The Leadership Seminar

I think this is a very inspirational class. Becoming more self-aware and improving my emotional intelligence has been my goal, but I have not been able to find a structured way to do so, until now. Thanks!

Anonymous (Shanghai)

I am running a startup that offers document security and tracking easily and cost-effectively. I enjoyed your course a lot and already applied your principles in the way I collaborate with my co-founder. We recently had an argument over a deliverable. I was initially planning to have a confrontational discussion, which would have created a rift and possibly lost him from the team. Instead, I applied the principles you taught and practiced in your seminar just the day before.

Result: He said he really appreciated that we talked about what else is going on in his life and how he can combine that with the startup work. In leadership, things besides basic business matter. Since people don’t know how to address them, they gloss over them. Your seminar showed me how to talk about them productively and respectfully.

Likely outcome: we retained key personnel and we found a synergistic solution so that the co-founder can advance the startup while simultaneously making his other goals work!

Norman Niemer, http://simplyshare.it

I signed up for Josh’s leadership seminar not really knowing what to expect. I walked away with a clear, understandable framework not only for providing effective leadership, but for creating lasting and meaningful relationships with colleagues and teammates. Josh’s method of emotional connection gets to the core of the needs we all share as human beings. His techniques can help anyone become a better leader – and a more fulfilled person overall.

Christy V.

Josh Spodek’s workshop was terrific. He gave us a very clear model for understanding emotions and making appropriate changes that can improve an individual’s personal and professional life. He gave real world examples that made his model concrete, understandable, and actionable. Josh helped demystify the world of emotions.

Peter Helmer, Sales Consultant

I am still on a high from the weekend lectures and really enjoyed it!

P.R., Managing Director at Hedge Fund

I wanted to thank you for the class on Leadership at Columbia last weekend. It was a big eye opener for someone like me who has never taken any class on leadership. Your real life examples were exemplary and everything I learnt in your class, I feel I can in some way apply in my professional and personal life. I look forward to more such classes from you and in the mean time will be reading your blogs.

Kabita Dasgupta, Manager, Deloitte & Touche

This workshop was very informative and inspiring. It has opened my thoughts and mind to being more aware of how to hear the other person’s voice and emotions.

P. F.

You really did a brilliant presentation, very clear and it’s easily applicable and repeatable for all areas in one’s life.  Very profound come to think of it.

Laura Thompson, www.loralia.com

Thank you Joshua for a wonderful seminar on Self Awareness / Emotional Intelligence. Really enjoyed the session — in particular, the Model was simple, practical and easy to understand. Distinction between Pleasure and Reward was awesome. Great take-aways from the seminar include

  • Being yourself
  • Understanding the emotional cycles
  • Tools to increase the REWARD quotient

Exercises were FUN!

Thanks again.

Y. G. (Shanghai)

Great use of a weekend. Josh gave us a lot of tools to improve ourselves and think about what we want to achieve in life. And he did it with a lot of humor and fun exercises.

T.L. (Shanghai)

Dear Joshua

How are you?

I was fortunate to take your two-day seminar [in Shanghai]. You inspired me!

You showed me patterns to transform things and suggested how to handle the sales director at my company. I had an open talk with her based on your suggestion and self-awareness of how I felt. She totally changed! I changed my environment! Thanks for the tip. I learned to be honest with my emotions and behavior and to have the courage to change my behavior to create new environments. I feel better and more capable. Thank you for your advice.

Also, the group of girls I did the exercises with decided to form a working group to continue our exercises for long-term transformations. We’ve already created goals and will meet regularly to collaborate. So that was a nice life surprise for me from the seminar. I look forward to changing for the better ;)

I hope to keep in touch and to keep practicing to keep improving.

You are a great mentor and person. I really like your teaching style.

Warm regards from Shanghai

K. Chen

Implementing Joshua Spodek’s model will increase the success of my entrepreneurial ventures and raise the quality of my relationships with people. Josh provides practical and easy to understand processes and steps a person can take to vastly improve their life.

Mick Green

The skills and techniques Josh has taught me from his seminar have shown me instant success in my life and consistent long term success. He helped my business, my relationships, and my life finally become vibrant and stimulating.

Chris Bolger, Peak Performance Consultant

I have been in many personal development and leadership courses. Josh’s course and material is concise, practical, and to the point. Even more important, it is versatile and applicable to many areas of my life. There are no silver bullets, but this is a good gun.

J. K. (no relation to the other J. K.)

It’s easy to have confidence in Josh’s advice because he’s applied it with so much success in so many different areas.

I have made more progress this year in my career and in my personal life than ever before. His ideas on how rites of passage and significant events affect self identity and personal growth have been a particularly important catalyst.

Most importantly, his model has helped me break free from the endless cycle of seeking out different self help schemes and make real, lasting and dramatic changes in my life.

Dominic Tsui, champion kickboxer and mixed martial artist

This is a very valuable course. It will help everyone in every aspect of their life. Overall life. Not just leadership. Everything from leadership to relationships to taking care of yourself. It’s awakening. It wakes you up to see freedom that people don’t understand. It teaches you what freedom is.

J. K.

Joshua’s seminar was jam-packed with the activities and skills I need to push me thought a lot of my confusion and bad feelings. I am dead set on sticking with my goals and achieving a happier life with the information he gave me. I can understand why my life was in such a rut — and with his examples from evolutionary psychology, business leadership, entrepreneurship, and personal development, I feel so much more eager to pick up and move myself forward.

Tim P.

Small Business Consulting

I was pretty green as an entrepreneur when I met Josh. Coming off of years working in an academic setting, I was timid and uncertain about the leaps required to start something of my own.

Working with Josh helped me to clarify my goals and the stakes–both business and personal. And with his PhD, MBA and years of experience as an inventor/entrepreneur himself, he was able to understand and advise me on even the technical parts of my project, such as patent filing.

I credit him with giving me the courage to launch with gusto my first business, a novelty product company that sold over $1M in two years. Now I’m onto bigger and better things, and Josh remains one of my most trusted, go-to resources. Whether I go to him with a success on my hands or a failure, Josh has consistently helped me make the most of it.

Jon, entrepreneur

I’ve done sales my whole professional life, but when I started my company I knew I had to take my skills to another level. The stakes were higher and my clients bigger. Joshua’s entrepreneurial and consultative sales seminar was the best 3 hours of re-thinking of how I do meetings and how to interact with clients I’ve had. I can now plan and execute my sales and business strategies with more confidence, awareness, and effectiveness. I would recommend if you think your game can get better, it can and with Josh’s sales seminar, it will.

L. Yumeku, CEO of 3 Degrees Films, a New York-based animation company

I had been running a small business for about ten years when I realized it was time to expand, which would require new investment. I asked Josh to help with my business plan.

He worked not only on the plan but helped me understand the issues in expanding, raising funds and working with investors. He also coached me on presenting my plan, anticipating questions and developing relationships with business partners.

His comprehensive approach gave me a better understanding of my business today and after I grow as well as the documentation to show it.

Glenn, small business owner


“Best and Brightest“

Esquire Magazine's Genius issue

“Rocket scientist“

Forbes Magazine and ABC News

“Astrophysicist turned new media whiz“


Other Seminars

I really enjoyed the seminar – it gave me a great deal to think about (and apply). In fact, I am hiring an Associate for my team and approaching it entirely differently based on your framework.

The interview I had recently in which I spent more of the time understanding his deep motivations was more enjoyable that interviews I’ve had in the past. Probing in the way you suggest – and getting closer to understanding the person – was a terrific starting point to seeing whether we would be well suited to working together and whether I feel I can help bring out the best in this person.

Amy G.

Joshua’s talk at Harvard was wonderful. He masterfully dissected the process of decision-making and the influence it has on people’s lives. In less than 15 minutes he left me with enough to think about for a week. After the event we ended up speaking more and Joshua’s knowledge of etymology and his precise and knowledgeable demeanor blew me away.

David S.

Best meeting so far. Joshua not only had a detailed and informative presentation, but he also made us get out of our chairs and do exercises. I learned more in 3 hours of Joshua’s seminar than I did in 6 months of reading.

Rob F.

One-on-One Coaching

Best advice I ever got came from you 🙂

Your advice totally changed my way of thinking and my emotions! I feel Like a new person. May sound weird, but its true. I feel “free” again!

Thank you thank you.

F. N.

Working with Josh was incredibly insightful. He really helped my pinpoint what caused me to feel different emotions and different intensities of emotions when interacting with others. His advice will help me to become more self-aware about my own emotions and in turn, help me to better understand others. This will allow me to be a more effective communicator, negotiator, teacher, and leader. I look forward to applying the frameworks he equipped me with to my personal and professional relationships.

Michael V.

I wanted to say thank you. Doing coaching with you is really paying off. I feel like things are finally starting to make sense. For the longest time I thought there must be something wrong with me. Now I’m starting to think that I could get really good at business.

Andreas Larsson, http://www.verendus.se

If I were to describe my working with Joshua Spodek in one word it would be transformational. Josh has revolutionized my way of thinking, and in doing so, assisted me in staying ahead of the leadership curve. I have extensively changed my approach to solving complex challenges with the help of what he calls ‘mental models’. Because of Josh, there exists a deeper level of understanding that is benefiting our entire team and organization. These are now habits that I am passing along to others so they may attain similar success.

Tina Powell, Managing Member, Director of Business Management, Beacon Wealth Management

Although I’ve worked for some big companies and have achieved success so far, I’ve been struggling with feelings of inadequacy and, more importantly, a growing desire for leading my own projects. Yet most of the personal projects I embark on end up unfinished. My ability to finish what I start at work seem to elude me at home, or so I thought. In truth most of the obstacles that impair me from developing my full potential are present in every aspect of my life.

Some years ago, I started reading about personal management and trying about every app and system to make myself “organized”, since that’s what I thought my main issue was. But soon I discovered procrastination was only the symptom, and what I needed was to cure the disease.

So I kept searching for answers and started following the blogs of people I admired: high-achievers that were kind enough to teach others the road to success. Of those blogs I follow, probably the one that rings truer to me is Joshua‘s. These are some of the things I learned from Joshua:

At the core of everything is self awareness. I found really useful the exercises in bringing mental chatter to light, they helped me in detecting harmful beliefs that I’m now working to crowd out (another great concept).

Willpower isn’t enough.

Empathy gaps: the reason why you feel so excited to create stuff but then lose that enthusiasm when you start to work on it.

Feeling fake when you’re making big personal changes is normal. Also, you need to be skeptic of preconceived notions about yourself.

It’s really important to take care of the basics before anything else. Since I started implementing some of Joshua’s models I’m slowly making progress:

  • I took the courage to ask for a position of more creative responsibility at my job, and got it!
  • Started leading a small team of people on a collaborative side project.
  • Keep looking for opportunities to act and think like a leader.
  • I’ve been more consistent with my habits than ever.

I’m really grateful for having found Joshua’s blog. It feels like having a mentor, and the daily articles full of actionable wisdom keep me motivated towards my goals.

David A.

The reason I approached Josh was because I wanted to improve the quality of my life. To be more specific, as faculty in a business school, I found myself constantly worrying about making mistakes while coaching students. I also struggled with making meaningful connections with people to build a professional network. I have read Josh’s blog for a few months. I found his Model brilliant, and I wanted more guidance on how to implement it.

With Josh’s guidance, I did the following exercises:

  1. Tracked my self-talk for a week.
  2. Implemented the Model based on one specific challenge I faced. Josh helped me analyze the situation and proposed an action plan. We listed people to reach out to and practiced key points to make. I then reached out to these people to discuss my situation and seek their advice.
  3. Practiced opening up to friends and colleagues about my exercises and goals. Practiced feedforward.
  4. Communication exercise: what is your passion?
  5. Communication exercise: meaningful network.

My biggest progress was becoming more confident and comfortable reaching out to people I didn’t know. I also feel more confident and comfortable dealing with difficult situations.

I am less nervous about making mistakes as I know that I can learn valuable things from them. Practicing the Model makes me not that afraid of negative emotions anymore, as I am confident that I can change negative emotions to a positive, and gain insight from the process.

I also feel more comfortable sharing my imperfections and vulnerabilities with people. Actually, most people I opened up to start to share more of themselves with me.

After 4 sessions with Josh, I have a script/template that I can follow when I talk to people. I know that over time when I practice more, I won’t need the script anymore. But at the beginning, having a tool provides a good foundation.

The great thing with Josh is that he not only provides a good framework, but also gives specific suggestions tailored to my situation.

Y.C., Business School Professor

Creativity Consulting

I am a Producer for a large video game company. Our business depends on having repeatable creative processes. We brought Josh in to help us with ours.

So many consultants just wave their hands and pronounce that you should be “thinking outside of the box.”  Josh presented peer reviewed research on creativity and idea generation, as well as leading exercises that took advantage of the research he had just presented.

The employees who participated loved it and there was a noticeable shift in their creative analysis by the end of Josh’s consultancy.

Benjamin Sherman

As a modern-classical composer, I create original music for live performances (sometimes I perform). I wanted to take my music in new directions.

I told Josh my goals. He listened and asked a few questions. Then we scheduled a couple sessions at a whiteboard. He described some theory behind creativity, then did a few exercises. I was amazed because even though he didn’t know music like I did, he knew about generating creative ideas. He showed me ways to put my ideas together to come up with original work I created.

Six months later I was still building off ideas from those sessions. I expect to continue using the techniques I learned then to generate new works forever.

R. R., composer


Professor Spodek’s dynamic personality captured my attention from the start of  the first class in January 2014. I have an entrepreneurial mind and I still remember lessons from the first day applying, making me a better business thinker already.

The course was Entrepreneurial Marketing and Sales, which he covered. It went above and beyond my expectations in refining my Marketing skills. We started by identifying unmet needs, coming up with solutions, and taking it to the next level in talking to people and developing the ideas. Through simple steps, I developed the idea to where I found myself planning a startup! I didn’t realize how easy it was to go from unmet need to marketing plan. He gave us the opportunity to think as an entrepreneur and create a marketing strategy that works.

Dr. Spodek’s class also helped put the other courses in my graduate program into a new focus. His class gave me skill-sets that I use everyday as student, employee, and in my personal life.

I highly recommend Professor Josh Spodek to any student that wants to become a better entrepreneur, learn marketing strategy, or master communication skills in multiple mediums that allow for career and interpersonal growth. I wish I could take more classes with him.

Mana Kashuk

[Here are all the free-form student evaluations of my course at NYU-Poly, “Entrepreneurial Marketing and Sales” from Spring 2014 (not my favorite evaluations, all of them):]

  • Greatest course I have taken in poly. Thanks for everything.”
  • “He is the best prof I have even seen in this school. I strongly recommend him to continue teaching this class for our engineering students. It is practical and really useful in our future career and social networking.”
  • “This is the best class I have ever taken in US. The prof is nice and the course is very useful. I hope I can take this class again”
  • “This is one of the best courses I had during my studies in poly. He teached [sic] us a lot of important and practical knowledge”
  • “The prof is excellent
  • “The structure of the course was very instructing and informative at the same time. Prof was very kind and answered all the queries. Feedbacks on assignments were given effectively. I enjoyed the class and the course totally.”

Analysis and Writing

I found your blog through the Mr. Money Mustache forums and have been reading it from beginning to present. My life has greatly improved since I’ve started reading.

Russell Fogle

I admit that I was quite skeptical to learn that on his return he wrote a book on North Korea, it’s a country that requires a career of study and dedication to research to understand – at least from a historian’s viewpoint. Instead, Joshua took his considerable business and entrepreneur experiences, along with his ability as a physicist to break down complex systems into easily understandable parts, and applied these talents to write a book that presents a simple, clear, and nonjudgmental understating of modern North Korea’s motivations. He accomplishes this by explaining the business concepts of strategy and sustainable competitive advantage, and how these concepts apply to, and help simplify an understanding of not only North Korea, but to each of the relevant players (countries) concerned with the North Korea situation. These concepts are also used to help explain why those in power in the modern North Korean regime (those born after the Kim Il- sung personality cult was firmly established) resist change, finding it safer to continue and to perpetuate the statues quo.

This book battles the mainstream idea that North Korea’s leaders are crazy and act irrationally, and firmly proves that there is an easily understandable and well developed strategy behind modern North Korea’s actions and motivations.

Joseph Ferris III

It’s not surprising that the most illuminating read on N. Korea doesn’t come from a politician or social scientist — it comes from a PhD physicist with an MBA.

Author Spodek visited North Korea and did first-hand research, breaking down their economic and political situation, and what must be done to change things.

A fascinating and insightful read. Recommended.


It’s natural to assume that North Korea is insane and illogical in its actions. It’s also easy to think of the citizens of North Korea as simple drones of the state. Surely there can be no reasoning to explain the actions of the leadership of the hermit kingdom?

This book presents that there is in fact a method to the ‘madness’ and the western world assuming “insanity” is exactly what the North Korean leadership intend for us to believe. The author also presents what he describes as a “toy proposal” to allow for the opening-up of the nation. A very thought-provoking read that may totally change how you interpret the country.

Mark Fahey

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