Superlawyer, founder of Boies Schiller & Flexner
"Try to listen before you speak," my father told me when I was 13. "Anyone who's worth talking to is worth listening to." It was for some time hard advice to take onboard. I could understand listening to a teacher, or anyone with special knowledge, about a subject I was trying to learn. But I often thought I knew more than the person I was speaking with (and occasionally I did).
Over time I came to understand that almost everyone knows something or has some insight or experience I do not -- or can say something that, even if wrong, triggers a thought or idea I might not otherwise have.
Even if my only interest in someone was to teach, persuade, or seduce them, listening was still important. People I listen to are more willing to listen to me.
We went through our archives for nearly a decade of collected wisdom that still holds up.
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