Succeeding makes us feel good. But beating someone else makes us feel really good. Comparing ourselves to others and coming out on top creates a sense of entitlement. And when we feel entitled, we cheat more because, of course, the rules don't apply to awesome people like us.
If you look at the very best presidents, the most effective presidents, they were always decent salespeople. Ronald Reagan was an extremely effective salesman, very tuned to the people he was selling to, very clear in what he was selling, very resilient and buoyant.
Too often, when you are close to people in power, you're trying to make them happy; you're trying to tell them what they want to hear. But I find that really good leaders don't want that. They want the truth. And you do them a service, and yourself a service, by just being honest and straightforward.
One of the things is, in the writing process, if you do it enough, you have a sense of where you are. I didn't have that with the first book as I was writing it. Now, as I write books, I have a sense of where I am. Unfortunately, the sense of where I am is usually behind.
With 'Free Agent Nation,' I was figuring out how to write a book along with writing the book. Now I think I've kind of, sort of figured out how to write a book a little bit better. But the process remains not that different - slow; laborious; tiny, incremental progress each day, punctuated by feelings of despair and self-loathing.
If you think about work, it's just this endlessly fascinating subject. We spend at least half of our waking hours working. So it becomes this incredible window into a whole variety of things: who we are human beings, how the economy works, how people relate to each other, how stuff is made, how the world spins on its axis.
I think that educators are in sales. Essentially, what you are doing is making an exchange with your class. You're saying, 'Give me your attention. In exchange, I'll give you something else.' The cash register is not ringing. It's not denominated in dollars or cents or euros, but it is a form of sales in a way. It is an exchange.