The Virtue of Fearlessness

Journalist and Author

Adam Bryant, deputy national editor of The New York Times, oversees coverage of education issues, military affairs, law, and works with reporters in many of the Times' domestic bureaus.

He also conducts interviews with CEOs and other leaders for Corner Office, a weekly feature in the Sunday Business section and on that he started in March 2009.

Adam has been editing at The Times since May 2006, and was a business reporter at the paper through the 1990s, when he covered a number of beats, including airlines, aviation safety, executive pay and corporate governance. From 1999 to 2006, he worked at Newsweek magazine as a senior writer and then as business editor. Before moving to the national desk in 2010, he was deputy business editor. Adam was the lead editor of a series on the dangers of distracted driving that won a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting.

  • Transcript


Fearlessness is about risk taking.  Keep it in the back of your mind that this is what separates people as they move up.

If you work at a company and things might be going fine.  It looks okay.  It seems to be working.  People who are fearless and the CEOs I interviewed have almost a reverence in their voice for people who are fearless.  They will go to them and say I know things are fine, they’re working fine, they’ve been working fine for awhile, but they could be a lot better and we need to break it, we may need to turn it inside out and upside down, but it will be better as a result for it.  

There are so many people in companies today, I think, that say give me my job, tell me what I need to do.  CEOs love people who say I've been looking at this thing and studying it and I actually think it can be a lot better.  Now we’re going to have to shake some things up.  That will really make you stand out.