Review of Good People

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  • Applicable
  • Engaging
  • Inspiring


Best-selling author Anthony Tjan conducted extensive research and dozens of interviews with successful people to explore leading while encouraging moral character and goodness. The results include the “Good People Mantra” and the “Goodness Pyramid,” a framework for discussing and evaluating goodness and success. Tjan’s theme serves as his Golden Rule: Leaders must value people above all and help others become the best-possible versions of themselves. Tjan's idealism offers a valuable counterweight to profit-only leadership.

About the Author

Co-author of the New York Times bestseller Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck, Anthony Tjan is co-founder and CEO of the venture capital firm Cue Ball.


Goodness in business transcends competency and profit to encompass values. Good people prioritize others, help them achieve and emphasize their values.

Tjan accepts that business success generally must focus on generating profits and returns for your shareholders. However, he insists that this financial measurement does not encompass the effect a business has on its employees and society. As an example, he cites John Mackey, co-founder of Whole Foods, who believes a successful business also improves people’s lives as it creates value and profits for stakeholders. “Soft” qualities such as character, values, empathy and the desire to do the right thing expand the definition of success to include goodness.

Goodness requires balancing ideals and realities while remaining true to your values.

Tjan’s approach is highly unusual, even among business authors who urge those seeking profits to practice moral goodness as well. “Pursuing goodness in yourself while surrounding yourself with good people,” the author writes, “is the only leadership decision that really, truly matters.” He offers five principles of as a “Good People Mantra” for business and life:

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Rethinking Success
Get Out of Your Own Way
We Fed an Island
Youth to Power
Leading with Gratitude

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