Inspired by Mandela Day, and this quote from Marcus Aurelius; “Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one”, I’m sharing seven influential leaders who I consider to be good men. Here’s the list.
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett recently took another step forward in his decision to give away his fortune. The billionaire (who bought his first stock at seven years old) donated approximately $3.17 billion of Berkshire Hathaway stock to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and another four charities. This is his 12th annual donation to the group of charities. Quite a legacy indeed and he’s just getting started.
“We are the change that we seek.” Barack Obama
TIME History had experts analyze Barack Obama’s legacy and what US Presidential Historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin said, summed it up for us: “In the near-term, he brought stability to the economy, to the job market, to the housing market, to the auto industry and to the banks. That’s what he’s handing over: an economy that is in far better form than it was when he took over. And you can also say he’ll be remembered for his dignity, grace, and the lack of scandal.” In addition to those things I admire him for the way he treats his family with obvious love and respect.
“Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me.” Steve Jobs
There’s no doubt Steve Jobs was a complex man, but I think that with radical innovation now a daily occurrence we may tend to forget how incredible his vision was. For an interesting take on how to see him in terms of charitable works, read HBR’s Steve Jobs, World’s Greatest Philanthropist, which in summary says: “What a loss to humanity it would have been if Jobs had dedicated the last 25 years of his life to figuring out how to give his billions away, instead of doing what he does best.”
“I don’t recommend it to everyone, because it’s high risk.” Koos Bekker, on not drawing a salary, bonus or benefits during his 17 years as CEO of Naspers.
Koos Bekker is respected as a future-forward executive who revolutionised South African newspaper publisher Naspers into a global digital media conglomerate. While he was CEO, the market capitalisation of Naspers grew from about $1,2 billion to $45 billion, with Bekker being compensated by stock over time. He’s now owns Babylonstoren Estate in the Western Cape, which is so exquisite it’s almost as impressive as his other business achievements.
“I think it matters whether someone has a good heart.” Elon Musk
Earlier this year, Elon Musk launched a tunnel boring business called The Boring Company and Neuralink, a company working on neural lace technology that would allow computers to merge with human brains. He is truly a man of the future.
In addition to his latest vision, he also co-founded PayPal, leads SpaceX and runs Tesla, the electric car company which will see vehicles gas-emission free in the future. By using his wealth to push innovation, Musk is changing how we interact with the world and the universe. Oh, and of course, he was born in Pretoria.
“I am not willing to let the market-place determine the future of the animal kingdom.” Charlie Rose
From Charles Manson to Jimmy Carter to Bashar al-Assad, who hasn’t the Emmy Award winning Charlie Rose interviewed? Starting at PBS in 1974, he went on to host an interview show which has been distributed nationally by PBS since 1993. Since 2012 has also been an anchor on CBS This Morning.
This iconic man, with his unique style, has spent 40 years putting people in the spotlight. In doing so, Rose has often become the spotlight himself. I respect him for it and have learned a lot from him.
“I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people. Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands.” Nelson Mandela, on the day of his release, 11 February 1990
There are so many great words uttered by Nelson Mandela but I think this is my favourite – the magnanimity and selflessness of saying, “I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands,” is just enormous. Madiba was a freedom fighter, prisoner, peacemaker, statesman, philanthropist and elder who will always be globally revered. I was fortunate to live in his lifetime and was blessed to learn valuable life-lessons from a remarkable man.
Sheila McGillivray, Tribe Leader
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