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Superman: Help People
In this summer's film Man of Steel, Superman's dad tells his son, "You will give the people of Earth an ideal to strive towards." Hardwick believes businesses can achieve that, too. "Altruism," he says. "That's what businesses should learn from Superman."
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Lord of the Rings: Do What You Believe
With all the adventures of Frodo and the fellowship, J.R.R. Tolkien's tale has plenty of lessons for startups. "Always do what you believe is right," Hardwick advises. "No matter how much you think you can handle it, don't pick up the ring 26 Don't toy with darkness."
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X-Men: Have a Unified Vision
As diverse as Wolverine and the gang were, they all had a unified vision, organized behind the infrastructure built by Professor X. "He gave them tools; he gave them a home base; he organized the community," Hardwick says. "He's the CEO of X-Men, basically."
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Super Mario: Keep Trying
Hardwick's favorite lesson is that of perseverance. "No matter how many times the princess gets kidnapped, you're going to rescue her," he says.
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Star Trek: Work Together
With species ranging from Vulcans to humans, the voyages of the starship Enterprise are all about diversity, Hardwick says. "Race or species was irrelevant," he points out. "It was all about working together as a team."
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The Walking Dead: Assemble a Team of Experts
While zombies might be out for themselves (and brains!), Hardwick believes the popular comic book and TV show is all about community. "Essentially they assemble a party of experts in their world who are all good at something and contribute to the group," he says.
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Batman: Turn Adversity Into Something Constructive
Remember when Bruce Wayne's parents were killed? Well, Batman never forgot it. And by studying the Dark Knight, Hardwick notes, entrepreneurs can learn about "turning adversity into something constructive."
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Star Wars: Fight for What You Believe In
The sprawling epic of Darth Vader and son Luke Skywalker has a simple message. "It's the David and Goliath story," Hardwick says. "Fight for what you believe in, don't stop at any cost, and you'll triumph."