Patrick Pelloux is an emergency room doctor who for years has written articles for the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. He was near its office in January when terrorists attacked it. He rushed to the building, where he found many friends dead and began treating the rest. On Friday night, as he heard about the massacre at the Bataclan concert hall and in nearby streets, he went immediately to a hospital and for the second time this year began treating terrorists’ victims. Like all Parisians that night, he had been told to lock himself in his home. But like a great many of them, he disregarded his own safety and went out anyway.
Everywhere during and after the attacks the world saw the spirit of leadership – a determination to decide for oneself what was the right thing to do and then to march out and do it, regardless of the risks. In the emergency room, Pelloux was surrounded by doctors who only a week earlier had been on strike to protest funding cuts; now they filled the hospitals. The taxi drivers whom visitors chronically complain about shut off their meters and gave free rides to the many people trying desperately to get home. Parisians quickly began using a new Twitter hashtag, #Portesouvertes – open doors – to offer their homes to people who needed a place to stay. Inviting strangers into your home? On that night? Crazy. But the right thing to do.
Thousands of people lined up on sidewalks Saturday to donate blood, defying orders to stay inside. There are reports of injured victims leaving the hospital earlier than recommended because they believed others needed the beds more. On Saturday night, many people made a point of dining out at restaurants on the very streets where diners had been killed the night before. Public rallies were forbidden for obvious security reasons, yet on Sunday thousands turned out in the Place de la Republique under a huge banner saying “Not Afraid.”
An accountant named Bertrand Bourgeois was fishing in the Seine under a bridge in central Paris on the morning after the attacks. He explained to a New York Times reporter that he normally does his fishing outside the city, where he lives, and of course the public authorities (and his wife) had told him to stay home. But, he said, “something in me felt like it was important to be here, to say ‘still alive.’”
Across Paris, people with nothing in common ignored prudent advice or direct orders and did what they knew to be right. That’s what leaders do. You could say that these people weren’t really leaders because they had no one to lead. Or you could say that they were leaders to Paris and the world.
Most of the time as we look around us we feel despondently that the spirit of leadership is a rare thing. But sometimes it isn’t.
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What We’re Reading Today
Marriott to buy Starwood Hotels for $12.2 billion
Starwood Hotels and Resorts interim CEO Adam Aron had reached out to potential buyers of the company in July as revenue declined. Marriott Hotels and CEO Arne Sorenson got the company at a 4% discount to Friday’s closing price. The deal makes Marriott the world’s largest hotel chain. CNBC
Japan sinks back into a recession
The country’s economy shrunk 0.8% in the third quarter, partly because of China’s slowdown. It’s the fourth time in the past five years that Japan’s GDP has fallen in consecutive quarters, meeting the usual definition of a recession. Loose monetary policy and fiscal stimulus, which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pushed, don’t appear to have the effect they had when introduced in 2013. Fortune
China tech conglomerate to invest $50 billion in chips
Tsinghua Unigroup, a state-sponsored tech company, will invest $50 billion over the next five years to become the world’s third largest chipmaker. Company chairman Zhao Weiguo says Tsinghua is also in talks to buy a U.S.-based company that develops chips. The investment is enormous for a new entrant to the chip business, nearly equaling Intel’s yearly revenues. As the government tries to reduce its reliance on non-Chinese semiconductors for military use, Tsinghua may well have the support to succeed. Reuters
Donald Trump, T-Mobile CEO fight it out
When Donald Trump commented via Twitter on Ronda Rousey‘s championship fight loss on Saturday, he sparked a strange war of words with T-Mobile CEO John Legere. Trump told Legere to try running his own company better. Legere barked back, “I am an undecided Republican… Well not totally undecided, I know what I don’t want.”
The Next Web
Building a Better Leader
Gig economy tools for contractors…
…are starting to become norms for full-time employees. WSJ
When it comes to starting a billion-dollar business…
…it doesn’t have to launch in Silicon Valley. Fortune
Over 20% of Japan’s working soon-to-be mothers…
…with a full-time job have reported they’ve faced maternity harassment. Quartz
The French Respond
France bombs ISIS
As the manhunt for the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, unfolds in Belgium, French President François Hollande ordered airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria. Teaming with the U.S., forces hit a command post, a training center for new recruits, and hundreds of oil trucks, which Islamic State has used to fund operations. NBC News
Migrant issue debate shifts in tone
While thousands continue to enter Europe, more European leaders are calling for stricter controls on who enters and increased screening of refugees. Germany, which has led in providing asylum to migrants, is debating next steps following the Paris attacks. Some Eastern European countries are suggesting the open border policy within Europe should end. NYT
World leaders discuss response to ISIS
At the G20 summit over the weekend, discussions turned from economics to the growing ISIS threat. President Barack Obama announced the U.S. would aid French efforts in fighting ISIS and called on other European nations to do the same. U.S. presidential candidates have adjusted their tone in denouncing terrorism. Among Republicans, non-traditional candidates Ben Carson and Donald Trump will need to demonstrate ability to handle major diplomatic and military issues. Fortune
Up or Out
Hank Williams, an entrepreneur and prominent advocate for increasing minorities in the tech sector, died Sunday at age 50. USA Today
Fortune Reads and Videos
Facebook’s safety check garners praise
But critics wonder why the feature, which asked Parisians to notify their network that they were safe following Friday’s attacks, wasn’t rolled out sooner. Fortune
Henry Paulson works to unite China and U.S.
The former Treasury secretary’s nonprofit Paulson Institute connects Chinese and American businesses to improve energy efficiency in China. Fortune
Xerox has developed disintegrating chips
The computer chips shatter upon command. Fortune
Brookstone partners with crowdfunders
The specialty retailer will work with Indiegogo crowdfunding campaigners to bring new ideas to stores. Fortune
“France, because it was attacked cowardly, shamelessly, violently, France will be merciless against the barbarians of Daesh…It will act with all the means within the law, with all the means necessary. And all, all fronts: interior and exterior, in coordination with our allies who themselves are targeted by this threat.” – French President François Hollande, speaking in the aftermath of the Paris attacks. The Telegraph
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Editor’s note: On Friday we mentioned that Fortune’s Businessperson of the Year was Nike’s CEO. We called him Matt Parker, but of course his name is Mark. We regret the error.