There’s never just one aspect of a person’s character, intellect or lifestyle that makes them a success or a failure. It’s always a combination of a whole host of factors and personality traits.
So you can’t just pick out one thing that sets someone like Mark Zuckerberg apart from the millions of us who haven’t achieved the kind of things he has. But you can pick out some key areas where you can get some inspiration.
For example, most powerful and successful people in the business world share one key aspect of their working lives with most of the rest of us – a desk.
If you want to really understand how to make the most of your workspace, you need to see what some of the most powerful and successful people manage their desks. That is what SavingSpot has done with these illustrations.
Here are eight examples of successful people’s desks, so see what you can learn from them:
1. The Desk of Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO
One of the most striking aspects of Mark Zuckerberg’s desk is where it’s located. He sits in amongst his staff, rather than taking a big corner office, which is clearly meant to be a sign to his staff that he’s just one of them.
This is an excellent way to seem approachable and relatable but might cause a few issues when discussing, say, Congressional testimonies. So we’re sure Zuckerberg’s relatively humble desk isn’t the only place he conducts his business dealings.
When he is there, he has a blue stuffed Privacy Dinosaur to keep him company, along with a stack of books for inspiration.
2. The Desk of Stephen Hawking, Scientist
There’s more to a desk than simply storing items you need to be able to do your work.
For most of Stephen Hawking’s life, the contents of his desk were of no use to him, as his real ‘desk’ was contained entirely within his incredible brain.
So the desk in his office was more about expressing his personality. It featured mementos like a model of his guest appearance in The Simpsons, a model space shuttle and a picture of Marilyn Monroe.
There was even a desktop computer and a miniature computer because if there’s one thing a scientist can’t get enough of, it’s computers.
3. The Desk of Martha Stewart, Businesswoman, Writer and TV Personality
Appropriately for someone who has built a career out of her knowledge of homemaking, Martha Stewart’s desk is built into her kitchen.
It’s also not surprising that it is extremely organized and makes excellent use of a relatively small space to fit in everything she might need. That includes room for two laptops, a TV, a stereo system, a shelf of reference books, stationery, a vintage pencil sharpener and a photo of her cat.
This is a lady who knows how to get things done and there are many lessons the rest of us can learn from her desk in particular.
4. The Desk of Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX
What do you put on your desk when you’re a man who has sent his car into space?
Like any really successful person, Elon Musk’s life is all about pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved and you can see from his unusual-shaped corner desk that he likes to be surrounded by things that inspire him.
So not only does he have a model of the SpaceX rocket Falcon 1 but also the Saturn V Apollo mission rocket, a lunar lander AND the Spirit of St Louis.
Here’s a man with his eye on the horizon and beyond. Musk also has plenty of books to offer information and guidance when he’s not working hard on his computer or tablet.
5. The Desk of Jane Goodall, Primatologist
You might think that the desk of a successful person would be found in a big office in a big skyscraper in a big city, but they can be found anywhere in the world and here’s a good example.
Jane Goodall has been working with chimpanzees since the late 1950s in countries like Tanzania, a million miles away from that image of a typical desk set-up. But as a prolific and important writer and advocate for the species she has studied, Goodall has still always needed somewhere to work whilst in the field.
So kept some essentials, like a typewriter and transistor radio, but also flasks, pots and jars to store key physical findings.
6. The Desk of Aaron Sorkin, Screenwriter
Having written some of the most acclaimed TV and movie scripts of the last few decades, there’s no doubt that Aaron Sorkin knows how to be productive while working at his desk.
If he ever needs a reminder of just HOW productive, he only has to swivel his chair around to take a look at the Emmy statues conveniently placed just behind him.
He’s also got important items like a wooden sailing boat, a vintage copy of Life magazine, an antique cigarette case and a box with pens from the White House. Oh, and some chocolate milk, of course.
7. The Desk of Roald Dahl, Author
So many of us feel like we have a great novel in us, so the temptation is there to try and give ourselves the perfect set-up to get working on our new career as an author.
This might involve spending a fortune on ergonomic furniture and inspirational art and accessories to get the most Instagrammable desk you can afford. But one of the most popular and successful authors in history didn’t need any of that.
Roald Dahl’s desk was his armchair with an affixed desk allowing him to work in comfort, with a lamp behind him for illumination.
Working at home meant that he didn’t need to take things into the office with him. But he still had some important mementos around him, including a model of a Hurricane plane and a collection of pictures and sketches.
8. The Desk of Jon Stewart, Broadcaster and Satirist
Having spent years needing to stay on top of the latest news for The Daily Show, it’s no surprise to see that Jon Stewart’s desk is a bit chaotic.
There’s scraps of paper and notebook, no doubt full of ideas and notes for topical gags. There’s a desktop PC and a MacBook for all the news updates and script writing. And there’s a Rubik’s Cube and a basketball for a spot of distraction.
A jar of gumballs offers the busy mind some much-needed sugar, but what he’s got planned for the hard hat, we’re not quite sure.
Now that you’ve seen how each of these famous and successful people set out the desks where they did so much important work, you’ll have picked up some useful tips and inspiration for your own workspace.
Having a construction helmet on your desk won’t make you a renowned comedian. And a wooden sailing boat might not help you write The West Wing. But where will your new desk layout take you?