Andrew Yang: ‘The Only Way to Overcome Failure Is to Get Up The Next Day and Keep Trying’

The Founder and CEO of Venture for America on the last time he felt burned out and the book that changed his life.

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Andrew Yang: Look for my wife and children to see who’s awake.

TG: What gives you energy?
AY: Technically, food. ;) I love seeing people develop and become better over time.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?
AY: Marry the right partner.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
AY: Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras. It made me want to build great organizations.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
AY: I charge it in another room. I listen to Arianna!

TG: How do you deal with email?
AY: I need to be pretty on top of email, but I try to space it out throughout the day and take it very light on the weekends.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
AY: Catch up on current events. Right now, I’m writing a book so I look at my notes and see if I can push a particular idea forward.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
AY: There was a period not that long ago when the boys weren’t sleeping well for weeks on end and both home and work required a lot of energy. I caught a cold and had some travel mixed in. I wasn’t exercising or taking care of myself. Having young children is not easy, in my experience.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
AY: I fail all of the time. As a leader and a parent and as a partner. The only way to overcome the failures is to get up the next day and keep trying, and hope that you accomplish enough good that the failures are part of a much larger picture.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
AY: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

Andrew Yang is the Founder and CEO of Venture for America, a fellowship program that places top college graduates in start-ups for 2 years in emerging U.S. cities to generate job growth and train the next generation of entrepreneurs. Andrew has worked in start-ups and early stage growth companies as a founder or executive for more than twelve years. He was the CEO and President of Manhattan GMAT, a test preparation company that was acquired by the Washington Post/Kaplan in 2009. He has also served as the co-founder of an Internet company and an executive at a health care software start-up. He has appeared on CNN, CNBC, Morning Joe, Fox News, TIME, Techcrunch, the Wall St. Journal, and many other media outlets. Andrew was named a Champion of Change and a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship by the White House for his work with Venture for America and one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business.” He is a graduate of Columbia Law and Brown University. Andrew’s first book, “Smart People Should Build Things,” was published by Harper Business in early 2014.

Originally published at

Wisdom, Unplug and Recharge, Life Lessons, Thrive Questionnaire

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