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“Partnering” by Jean Oelwang

Tangible lessons from 65+ of the world's most remarkable partnerships.


Brothers and cofounders of Life is Good

Bert and John Jacobs


Hopelessly optimistic, Bostonians Bert and John Jacobs founded a hugely successful T-Shirt company in their early 20s to spread happiness through three simple words: Life is Good. The brothers continue to donate ten percent of profits to their foundation, focusing on victims of adverse childhood experiences.

“One of the things that we connected on was the idea that making a lot of money didn’t really turn us on in and of itself, or the idea of just building a business itself didn’t really turn us on. It was the idea that maybe the business could be utilized for something bigger.”

Bert Jacobs

“I think we’ve found, through the years, that brutal honesty is effective, because you know that you’re being transparent, and you’re sharing exactly how you feel with each other. So I think sometimes, when we really go at it, it might take others a month to get over that and come back together. An hour later, we’ll be having a beer together, and you know, everything will be okay, because we know that we’re dedicated. We know we have the same vision. And we know that we love each other.”

Bert Jacobs

“We believe in giving a little space for the person to shine in their area and not focusing on the one part that may bug you, as a sibling. Instead you’re like, how about the other 99 things this person does great? Just let those thrive and not focus on the points of tension as much. It’s like our mother taught us, you know, tell me something good; let’s start the meeting with what’s working together right now.”

John Jacobs
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