Listen Now


Do you stop and smell the roses every once in awhile ? Do you remember what a raisin really tastes like? Do you take the time to listen to what your inner monologue is really saying?

Today’s guest Josh Spodek has made it his job as a teacher and practitioner of leadership and entrepreneurship to remind leaders to do just that in his highly-rated courses and new book, Leadership Step by Step. Labelled by Forbes and ABC News as a “Rocket Scientist”, Josh is nothing short of a serial overachiever. He has found success across many fields and disciplines such as science, invention, entrepreneurship, art, leadership, coaching, and education. He is an Adjunct Professor at NYU, leadership coach and workshop leader for Columbia Business School, columnist for Inc and founder of Spodek Academy. Josh holds five Ivy League degrees, including a PhD in Astrophysics and an MBA, and studied under a Nobel Prize winner.

Josh’s fascination with leadership as something that could be learned drove him to study it himself and eventually led him down the path of leadership and as an executive coach. He now leads seminars in leadership, entrepreneurship, creativity, motivation and sales at Harvard, Princeton, MIT, INSEAD (Singapore), the New York Academy of Science, and private corporations, including: UBS, EY, Deloitte, McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Time Magazine, Google and many more. He also leads seminars in Leadership, Creativity, Sales, Strategy, and Motivation at Columbia, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, MIT, and INSEAD Singapore, among others. Following visits to North Korea, he lectured on North Korean strategy at Columbia University, and in South Korea and China wrote a book on the topic reviewed as “a very thought-provoking read that may totally change how you interpret the country.”

If his professional achievements alone aren’t enough. Josh also swam the Hudson River, did over 80,000 burpees, wrote over 2,400 blog posts, took over 250 cold showers, coined the term sidcha, and has jumped out of two airplanes. He now lives in New York City’s Greenwich Village and blogs daily at

In this episode, Josh and Mark discuss Josh’s journey from PhD student of astrophysics to launching and failing in the business world and finally becoming a sought-after leadership coach and professor at NYU. They also experiment with some practical tools and exercises Josh uses to build the leadership muscles (for those of you hungry for tools); Finally, they explore the importance of experiential learning or project-based learning for building leadership and personal skills.

What Was Covered

[3:35] What does Josh do?
[5:20] Josh has five degrees. How did he transition from academia into entrepreneurship?
[7:25] Why did Josh’s business almost go bankrupt?
[13:20] When Josh learned about leadership and applied it, he changed as a person.
[19:20] Josh discusses what the ‘Belief Exercise’ is.
[22:15] As a leader, it’s important to both create a sense a purpose within the organisation and connect others to that sense of purpose.
[23:10] For example, Josh knew he should write a blog, but what actually made him take action was when a friend showed him how to setup a blog, step-by-step.
[26:00] Josh discusses some of the powerful leadership exercises you can do in the book, Leadership Step by Step: Become the Person Others Follow.
[34:00] Leaders work with emotions, environments, beliefs, and behaviours, which is why it’s so important to understand what your own beliefs are.
[38:15] How can these tools be brought into an established organisation looking for innovation?
[40:45] How do you teach people how to lead with empathy?
[48:25] If you believe someone was simply ‘born that way,’ with an admirable skill, like leadership, then this mindset will hinder you.
[51:45] Leadership is not like Shark Tank. It’s about developing relationships that help improve initiative and responsibility.
[52:35] What has Josh changed his mind about recently?
[55:25] What does Josh do to remain creative and innovative?
[56:55] What does Josh attribute his success to in life?

Connect with Joshua

Spodek Academy
Josh’s website
Josh on LinkedIn
Josh on Facebook
Josh on Twitter
Leadership Step by Step: Become the Person Others Follow
The Eat One Raisin Exercise

Subscribe & Review

Did you enjoy the show? Subscribe on iTunes & share your thoughts!

  • Click this link – Innovation Ecosystem
  • Click on the ‘Subscribe’ button below the artwork
  • Go to the ‘Ratings and Reviews’ section
  • Click on ‘Write a Review’

Connect with us!

We would love to continue the discussion on your favourite social media platform!