Best of 2013: The 20 Stories That Mattered Most to Professionals This Year

December 5, 2013


What do workers want?

According to what they're reading and sharing on LinkedIn, they're hungry for management wisdom — how to spot talentact ethicallylead with purpose. They want to know how to implement a vision and, yes, even be "really successful" at a pursuit. They're desperate for information on building company culture (Richard Branson explains here; Naomi Simson here) and how not just to be great at what you do, but how to give back.

It's not surprising that there's so much demand for business clarity. Businesses worry every day about getting upended by technology and globalization. With the unemployment rate at 7.3 percent and with the employed needing to keep up or develop new skills to stay relevant, many people feel uncertain about their career paths. So guidance on navigating — and winning in — the corporate world is welcome.

These lessons came to light as we pulled the annual list of the top stories of the year. The list is based on engagement: which posts were the most read, passed around and discussed the day they debuted and in the weeks after.

Influencers -- some of the biggest names in business who regularly share their thoughts on LinkedIn -- were happy to serve up insights from their own experiences. Angie Hicks, the founder of Angie's List, reminded office dwellers that leadership qualities can be developed regardless of someone's position in an organization. Her tip: Be great at your current job, but also listen closely and be willing to evolve. Nonprofit guru Katya Andresen took a different approach, urging professionals to spend at least 15 minutes a day in "deliberate thought about something bigger than your to-do list."

News stories from the 1.6 million publishers that flow through Pulse, our social news product and app, featured similar insights. The most-shared story of the year, published by the Huffington Post, details something that's familiar to anyone who has suffered through a bad boss: people leave leaders, not companies.

It wasn't all management tips, of course. Stories that provided a smart take on the news also resonated with the LinkedIn crowd. Adam Bryant, the Corner Office columnist at The New York Times, explained why Google changed its hiring practices by giving up on its brainteasers -- “How many golf balls can you fit into an airplane?" -- and emphasizing behavioral questions. CNBC technology correspondent Jon Fortt highlighted the three books Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos gave to his executives in a massively popular post. Finally, Tod Sacerdoti, the CEO and founder of video advertising firm BrightRoll, offered a glimpse of the future: Software will continue to chip away at the digital ad industry.

The Most-Engaging Influencer Posts of the Year

  1. Bruce Kasanoff: The Best Talent Is Bringing Out Talent in Others
  2. Naomi Simson: Four Business Rules I Learned in Kindergarten
  3. Adam Bryant: Google Changes How It Hires, Calls GPAs 'Worthless'
  4. Richard Branson: Yes Men? No Thanks!
  5. Deepak Chopra: The Conscious Lifestyle: A Leader Must Look and Listen
  6. Vivek Wadhwa: Corruption in Business, and the Importance of Ethics
  7. Angie Hicks: 5 Ways To Lead No Matter Your Title
  8. Tod Sacerdoti: Software Is Eating the Digital Ad Business
  9. Katya Andresen: 3 Powerful Ways to do a Better Job in 2013
  10. Jon Fortt: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Had His Top Execs Read These Three Books

The Most-Engaging Stories of the Year

  1. People Don't Leave Companies -- They Leave Leaders! (Huffington Post)
  2. Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid (Forbes)
  3. 10 Things Extraordinary Bosses Give Employees (Inc.)
  4. 8 Things Really Successful People Do (Business Insider)
  5. 6 Ways To Create A Culture Of Innovation (FastCo Design)
  6. 'Batkid' Fighting Cancer Captures Hearts, Saves San Francisco (LA Times)
  7. 88% of Spreadsheets Have Errors (MarketWatch)
  8. iOS7: Here is Apple's Mobile Operating System of the Future (VentureBeat)
  9. How To Go From $0 To $1,000,000 In Two Years (TechCrunch)
  10. Amazon CEO Testing Delivery by Drone (USA Today)

One final note: To capture the full diversity of what was shared by our more than 259 million members, we screened out multiple entries by individual publishers or writers.