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Leaders With Soul: Arianna Huffington In Her New Book Thrive

I recently read Arianna Huffington’s new bestseller, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, which I highly recommend for its focus on how to inject your life with positive, energizing moments.

What struck me most about the book, however, was the way it shifted my perception of the author—from a hard-as-nails, success-at-all costs kind of leader to a much more empathetic and relatable leader with a deeply personal and inspiring mighty cause.

I was truly shocked and impressed by her commitment to telling her story of why it was so important for her to write this book, to sharing why she felt it so necessary to help others see the importance of measuring success in more than just money and power.

In Thrive, Huffington shows the power of leading with soul and being transparent about your commitment to your mighty cause. Her soulful message is clearly resonating with a lot of people—as of today, her book is ranked #108 on

Below is a thought piece on Huffington’s soulful leadership message, which I recently published on my new Psychology Today blog. At the end, I included some questions you can ask yourself to ensure that, like Huffington, your message passes the “soul” test.

I hope you enjoy it!

P.S. For more on communicating with soul, you can also read High Impact Communication Part 3 of 3: Saying it with Soul.


The Soul Factor: Why People Are Loving Thrive by Arianna Huffington

(This article was first published on Psychology Today)

Over Arianna Huffington’s decades-long career in the public eye, we have mostly seen her as a bold, take-no-prisoners kind of leader with the grit and determination to rise to the top. You may not have connected with her personally, but you respect her gumption and commitment to success.

In Huffington’s latest bestseller, however, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, an entirely different side of the media mogul shines through.

In Thrive we are introduced to a soulful leader passionate about her mighty cause: Measuring success in more than just money and power. We hear her authentic voice as she shares deeply personal stories of her own skin in the game (like when she collapsed and hit her head from exhaustion and lack of sleep) and why it is so important for her to share this message (it was how her mother lived, for one).

In Thrive, Huffington embodies what I call Leading with Soul. By showing her values and her personal investment in her mighty cause, her noble calling, she is building trust and commitment to the ideas she espouses. And more than her already huge following and larger than life public persona, I believe it is Huffington’s “soul” that is driving the success of her new book.

The most frequently asked question I get from top-level leaders is “How can I inspire trust?

I tell them it’s about Leading with Soul—meaning what you say and saying something meaningful.

Trust come from being transparent even if—especially if—it exposes your vulnerability. You may think people don’t care what you as a leader feels and that vulnerability is a sign of weakness. But you’re wrong. Passion and skin in the game are what inspires. If you are genuinely committed and personally invested in a cause, then it lowers the bar for the people you lead to get on board.

Does your message pass the “soul” test?

The next time you have to give a speech or a presentation in which you want to inspire your audience, make sure your words have the “soul” factor. Ask yourself:

  1. What is my vision?
  2. Am I connecting my vision to a mighty cause that resonates with my audience’s values and sense of purpose?
  3. Am I being transparent about my motives and intentions?
  4. Am I showing my willingness to make sacrifices to make it happen?
  5. Am I explaining how my audience will benefit from pursuing the vision?


Pro tip: Make sure to use the personal pronoun “I” whenever you want to inspire. Remember, soulful leadership is about meaning what you say. Using “I” opens a window into the soul and shows that you are owning your words and your message.


Dr. Kathy Cramer

Kathryn D. Cramer, PH.D.
Founder and Managing Partner, The Cramer Institute