Steve Jobs's Secret to Greatness: Yogananda

June 21, 2015 - By Prof. Hitendra Wadhwa

The story of the spiritual teacher who was a silent force in the life of the most important entrepreneur of our times.

Steve Jobs planned every detail of his own memorial service, held at Stanford University in October 2011, including the brown box each attendee received as a farewell gift. One of those attendees was Mark Benioff, CEO of, and two years later at a TechCrunch Disrupt conference he recounted his feelings at the moment when he opened the box: "This is going to be good," he recalled. "I knew that this was a decision [Steve] made, and whatever it was, it was the last thing he wanted us all to think about."

The box contained the book "Autobiography of a Yogi" by Paramahansa Yogananda. Benioff continued: "Yogananda…had this book on self-realization…[Steve's] last message to us was that here is Yogananda's book…Actualize yourself.


How George Washington Surrendered his Ambitions and Won Big

February 13, 2015 – By Prof. Hitendra Wadhwa

Great Leaders recognize that they do not have full control of the results they are striving for. 

We have been taught that all great leaders - like George Washington, whose birth we commemorate on President’s Day - have been paragons of ambition. It is the fuel that propels them forward in life and leadership. It is the clay that they mold into purpose and action. We too should seek ambition and practice it. So why would I invite you to cultivate surrender, a quality that is the opposite of ambition? Because when we study a great life like George Washington’s, we find that while ambition brought them to the door of success, it was surrender that provided the key for them to unlock that door...


The Evolution of Great Leaders

December 6, 2013 – By Prof. Hitendra Wadhwa

Despite his flaws, and perhaps because of them, we find there is much more to consider about the late Nelson Mandela's development as a leader.

Nelson Mandela sacrificed the usual trappings of a good life – family, comfort, professional success – to spend 27 years as a prisoner of conscience in his fight against apartheid. He emerged to lead his nation as its president in 1994 and chose to forgive rather than seek revenge for past crimes, helping South Africans build a new social foundation...

The Wrath of a Great Leader 

January 21, 2013 – By Prof. Hitendra Wadhwa

How Martin Luther King, Jr. wrestled with anger and what you can learn from his example.

Average leaders focus on results, and that's it.  Good leaders focus also on the behaviors that will get the results.  And great leaders focus, in addition, on the emotions that will drive these behaviors...

What would Winston Do

May 29, 2012 – By Prof. Hitendra Wadhwa

In 1940, a war-weary Britain was on the verge of capitulation. Here's how Churchill turned it around - and what it means for you. 

In 1940, when Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of Great Britain, the nation was in a state of severe crisis. Not only had its military suffered several setbacks in World War II, but the Prime Minister's war Cabinet, deeply demoralized, was pushing Churchill to reach out to Italy's Benito Mussolini to help orchestrate a truce with Hitler...

How Lincoln Became America's Greatest President

February 12, 2012 – By Prof. Hitendra Wadhwa

It wasn't Abraham Lincoln's strengths but the self-discipline with which he used those strengths for the right purpose.

There is much we can learn by studying Abraham Lincoln's journey from being just another politician to becoming America's greatest president.  (Wikipedia provides a compilation of "Historical rankings of Presidents of the United States" which makes it clear that in the eyes of many experts, and the public, Lincoln has consistently held this status)...

How Heroes Inspire You to be Your Best

January 30, 2012 – By Prof. Hitendra Wadhwa

When you study the lives of great leaders--their actions, thoughts, choices, struggles, failures, and triumphs--it unconsciously motivates you to be your best self every day.

Some time back, I was out with my wife and daughter for a night at the Metropolitan Opera. We were having such a marvelous evening infused with stirring arias, enveloped by the resplendent red carpets of the Met.  At the intermission, we sat down in the Met restaurant for dinner.  I was feeling so pleased with the idea that our daughter, at this tender age of seven, was getting to experience something as grand as this, imagining how she would grow up into someone with such refined sensibilities...

Why We All Need Heroes

January 23, 2012 – By Prof. Hitendra Wadhwa

Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi, Susan B. Anthony, or Nelson Mandela. Pick one, or another great leader from history. It'll give you the courage to dream big--unabashedly--despite the odds.

"You are lucky in life if you have the right heroes.  I advise all of you, to the extent you can, to pick out a few heroes,"—Warren Buffett, Warren Buffett Speaks (2007).

We're all so jaded nowadays by any talk of heroes.  Our icons keep falling from grace, in politics, business, and sports. (At least our comic book heroes seem safe for now.)  Why then, you may ask, is Warren Buffett recommending that you look for heroes to study?