter and an author for nearly 15 years, she’s interviewed some of the most respected minds in business (and a few characters) – from Cathie Black and the CEO of Mattel to Donald Trump and the founder of Netflix – telling their stories and learning their success secrets.
Most recently, she co-wrote the bestselling book Onward with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, which has been translated into 13 languages and this past spring reached the No.1 slot on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller lists.
PINK: After interviewing business leaders for the past decade, what was the biggest surprise?
JG: Almost every leader is scared of failure; failure is part of every leader’s history. The really great leaders learn from failure and refuse to let it define them.
PINK: What is the best business advice you’ve ever received?
JG: One of my college journalism professors encouraged students to “embrace their ignorance.” Journalists are paid not to know, but to find out. If I think and act as if I have all the answers, I'm not doing my job as a reporter or a co-writer.
It’s not easy (especially for women in the workplace) to admit to others (especially to men) what we do not know. But I’ve grown comfortable telling CEOs, experts and editors that I do not understand a particular concept. Today, I try to own my ignorance, and I like to think I become a little wiser every day.
"Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance." Confucius