American Swiss Foundation

Leader Spotlight

JohnstonN2Nicholas Johnston (Young Leader 2009)

Head First Word Desk, Bloomberg News

What do you like most about Switzerland?
The order and permanence. You get a sense that things have been a certain way for a very long time and will always be that way.

What do you like most about the USA? 
The opposite.  It's always changing and often an utter mess. Also, it's enormous. Great for long road trips.

What defines your leadership style?
Don't forget what it was like to be on the other side -- Be transparent, and communicative, and trusting.  Give people the chance to do great things.

Who inspires you?
People who don't tolerate "good enough."  It's easy to just accept things.

What is your greatest achievement?
Has to be the creation of life, so: my daughter Lena.

Do you have any weaknesses? 
I tend to tolerate "good enough."

Where do you live?
In Washington, DC. If I want to be fancy, it's Capitol Hill, but if I want to be somewhat hipper and more accurate it's near H Street (where one day we'll have a streetcar).

What is your favorite place in the world?
Either St. George Island on the Florida Gulf Coast or Stor Kran, the island in the Stockholm archipelago where my grandfather built a summer house in 1930s.

What is the best book you ever read?
The easy answer The Great Gatsby, which I end up reading again every couple of years, but the better answer is A Moveable Feast, if but for no other reason than this sentence on eating oysters: “As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.”

What is your goal in life? 
To live simply and well enough to be memorialized in a Country and Western song.



About Nicholas Johnston

Nicholas Johnston leads Bloomberg's Washington First Word team, a group of reporters and editors who specialize in breaking news for customers of the Bloomberg Terminal and Bloomberg Government. Previously, he was a White House correspondent for two years following his coverage of the 2008 Presidential Election, and spent four years as a Congressional reporter, covering immigration, the Iraq War, and the financial crisis. Nick joined Bloomberg in 2003 from The Washington Post, where he covered local business, technology and finance. He holds a bachelor's degree in English and Government from Georgetown University.

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