George Anders

Speech Topics

What strengths can take you the farthest in our digital economy? Drawing on three years of research for his new book, “You Can Do Anything,” bestselling author George Anders explains why creativity, curiosity and empathy are more essential than ever. Regardless of whether your focus is on sales, marketing, finance or general management, it’s the human touch that keeps our careers and our companies vibrant. This talk connects new economic trends with inspiring stories about early-career strivers who create their own luck. The talk will widen your horizons about the strategic opportunities that lie ahead; it will inspire you to make the most of talents we seldom mention on our resumes. You will come away with a better sense of technology’s potential and its gaps. You will be ready to thrive in a future that’s always changing but always in need of what you do best.

This talk distills the key findings from George’s book, The Rare Find, into a series of principles that can help leaders in any field sort out their people puzzles more effectively. Key examples come from entities as diverse as Google, Johns Hopkins Medicine and Army Special Forces. You will see how seven traits – resilience, efficiency, judgment, compatibility, self-reliance, acumen and desire to learn – repeatedly emerge as the most valuable markers of future success. You will find out why less successful organizations place too much emphasis on traditional resume badges that have dwindling significance in our fast-changing economy. And you will explore the types of situations where “jagged resume” candidates can end up being some of your best hires.

How can your organization get better at inventing the future – instead of just reacting to it? How can you transform your product pipeline and your business culture so that new ideas thrive? This talk spells out four powerful ways that mainstream companies can adopt the best of Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial methods. You will learn how to develop customer-centered goals, how to make disruption appealing, how to experiment safely, and how to hire for transformation.

The rise of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and the like is both a blessing and a curse. It’s never been so easy to pool insights, expertise and data. We’ve also never had to deal with so much clutter before. This talk explains how to harness social media’s strengths – particularly in identifying and managing talent – without being overwhelmed by the perils of hyper-connectivity. I will show you how to analyze your own “social graph,” so you can pinpoint valuable connections that you may not even realize. Join me for a survey of best current practices – and a look into the ways that social networking will transform talent-spotting even further in the next five years.


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George Anders is a New York Times-bestselling author and a journalist with three decades of experience writing for national publications. He started his career at The Wall Street Journal, where he became a top feature writer specializing in in-depth profiles. He was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1997 for national reporting. He also has served as West Coast bureau chief for Fast Company magazine and as a founding member of the Bloomberg View board of editors. His work has appeared in leading publications worldwide, including The New York Times, BusinessWeek, The Guardian and the Harvard Business Review. In January 2012, he joined Forbes as a contributing writer.

George is the author of The Rare Find: Spotting Exceptional Talent Before Anyone Else (2011), as well as three previous nonfiction books. The first, Merchants of Debt: KKR and the Mortgaging of American Business (1992), was chosen as one of the eight best books of the year by BusinessWeek magazine. It has been translated into Spanish, Japanese, and Indonesian, with a Chinese edition due to appear at year-end 2012. His second book, Health Against Wealth: HMOs and the Breakdown of Medical Trust (1996) was hailed by the Journal of the American Medical Association as “a must-read.” His third book, Perfect Enough: Carly Fiorina and the Reinvention of Hewlett-Packard (2003), was a New York Times bestseller. That book has been translated into Chinese, Korean and Japanese.

A graduate of Stanford University, George lives in northern California.


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