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The Future of Leadership: Today's Top Leadership Thinkers Speak to Tomorrow's Leaders by Gretchen M. Spreitzer, Warren Bennis, Thomas G. Cummings

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Chapter Fourteen

Just Say Yes!

Tom Peters

My wife, Susan, and I, on short notice, invited her mom, age seventy-four, to come down from New Canaan and join us for a Midtown dinner in late February. She said, “No.” Period. I've known Joan Sargent for a long time. If she's anything, she's self-certain.

When we arrived in town from Vermont, we were therefore nonplussed to find a message from Joan saying, “I'll be arriving at seven.”

We were pleased. (Yes, I have a great relationship with my mother-in-law.) And surprised. We obviously asked her why she'd changed her mind.

Short answer: “I decided to say ‘Yes.’”

Longer answer. She recalled a friend who'd had a vigorous life into her nineties. “She said she had three ‘secrets,’” Joan recalled. “First, ...

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