Partnering Book Summary - Partnering Book explained in key points
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Partnering summary

Jean Oelwang

How to Forge the Deep Connections That Make Great Things Happen

4.2 (227 ratings)
26 mins
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    The path to a meaningful life is through Deep Connections.

    At the time that she founded Virgin Unite, the charitable arm of the Virgin Group, Jean had two decades of career success under her belt. Before that, she’d helped start and develop mobile phone companies around the world. But the price of success had come with a cost. In order to prove herself as a successful female leader, she’d squeezed her friendships into calls from taxis and time with her family into fleeting fly-by visits.

    Then one day in 2006, Jean got into a taxi in Johannesburg, South Africa with her friend Nicola Elliot and boss, Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, and she headed to a meeting that fundamentally changed the way she thought about relationships. The taxi was bringing them to meet Nelson Mandela and his wife, Graça Machel, to discuss potential candidates for the Elders, which is an organization founded by Mandela and Machel in partnership with Richard and the musician Peter Gabriel. The candidates for the new organization were global world leaders who’d work together to address global conflicts.

    When they arrived in Houghton, a leafy suburb of Johannesburg, Nicola, Richard, and Jean were greeted by Graça, whose radiance and generosity made her seem immediately familiar. Graça had been an education minister of Mozambique, a freedom fighter, and now, an advocate for women and children internationally. She was soon joined by Mandela in the living room, who, with his bright smile and towering stature, immediately filled the room with joy. But the room was also filled with another energy: the love that Graça and Mandela shared with one another. More than a romantic love, this was a deep connection that lifted each of them up to better achieve their life purposes.

    Over the course of the meeting, Mandela shared countless stories about friends such as the former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan and the former United States president Jimmy Carter. It was that day that Jean realized Mandela had become the figure he’s known to be through his relationships. The Deep Connections that great leaders have with one another enables them to create something larger than themselves. Instead of the rampant individualism that society wants us to believe in, she realized, the meaning of life must be created through the Deep Connections we nurture with others.

    The discovery set the author on a 15-year exploration of what it takes to build Deep Connections and collaborative initiatives in order to positively impact the world.

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    What is Partnering about?

    Partnering (2022) looks at what it takes to develop deep connections in both business and personal relationships. Drawing from interviews with some of the world’s most legendary partnerships, including Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, Nelson Mandela and Graça Machel, and the collective which saved the ozone, these blinks are a guide through the six principles of connection which can elevate your relationships and make an impact on the world.

    Who should read Partnering?

    • Entrepreneurs
    • People who are married or in a romantic partnership
    • Anyone seeking to deepen their relationships

    About the Author

    Jean Oelwang is the President and Founding CEO of Virgin Unite, the charitable arm of the Virgin Group. She is on the Advisory Council of The Elders and on the board of groups including RMI, Just Capital, and Virgin Unite.

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