This year I picked Steve Jobs as my exemplar since I think he demonstrates the trait I am focusing on learning about, ‘forecasting’ or better predicting what will happen in the future. I write these reviews following a review template to help me get the most out of the process of having an exemplar. Below is my entry for Steve Jobs. What did Steve Jobs achieve? He made the computer personal and helped increased the total addressable market by a few orders of magnitude. Why did he care about that? Jobs really cared about high quality products and he didn’t feel like anyone was making those in the computer space. He also wanted/needed money at various points. He also wanted to spite some people that doubted him or turned against him at various points. He was complicated. How did he think about the world differently than his contemporaries? As a funny
This year I picked Warren Buffett as my exemplar – a person I think demonstrates the trait I am trying to learn about – for 2020, the theme is ‘action economy’ which is a fancy way to say efficiently using your time to achieve your goals. I write these reviews following a review template to help me get the most out of the process of having an exemplar. Below is my entry for Warren Buffett. What did Warren Buffett achieve? Warren Buffett is the most successful investor of all time. He founded an investment fund that achieved a yearly return that consistently beat the overall market for 50+ years. His ownership stake in that fund has made him one of the richest people in the world (in 2008 he took the top spot for one year, the only year where he has held it). Why did he care about that?
This year I picked Nelson Mandela as my exemplar. Today would be Mandela’s 101st birthday (he passed away in 2013) and is internationally recognized as Nelson Mandela day, so I decided it would be an appropriate day to publish my exemplar review. Each year I follow a review template to help me get the most out of the process of having an exemplar. Below is my entry for Nelson Mandela. What did Nelson Mandela achieve? Nelson Mandela was a Nobel Peace Prize winner, the first black president of South Africa and a leader in the movement to transition that country to a true democracy where all people had a vote, regardless of race. He was a lawyer, a revolutionary, the leader of a terrorist organization and a political prisoner for nearly 30 years. His life was just about singularly devoted to ensuring people of all races had equal freedoms in South
This year I picked John Muir as my exemplar. I recently came up with a new review template to help me get the most out of the process of having an exemplar. Below is my entry for this John Muir. What did John Muir achieve? John Muir helped lead the efforts to preserve millions of acres of wilderness land in the United States so that future generations could enjoy them. His is the founder of the Sierra Club, a well published author, responsible for upending the geological theory of how the Yosemite valley formed and is credited as the spiritual father of both the US National Park service and modern conservation efforts. He also managed a very successful orchard and had a great beard. Why did he care about that? Some people pursue goals intentionally or rationally. Others seem to just follow their inner voice – perhaps in a more emotional
My goal in designating yearly exemplars is to be able to learn from other successful individuals. In studying their lives, I hope to be able to identify; thought patterns that shaped their worldview, motivations that drove them, behaviors that helped them succeed, and decisions that proved favorable. I then hope to benefit from that knowledge by applying it to my own life; letting the thoughts hone my own worldview, using their motivations to adjust or magnify mine, experimenting with the behaviors, and creating heuristics based on the patterns of decisions they made. After a few years of doing this with mild results, I felt like I would benefit from a bit more structure. I want the practice of having an exemplar to be more than reading a biography every year. I want it to involve some reflection and some action. Below is my first pass at a template for an exemplar