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The 10 Laws of Trust

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The 10 Laws of Trust

Building the Bonds That Make a Business Great


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

JetBlue chairman Joel Peterson details his 10 laws of trust, the prerequisite for progress.

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  • Applicable


In an interdependent world, progress requires trust. If you can’t trust others, you cannot work toward shared goals. This is true for families, couples, team members and the nations of the world. JetBlue chairman Joel Peterson, writing with David A. Kaplan, details “10 laws of trust.” He explains what trust means, how to promote it inside organizations and how to restore trust when it’s damaged. Peterson addresses the “Valentine’s Day Massacre” of interrupted service that JetBlue suffered in 2007 – and how the company healed the resulting breach of trust with its customers – but he doesn’t explore any more recent difficulties that the airline has experienced. Nonetheless, getAbstract recommends his concise, readable, ethical guide to all who must trust others or earn trust. And that’s everybody.


Trust Equals Faith

Trust is a basic requirement for all human activity. Trust connotes optimism. To demonstrate trust, you must show faith in someone or something else. That requires ceding control of an aspect of your life to another person, institution or organization. Trust implies voluntary vulnerability. Trust means taking risks, often before you have proof of reciprocity.

Trust implies “enlightened self-interest.” Trust is the social lubricant that eliminates friction. Trust is reciprocal: If you trust people, they usually trust you in return. When trust disappears, interactions break down. With one act of deceit, trust can vanish, often forever.

In most cases, trusting others turns out to be a good bet. Trust enables productive teamwork and cooperation. Protocols, procedures and compliance manuals are of little value in the absence of trust, and suspicions, paranoia and cynicism abound. Trust is vital in today’s peer-to-peer economy, with people increasingly sharing such resources as “cars, boats and apartments.”

Trust doesn’t just happen. It depends on active initiation. People must earn trust. Employees in “high-trust” organizations work together...

About the Author

Joel Peterson, chairman of JetBlue, is a consulting professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. New York Times best-selling author David A. Kaplan teaches journalism and law at New York University.

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    R. A. 3 months ago
    Good summary.
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    R. T. 3 years ago
    Valuable read - good principles, clearly laid out. And the earlier commentator is completely right - without trust in business, nothing works.
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    S. S. 8 years ago
    In dealing with customers, I've learned that "trust," or the lack thereof, is the principle defining characteristic that will tell you where the relationship is headed long term. This is a solid effort toward defining what's important if you're to develop and maintain a productive business relationship.