In my travels, as President of The Nierenberg Group, I am fortunate to meet wonderful people and hear their stories. Please read about some of the fascinating people and situations that make up my world.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about those who has made a difference in my life and work.
I look forward to learning about you!
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Best selling author, Andrea Nierenberg speaks at Universities, Fortune 500 companies, and intimate workshops about networking for success, personal and financial success.
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Last night I was a guest of my friend Nick Risom ,who is the ultimate professional and rainmaker of MARSH at the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards dinner. What a night to see people from different industries basically turn their powerful ideas into thriving businesses. It goes back to the theory that you can achieve so much in life when you put your mind,talents and actions together.
I got a wonderful surprise also because I was able to reconnect with an amazing person at Ernst & Young, Paul Viti who I have known for years and has written the best book on Personal branding and lives his brand each day and for the firm.
What a great event for me to attend, learn and to connect and reconnect with terrific people and also have the opportunity to introduce some of my great friends together!
My friend and lawyer, Richard Weltman (who I met through an organization that we are both members of Executive Association of Greater New York) had breakfast today at Salute! on Madison Avenue.
As I walked through the door, I was immediately greeted by the wonderful hostess/manager- Marie Hallas who I had known years ago when she literally ran the breakfast room at the Regency Hotel for years! It was great to see her and what struck me about her over the years was her consistency in greeting people and great customer service. Whether she was talking to someone very famous and powerful or to me, she was the same and made you feel important and that she was happy to have you at her restaurant.
Richard and I had a great breakfast, his firm is in the same building and we are both going to make sure to spread the word about this 'new' power breakfast spot. It is all about creating word of mouth advertising through the wonderful connections you make in life.
Throughout my elementary and junior high days, I was placed
in a “SP Program”, where my classmates and I had more challenging classes and
higher expectations put upon us.
For example, in junior high everyone was enrolled in one
elective, usually home economics where students (mostly girls) learned to bake
cookies and a metal working/carpentry/repair shop where students (mostly boys)
learned how to fix air conditioners.
Being in “SP”, my classmates were educated in law and we
created our own student court system complete
with lawyers, judges, and a jury composed of students throughout the different
classes. At 13 we were taught tort law, were expected to speak in front of the
whole court house. We didn’t only need to understand the definitions of the
standard courtroom objections, but actually use them when representing our
clients (students who were picked on by bullies, or had their power ranger
action figure stolen etc.) in front of a student judge.
I caught up with some of my friends from my junior high school
SP class and chatted about what our classmates were doing now. Everyone was a
professional or doing an advanced degree. Bankers, medical students, lawyers,
engineers; I was the token marketer.
Over 90% of the students from my elementary school went on
to their zoned junior high school, and about 80% of the junior high students
went on to Lincoln High School, the zoned high school.
Like most of the students in the SP program, we didn’t go to
their zoned school, but went on to a different high school with tighter
I spoke with friend with whom I studied in the same schools all
the way from kindergarten to junior high. He wasn’t with me in the SP program,
but we would always chat together in the cafeteria. He told me was one of the handful
students from outside the SP program to graduate high school without a GED. Out of a class of 150—only a handful of non-SP
According to Wikipedia, just one or two generations prior,
Lincoln High School graduated some of the world’s most incredible talents,
Today, about half of the students who enter Lincoln High
School ever leave with a diploma.
The same friends I ate lunch together with were arrested for
driving stolen cars, are addicted to drugs, have joined gangs or got pregnant
at an early age. What went wrong?
We have a crisis on our hands. But is it a crisis of
education or expectations?
Everyone in my junior high school was given roles and expectations
to live up to, based on how educational bureaucrats viewed their test scores.
Being in SP, my teachers expected me work harder and my
family was proud of me and nudged me to do better and work harder. I was
educated to think for a living and the people around me enforced that
In the post-industrial
economy (whatever that means), our system of education can no longer divide the
student population into domestics, factory workers and professions. We all need
to be trained to think for a living.
What can we do to give our students, colleagues, employees
and greater community a higher expectation to live up to?
One of my heroes, Mohamed Yunus, winner of the
Nobel Peace Prize for his paradigm shifting micro-credit bank whose
model has taken tens of millions out of poverty, said this in an
interview with Charlie Rose:
"In a way, human beings are like bonzai trees. You
cut the seed from the best tree and plant it in the flowerpot, and it
grows only way high. Human beings and poor people are like bonzai
people. There is nothing wrong with the seed. Only society disallows
them to grow. If the society allowed them the soil to grow, they would
be just as tall as anybody else. Poverty is created by the systems that
My friend Ben Casnocha has a fantastic blog post on luck, which I have quoted in several of my speaking engagements.
A lot of things are important (passion, connections, emotional
intelligence, etc.) but luck doesn’t seem to be talked about much.
I don’t buy into the hype around “hard work.” Hard work is
important, but not the primary ingredient for successfully starting
something (be it a business, project, whatever). In my view, luck is
the single most underrated component of success.
There are many things you can do to maximize your chances of being lucky.
First, expose yourself to as much randomness as possible. Attend
conferences no one else is attending. Read books no one else is
reading. Talk to people no one else is talking to. Think and be
different. This has happened more times than not: I start talking to
someone at a dinner party, without any specific goal in mind, and he
just happens to know someone else who just happens to know something
critical for my business. That’s luck. That’s randomness.
Second, trust in probabilities of luck. I think life works in
valleys and mountains. Every time luck doesn’t go my way I believe a
piece of good luck is right around the corner. Every time I get lucky I
prepare myself for weathering a dip. Knowing this, I can always
mitigate a rough stretch and make the most of the good times.
Third, trick yourself. Self-deception is essential to maintain high
self-esteem. It’s OK to take more credit than you deserve, in your own
mind, for successes. It’s OK to think that you can outwork and
outpassion anyone who competes with you. It’s OK to attribute soaring
victories to a tireless work ethic. It’s OK if these are slight
exaggerations. After all, how many people attribute “good luck” to
their wins? Way less than people who attribute “bad luck” to their
losses! Stay humble, especially on the outside, but consider yourself
(privately) as unstoppable.
It’s very easy to dish out advice. Ask 20 entrepreneurs for their 20
keys to success and you’ll get 20 different, passionate answers. All
So, it’s time to stop listening and take the plunge!
and I have watched and listened to it at least 10 times-each time
learning something new!
By looking at the amazing photography of bridges
around the world, with the most wonderful quotes and beautiful music, the
message to me is so clear--it is all about building bridges in life with the
people we meet and the experiences we have--this is what I have called or
described as networking.
My favorite line in the whole video is "Life is reality
without an eraser."
Enjoy it and send it along to all the people in
There was a young woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live.
So as she was getting her things "in order", she contacted her pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in.
Everything was in order and the pastor was preparing something very important to her.
"There's one more thing," she said excitedly.
"What's that?" came the pastor's reply.
"This is very important," the young woman continued.
"I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand."
The pastor stood looking at the young woman, not knowing quite what to say.
"That surprises you, doesn't it?" the young woman asked.
"Well, to be honest, I'm puzzled by the request,"
said the pastor.
The young woman explained. "My grandmother once told me this story, and from there on out, I have always done so. I have also, always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement.
In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, 'Keep your fork.'
It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming...like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance!' So, I just want people to see me here in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder, "What's with the fork?” Then I want you to tell them: "Keep your fork...the best is yet to come."
The pastor's eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young woman goodbye. * He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the young woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She had a better grasp of what heaven would be like than many people twice her age, with twice as much experience and knowledge. She KNEW that something better was coming.
At the funeral people were walking by the young woman’s casket and they saw the pretty dress she was wearing and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the pastor heard the question "What's with the fork?" And over and over he smiled.
During his message, the pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the young woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. The pastor told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either. He was right.
So the next time you reach down for your fork, let it remind you ever so gently, that the best is yet to come.
Friends are a rare jewel indeed, they make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us.
Show your friends how much you care.
Be there for them, even when you need them more. For you never know when it may be their time to"Keep your fork." Cherish the time you have, and the memories you share...being friends with someone is not an opportunity but a sweet responsibility.
Today on Father’s Day, I was thinking how blessed I was to have the most wonderful father! He taught me so much and lived his life to the fullest. A day does not go by since he left this earth on Sept 5, 2001 that I don’t think of him and often with a tear and always with a smile. Every day he used to say to me “Honey, give everyone you meet a smile and a handshake.” Respect is key. After he passed, my dear Mom who has since joined him in heaven and I came across this list of life lessons that he had written down.
*Listen with your inner ear.Hear what is said with the heart, rather than what is said with words.
*Listen to the concerns of others
*Know when it is important to just listen
*Communication is hard work
*Hone your skills
* State your thoughts clearly and briefly
* Remember to smile, not scowl
* Above all, be reasonable and understanding
* Be interesting and interested
* Be friendly and enthusiastic
* Have a sense of humor
* Be human
* Laugh and grin
If you had known him, you would recognize that he lived these lines every day.
If you are lucky enough to still have your father on earth, make sure you let him know how important he is and give him a big hug. If not, look up at heaven and give him a virtual hug.I do everyday.