Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of fourteen books. Her newest book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder was published by Crown in March 2014 and debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list.
Since launching in 2005, The Huffington Post has become one of the most widely-read, linked to, and frequently-cited media brands on the Internet. In 2012, the site won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.
Huffington has been named to Time Magazine's list of the world’s 100 most influential people and the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union.
She serves on several boards, including HuffPost’s partners in Spain, the newspaper EL PAÍS and its parent company PRISA; Onex; The Center for Public Integrity; and The Committee to Protect Journalists.
Question: Have you faced a moral dilemma in your career?
Arianna Huffington: I don’t think it’s an ethical or moral dilemma, it’s more about the constant guilt that I deal with being a working mother, being somebody who is really torn on a regular basis about the amount of time my work takes, which I love, and the amount of time that I want to spend with my daughters. It gets easier because my oldest daughter is now in college, but my youngest daughter is still in high school. It’s really a constant juggling act and emotionally I sometimes think that they take the baby out and they put the guilt in. So it is something that every woman I know who has a career and a family is dealing with.
The fact that we want to be great at both and the fact that we so often feel that we are not. So the judgments, the self-judgments, are so draining and I constantly talk about that with my women friends.
Question: Do women have any particular advantages in business?
Arianna Huffington: I think outsiders have advantages in business. I think people who can go beyond the conventional wisdom. People who don’t feel sort of captured by the way things have been done. I was reading, recently, a book called The Innovator's Dilemma and Christensen, the author, writes about how very successful companies often have a really hard time with new technologies, with innovations, because they have been very successful with all old technologies. The whole essence of an innovation is that it changes everything and we see that with newspapers versus new media. It has taken them a long time to recognize that consumer habits change and that technologies have changed the terrain. Now some of them are doing a very good job online, like the New York Times, like the Washington Post, but in the process there was a long delay. Now that the legacy costs are really burdening them with what they are doing.
Recorded on: June 28, 2009. Interviewed by Paul Hoffman.