50 Shades of Grey: 7 leadership lessons

February 12, 2015 12:01 PM

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In E.L. James’ bestselling Fifty Shades of Grey, one of Christian Grey’s most endearing qualities is that he is a very successful businessman. So successful he may have purchased 49 of his 50 shades. The 27-year-old dropped out of Harvard to start his own business in Seattle and now, according to James’ blog, Grey holds the illustrious title of Most Successful U.S. Businessman Under the Age of 30 (no, he hasn’t made Fortune‘s 40 Under 40 yet—and never will, since he’s not real) and ranks among the Top Five American CEOs. Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc., (GEH) was launched with $100,000 of borrowed cash and in just a few short years has become a multi-billion dollar business. While the exact nature of GEH’s business is a bit mysterious, the company’s website claims it is “a world leader in communication technologies, sustainable energy and intelligent systems development.” The company also focuses on mergers and acquisitions, buying underperforming companies and, ahem, whipping them into shape. While Christian Grey may be fictional, there are still some valuable lessons to be learned from his success in the boardroom and the bedroom.

Christian Grey may be private about some aspects of his personal life, but his rags-to-riches story (born to a crack addict mother, adopted by a well-to-do Seattle family, a billionaire by the age of 25) is well known. His journey from poverty to success taught him resilience—a lesson he took into h...

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