Documents make the world go round.
And the right ones grant you entry into the halls of power and influence.
Like an MBA from Stanford's vaunted Graduate School of Business. Or the person essay that propels you into the exclusive program in the first place.
For this installment of Success Insider, your regular guide to making things happen in your life, we'll be perusing some transformational texts — and getting to know a remarkable 27-year-old inventor. Let's just say some lightbulbs are about to turn on, for all of us.
I got into Stanford Graduate School of Business. Here's the personal essay that helped me seal the deal.
Our writer Robin Madell profiled Aja Edmond, pictured above. Edmond is a 2012 grad from Stanford GSB, and she graciously shared with us the unedited version of the admissions essay that she submitted in 2009.
In Edmond's estimation, the essay is what got her into what's become the most-selective b-school in the US.
"I had a vision of how I wanted to position myself in order to accomplish this, and the essays were extremely instrumental in helping me showcase myself accordingly," she said.
The essay, like most pieces of highly effective professional writing, was crafted with specific design goals.
"It was most important that I show how I greatly exceeded the admissions requirements and would gain from and add value to the program," Edmond said. "I felt a strong urge to show how I had to overcome a lot to get to where I was, and how my humble background uniquely positioned me to add a diverse perspective to the program."
The top books tech chiefs recommend to help leaders influence employees and spearhead digital overhauls
Our corporate innovation reporter Joe Williams has been canvassing the data and information chiefs at America's largest companies, as they turn their legacy firms into tech shops unto themselves.
And digital transformations, like anything else, require inspiration.
Mark Maybury, the chief technology officer at Stanley Black & Decker, recommends "Factfulness: 10 Reasons We're Wrong About The World — And Why Things Are Better Than You Think" by the late demographer and statistician Hans Rosling, whose posthumous book outlines how to think more clearly and critically about the world. "It will really take your mind for a ride, and it'll show you history in a visual way, with data analytics and graphics that will change your perception of the world," he said.
He also lauds "Influence Without Authority" by Allan Cohen and David Bradford, a management classic about getting people across departments — including those outside your team — to execute on the same vision. That's a must-do for today's leaders, technical or not.
A 27-year-old hailed by Amazon as one of the best small-business owners under 30 shares how he used his engineering background to tackle every entrepreneur's biggest enemy: lack of sleep
The entrepreneur-inventor Greg Yeutter told us a telling fact about himself.
As a baby, his first word was "light."
Yeutter, as a young adult, would then go to Drexel University's dLUX Lab, which studies the role of light in the modern world. And he realized, in great depth, that we get too much of the wrong kinds — like the blue and green lightwaves that keep you up at night.
So he built a better bulb. Specifically, the Bedtime Bulb, available on Amazon, landing Yeutter as a finalist for the tech giant's first-ever "Small Business Owner Under 30" award.
He walked our small business reporter Dominick Reuter through how he identified an unmet issue, poured his research background into finding a solution, and finally marketing the product and operationalizing the business.