Advice

Eli Broad on How to Be an ‘Unreasonable Man’

broad1 Eli Broad on How to Be an Unreasonable Man

Eli Broad. (Courtesy Otis College of Arts)

Los Angeles businessman and art collector Eli Broad gave the commencement address at the Otis Collage of Art and Design earlier this month, and now the museum has loaded a video of it online, allowing you to watch from the comfort of your home. Mr. Broad, sporting full regalia, starts speaking at about 29:50.

The school also helpfully sent out a release sharing some of the highlights of Mr. Broad’s speech (thank you to Blouin Artinfo for bringing it to our attention), like when he quoted George Bernard Shaw: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

How does one become an unreasonable man, you’re wondering? As my colleague Michael H. Miller recently pointed out, Mr. Broad just wrote a whole book on the topic. In the speech, he shared three pieces of advice: “Ask a lot of questions, take risks and give back.”

Being unreasonable doesn’t always work out so perfectly, though, as Mr. Broad knows. He admitted in his 2010 New Yorker profile, about resigning as chairman of the Museum of Contemporary Art in L.A. after conflicts with its board: “They got tired of me, I got tired of them. … I think people on the board thought I was too autocratic. I didn’t want to waste time.”

So, yes, it sometimes goes awry. On the plus side, that sort of tenacity just may be the sort of thing that helps you become a billionaire.

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