If you’ve ever wondered what Yahoo C.E.O. Marissa Mayer and Zappos founder Tony Hsieh have in common, you’ll find that out—as well as some never-before-revealed insights about 31 other high-profile business leaders—in “Zoom: Surprising Ways to Supercharge Your Career.”
Since our focus is on all things “New Year, New You” this month, LearnVest sat down with the book’s author, Daniel Roberts—also a writer-reporter at Fortune—to discuss what it really takes to move up the ladder today and why the career keyword for 2014 is all about the “zoom.”
LearnVest: What will readers most appreciate about your book?
Daniel Roberts: The chapters are arranged around surprising lessons that each business leader—each of whom has been on Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list—exemplifies, whether it’s embracing failure or bouncing back. Others, like Airbnb C.E.O. Brian Chesky, started a business by recognizing a need that people didn’t even know they had, and then figured out how to address it.
We also talk about how important it is to start a cult—our funny way of saying how crucial it is to build your company into its own world, its own corporate culture. The big originator of this was Tony Hsieh, the C.E.O. of Zappos. He established a culture right away, and hired likeminded people who would be cheerleaders for the company. He established “cultural pillars” that are now the rules of the road for technology start-ups.
So what is a “Zoomer”? And what does it take to become one?
We came up with this term as a fun alternative to “baby boomers,” and the idea is that these people are zooming to success at outrageously young ages. But it isn’t just a blanket term for anyone doing big things before 40—these are people who are doing them in unique ways, who’ve found success through unconventional routes. They’re all high-flying.
The other quality that they share is that they’re never satisfied. They never rest. A lot of these people went to Stanford, got computer engineering degrees and worked at Google, a company that’s always at the top of happiest workplace lists. That’s a place to be satisfied, but after two to three years, these people want to create their own businesses.