Leadership Lessons from Fortune’s 40 Under 40

Alan Murray, editor of Fortune Magazine, recently wrote a column about his favorite issue of Fortune, the 40 Under 40 issue. This issue identifies 40 people under 40 years old who are making a difference in their companies, organizations, or the world. Murray, in summarizing what we can learn from the 40 Under 40, identified these common themes and life lessons:

  1. They think big. “This is a group with high ambitions, and they are willing to take big risks to achieve them,” writes Murray.
  2. The focus is on purpose rather than financial success or power. This group wants to positively impact the world, and that is what drives them to work hard.
  3. Most have failed. But they didn’t let failure defeat them. They came away from failure determined, strong, and resilient. They learned from failure, and these lessons helped them to succeed.
  4. The last thing that stood out for Murray was this piece of advice, “Have breakfast with Dad.” This is a reminder to think about your actions. One of the 40 Under 40 told a story about how as a teenager, if Dad says he wants to go to breakfast at 8:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning you probably say you would rather sleep in. But as you get older, that breakfast with Dad becomes more special, more meaningful. So think about your actions, even with the seemingly little decisions. Have breakfast with Dad when you get the chance.

This summary from Fortune’s 40 Under 40 is also great advice for us as leaders. If we think big, focus on our organization’s purpose, learn from our failures, and think carefully about our actions, we will be more effective leaders. And as more effective leaders, we can lead our teams to great success.

Thanks for reading,


P.S. – Please share my blog with others who are passionate about leadership. And follow me on Twitter @jvearle.


2 thoughts on “Leadership Lessons from Fortune’s 40 Under 40

  1. Jim, absolutely did this with my dad and still today!! It is true that how important it is to relish in the guidance and strength of your parents. We went one ‘step’ further and always walked as he truly enjoyed the ‘walking & talking’ perspective. Plus we got a little excersize on a Saturday or Sunday morning! !
    Thank you, as always, for posting!

    • Mark, thanks for sharing this story. It’s good that you realized the value of these walks and talks. Many don’t appreciate it until it’s too late.
      Thanks for reading and for your genuine comment.

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