The Eulogy Virtues

Recently, I went back to HBS to take a three-day leader development course. It was poignant, transformative and rejuvenating. I also made some friendships that will last, I predict, for a lifetime.

One of the course’s goals was to get us to step back and reflect upon the meaning and purpose of our work life. To that end, they showed to us a talk by David Brooks. It was very insightful.

In particular, he talked about two types of virtues: the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. The former involves the traits that we list when we apply to colleges and for jobs. The latter are traits of character, about the internal person, and are much more memorable.

After we die, those are the traits that people remember. They don’t remember our GPAs, test scores or prizes. They instead remember if we were kind or not, caring or not and generous or not. They recall if we have real character.

Here is the talk. It is excellent. We saw an excerpt that ended at about minute 14:50.

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