COMMENTARY: Too Poor to Give

When Teresa, a widow with four young children, saw a notice that members of her church would gather to deliver presents and food to a needy family, she took $10 out of her savings jar and bought the ingredients to make three dozen cookies. She got to the church parking lot just in time to join a convoy going to …

COMMENTARY: Competition in the Arts

Competition often brings out the best performance but it doesn’t always bring out the best in people. Even in the arts, actors, singers, dancers, and musicians must survive and thrive in a competitive community as rude and rough as any. Ambitious parents often introduce toxic gamesmanship and back-biting attitudes very early as their children are judged and ranked by the …

COMMENTARY: The Beginning of Positive Thinking

I am a strong believer in the power of positive thinking, which is the title of a best-selling book published in 1952 by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, a controversial preacher and pastor who popularized the idea that if you can change your attitude, you can change your life. He urged people to consciously train themselves to be optimistic and enthusiastic, …

COMMENTARY: Emotional Resilience

Despite romanticized myths about the gloriously carefree teenage years, adolescence has always been an emotional battlefield where young people must fight their way through insecurity, depression and anger. For many teens, classrooms, playgrounds and hallways are hostile environments where name-calling, malicious gossip, taunting, and physical bullying regularly threaten their emotional and physical well-being Technology has not made kids meaner but …

COMMENTARY: Not Everyone in Need Has a Brick

A successful man known for his philanthropy was driving his new car through a poor part of town. He’d driven the route hundreds of times before on his way home. A young boy tried to flag him down. The man was in a hurry and didn’t want to get involved, so he pretended he didn’t see him. The traffic signal turned red, though. As he slowed for it, he heard …

COMMENTARY: If You Were Arrested for Kindness

If you were arrested for kindness, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Some people cheer up a room by entering it, others by leaving it. What do you bring to your interactions with workmates, friends, and family? Is it encouragement, optimism, or kind words? Or is it pessimism, criticism, or cynicism? People often forget what we say and …

COMMENTARY: Rebuilding Your Life and Reputation

Larry wrote me the following letter: “I’ve been a small businessman for almost 23 years in a business where people lie, cheat, and steal. I’m sorry to say I became one of them. In the short term it may have helped, but long term it came back to haunt me. There’s no amount of success that’s worth it. I am …


Michael Invited to the White House for the Highly Anticipated President’s TF21 Briefing on 21st Century Policing

Michael Josephson Invited to the White House for the Highly Anticipated ‘President’s TF21 Briefing on 21st Century Policing’ In December 2014, President Obama launched the Task Force on 21st Century Policing to study approaches to strengthen law enforcement and community relations while at the same time enhancing public safety. That Task Force issued a report which developed a series of concrete and …

COMMENTARY: It’s Your Job to Enjoy Your Job

Labor Day is, first and foremost, a day off from work to do something you enjoy, or to catch up on domestic tasks awaiting your attention. It’s also an ideal time to think about the role that work plays in your life. For some, work is a necessary evil. It’s doing what they have to do to make a decent …

COMMENTARY: The Ultimate Solution to Bullying in Schools: A Student-Led Culture of Kindness

Olivia Gardner was a sixth grader in Northern California when her life began to unravel. It started when she suffered an epileptic seizure in front of her classmates. Immediately, the name-calling began. The hallway insults and ridicule — “freak,” “retard,” “weirdo” — escalated into cyber-bullying when a few particularly nasty students set up an “Olivia Haters” website. One student dragged …

COMMENTARY: If It’s Broken, Try to Fix It

Former President Jimmy Carter was 70 years old when he wrote this poem about his father: This is a pain I mostly hide, But ties of blood or seed endure. And even now I feel inside The hunger for his outstretched hand. A man’s embrace to take me in, The need for just a word of praise. Isn’t it extraordinary …


R – E – S – P – E – C – T. Aretha Franklin reminded us how it’s spelled, but a lot of us need coaching on how to show it. In both personal and political relationships the failure to treat each other with respect is generating incivility, contempt and violence. There’s an important distinction between respecting a person …

COMMENTARY: Excellence Is Achievable

As I watched nearly five dozen eager graduates of the Los Angeles Police Academy throw their hats in the air celebrating their achievement, I knew they were the survivors of a rigorous training, and that their journey wasn’t over. Ahead of them would be a full year of supervised field training, and it’s unlikely all of them would make it …

COMMENTARY: The Application of Religion to Business

Most Americans say they’re religious and their beliefs are important to their lives, yet I’m astonished at how many seem to ignore their religion’s moral expectations and prescriptions. Religion isn’t about only worship and ritual; it teaches believers how to live. Thus, the holy books of every major religion are filled with precepts and principles about honesty, justice, fidelity, compassion, and …


Character’s Standard Approach to Life

“Ordinary people, even weak people, can do extraordinary things through temporary courage generated by a situation, but people of character do not need the situation to generate courage, it is a part of their being a a standard approach to all life’s challenges.” – Michael Josephson


Webs of Deceit

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” – Sir Walter Scott

COMMENTARY: A Perfect Game

In Echoes of the Maggid, Rabbi Paysach Krohn tells a story of a young boy with severe learning disabilities named Shaya who was walking past a park with his father when he saw a group of boys playing baseball. He asked his dad if he thought they’d let him play. Although Shaya couldn’t even hold a bat properly, his father …

COMMENTARY: Granddaddy’s Gift

Years ago, a Southern woman was in one of my workshops. When asked to tell a story that impacted her character, she described an incident when she was 5. She was at her grandfather’s house all dressed up in a white dress with a crinoline and new gloves, proud as she could be. Her granddaddy told her she could go …


Unleash Your Imagination

“If your head is in someone else’s box you will never see what’s possible. Don’t let the complacency, timidity, or limited thinking of others limit you. Unleash your imagination and you will accomplish amazing things.” – Michael Josephson


Directional Love

“Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together, in the same direction.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery



“An institution that holds itself accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.” – Thomas Paine (adapted)

COMMENTARY: Lying Is Like Drunk Driving

Sometimes lying makes our lives easier. If you want the day off, just call in sick. If your boss asks if you’ve finished a report, say you left it at home. And if an irate customer calls, just make up a good cover story. Technically these are lies, but since no one’s hurt, what’s the big deal?


Dismal Prospects

“A lie may take care of the present, but it has no future.” – Author Unknown


Summer Fruit

“Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb…that’s where the fruit is.” – Jackson Brown

COMMENTARY: Planned Abandonment

Management guru Peter Drucker advocated a practice he called planned abandonment. He stressed how important it is that managers develop the wisdom and courage to regularly review what their organization is doing and determine whether it’s worth doing. He urged executives to note and resist the systemic and emotional forces that make it difficult to abandon activities that drain resources, …


Change is a Good Thing

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” – Jim Rohn


Rutgers University ‘Big 10’ Ethics Conference

On July 25th Michael gave the keynote speech, along with Paul Fishman (US Attorney, District of NJ), at a conference titled “How to Build an Ethical Culture: Leadership’s Role” at Rutgers University. The Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership and RU Office of Enterprise Risk Management, Ethics, and Compliance brought together “Big 10” university risk managers, compliance officers, experts, and consultants in …


Kindness Tsunami

Your kindness causes ripples that are felt all over the world.