Podcast

Episode: 518 |
Josh Leibowitz:
Author of The Parenting MBA:
Episode
518

HOW TO THRIVE AS AN
INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONAL

Josh Leibowitz

Author of The Parenting MBA

Show Notes

Josh Leibowitz spent 13 years at McKinsey and was elected partner in New York. He then moved to Miami and grew the office there before joining Carnival, the largest leisure company in the world. He talks about the  ideas behind Parenting MBA, a book that aims to help parents give their children the skills they need to be successful in life. Josh joined the cruise line Cunard as Chief Strategy Officer, and eventually became president of the luxury brand Seaborne. Post COVID, he was tasked with supporting the relaunch of the line, and made it his goal to ensure every employee was back to work. This spring, Josh left the company after bringing back 4,000 employees and launching a new expedition division. Josh explores misconceptions people have about the cruise industry, explaining that most people don’t appreciate how special of a way it is to see the world, as it’s 70% water. He added that Seaborne specialized in three different kinds of places: big cities, secondary cities, and remote expedition destinations like Antarctica and Greenland. During lockdown, as a father of three children, Josh had more time to reflect on how much time work took from family life. He reflected on how  his experiences from work could be used in parenting and decided to write the book, Parenting MBA, which applies the principles of success in business to raising and preparing children for life as an adult. He stresses the fact that he is not a parenting expert and that the book merely puts forward points that he has found to be successful in his life. 

 

An Inside Look at the Book, Parenting MBA 

The book is divided into three sections: getting the vision right, managing the day-to-day, and long-term performance. The first lesson of the book is to act as a mentor to your children and show them unwavering support. Josh believes this can help you raise incredible human beings. 

He provides a case study example from Harvard, in which a student suggested that rather than firing an employee who was underperforming, they should mentor them instead. Josh reflects on their own experience with mentors who overlooked mistakes he made, and how mentorship helps people develop and achieve goals.

Josh talks about what it takes to be a mentor. Josh explains that the first characteristic of being a mentor is having an unmatched belief in the mentee and what they can do. Even as an adult, it can be difficult to believe in oneself and thus having a mentor who has an unmatched belief in the mentee is special. The second characteristic is having close and meaningful interactions. Mentors often know more about the mentee than the mentee knows about themselves. Trust and honesty is a key component of the relationship, and the mentor should also be demanding, providing encouragement while also pointing out errors. 

 

Management and Branding Techniques Applied to Parenting

Josh talks about the concept of applying management techniques to parenting, including: setting a vision, creating patterns, building trust and honesty, and helping children overcome barriers. One of the points, defining a brand, is the idea of linking marketing and branding to a child’s self worth and understanding of what they are all about. 

He focuses on the concept of helping people, and especially children, understand themselves and their brand better. The idea of a brand having two sides is presented: the intrinsic side, which is the brand values, and the extrinsic side, such as what the brand delivers or what skills the child has. He proposes three intrinsic values for consideration, starting with being a good person, then striving to reach one’s full potential, and finally, finding one’s voice. The idea is to encourage children to find their own brand values and to use them to become successful people. He suggests talking with children about their favorite brands and asking them what they think they stand for. He also discussed the balanced scorecard to manage the day-to-day challenges, which is used to evaluate the performance of a company, and suggested applying this to parenting by looking at the child’s core skills, activities, relationships and good person attributes. 

 

Being a Vacation SuperHero and a Lifelong Learner

Josh is curious about the concept of taking vacations seriously and conducted a global study with over 100,000 respondents and focus groups. He believes that being a vacation superhero is important and gave a TED talk on the topic. He shares a story where he was at a resort in Miami with his wife and family, in the pool with the kids but still distracted by work. The idea behind being a vacation superhero is to treat vacation time as seriously as one would treat work time, in order to gain the most out of the experience. Josh talks about the concept of the indispensable complex and how it can be used to better balance work and play in our lives, and the idea of focusing on taking time off and treating it as seriously as one would treat work because this is often when the best ideas break through.

Josh and Will discuss inspiring lifelong learning, suggesting that continuous learning is key to staying relevant. He encourages stimulating curiosity, engaging in self awareness, and being flexible and adaptable. Finally, he emphasizes the importance of lifelong learning with passion projects such as a TED talk and his book. He also reads a lot of both fiction and non-fiction to get ideas. He has recently been focusing on the intersection of human and artificial intelligence. Finally, he suggests taking long-term time off to increase learning capacity.

Timestamps

04:13 Josh Leibowitz on His New Book, Parenting MBA 

11:05 Mentorship and Mentor Characteristics 

12:59 Parenting Strategies for Raising Successful Children 

16:46 Branding, Balanced Scorecards, and Parenting 

21:33 Raising Balanced and Compassionate Children 

24:38 The Benefits of Being a Vacation Superhero

33:46 Lifelong Learning and Choosing Books to Read

 

Links:

Website: https://www.parentingmba.com/

 

CONTACT INFO:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/leibowitzjosh/

One weekly email with bonus materials and summaries of each new episode:

 

Ep.518. Josh Leibowitz

 SPEAKERS

Josh Leibowitz, Will Bachman

 

Will Bachman  00:01

Hello and welcome to Unleashed. Unleashed is powered by Umbrex. You can visit us at umbrex.com/unleashed, where you can find transcripts of every episode. I’m your host will Bachman. And I’m very excited to be here today with Josh Liebowitz. Josh is a former partner at McKinsey. We worked together on a project when I was a business analyst back in 2002. And I’m so excited. We’re gonna mostly talk about his new book that’s coming out parenting MBA. But we’ll give a background first Josh, welcome to the show. Well, it’s

 

Josh Leibowitz  00:37

great to be connected again. And thanks for having me.

 

Will Bachman  00:41

So Josh, you are you left McKinsey as a partner and then you spend some time in the cruise industry. Tell us a little bit about your life post McKinsey.

 

Josh Leibowitz  00:51

Yeah. So I spent about 13 years in McKinsey, I actually moved down. I was elected partner in New York. And then I moved down to Miami at a time when the Miami office was quite, quite small and grew that office to be well now it’s it’s substantially larger than it was. But then I joined a company called carnival, which is a just a large, the largest really the largest leisure company in the world. I joined as Chief Strategy Officer. And then most recently was the president of the luxury brand and the Corporation, a brand called seaborne. So I was there nine years through three different roles, including Chief Strategy Officer running the North American Division of a cruise line called Kuna art, and then most recently, a global brand called seaborne.

 

Will Bachman  01:39

Amazing. And I understand you were there through navigating navigating the cruise line through COVID, which must have been a pretty tough time in the cruise industry.

 

Josh Leibowitz  01:50

Yeah, I mean, it was one of those moments we’ll I was asked to take on the brand during the shutdown. And my objective was to to support the relaunch. And it was a really important time because when we shut down these travel brands, for seaborne, we sent 4200 people home. And my goal I really said this to the team was I wouldn’t rest until every single employee was back to work. And then when we did bring every employee back to work, and we launched a new expedition division. Earlier this spring, I decided that it was time for me to go do something else, explore new industries. And so I left but that was after bringing in about 4000 people back to work, which was really probably one of the more fulfilling things I’ve ever done in my career.

 

Will Bachman  02:38

What are two or three misconceptions about the cruising industry that many of us may have?

 

Josh Leibowitz  02:47

Well, I think that most people don’t appreciate how special of a way it is to actually see the world or to see places, you know, seaborne specialized in three different kinds of places, in kind of big cities, in more secondary cities, and then really remote expedition, kind of destinations like Antarctica and Greenland. So I think one is, it’s not the best way to see places 70% of the Earth is just covered in water, it’s actually a great way to see places to you’ll be surrounded by big crowds. The reality is, is that there’s all different sizes of hotels, there’s all different sizes of ships, there’s all different sizes of cities to live in. And you can pick what you like in terms of how many people you want to be surrounded by. And third, it’s a place where you go get sick. And then the reality is, is that it’s actually a place where they detect people that are sick. And you see that in the numbers, you know, is one of the early canary in the coal mines for COVID. They detected this highly transmissible virus, which turns out spread no matter where you are, whether you’re on a cruise ship, or at home even, or at the grocery store. So it’s a place where it was detected. I think people were concerned that it might be a place where you get sick, but it’s a special way to travel. It’s a great value, especially compared to hotels. So if you haven’t been on one, I would, I would, I would suggest checking it out.

 

Will Bachman  04:13

Thank you. Let’s talk about your new book, parenting MBA, how to apply what makes you successful at work to the most important job of your life. I think that’s the subtitle. Tell us about the book.

 

Josh Leibowitz  04:29

Yeah, I mean, this book is really, it’s really inspired by my experience, you know, raising with my wife, our three kids. You know, when I was when we first had kids, I was a early partner at McKinsey. And as you know, and anyone on this line knows from the consulting world, I traveled a lot. I was constantly engaged on calls. And it’s remarkable that you only have 18 years of time to be with you Kids know some people joke because kids, you know, they come back after college or they live with them. But in a parallel way, the average company is on the s&p 500 for about 18 years. And I got to thinking that there was so much about what made me and made all of us successful at work that actually could apply and could be interesting at home. And so I started to write my ideas down. Actually, a while ago, I started to write them down on these kind of transcontinental flights, back and forth to Europe when I was in consulting. And at the time, my vision or my goal was just, I kind of hoped one day that my, my kids would read it. And, and then when COVID started, well, I realized that, and I’ve heard this from a lot of people, that it was a moment in time that was just unprecedented for me to be home. And for me to be home with my with my wife and my kids. And I remember vividly sitting at my desk, on calls. And you can imagine what the travel industry was like, during COVID, we had a lot going on. And I was sitting at my desk looking out the window, and I saw my neighbor riding his bike with his kids. And it was it was, I think, April of the beginning of the shutdown. And now here I was on calls, and literally watched him round and around the block. And I realized that I wasn’t 4000 miles away, I wasn’t out late night on a client dinner, I was 40 feet away. And I kind of had to ask myself was I going to bury my self, you know, my head in the sand and just work work work? Or was I actually going to engage and, and be with a family. And I just started to realize that what a beautiful opportunity to be together and just start to share more thoughts about what I do at work and how they could apply, you know, apply it at home.

 

Will Bachman  06:50

So let’s get into some of the lessons. So we have there’s 12 lessons in the book 12 ideas for raising incredible human beings. Do you want to walk us through the structure?

 

Josh Leibowitz  07:01

Yeah, I’m happy to I also want to just start off with a little bit of, you know, fine print or a disclaimer, and it’s the following. I’m definitely not a parenting expert parenting is a messy job. Maybe I did 1/10 of the stuff in here, and maybe my kids absorbed a 10th of that. But I think part of what I tried to do with these ideas is just to bring forward some of these concepts that make make all of us successful at work every day, and how they might, you know, apply to really what’s the most important job of our life, the book is set up into three sections, these 12 ideas, you know, they kind of follow the the either Harvard MBA, where I went to school or kind of the McKinsey sort of logic. So the first is just getting the vision, right. The next is managing the day to day. And the final sections about kind of long term performance. And we can walk through some of these ideas just in terms of, you know, kind of what I think they do and how they might apply to help us raise incredible human beings.

 

Will Bachman  08:02

Yeah, well give us give us a flavor. Why don’t we do a dive into into some selected selected of the ideas?

 

Josh Leibowitz  08:09

All right, well, let’s start off with kind of idea one, which is that, you know, we’re really act act as a mentor to your to your to your children sort of showing them unwavering support. And this concept of a mentor is really interesting. I remember back at Harvard, we did a case study where there was this employee who was kind of underperforming, it was very early on, in the case work. And pretty much everybody in class was like, You got to fire this employee, or just call her Sarah, you got to fire the employee. I mean, she was brilliant, but she really just wasn’t delivering. And I kind of remember this concept that one of the people in the class or raise their hand and said, You can’t fire this person, you got to mentor them, you got to develop them, they’re actually quite good. And in many ways, as parents, we can’t fire our kids. I mean, you know, we’re there. When they’re stuck with us, and we’re stuck with them. And, and this concept of being a mentor and showing unwavering support. And that was a really interesting one. Because in my career, I could think back to times where mentors overlooked everything I did wrong. And because they did, I got somewhere. And we all have stories of these incidents where, you know, we despite our best efforts, we just didn’t get it right. I remember a time I was working in consulting for a large credit card company, and we had done this model. We’re in a town car driving down from midtown to downtown New York. And in the car, we’re going back over the model. And we realized that we had this true story, we had a $10 million swing in the numbers that would would make it quite, quite unattractive. The decision we were about to recommend, and I don’t know what it had to do with some depreciation element or something that we just didn’t account for them. huddle. And this was like 10 minutes away from the meeting. And so of course, we’re completely sweating. And we’re like, what are we going to do? And then as we’re about literally three minutes away from the meeting, we actually found another issue, which swung it back, like nine and a half or 9.8 million, the opposite direction, and the two balanced each other. And as we walked into the climbing, I thought for sure, we’d be fired. I mean, you know, I thought for sure the client would fire us, I thought for sure our job manager would hire would fire us. But instead, we walked into the client, we said, listen, here, here’s the model, here are the recommendations, we’re going to go back and double and triple check. But true story on the way down, we discovered these offsetting offsetting issues. And I just remember the way that the client and and the project manager embraced us they knew we were capable, they knew that it was the mistakes were unintentional. And they were mentors. They weren’t overseers, or bosses or what have you. And so I think this first idea about being sort of showing unwavering support can really apply in what we do at home as well.

 

Will Bachman  11:05

Would you say, Hmm, so how would that get manifested with your kids, right? So understand the unwavering support. A mentor can also be demanding, right? You want your your mentor to be kind of a demanding partner and overlook your errors, but also, you know, provide encouragement, and maybe not they overlooked them, or be willing to accept them, but also point them out to you. So tell us a bit more beyond just the Accepting of unwavering support? What are the other elements of being a mentor?

 

Josh Leibowitz  11:40

Yeah. So as far as laid out for that for mentor, mentor characteristics, the first is an unmatched believe in you and what you can do. So I think that to your point, well, you know, there’s a difference between having high expectations like I don’t praise my kids for progress I you know, people do, but it’s about it’s definitely there’s definitely a high bar and like, but having an unmatched belief, and what you can do is pretty special, because because even as an adult, there’s times where I even believe in myself is something I’ve got to you got to continuously put yourself on. The second is this idea of being close and having meaningful interactions. And mentors, I always found like mentors, and if you remember this, but like, they always knew they kind of knew more about you than you knew about you. But that’s because they listened, and they drew patterns. The third is trust and honesty. And it’s another point separately in the book, but just open, honest, transparent, you know, balancing reprimands with praise, just this openness, that I think is quite critical. And the last is this concept of like applied energy, where you’re out there helping them overcome barriers, you know, that doesn’t mean you’re doing things for them. But you’re helping them overcome barriers. And I find that these are true work. And I found they’re all so true in the home, but it could be true in the home.

 

Will Bachman  12:59

So some of the other ideas around setting the vision, this first section, a couple of them are intuitive to me avoid benchmarking, okay, I get that you don’t want to compare your kids against each other or against their peers. And operating as a team, I get that one. I can imagine, you know, the kind of the understanding, but tell me about the define their brand. So what’s the, what’s that rule? Bring that one to life?

 

Josh Leibowitz  13:22

Yeah, I mean, uses an idea, you know, the concept is that most of us and you know, no matter kind of what age your children are, they kind of they understand brands, you know, and understand what brands are all about and the purpose of brands. But what I was introducing here is this concept of the link between marketing and branding. And I’ve gotten a lot of branding work, and a lot of demand work, and your own and sort of self worth and what you’re all about. And so in the book, I start off by talking about, you know, what are some of the best brands really stand for? And of course, you know, there’s these ubiquitous brands like you know, that just stand for and bring them up in your mind, and you really understand them, whether it’s an apple or an Amazon or Google or even even pioneering people like rest my son, Johnny, who started Girls Who Code, she has a brand, she started a business that has a brand. And so the concept of helping our kids no one understand themselves better. I just introduced this idea of saying, you know, what, you know, what, what would be your brand? What are you all about? And, and so, here, the idea is that brands have kind of just kind of two sides to a brand. There’s the intrinsic qualities of a brand, which is you know, what the brand delivers the brand promise, you know, and there’s the intrinsic side, which is kind of the brand values. And oftentimes I find that when we talk about our kids, we often focus on some of the extrinsic side like oh, they’re really good at math or, you know, they’re going to be an architect or they’re going to be an engineer. And I think those are fine is in terms of defining the brain And, but if we’re gonna raise incredible human beings just like at work, there’s also this whole, this whole concept of values, and, you know, brand values, and obviously the best brands in the world live and die by their values, right, in terms of their supply chain in terms of where they hire people paying a living wage. And so for individuals in parallel to that, you know, what are those brand values? What are those intrinsic qualities, and, you know, I put three out there for consideration as to what those intrinsic values could be. And the first is this concept of just being a good person. The second is striving to reach your full potential. And the third is finding ways to feel fulfilled. And when you step back on those concepts of being a good person and striving to reach your potential and feeling fulfilled, it started to remind me a lot of the skill will matrix, I’m sure the will part not named after you. But skill will matrix which we all remember, which was this mix of how good you are at something and how hard you apply yourself. And so as we work on our brands, and the self worth of our of our kids, I sort of said like, let’s not over rotate to the extrinsic stuff. Let’s also think about the intrinsic, and let’s also think about how we develop people that are good people that that do strive for their potential, and that do aim to feel fulfilled in life. And so the branding notion is those balance of those kind of intrinsic and extrinsic values, just like you would have in a real brand. And I think the more self aware, we are about what those are, and I have some exercises in the book, like, maybe it helps us get through the good days and the bad if we know kind of what we’re really about.

 

Will Bachman  16:46

So, how do you have that conversation with your kid? Is it saying, What do you want your name to mean to people? Or what do you want people to think of when they think of you? Or how do you have that brand new conversation with your kid?

 

Josh Leibowitz  17:02

I have to come back and and punt a little on that question only because anything that ever sounds like I’m giving, you know, true parental advice, if Far be it for me to know, you know, exactly on that. The parallels here have to do with kind of things around around work and around business. So I think it might depend on how old and where your kids are in life. But I think the conversation is something like, you know, what’s your favorite brand? And why? What does it stand for? You know, what do you think I stand for? What do you think my brand is? What do you think your brand is? And I think it’s more than just what would people say? And I certainly think that, you know, by exploring these these concepts of brand promises and brand values, you kind of hone in on more than just the fact that you know, Will’s a good problem solver. He’s also, you know, a really creative business leader and a great, a great family member, right? There’s just more to it than that. So I hate to punt the question entirely, but I feel like, you know, I feel like that, that, in many ways, the things we see at work, and the things we do to help clients be successful. Those conversations, you know, we always had this joke in McKinsey, like, don’t try this stuff at home. But some of these conversations are actually are actually useful, thought provoking, right? versus, you know, trying to teach teach a lesson. Nobody really wants to be taught a lesson. But to help them think and think independently, that’s, that’s pretty exciting.

 

Will Bachman  18:41

Let’s move to the middle section, the managing the day to day. Talk to me a bit about the using a balanced scorecard.

 

Josh Leibowitz  18:49

Look, the day to day life is messy in business and in parenting, and you have good quarters, you have bad quarters, you have good days, you have bad days. And so I felt it important to to, you know, to talk through that because like, you know this at work, we have setbacks. I mean, I just came out of an industry where we had multiple years of challenge and setback. And so the concept of the balanced scorecard comes out of a class I took at Harvard, which was taught by a professor Robert Kaplan, he introduced this idea of a balanced scorecard, which was very, you know, now it’s become a little bit more mainstream, but the idea was that there were four elements to to evaluate and accompany, you know, in terms of how well it supports the needs of customers, employees, external stakeholders, and of course, shareholders. And I think businesses have come to realize that, absolutely, you’re going to be valued on the stream of your cash flow. But what creates long term value is how, how you create that in a way that’s, you know, continually sustainable. So I thought to myself, Well, how would you apply that to home like what would be a balanced scorecard at home? And, and so so I came up with four categories. And again, you know, I just sort of preface it by saying others may have different categories. But the four that I introduced were, the first is this idea of like, just kind of what you’re good at. And then the reality is that is that for most of us, that have kids that are somewhere between the beginning of school and into university system, it’s their core skills and their grades, you know, and how good they are at that. The second is what they’re pursuing in terms of activities and personal pursuits. The third is their friendships and family and how they get along with that. And the fourth is kind of their, their, what I call good person attributes. So what is it about them, that makes them really genuinely a good person, and these are the things that are on this balance, balanced scorecard. And, and so I kind of introduced that notion and encourage people to, to think through that and to think through filling those out. And really getting to the point where you have a good sense of talking about things beyond just what we often do, I mean, someone brings home a report card, they bring home, you know, an issue at school. And, and you know, this from from I’m sure your own parenting, that, that they’re set, there’s, there’s, you want to look at things in a more balanced way, you know, when you’re talking about how to be successful.

 

Will Bachman  21:33

Say more about the fourth category, a good person attributes? And what, how might that, you know, is this, and this is kind of a discussion that you have with your kid to help them, you know, think through how they feel about these different areas.

 

Josh Leibowitz  21:51

I think so, I mean, you know, there’s something here about discovering the kind of sense of satisfaction that comes from doing good deeds. And, you know, those of us that have had kids that have gone through the university application process, there’s a lot of box checking, and then don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be cynical in any way, shape, or form. But unfortunately, the system kind of encourages box checking. So I asked, I sort of asked the question, you know, are we raising people that actually have a strong sense of compassion for the people? Right? Can we model the right behaviors as parents and and, you know, this concept of doing doing good versus understanding what it means to be, you know, sort of a good person. That’s what I really am, and pushing that here, and, and helping people to maybe step back like you would at work and evaluating a company and saying, Do we have a pretty balanced score?

 

Will Bachman  22:51

Yeah, that’s interesting. I mean, I guess in my own personal life, I have a analogous kind of concept where I’m not perhaps formal about it, but you can try to think about different aspects of life and how they’re going. One would be sort of relationships with both family and friends, and my spouse and my kids. Another one would be financial, you know, how’s the business doing and so forth. Another one might be beyond just the financial aspects of my is the work that I’m doing creating value in the world and my producing work that I’m proud of that helps people. And then, you know, there’s probably a health and wellness and fitness and habits kind of sleep, diet sort of section. So I think it’s a valuable concept to play your own life, you can come up with the individual buckets that are meaningful to you. But it’s helpful to kind of be tracking that probably in some in some fashion.

 

Josh Leibowitz  23:50

I mean, I think those those are perfect examples of why there’s probably no one formula, right? So the ones that work for you. And the ones that work for each people, you know, people listening on the call, it could be different. The concept I think of having a balanced scorecard and setting goals is something which we would do at work, and we could do, we could do at home. I also feel like, we all know that you’re not going to sing on all of them on all the time. And so you know, if you can get a couple of them right at any given moment, you’re probably in an amazing place.

 

Will Bachman  24:27

It does always feel like Whack a Mole. You can’t get A’s and everything.

 

Josh Leibowitz  24:32

Yeah, no. 100 100% And that’s part of life. Right? It’s, you know, it’s just part of reality.

 

Will Bachman  24:38

Okay, under long term performance. One I’m curious to hear you talk about is be a vacation superhero.

 

Josh Leibowitz  24:47

Yeah, this is idea number nine. It’s, you know, take take vacations is treat vacations as seriously as you treat work. So this comes out of some research that I did when I was at Cornell. Well, I lead a when I was Chief Strategy Officer, I lead probably what was one of the largest ever completed global study of vacation time? Well over 100,000 respondents and just hours and hours of focus groups, and actually did a TED talk on this a few years ago called, you know, how to be a vacation superhero. And the idea will was that I realized, you know, that I wasn’t being a vacation superhero, I was highly distracted on vacation, I tell a story in the in the talk, and I referenced it in the book, a time where I was at a resort in Miami with my wife and family, in the pool with the kids. And I asked my wife just to please hand me my phone, I needed to check something. And I was in the sort of shallow end of the pool, and she was sitting on a chair nearby. And as she leaned over to hand it to me, it slipped into the water. I don’t know exactly what happened. And it’s a true story. I, for the next like, day and a half, I couldn’t get calls, I could see who was calling, but I couldn’t answer it. You know,

 

Will Bachman  26:15

Greek character, who Tantalus who can’t reach the water carrying bananas or whatever,

 

Josh Leibowitz  26:20

oh, my gosh, I was in such torture. And, and so and so you know what happened, though? You know what happened? Not saying nothing, nothing happened. And I’ve had this I had this executive coach throughout my career, who, who a woman named piccolo Harris, who many ex McKinsey colleagues may know. And she talks about the indispensable complex. And the concept is that we all think we’re indispensable. And we are we’re important, you have to be relevant, you have to add value. But the idea is when you’re on vacations, like focus on taking time off, and the best ideas in life come from these moments of downtime. And so treat them as seriously as you treat work. And I believe when I gave this talk, I was encouraging people to like split work versus, versus playtime, completely, I actually now have changed my point of view on this, I don’t think it’s so straightforward to do that anymore. But, but it’s critical that we take the time, you know, to really take off from the pressures of everyday life. I mean, you know, our work pressures are one thing, but Well, I don’t know about you, but there’s a lot of pressure on kids these days to, you know, as they grew up throughout the throughout the process. So vacation time is time to recharge.

 

Will Bachman  27:45

Yeah. It’s our vacations are definitely thanks to my partner Margarita, who plans them out well in advance otherwise, you know, we would wait at the last minute, never, I would never be able to take them, but you gotta block them in your calendar. well in advance, and have you have you continued to leave your phone on? Airplane Mode through the vacation?

 

Josh Leibowitz  28:14

Yeah, this is one where I just said to my family, you know, kind of help me be better help me be better. And, and they’re pretty good at, they’re pretty good at reminding me to to be better at this stuff. And, you know, there’s a difference between what’s important and what’s urgent. And, look, I think we’re all addicted to our phones. That’s an obvious statement. We’re all so addicted to our phones that even when we’re staring at the Colosseum, we’re staring at our phone, either reading about the Colosseum or getting a tip from someone who’s calling us so I just feel like it’s it’s if we treat vacation time is as serious as retreat work. While we’ll get rewarded for that, just with that recharge opportunity for all of us.

 

Will Bachman  29:00

The last one to chat about, you talked about inspire lifelong learning. So how do you do that for your kids? How do you do it personally role modeling it? How do you inspire kids to be lifelong learners?

 

Josh Leibowitz  29:14

Yeah, yeah. Again, you know, this is one of these where I’m not sure there’s a clear formula on any of this. I mean, I do feel like we’re at work. This concept of continuous improvement is core to how businesses work. It may sound like a term that we used to use in the 90s. But but you know, there’s, there’s really no such thing as ever being done with learning. I remember it and when I first I think it was during orientation at Harvard Business School. I remember sort of vaguely remember an exercise for the Dean handed out these cards, and we were supposed to index cards are supposed to rank order them. And it was things like, work hard, build expertise, show respect, follow passions, and then there was a card about lifelong learning And they asked to solve, like, rank these cards, you know, everyone’s like hard work deep expertise, you know, networking. And at the time, if I remember, right, the Dean was sort of like, no, it’s actually about lifelong learning. Now, that can be a bit self promotional for a school to suggest, you know, lifelong learning, because either way, every business school

 

Will Bachman  30:18

has an ongoing series of executive education programs.

 

Josh Leibowitz  30:22

Yeah, you can, like learn more. But But I think this idea of, we’re just never done learning, right. And whether you’re studying for an exam, or you’re getting ready for a client meeting, you can always learn so. So this idea of, you know, sort of stimulating curiosity around, you know, engagement, self awareness around what you’re trying to get done flexibility, adaptability, the same things that we that we, that we believe make us successful at work, you know, they apply here too. And so just that philosophy, that philosophy of saying, I’m, I’m continuously learning, there’s a lot of stuff that comes at us that, you know, it’s very easy for any of us to say, I don’t know how to do that. But committing to the idea that you’re always learning Well, that’s, that’s pretty powerful. And the tools have never been better to be able to do that. And I think the need has never been higher, both in the workplace and at home, I don’t know about you will. But you know, this, this is really the time where we better keep learning in order to stay relevant.

 

Will Bachman  31:31

Yeah, I think of, from probably from my nuclear training in the Navy, where the idea of Half Life was emphasized, I think about the half life value of education. And so the college degree I think of is having a half life of, I don’t know, four years or something. So at this point, what I learned in college is basically decayed away pretty far. And you need to keep replenishing the well. For me, that’s kind of through side projects, and sometimes things that are vaguely work related, but not directly tied to things sort of side projects, or maybe doing a podcast kind of thing. Reading, what about you? What’s your kind of path to lifelong learning?

 

Josh Leibowitz  32:17

Well, I look, every few years, I’ve tried to have a passion project, I did a TED talk, which was a really phenomenal experience, right game, getting that together and putting that together, writing this book, for sure. I’ve taken the last few months off, so I’m prolific, you know, reader I’ve been engaged in. By the way, I’m always reading multiple books at once. And I’m always mixing in fiction, because that’s what just keeps me like idea driven, I get a lot of ideas off of off of fiction, but then also a whole bunch of nonfiction. And so recently, you know, a lot of that has been has been around the kind of human intelligence, artificial intelligence space, and trying to get a better understanding of, you know, how these, how these tools are going to take us in the next step in this information revolution. And so, I do find, having taken these last few months off that my capacity for learning is just in a totally different place, obviously, when you’re not distracted by everything else. And so maybe on a future podcast, we’ll talk about this whole concept of time off. And it’s like one thing to take a vacation for 578 10 days, but I’ve never taken two, three months off. And it’s pretty fabulous for lifelong development and learning. It’s it’s truly remarkable.

 

Will Bachman  33:46

How do you decide what fiction book to read next with nonfiction, kind of get interested in some topic and you find the best books on it. But fiction, there’s like a whole universe. So do you just browse your favorite bookstore? Do you look at book reviews? How do you pick

 

Josh Leibowitz  34:02

a look, I have a very simple criteria on fiction. It has to be a page turner, it has to be a burner like, like it just has to be Mind Candy. For me. I happen to like some of these, you know, thriller, airport novels, and there’s a few authors that I really enjoy, and I have them on auto order. So I just flipped through those and then I often will look at the authors that inspired them and try to find their books. And for what it’s worth, if I start a book and I’m 1520 30 pages in and fiction and don’t like it, I don’t finish it. No problem. And in nonfiction, I don’t try to read cover to cover if anyone says they do their god bless them. But you know, I like to open by the way I encourage you on this book to you know, parenting MBA, like there’s 12 ideas. I’ll flip through wherever you wherever you like, but I think you should absorb nonfiction books for the chapters or the sections that are most relevant to you. You don’t need to read them cover to cover I probably don’t have time to

 

Will Bachman  35:02

time to either agree with you on quitting books, you should probably should probably quit nine out of every 10 books you start, except for parents and MBA except for. Yes, that will stay on your shelf. So. So Josh, where can we will definitely include a link in the show notes. Where can we find parenting MBA? And where can we listeners keep track of what you have going on?

 

Josh Leibowitz  35:29

Yeah, absolutely. So apparently MBA is available for preorder on amazon.com. Or any place that you buy books, both in ebook and physical copy. And yeah, there’s a website parenting nba.com. And I would love to hear from any of you ideas I can I just come out back to the caveat that I’m not a parenting expert. Parenting is a messy job. I’m blessed to, to, you know, have have our children, our family, as we all recognize, it really is the most important job of our life. And so I encourage you to take a look at it and share any feedback that you have. That’s for me. Yeah, I mean, you know, you can connect with me on LinkedIn, Josh Leibowitz. I’m definitely open to connecting with people. I’ve been truly enjoying this period of my life and my career, exploring new places and reconnecting with old friends and co workers. So happy to happy to connect. And I’m sure you’ll be hearing from me on the kinds of things that I’m doing next very soon.

 

Will Bachman  36:32

Josh, wonderful to speak with you. Congratulations on the release of your book. We’ll include all these links in the show notes, listeners. Thanks for listening.

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