Forbes is famous for lists. The 400 Wealthiest People, the 2,000 Leading Companies, 30 Under 30. To celebrate Forbes centennial, the magazine has compiled a list of the 100 Greatest Business Minds. Now, greatest is a relative term and everyone defines success and being a tremendous business person in a different way. However, you would be hard pressed to find someone who can say this list is not impressive.
I get great motivation from those who have been abnormally successful. It is fascinating to observe their principles and mindsets to determine what makes them different and what has led them to be on the forefront of business.
In the 100 Greatest Business Minds, everyone on the list speaks to a specific topic. Below are the recipients and a quote from their topic. I hope this provides condensed motivation to you as it does to me.
Sheryl Sandberg. COO of Facebook on empathy. "Employees are better people when we stop trying to be two people and bring our whole selves to work."
Yuri Milner. Investor on challenges. "My father told me if I wanted to learn about business, I had to start looking beyond my horizon."
Hamdi Ulukaya. Founder of Chobani on action. "There's something magical in the movement, in the action...so don't sit around waiting-- act."
Michael Milken. Bond financier on change. "Both issues (of Forbes) really made me think about how financial structure changed over time and how leading companies changed...understanding how change occurs is key."
Craig Venter. Founder of Celera Genomics on experimentation. "Ideas are a dime a dozen. What makes the difference is the execution of the idea."
Bernard Arnault. Founder of LVMH on flexibility. "When you start something today, you usually have to start it all over the world to be successful."
Arthur Blank. Co-founder Home Depot, owner of the Atlanta Falcons on humility. "Too many businesspeople have big egos and aren't willing to ask (for other's opinions.)"
Giorgio Armani. Founder of Armani on ideation. "I always try to maintain a sense of reality and ensure that I surround myself with the right people."
Lee Shau Kee. Real Estate Investor on mentors. "Explore what's best in others and follow."
Oprah Winfrey. Founder of the Oprah Winfrey Network on listening. "'What am I going to talk to Nelson Mandela about?' 'Why don't you try listening?'"
Russell Simmons. Rap mogul on mentors. "If you're present and awake, you become this great thinker, this great worker. You become a fine tuned machine."
Diane Von Furtstenberg. Founder and designer of Diane Von Furstenberg on mentors. "Confidence in what you do is crucial, but that does not mean being delusional. You must always face the truth and combat obstacles as they appear."
Donald Trump. President of the United States and owner of the Trump Organization on mettle. "You have to enjoy coming in to work each day and going to battle for what you believe in."
Jack Dorsey. Founder of Twitter on mistakes. "My biggest mistake was thinking I shouldn't show my mistakes."
Michael Eisner. Former CEO of Disney on mistakes. "Infoseek shouldn't do advertised search because it wasn't the 'Disney way.' That was probably a $200 billion dollar mistake."
Jack Welch. Former CEO of GE on mistakes. "I learned to never kick someone when they're down. Everyone makes mistakes, and some are real whoppers...that makes them whopping opportunities, too."
Patrice Motsepe. Chairman of African Rainbow Materials on motivation. "We ran our business differently...we paid our workers based on profitability, with bonuses and aspirational targets."
Mark Zuckerberg. Co-founder of Facebook on motivation. "It's not enough to have purpose yourself. You have to create a sense of purpose for others."
Meg Whitman. CEO of Hewlett Packard on nobility. "As we advance in our career, there is this belief that winning at all costs is winning nonetheless. I never bought into that myth. I respect ambition, but not ruthless ambition."
Tim Berners-Lee. Inventor of the World Wide Web on openness. "The open Web, like all markets, demands rules to ensure it stays fair and competitive."
Jerry Jones. Oil tycoon and owner of the Dallas Cowboys on operating lean. "You can do a lot of things with fewer people if you are willing to take a lot of risk."
Shahid Khan. Owner of Flex-N-Gate and the Jacksonville Jaguars on opportunity. "I realized this was the land of opportunity and I could control my own fate...I had discovered the American Dream."
Paul McCartney. Member of the Beatles on ownership. "Own your work."
Henry Kravis. Cofounder of KKR on partners. "If you have the same values and are focused on the same goals, which is to build a firm that will be here long after we have retired, you can go a long way."
Jeffrey Skoll. President and pioneer of eBay on problem solving. "Having clean, inexpensive, sufficient energy that's not controlled in some government's hands or some big business' hands helps solve a couple of the giant threats coming down the pike."
James Patterson. Businessman and American Author on productivity. "Don't take 'no' when your gut tells you 'yes.'"
Li Ka-Shing. Chairman CK Hutchison and Cheun Kong Property on prudence. "I am a strong believer in advancing with cautious deliberation."
Robert Smith. Founder of Vista Equity Partners on purpose. "Whatever drives us, we all derive happiness from finding purpose. At this age of intellectual capital, where brainpower is the most valued currency, the opportunity to find purpose has never been greater."
Louis Gerstner, Jr. Former Chairman and CEO of IBM on quickness. "When the decision is finally made, I've found my reaction is always the same: I should have done this a long time ago!"
Sheldon Adelson. Founder of Las Vegas Sands Corporation and reimagining. "You don't always have to be the guy that comes up with a new idea from scratch. If you take an old concept and put a spin on it, success will follow you like a shadow."
Jack Bogle. Founder of Vanguard on reinvention. "When a door closes, if you look long enough and hard enough, if you're strong enough, you'll find a window that opens."
John Doerr. Venture Capitalist on relevance. "Here's how I stay relevant: I read. I listen. I try to surround myself with smart people of all ages and backgrounds."
Jeff Koons. Artist on relevance. "People assume they are most creative at a certain age. But if you look at truly great artists, they always get better."
Bernard Marcus. Co-founder of Home Depot on relevance. "Age is just a number. By the end of the day, I've learned something that shows how dumb I was yesterday."
Ratan Tata. Chairman of Tata Motors on relevance. "Be passionate in areas relevant to you. I have tried not to express a view on matter which I am not fully involved."
Vinod Khosla. Co-founder of Sun Microsystems on reputation. "I explicitly don't build or guard my reputation. I believe in telling it like it is and not worrying about it."
Jacqueline Novogratz. Founder of Acumen Fund on reputation. "Don't worry about reputation but about character. When you are known for that, you don't have to worry about guarding your reputation-- others will do it for you."
Miuccia Prada. Co-CEO of Prada on reputation. "You have to challenge yourself to think every day to understand and react to what is happening."
Carlos Slim Helu. Investor on reputation. "At the end we leave with nothing. So do the right thing by your customers, your employees, your backers."
David Geffen. Founder of Asylum Records and co-founder of DreamWorks on responsibility. "I learned never to do anything you're not passionate about."
Sandy Weill. Former CEO of Citigroup on retiring smart. "I stress the importance of having another life outside business."
Bill Gates. Cofounder of Microsoft on revolution. "The potential for these advances is thrilling-- they could save and improve the lives of millions-- but they're not inevitable."
Richard Brandson. Founder of the Virgin Group on risk. "We sometimes fall flat on our face. But people don't mind people who try things and fail."
Stephen Schwarzman. Co-founder of Blackstone on risk management. "Nobody's job was to say, 'I think it's wonderful.'"
Michael Bloomberg. Founder of Bloomberg on risk/reward. "The biggest management failures in both business and government are not missed targets but missed opportunities."
Barry Diller. Founder of IAC on self-destiny. "Don't think of a specific job, so to speak, or a specific career, like 'I'd like to be this' or 'I'd like to be that.'"
Steve Wynn. Founder of Wynn Resorts on self-esteem. "You need to have a culture instead of a payroll."
Muhammad Yunus. Founder of Grameen Bank and Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize on selflessness. "Capitalism has been interpreted to be based on greed. But while humans are selfish, they're also selfless."
Ronald Perelman. Investor on speed. "The world is changing so fast that you cannot bask in any sort of passivity, because it doesn't exist anymore."
Terry Gou. Founder of Foxconn on stages. "The first 20 years of my career, I worked hard to make money...the second 20 years of my career, I worked for my ideals...in the next 20 years, I will work for issues that are my passion."
Shonda Rhimes. Producer on storytelling. "Storytelling remains basic: it's just a campfire, the human connection that says you're not alone."
John Paul Dejoria. Co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems and Patron on the golden rule. "Treat and pay your staff exactly the way you'd want to be treated if you were in their place."
Jeff Bezos. Founder of Amazon on transparency. "Rather than inferior products shouting louder, we have sort of a product meritocracy."
Berry Gordy, Jr. Founder of Motown Records on unity. "If you do the right thing, the right thing will come to you."
Eli Broad. Founder of KB Home and Sunamerica on unreasonableness. "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world, the unreasonable doesn't; therefore all progress comes from unreasonable people."
Rupert Murdoch. Chairman of News Corp on urgency. "The urgency, daily drive, that constant selff-questioning integral in editing a paper, the ceaseless curiosity are what I have stood for every day in my career."
Jim Collins. Author on usefulness. "'You spend a lot of energy on the question of how to be successful. But that is the wrong question! The question, is how to be useful.'"
Charles Koch. CEO of Koch Industries on values. "When hiring, if forced to choose between virtue and talent, choose virtue. Talented people with bad values do far more damage than virtuous people with lesser talents."
Charles Schwab. Founder of Charles Schwab on values. "our success has covered our mistakes, and we had begun to lose our compass."
Tadashi Yanai. Founder of Fast Retailing on values. "I try to practice what is known as Shin Zen Bi, which translates to Truth, Goodness, Beauty."
Ted Turner. Television network founder on wisdom. "We couldn't have been a more unlikely pair-- a privileged white kid and a grown black man. I don't think I would be the person I am today if it weren't for him."
Dhanin Chearavanont. Senior Chairman of CP Group on youth. "Successful people are both innovators and disruptors."
Brian Chesky. Co-founder of Airbnb on zig-zagging. "I think you must always live and think like a child. Or have that childlike curiosity and wonder."
Sam Zell. Founder of Equity International on zig-zagging. "There are many times in my life when I would have liked to follow the herd. Instead, I have always followed my gut-- and sometimes it's been really lonely...Conventional wisdom always leads to mediocrity."
Bono. Lead singer of U2 on advocacy. "Capitalism is not immoral, but it is amoral. And it requires our instruction."
Marc Benioff. Founder of Salesforce on artificial intelligence. "That idea of the beginner's mind is the core to innovation."
Michael Dell. Founder of Dell Technologies on artificial intelligence. "The Computer Age is just beginning...Companies will succeed and fail based on their ability to translate data."
Masayoshi Son. Founder of Softbank on artificial intelligence. "Every morning I wake up and ask, where am I? I don't know where I am because I am jumping around the world, but I don't want to go to sleep. It's thrilling."
Martha Stewart. Founder of Martha Stewart brands on authenticity. "There is no room for sloppiness, inaccuracy or omission when you're trying to build a relationship with a customer base."
Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi. Founder of Thai Beverage on balance. "Health is your own; money belongs to others; power is temporary; and reputation is eternal."
Howard Schultz. Chairman of Starbucks on benefits. "I'm still trying to build the company my father never has a chance to work for...he had no loyalty to any employer because they showed no loyalty to him."
T. Boone Pickens. Oil tycoon and hedge fund manager on bullishness. "When you're in the oil business like I've been my whole life, you drill your fair share of dry holes, but you never lose your optimism. Be the eternal optimist to see what the next decade will bring."
Steve Case. Co-founder of AOL on cities. "When Detroit was an automobile powerhouse and Pittsburgh was the steel city, Silicon Valley was just fruit orchards."
Daniel Gilbert. Founder of Quicken Loans and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers on civic mindedness. "I have never seen anybody create a whole lot of wealth by chasing money."
Leonardo del Vecchio. Founder of Luxottica on clarity. "I prefer to match words with deeds or let the facts speak for me."
Eric Schmidt. Former CEO of Novell and Google on coaching. "I was far along in my career; I didn't need a coach. I could be a coach. Of course, I was wrong about that. I actually needed the coach."
Ray Dalio. Founder of Bridgewater Associates on collectivity. "The computer thinks parallel to me. I can make much better decisions than I could make alone."
Martine Rothblatt. Founder of Sirius and United Therapeutics on connectivity. "Anything worthwhile in life requires teamwork, and you cannot manage what you don't understand."
Carl Icahn. Founder of Icahn Enterprises on contrarianism. "Sometimes the best way to make money is when most people say you are wrong and nuts."
Les Wexner. CEO of L Brands on curiosity. "Here I had come for wisdom, and he just tells me to be curious."
Sean Combs. Rap Mogul on customer service. "I began my business career at 12 delivering papers. I had a lot of elderly customers, so I would always put the newspaper in between the screen door and the door-- that caring made me different, made me better."
Billy Beane. Vice President of the Oakland A's on data. "Every business is a living documentation, an algorithm that needs to be improved."
Frank Gehry. Architect on details. "No matter how small a project you work on, put your heart and soul and sense of responsibility into it."
Sara Blakely. Founder of Spanx on due diligence. "Early stage entrepreneurs shouldn't forget about that layer (of due diligence.)"
Lakshmi Mittal. CEO of Arcelormittal on flexibility. "Every industry today has to fight complacency."
Julian Robertson, Jr. Founder of Tiger Management on flexibility. "If I were starting out now, I would look at what the competition is like in various fields-- and then consider some that aren't so popular."
Elon Musk. Co-founder of Tesla, SpaceX, PayPal on foresight. "With AI we may be summoning the demon and could create an existential risk to humanity. Can we get ahead of it?"
Fred Smith. Founder of FedEx on gambles. "Sometimes it pays to be a little crazy early in your career."
David Rubenstein. Co-founder of the Carlyle Group on happiness. "Personal happiness came about much more from giving away my money than from earning it."
Paul Allen. Co-founder of Microsoft and owner of the Seattle Seahawks on health care. "In maybe 20 or 30 years, we will use things like stem cells to change disease."
Morris Chang. Founder of Taiwan Semiconductor on honesty. "Integrity means honesty and willingness to fulfill a promise, even at a high cost."
Bill Marriott, Jr. Chairman of Marriott International on humanity. "The four most important words in business are 'what do you think?'"
Philip Anschutz. Drilling tycoon on industry shifts. "Get in the habit of being curious and developing a willingness to accept the concept of risk."
H. Ross Perot, Jr. Founder of Perot Systems on jumping. "'The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.' That wasn't for me."
Larry Gagosian. Art Dealer on keeping 'em honest. "'I don't want them to think that money comes that easily.'"
Neil Shen. Venture Capitalist on learning. "I do not think we will be replaced by AI. This business oftentimes is more like art than science."
Sean Parker. Co-founder of Napster on innovation. "Inventing the future starts with intellectual curiosity-- along with a healthy dose of skepticism."
Guy Laliberte. Co-founder of Cirque Du Soleil on intuition. "I lived in the streets for almost 10 years...you have a fraction of a second to evaluate, when you first meet somebody, whether they might stab you or become your friend."
Warren Buffet. CEO of Berkshire Hathaway on investing. "When I was 7 or 8 years old, I was lucky that I found a subject that really interested me-- investing. I read every book on that topic in the Omaha Public Library by the time I was 11."
Peter Lynch. Portfolio Manager at Magellan Fund on investing. "Selling your winners and holding your losers is like cutting flowers and watering the weeds."