About the Book
Stanford's Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders lecture series has been one of the most valuable learning experiences of my life. I've listened to every lecture of the past ten years (242 of them) and many of them more than once.
I was, and still am, in awe of the people that they had speak. They were of amazing caliber--truly people having an outsized impact on society--and each and every one of them brought something special. While they did offer plenty of actionable advice it was their stories that provided me inspiration to pursue entrepreneurship full time.
While the lectures most often are centered on business it is the lessons about working on something you are truly passionate about that inspired me most. That coupled with the idea that you can only fail if you stop trying is what led to the title of this collection.
I believe that people looking to start a business or people looking to grow their business will take the most out of the quotes included as that was where my mind was at while listening to them. But there is plenty of career and life advice included that anybody can benefit from hearing.
Everybody gets something different from talks which is why I recommend listening to them if you have the opportunity. If you don't have the time then Passion and Perseverance might help you find the lectures that interest you most.
I want to take a moment to thank Stanford University for providing this amazing lecture series on the Internet for all of us to enjoy, the professors that run it and everybody involved in its organization, and the speakers for generously donating their time so that the students of Stanford and all of us in Internet land can learn from them.
The book is broken up into ten sections (one for each year) with one chapter for each lecture. Most chapters are only a page or two long and contain the quotes that stood out most to me. Business topics covered include:
Life topics include:
"If you're not an interested person you're not an interesting person. Be interested in what is going on in the world (not just what is going on around you)." - Carol Bartz (Autodesk)
"The harder I work the luckier I get." - Tina Seelig (Stanford)
"Creativity loves constraint." - Marissa Mayer (Google)
"Culture is the most important part of any organization." - Ken Wilcox (Silicon Valley Bank)
"Try and fail but don't fail to try." - Vinod Khosla (Khosla Ventures)
"Be childlike as often as possible. Be childish as little as you can." - Tom Kelley (IDEO)
"There is no substitute for execution." - Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook)
"Great entrepreneurs don't have better ideas, they have better processes." - Eric Ries (Author)
"Make a dent in the universe." - David Heinemeier Hansson (37 Signals)
"If you're going to invest your life and time it had better be a crusade and not just a job." - William Hagstrom (Crescendo Bioscience)
"Be world class at whatever you do." - Ann Miura-Ko (Floodgate Fund)
"Learn from organizations where there is a constant drumbeat of innovation." - Aaron Levie (Box)
"Expect the unexpected and whenever possible be the unexpected." - Jack Dorsey (Square)
"Your best day is always in front of you." - Mark Forchette (OptiMedica)
"Conduct a premortem so you never conduct a postmortem." - Guy Kawasaki (Author)
"Innovation is the only sustainable competitive advantage any company can have." - David Friedberg (The Climate Corporation)
"Now is the best time in the history of the universe to start a company." - Phil Libin (Evernote)
"Create the life you want to create. You'll be better at creating the products you want to create." - Brad Feld (Foundry Group)
"People want to know you care before they care what you know." - Kristina Johnson (Enduring Energy)
"Destiny is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for. It is a thing to be achieved." - Jeff Church (Nika Water)
"Do what makes your soul sing." - John Lilly (Greylock)
"A-quality people hire other A-quality people and B-quality people hire C-quality people." - Cindy Padnos (Illuminate Ventures)
"You should never let a crisis go to waste." - Nassim Taleb (Author)
"Play the long game." - Sal Khan (Khan Academy)
"Close doors. You can't be one foot in and one foot out." - Linda Rottenberg (Endeavor)
"Vision is what you are not willing to change." - John Collison (Stripe)
"Solve a problem that you can imagine spending the rest of your life working on." - Joshua Reeves (ZenPayroll)
About the Editor
I'm an entrepreneur in the financial technology industry. Having spent over a decade working for others in the industry it is the lectures of the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders series that inspired me to make the jump to entrepreneurship.