Eleanor Roosevelt


  • "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself." – Eleanor Roosevelt

In honour of both Ms. Roosevelt’s birthday and the US Vice Presidential Debates tonight, I have a bit of a debate on the best way to fail. It comes from a piece, ‘Eleanor Roosevelt vs. Randy Komisar on Failure’ by leadership authority Bob Sutton…

  • “We all learn a lot from watching others not just from our own actions.  Robert Townsend provides (as usual) an amusing and compelling example, arguing in Up the Organization that his 15 years at American Express taught him how not to run a company. A different perspective comes from Randy Komisar.  Randy has had quite a career, starting as a lawyer, then in various executive roles at places like Claris, GO, and Lucas Entertainment…He is now a partner at Kleiner Perkins, and Randy does other interesting things such as writing the best-selling Monk and the Riddle and teaching entrepreneurship at Stanford…Toward the end of the interview, Tina Seelig, STVP’s Executive Director asked Randy about the value of learning for others’ failures, and Randy’s response was that yes, you can learn from others, but  ‘the only way to really, really get your money’s worth, is to do it yourself’ because ‘nothing else creates that hollow feeling in your stomach.’ Randy wasn’t really disagreeing with Eleanor Roosevelt, but the question of what is the best teacher, and when each is the best teacher, is interesting from both research and practical perspectives.”