25 Quotes from Vincent for Dreamers on Starry, Starry Nights


Photo credit: Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)

25 Quotes from Vincent Van Gogh


Vincent Van Gogh is one of my favorite artists. I have had the opportunity to visit the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam several times and always walk away inspired by his creativity, productivity, and personal story.

His words are equally inspiring. The following quotes are frequently attributed to him. I’m not sure whether he said them all or not, but I treasure them nonetheless.


“I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.” –Vincent Van Gogh


“Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow.” –Vincent Van Gogh


“I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic then to love people.” –Vincent Van Gogh


“What is done in love is done well.” –Vincent Van Gogh


“Art is to console those who are broken by life.” –Vincent Van Gogh

The Best Book Covers of 2016

Book Jackets

It’s no secret that I love books. A few years ago, I confessed to abiliophobia, the fear of being without a book or at least something to read. (Try telling your doctor about your affliction and see what happens.) There’s little more concerning to me than being stuck somewhere with nothing to read.

Fortunately for me, my career has me covered. Whether visiting a library, a book warehouse, an author conference, a publisher, a bookstore or my home, I always have several within reach.

Like most of us, a book cover captures my interest. I often pause and peruse books simply based on the graphic design.

Do you ever buy a book because you are attracted to its cover?  That’s the goal of every designer: to influence that moment and make you take action. Pick me up!

Each year, I make a list of the best book covers.  And, it’s not only fun, did you know that book covers also offer valuable leadership and goal setting lessons?  (Click here to read more.)

If you want to compare this year’s list with previous years:

2015 Best Book Covers

2014 Best Book Covers

2013 Best Book Covers

2012 Best Book Covers

2011 Best Book Covers

Without further ado, here are the Best Book Covers of 2016.

(If you click any of the titles it takes you to the book on Amazon.)

Cruel Crown By Victoria Aveyard


The Children’s Home By Charles Lambert



The Night Gardener By the Jan Brothers



Greatest Landscapes By National Geographic



The Comet Seekers By Helen Sedgwick



The Muse By Jessie Burton


What Do You See in the Clouds?

Leadership Perceptions


“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” –Edgar Degas


An artist I know loves to show me a blank canvas and describe, in detail, the painting. To her, it’s so clear. Where I see only a blank canvas, she sees an entire landscape full of vibrant colors.

An entrepreneur I know once took his family on a tour of a remote piece of property. He shared his vision for where buildings would go and all the customers who would be mingling in various parts of the land. The family couldn’t imagine it, but he saw it all vividly. And, today, it looks exactly like that. It’s a thriving business.

An author friend of mine creates characters in her mind. Month after month, she dreams about them, talks with them, listens to them. They become so real to her that, when she finally starts writing, it’s as if she is merely recording what happens instead of inventing it.


“I dream my painting and I paint my dream.” –Vincent van Gogh


That’s the power of imagination. It’s the power of creativity.

  • Seeing something magical where others see mundane.
  • Seeing something beautiful where others see garbage.
  • Seeing potential in someone they don’t see in themselves.
  • Leaders inspire us by seeing a positive vision for organizations.
  • Successful people see opportunities when others see problems.

If there’s one skill you want to cultivate, it’s seeing the positive, the beautiful, the magical in others, in yourself, in challenging times, in dark places.

Because that change of perspective can make the difference in your outlook.


“To change ourselves effectively, we first have to change our perceptions.” –Stephen R. Covey


On a recent vacation, my wife was relaxing on a deck with a view of a mountain. As she often does, she was bringing people into her mind and praying for them one by one. Mesmerized by the beautiful scene in front of her, she decided to take a quick picture with her phone.

When we returned home, she was looking at her pictures and shared this one with a few close friends. Immediately, the responses started coming back. There’s something in the clouds!


“The trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close up.” –Chuck Palahniuk

Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead

Navigating Change

Studies show that the companies that navigate change well last the longest.

Why do some corporate leaders navigate through massive change while others seem oblivious to it?

How do you position your organization ahead of the trends?

Is it possible to learn to anticipate and prepare for the future?


Rob-Jan De Jong is a speaker, consultant and faculty member at Wharton’s executive program on Global Strategic Leadership. His new book, Anticipate: The Art of Leading by Looking Ahead, outlines what it takes to become a visionary leader. Sharing examples and principles from his research, Rob-Jan’s mission is to increase your personal visionary capacity.  I recently had the opportunity to ask him about vision and the art of looking ahead.


“Anyone can grow their visionary capacity.” –Rob-Jan De Jong


3 Keys to Unleashing Vision at All Levels

As a CEO, I just loved this sentence:  “Vision is not an exclusive for those in top ranked positions.”  It’s really something for everyone, not only those with a title.  How do corporate leaders unleash creativity and vision at all levels of the organization?

  1. Empowerment and trust. 

An important success factor is around empowerment and trust.  A directive company culture is detrimental for people’s engagement.  Having a sense of influence is a prerequisite for getting people to become involved in the hard work of engaging with uncertainty and anticipating the future.


“Vision is not an exclusive for those in top ranked positions.” –Rob-Jan De Jong


  1. Fault Tolerance.

A second critical factor is fault tolerance. This naturally goes with empowerment – people will get it right and every so often they will get it wrong. These are the important moments of truth for you as the leader, as your response will set the standard for the culture that shapes from these moments. People will be on the lookout about how serious you are about empowerment. My simple suggestion is to not focus on what went wrong but to focus on what the person has learned.


“Visioning, future engagement, anticipation is a skill set and a mindset.” –Rob-Jan De Jong


  1. Enabling Others.

And a third factor that should not be underestimated is that you will also need to enable your people to do this. Visioning, future engagement, anticipation is a skill set and a mindset. And it is often a step aside from the environment people have grown accustomed to, so you will need to enable your people to strengthen themselves in this area.

That might sound like blatant promotion for my work and my book, but I’m absolutely convinced that this has been a gap in management theory.  Despite the widely acknowledged importance of ‘vision’ in leadership, little – if any – systematic support has been provided in terms of developing your visionary side as a leader in a responsible way.  Scholars, business schools and strategy textbooks agree that a vision is one of the most powerful instruments a leader can have.  And how you go about developing this side of your leadership has been met with tremendous silence.

It was my intention to fill part of this gap by offering a comprehensive perspective on the topic, original ideas, a developmental framework, various practices, and many stories and anecdotes to draw lessons from.


“Vision, the hallmark of leadership, is less a derivative of spreadsheets and more a product of the mind called imagination.” –Abraham Zaleznik


Learning to Be Visionary