University of Arkansas

Walton College

The Sam M. Walton College of Business

Advice on How to Succeed from John H. Johnson

John H. Johnson Advice

December 28, 2018 | By Mathew Waller

Do you want to succeed? Here is advice from an entrepreneurial Arkansan.

John H. Johnson, born in Arkansas City, Arkansas, was a successful entrepreneur and founder of Johnson Publishing Company, which started Jet magazine and Ebony, the number one African American magazine. Johnson said that the key to success is creativity and persistence.

Who wouldn’t want to be more creative?


Well, creativity can be developed.

"Research shows that creative thinking involves making new connections between different regions of the brain, which is accomplished by cultivating divergent thinking skills and deliberately exposing ourselves to new experiences and learning"
- Psychology Today

In the Walton College, there are many ways to be deliberate in having new experiences and improving creativity. Here are eight ways to consider:

  1. Apply to Leadership Walton.
  2. Participate in events at the Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub.
  3. Get involved in the McMillon Innovation Studio.
  4. Immerse yourself around the world through study abroad.
  5. Go to a career fair and get an internship.
  6. Learn about co-ops.
  7. Improve your written and oral communication skills through the Business Communication Lab.
  8. Get a minor in business analytics.

There are many other many other ways to work on creativity in the Walton College so keep your eyes open. Don’t be discouraged when there are challenges, but seize the opportunity. Don’t be discouraged, but build persistence, the second dimension of John Johnson’s approach to success.



His success is evidenced by the company he founded as well as the fact that he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996 and inducted into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame in 2001. Creativity and perseverance paid off for him.

Post Author:

Matt WallerMatthew A. Waller is the dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business, Sam M. Walton Leadership Chair, and professor of supply chain management. His opinion pieces have appeared in Wall Street Journal Asia and Financial Times.

Waller is an SEC Academic Leadership Fellow, and coauthor of “The Definitive Guide to Inventory Management: Principles and Strategies for the Efficient Flow of Inventory across the Supply Chain” published by Pearson Education.

He received a B.S.B.A. summa cum laude from the University of Missouri, and a M.S. and Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University. He is the former co-editor-in-chief of Journal of Business Logistics.