These Golden Rules for ...


Our daily online feeds deliver tips on everything from losing weight to creating a koi pond in your bathtub. Like most, I tend to tune these out.

But a Bloomberg story on Richard Jenrette, an investment banker who passed away in April and his beliefs on how to succeed in business and live a happy life caught my attention.

An investment banker with a heart? This I had to read.

If you missed the Bloomberg story, here’s Mr. Jenrette’s wisdom with streaks of common sense that we often lose sight of. Naturally, I’ve chimed in from the peanut gallery.



1.  Stay in the game. That’s often all you need to do — don’t quit. Stick around! Don’t be a quitter!

Commentary: Those four words, “Stay in the game” explain why the Agency continues to chug along 30-plus years after starting.


2.  Don’t burn bridges (behind you).

Commentary: I’ve noticed that burning bridges in front of you also doesn’t work so well.


3.  Remember — Life has no blessing like a good friend!

  • You can’t get enough of them
  • Don’t leave old friends behind — you may need them

Commentary: Heather and I went to San Francisco a few weeks to see four buddies from college that I haven’t seen in 20-plus years. I agree. Good friends are a blessing.


4.  Try to be nice and say “thank you” a lot!

Commentary: Nice gets a bum rap, particularly in Silicon Valley where people often think there’s a correlation between channeling Steve Jobs and success.


5.  Stay informed/KEEP LEARNING!

Commentary: Love this one. And if you don’t embrace it, prepare to become a dinosaur.


6. Study — Stay Educated. Do Your Home Work!! Keep learning!

Commentary: Which correlates to “I’ve seen the enemy. Its name is status quo.”


7. Cultivate friends of all ages — especially younger.

Commentary: How else would I have discovered the Wallflowers?


8. Run Scared — over-prepare.

Commentary: Nothing tunes the senses like the possibility of being crushed.


9. Be proud — no Uriah Heep for you! But not conceited. Know your own worth.

Commentary: Yep.


10. Plan ahead, but be prepared to allow when opportunity presents itself.

Commentary: The key lies in the second part. Opportunities present themselves to everyone. Capitalizing requires that you a) see the opportunity and b) have the guts to take action.


11. Turn Problems into Opportunities. Very often it can be done. Problems create opportunities for change — people willing to consider change when there are problems.

Commentary: Requires a certain calmness — brings clarity of thought — to turn a problem into an opportunity.


12. Present yourself well. Clean, clean-shaven, dress “classically” to age. Beware style, trends. Look for charm. Good grammar. Don’t swear so much — it’s not cute.

Commentary: This one is flawed. While I’m all for cleanliness, I also believe I can present myself well without being clean shaven (obviously). But I don’t have any tattoos and rarely swear in a business setting.


13. But be open to change — don’t be stuck in mud. Be willing to consider what’s new, but don’t blindly follow it. USE YOUR HEAD — COMMON SENSE.

Commentary: Human nature resists change. The older people get, the greater the resistance. That’s why as folks get deeper in their careers, it helps to consciously push for change.


14. Have some fun — but not all the time!

Commentary: We can take work seriously without taking ourselves so seriously.


15. Be on the side of the Angels. Wear the White Hat.

Commentary; Not quite sure what this one means. I don’t wear hats, but if I do go down the road, I’m shopping for one of the white ones.


16. Have a fallback position. Heir and the spare. Don’t leave all your money in one place.

Commentary: Actually, thinking through a Plan C and a Plan D can be useful.


17. Learn a foreign language.

Commentary: Sixteen years of Spanish and all I have to show for it is a few phrases, “Donde esta la biblioteca?”


18. Travel a lot — around the world, if possible.

Commentary: What barbells are to the biceps, that’s how I view travel impacting the mind.


19. Don’t criticize someone in front of others.

Commentary: Amen.


20. Don’t forget to praise a job well done (but don’t praise a poor job).

Commentary: I appreciate the reminder knowing this is a weakness.


21. I don’t like to lose — but don’t be a poor loser if you do.

Commentary: I try.


22. It helps to have someone to love who loves you (not just sex).

Commentary: Unconditionally.


23. Keep your standards high in all you do.

Commentary: Your first shortcut is never your last shortcut.


24. Look for the big picture, but don’t forget the small details.

Commentary: Act on the big picture, not the small details.



If you have ideas to extend the list beyond the 24 passages, by all means send them my way via a posted comment or tweet.


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