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What CEOs can learn from Paul Newman

November 06 2008 | Jim's Blog,
by Jim

Celebrity, by itself, doesn't impress me.

Volunteerism and people who lend a hand, on the other hand, impress me to no end.

This said, I am intrigued by celebrities. I tend to quickly move past what they are known for and look at what they are doing with the currency afforded them by their fame. When I say currency, I mean access... I mean applied power. Bono comes to mind as he's spending his currency on Africa.

WSJ did a nice, pithy piece on Paul Newman's impact (link below). And while I'm a fan of his cinema work which rises to the top film after film... for me what really matters about Paul Newman was captured in this piece.

For me, his legacy will be his ideas.

To put it another way, I don't look up to Paul Newman because he played Cool Hand Luke like no one else could. I look up to him because of his legacy of philanthropy, his Newman's Own brand which gave all proceeds after taxes to charity and for his co-founding of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy.

"History will certainly remember Paul Newman as an icon of modern cinema. But he was far more than just an actor. Paul was a gentleman in the truest sense of the word who embodied the American ideals of extraordinary integrity, a tireless work ethic, a commitment to family, and a deep sense of responsibility to the people who made his success possible." more

photo: mikki ansin
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