About John U. Bacon - Best-selling Author & Inspiring Speaker on Leadership, Creativity and Diversity:
John U. Bacon has worked the better part of two decades as a writer, a public speaker, radio commentator, college teacher, and high school hockey coach, winning awards for all five.
He has authored or co-authored eight books on sports and business, including Walgreens: America’s Corner Store, Cirque du Soleil: The Spark, Bo’s Lasting Lessons: The Legendary Coach Teaches the Timeless Fundamentals of Leadership, which hit The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal’s Business Best Seller lists. He then researched and wrote a trio of books covering big time college football from the inside out: Three and Out: Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines in the Crucible of College Football, Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football, Endzone: The Rise, Fall, and Return of Michigan Football. All three were New York Times best sellers.
His latest book, Playing Hurt: My Journey from Despair to Hope, coauthored with ESPN’s John Saunders, tells Saunders’ life story in dramatic detail.
Bacon delivers speeches on the themes in his books — including leadership, creativity and diversity — to corporations, universities and other groups around the country and the world. In 2011, the Michigan Chapter of Meeting Planners International (MMPI) named him “Speaker of the Year.”
Bacon earned an honors degree in history (“pre-unemployment”) from the University of Michigan in 1986, and a Master’s in Education in 1994. In 2005-06, the Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellowship named him the first recipient of the Benny Friedman Fellowship for Sports Journalism.
He started his journalism career covering high school sports for The Ann Arbor News, then wrote a light-hearted lifestyle column before becoming the Sunday sports feature writer for The Detroit News in 1995. He earned numerous state and national awards for his work, including “Notable Sports Writing” in The Best American Sports Writing in 1998 and 2000.
After Bacon covered the 1998 Nagano Olympics, he moved from the sports page to the Sunday front page, roaming the Great Lakes State to find fresh feature stories. He left the paper in 1999 to free-lance for more than two-dozen national publications, writing stories on Formula One racing in Australia for The New York Times, on Japanese hockey for ESPN Magazine, and on Ernest Hemingway’s Michigan summer home for Time.
What John U. Bacon Talks About:
The Timeless Fundamentals Of Leadership
John draws lessons from a variety of sources, his own experiences, and his best-selling book, Bo’s Lasting Lessons: The Legendary Coach Teaches the Timeless Fundamentals of Leadership, which Warren Buffett himself endorsed. John tells stories to underscore how great leaders listen, communicate, and make decisions. In this fast-moving and fun speech, John gives specific, direct advice leaders can use the next day. Bo Schembechler impersonation guaranteed.
Hire Better, Fire Less
In this popular presentation, John describes how the best companies – from Zingerman’s famed deli to the Michigan football team to Walgreens – spend a lot more time, effort and thought hiring their people, and much less dealing with mediocre performers, and firing them. John lays out a practical guide – supported by fascinating stories -- for searching, interviewing, “auditioning,” and ultimately hiring the right people.
How To Create Creativity – And Manage It
Every company today must innovate to stay ahead of the pack. But how do you open the floodgates for creativity and still make sure the trains run on time? John explains how some of our best organizations do it, and conducts several fun, fast-moving exercises of his own creation to make lasting points – points the participants can put to use immediately to be more creative, without losing the discipline necessary to be effective.
Diversity For Fun And Profit
In this frank and refreshing discussion, John challenges us to face our fears, shines a spotlight on what we need to understand about each other, and makes it clear why expanding opportunities to more people makes us stronger. John’s ideas on diversity come from his research and writing about sports, from Jackie Robinson to Title IX to the NFL's Rooney Rule, which requires all teams to interview at least one minority candidate for any head coaching vacancy. His speech is surprisingly, but appropriately, funny -- often at his own expense. The bottom line is simple, however: we don’t seek to diversify to be charitable, but to be more successful.
Bacon derives the material for his talk on Generation Y from his experience leading the Ann Arbor Huron hockey team from the school's worst to best in three years (despite being the worst player in school history -- and he can prove that!) and teaching them at Northwestern and the University of Michigan, where he had received the highest evaluations on campus E (4.9/5.0) AND only SIX late papers out of 1700 students. Managing them should not be a mystery, and shouldn't be a headache. They unfairly get a bad rap, when the responsibility to lead them is our work.
Your presentation was excellent and it definitely was a hit with our team
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