David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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Preparing to Lead Newark

Cory Booker: First of all, I studied cities academically before I got into politics, but more importantly when we took that beating in 2002 and narrowly lost this bruising election, I immediately clicked in my mind, in my runs around the city of Newark that, “okay, we narrowly lost that time, but there's nothing gonna stop us now.” And with that conclusion I did something risky; I went out and raised money, not only for a nonprofit that I started, but I also was talking to people. I said “I want to just do a study of cities around America and look at best practices and hardest lessons learned.”

And we started a company called the Institute for Urban Excellence, and I hired a guy, a Harvard MBA who became a phenomenal friend, and I said, “Let’s start looking at these models and these theories that you mentioned about who is doing what well and start looking at Bloomberg’s Parks Program, which was really phenomenal; the activity based costing that Goldsmiths introduced in Indianapolis; City Stat that they introduced in Baltimore.

We just start finding great things that different cities were doing and talking to great gurus like Michael Porter who is at the ICIC, institute for the initiative for competitive cities and just starting piecing together a vision, statement and our vision plan, vision and a plan for the city of Newark. 

So when we hit the ground, and we actually did win the next election by landslide, we actually were ready to go and start saying, “Okay, now, we liked City Stat so much, let start a performance-based model of governance; we liked what they were doing in this city, let’s try to employ that.” And we also studied our own city deep enough to know what were our competitive advantages as a city, what were our assets that were under-utilized, what were the low hanging fruits that we could get really quick, what were the deeper problems that we had to attack soon, what were the areas we need to raise our hand and say "help" and get McKinsey to come in, Boston Consulting Group, and a lot of other people that helped us pro bono in the very beginning.

Leaders shouldn't be afraid to look to past successes for inspiration. Before being elected, Booker did a comprehensive study of successful programs around the country, which he then implemented in his hometown.

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