Meet Google’s Jolly Good Fellow

“Meng at 37, the Chinese guy, not the black guy ” (Meng’s own caption on his website.) At Google, it’s a tradition that famous visitors pose for a picture with Meng. Why? Why not?


Meng’s card, which nobody can deny.

A digital gallery at Google HQ, which features Meng with hundreds of famous visitors, starting with Jimmy Carter and including the Dalai Lama. (photo by Adaline Lau, ClickZ)

Yes, that’s his official title.

Chade-Meng Tan is an early Googler (meaning he probably never needs to work another day in his life) who I had the luck of hearing last week on a visit to the Google campus in Mountain View.

Never once did he stop smiling as he told us about “Search Inside Yourself,” the emotional intelligence program he created and teaches at Google. And his jokes were often corny. But Meng gave us just a glimpse into a surprisingly powerful way of looking at the world. He made a case for how kindness and compassion are keys for personal happiness and peace. All with self-deprecating humor. “I think it’s funny that Google entrusted an engineer to teach emotional intelligence,” he quipped.

As he talked, we were lulled into his world view, which was the last thing I expected, on a visit to what is arguably the most powerful and influential corporation on planet Earth.

But here we was, asking us to learn how to separate ourselves from our emotions. And to practice a daily ritual of looking at total strangers and wishing them happiness.

So, when he described his vision for “creating the conditions for world peace in my lifetime,” I thought, he just might be onto something. Even if he’s wrong, what would be the harm in trying?

I highly encourage you to take 15 minutes to watch Meng’s TED talk, in which he covers some of the ideas he walked us through. Or read about him in the New York Times. Or if you see me around CoCo, ask to borrow my copy (which I just ordered!) of Meng’s book, Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace).

Peace out! No, really.

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