Anecdotes 1: Google Doc Dump

A collection of my favorite anecdotes which I had previously been collected in a Google Doc but will now keep here on my blog. Enjoy!

Picasso and Woman –

Legend has it that Pablo Picasso was sketching in the park when a bold woman approached him.

“It’s you — Picasso, the great artist! Oh, you must sketch my portrait! I insist.”

So Picasso agreed to sketch her. After studying her for a moment, he used a single pencil stroke to create her portrait. He handed the women his work of art.

“It’s perfect!” she gushed. “You managed to capture my essence with one stroke, in one moment. Thank you! How much do I owe you?”

“Five thousand dollars,” the artist replied.

“But, what?” the woman sputtered. “How could you want so much money for this picture? It only took you a second to draw it!”

To which Picasso responded, “Madame, it took me my entire life.”

Lyndon Johnson and De Gaulle –

In 1966 upon being told that President Charles DeGaulle had taken France out of NATO and that all U.S. troops must be evacuated off of French soil, President Lyndon Johnson mentioned to Secretary of State Dean Rusk that he should ask DeGaulle about the Americans buried in France.

Charles Schwab CEO –

Before every new hire, Bettinger takes candidates out for a breakfast interview. But what the potential employees don’t know is that every time, Bettinger shows up early and asks the restaurant to purposefully mess up the order in exchange for a handsome tip. His “wrong order” test is meant to gauge how prospective hires deal with adversity.

“Are they upset, are they frustrated, or are they understanding? Life is like that, and business is like that,” he said.

“It’s just another way to look inside their heart rather than their head,” he explained.

What are the other ways? Before offering candidates a position at the brokerage and banking company, Bettinger asks them to tell him about their greatest successes in life.

In the same interview, Bettinger shared one of his biggest failures. He said that it was one of his last college exams, which ruined his pristine 4.0 average, that taught him how important it was to recognize individuals “who do the real work.”

After spending hours studying and memorizing formulas for calculations, young Bettinger showed up to find that the exam was nothing but a blank sheet of paper.

“The professor said, ‘I’ve taught you everything I can teach you about business in the last 10 weeks,” he recalled. “But the most important message, the most important question, is this: What’s the name of the lady who cleans this building?”

Bettinger had no idea. He failed the exam and got a B in the class.

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