Minding Your Manners with Donald G. James

Written by Jamie Hunter

October 28, 2021

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How many times did you hear the phrase “mind your manners” as a kid? There’s a good reason for that: manners, simply put, are important.

Donald G. James, author, speaker and a 35-year veteran of NASA, recently published a book about about the topic, merging life lessons and career experiences with the timeless wisdom he learned from his mother.

“My mother used to always say, you don’t know where people have been; you don’t know their story and their history,” said Donald on the Leading With Nice Interview Series. “You don’t know what’s driving them. And so being respectful of that doesn’t mean you have to agree with it or think it’s right. But you have to at least respect that they have a history that’s worthy of getting and understanding. So I call that presence listening, and I practice that.”

Donald decided to make a career at NASA after the tragic Challenger accident in 1986. The loss of teacher Christa McAuliffe and her six fellow crew members, and the tremendous outpouring for the nation’s first educator astronaut, persuaded Donald that NASA was one agency that could inspire students to be explorers.

He holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He received a graduate Fellowship from the National Science Foundation and completed an MA in International Economic Development from the American University in Washington, D.C. Donald also studied economics at Cambridge University, England in 1975 and attended Harvard’s Senior Executive Fellows program in 2004.

Donald joined us on the podcast to discuss all things Ps and Qs and how, more often than not, exhibiting good manners during a job interview can be the tie-breaker in a hiring decision. Check out the episode below.

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