In his new book, “Good Company,” Arthur Blank shares what he considers the basis for his great success as a business and community leader. Blank, who helped found and build The Home Depot into one of America’s most successful corporations, believes that putting the needs of other people first is one of the most important principles he has learned. He also credits that guiding principle to the competitive success he’s enjoyed with his Atlanta Falcons football team and his Atlanta United soccer franchise. He recently announced that all the proceeds from the book’s sale will benefit the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. He’s made an initial contribution to the center of $300,000 as part of that commitment.
AJT: What do you think is missing in American life today?
Blank: I think what is missing is the sense of neighborhood. Creating an environment where you are really supporting each other in a way that is, as Dr. Martin Luther King said in his last book, community or chaos. We’re all here for a purpose and the greatest happiness, joy, peace, love that we’re going to experience in our lives is not going to be by the accumulation of wealth. It’s not going to be by the accumulation of things and stuff and whatever. It is going to be by sharing and giving back to other people. And I believe that firmly. I know every day of my life it is 100 percent.
AJT: How did you experience that in the 1940s and 1950s growing up in the Jewish neighborhood in Queens in New York City?
Blank: Parents, then, felt responsible for their children; they felt responsible for any children that they saw on the street. So they had this notion of caring for each other, the old notion of support for each other. It was the notion, from an aspirational standpoint, of sharing dreams and sharing the successes and failures. All that was done in very much of a neighborhood kind of basis. We need more of that today and we don’t have that today. We tend to live much more in silos, isolation, both individually as well as in groups. And I think that’s a step backwards. A step forward, which is kind of the essence in this book, is that, when we live as communities, we have much higher purpose that will give us the spiritual returns that are important to us leading a full and happy life.
AJT: How do you see that idea working out in our country today?
Blank: I’ve never seen this country as divisive as it is today. Never. It’s very painful to see it. And it has to start with the leadership we have politically and go throughout our Congress and all. It shouldn’t be red or blue. It should be, you know, what are the right answers for the people that are being served. In the states, cities, wherever it may be, politicians need to do a lot better job at listening and understand where people are coming from.
AJT: So where do we start?
Blank: I think a lot of success we’ve had both in business and with the Arthur Blank Family Foundation has been based on the principle of being really good listeners. It doesn’t take a brilliant mind to do that but what it does take is the sense of having a selfless kind of ego and being humble and understanding. There are answers out there if you just listen and ask the right questions.
Arthur Blank will participate in the Prologue to the Book Festival of the MJCCA Oct. 28 to discuss his new book, “Good Company.”
- Arthur Blank
- Jewish neighborhood
- Good Company book
- National Center for Civil and Human Rights
- New York City
- Home Depot
- Atlanta falcons
- Atlanta United soccer
- Bob Bahr
- Good Company
- Book Festival
- Book festival of the MJCCA
- Arthur Blank Foundation
- Local News