Good People by Anthony Tjan

Hello Readers! It’s all about people this week. We are discussing Good People by Anthony Tjan.

According to Tjan, finding good people is the only leadership decision that really matters. And I must say, he makes a compelling argument in favor of this statement in this book.

Good vs. Good

Have you ever met somebody and just had a “good feeling” about them? You probably have, but articulating what “good” actually means can be challenging. Tjan breaks down the concept of “good” into two categories.

Good in terms of competencies and good in terms of values. In business it’s easy to find good people based on competencies, because the qualities are clearly defined and measurable. On the other hand, identifying intrinsic values in others is not easy. Therefore when we are recruiting, it’s easier to default to their résumé and hire based on clearly measurably competencies. Tjan urges us to distinguish between these two types of good, and focus our recruitment process on value-based goodness rather than competencies.

There’s a hard truth to these soft matters.

Whats your Superpower?

You may not be a superhero, but you still have superpowers. Tjan highlights the importance of being able to identify your “superpower”, your natural strengths. When Tjan is recruiting people, he focuses on understanding what the other person naturally excels at. Tjan notes that these superpowers don’t have to be competencies. In fact, Tjan is excited when a candidate articulates their superpower in terms of a set of intangible skills. If you’re able to identify and select employees based on their core strengths, you have the ingredients for a harmonious and efficient work force.

Real goodness is when you help others become a fuller version of who they are.


One thing I love about this book and non-fiction in general is the inclusion of chapter summaries. I find it extremely helpful in maximizing value for the reader. Tjan shares valuable insight and the chapter summaries offer a brief overview that is particularly useful if you plan on reviewing the book and taking notes of the key points most pertinent to your life.

Additionally, Tjan manages to balance theoretical concepts and the practical implementation opportunities excellently. This book isn’t just explaining the “why”, but it delivers value in expressing the “how” of finding good people for your business. I also appreciate that Tjan explicitly states that the ideas he is sharing require conscious effort to implement and won’t come easy to most people.

Is this book for you?

If you’re a mentor this book provides tremendous value. Tjan discusses the responsibility you have as a mentor and how to maximize the impact of the relationship. Additionally, if you’re the mentee, Tjan explains what your responsibilities are, highlighting the fact that the success of a mentor-mentee relationship requires effort from both parties involved.

I also think if you are an employer or recruiter looking to improve your interview/recruiting process this book is excellent. I say this because Tjan provides practical advice on how to recruit people and what to look for in potential candidates. Even though this book isn’t marketed as a recruitment guide, the content is so pertinent to the hiring process that I consider it a must-read.

About Tjan

Tjan’s Website

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