We live in an age of unabashed self-promotion. We like to brag about our lives on Facebook and about our professional achievements on LinkedIn. Sometimes it might be difficult to believe that there exist people who actually don’t use social media to self-promote. In fact, they don’t see much value in self-promotion at all…

Listen to David Zweig, author of Invisibles, [talking about] employees who value good work over self-promotion.



 Link to the original HBR pagehttp://blogs.hbr.org/2014/06/succeeding-quietly-in-our-recognition-obsessed-culture/



  • endeavor – an attempt to achieve a goal
  • intrinsic – belonging naturally; essential
  • extrinsic – not part of the essential nature of someone or something; coming or operating from outside
  • misconception – a view or opinion that is incorrect because based on faulty thinking or understanding


Think about it

Answer the questions below. Pause the recording at the times indicated in the brackets.

  • Who is an invisible? Who are they not? (1:28)
  • What is the general attitude of people to being called invisibles? (2:01)
  • What kind of people did David Zweig talk to? What kind of jobs do they do? (3:21)
  • What is the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic rewards? Who is motivated by the former type of rewards? (4:42)
  • How can the knowledge of what motivates certain types of people be helpful to managers? (6:15)
  • What is David Zweig’s general attitude to self-promotion? (8:39)
  • What two pieces of advice does David Zweig give?


Practice makes perfect

Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words. Check your answers by listening to the podcast (fast forward to 8:50). We all sort ________ have this, I think, reasonable nervousness about “Well, is anyone gonna recognize ________ I’m doing something really well?” You know, if I don’t see my boss about it or walk ________ her office and tell her or tell my clients about what I’m doing. And again there is ________ time and place ________ that to be done. But what the evidence shows, both from simply meeting with the people who I met with, who are incredibly successful, who really run ________ opposite direction to that and also a good ________ of research has been done by a number of business school scholars, people like Adam Grant. Another set shows that oftentimes when you are ________ really good work people recognize it ________ time. It may not happen immediately and it’s hard for, I think, a lot of us, myself included, it’s hard to have the faith that the work alone will carry you ________. But it’s reassuring that evidence points towards that ________ the case.


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