The Initiative Edge

CareerCast - Life-long Career Development

Joshua SpodekDo your options seem to be shrinking? The question is: Do they need to be – even in challenging times? Joshua Spodek PhD MBA, three-time TEDx speaker, #1 bestselling author of Initiative and Leadership Step by Step, successful entrepreneur, and professor and coach of entrepreneurship and leadership at NYU and Columbia Business School, would say an emphatic NO!. Instead, he would tell you that now it the time to expand your thinking, actions, and opportunities. In this CareerCast, Josh shares a practice-based method to help you discover and develop passions and take initiative—even if you don’t yet know where you want to focus your energies.

Aired August 21, 2020

Joshua Spodek PhD MBA Joshua Spodek PhD MBA is a three-time TEDx speaker, #1 bestselling author of Initiative and Leadership Step by Step, host of the award-winning Leadership and the Environment podcast, and professor and coach of entrepreneurship and leadership at NYU and Columbia Business School.

He speaks on leadership, entrepreneurship, and environmental leadership at institutions such as Boston Consulting Group, Google, IBM, PwC, S&P, Children’s Aid Society, The New York Academy of Science, NY Public Library, Harvard, Princeton, West Point, MIT, Stanford, Rice, USC, Berkeley, INSEAD, the NY Academy of Science, and more.

He holds a PhD in astrophysics and an MBA from Columbia, where he studied under a Nobel Laureate, having emerged from a childhood including years in some of Philadelphia’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods. He helped build an X-ray observational satellite with the European Space Agency and NASA.

He left academia to found a venture to market his invention—a technology to show motion pictures to moving subways—installing displays on four continents. He holds six patents. He also founded two education ventures.

He has been called “best and brightest” (Esquire’s Genius issue), “astrophysicist turned new media whiz” (NBC), and “rocket scientist” (Forbes).

His clients include start-up founders, executives of publicly traded companies, and employees of McKinsey, Bain, BCG, Deloitte, JP Morgan Chase, Google, IBM, Exxon, and the US Navy and Army, as well as graduates of Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and others. He has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, Forbes, Esquire, Entrepreneur, Nikkei Shimbun, the South China Morning Post, ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR, Fox, and CNN.

He credits his stellar reviews to his experiential, active, project-based technique with minimal lecture or reading or writing papers.

As an artist he has installed public works in Bryant Park (NYC), Union Square (NYC), and Amsterdam’s Dam Square. He has had solo shows in New York and group shows nationwide, including Art Basel Miami Beach. He studied Meisner Technique at the William Esper Studio. He has taught art at Parsons and NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. He devoted years to learning and practicing the social and emotional skills of attraction and dating, becoming the #1 coach in the #1 market for the #1 guru. Since those years were in his late 30s and early 40s, he tended to coach people in long-term relationships or just exiting them.

He ran six marathons (3:51 best), rowed one, competed at the world and national level of Ultimate (#5 at nationals, and #11 at worlds), including the first ultimate tournament in North Korea. He swam across the Hudson River, did over 150,000 burpees, wrote over 3,700 blog posts, took over 475 cold showers, and jumped out of two airplanes.

He hasn’t flown (by choice) since March 2016, has picked up at least one piece of street trash per day since April 2017, and takes over a year to produce a load of garbage. He has lived in Paris, Ahmedabad (India), and Shanghai. He lives in New York and blogs daily at

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Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (2013)

Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely (2010)

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Initiative by Joshua Spodek

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