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The Art of Being Unreasonable: Lessons in Unconventional Thinking by Eli Broad

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Chapter 18

It’s Better to Be Respected Than Loved

I’m not the most popular person in Los Angeles.

When you’re unreasonable, even for a good cause, you inevitably rub people the wrong way. People also tend to mistake focus for brusqueness. When you really believe that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, it’s hard to zigzag for the sort of small talk or conventional gestures that soothe egos. As you’ll recall from earlier chapters, I’ve always thought that was a waste of time. I’m never uninterested in other people’s ideas or contributions, but frankly I am relatively indifferent to their opinion of me.

Not caring what people think of you is a difficult quality to cultivate, but if you do, there is much you can accomplish. You just have to understand that being respected is more important than being loved. Respect is also easier to obtain. You only have to hold yourself to high standards, treat people fairly, and get things done.

And trust me, nothing patches over bruised egos and imagined slights like success. When your unreasonable focus accomplishes something, suddenly everyone is glad to be around you and eager for a share of the credit. Be as generous with credit as you are tight-fisted with your time. It doesn’t cost you anything and leaves people eager for future collaborations.

Disagreement Is Healthy—Learn How to Distinguish It from Dissent

Whether you’re running a business or leading a community initiative, it’s important that you and your employees ...

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