10 Warnings On Personal Branding

warnings on personal branding

Warnings on personal branding? I’m not sure what personal branding is—and definitely didn’t know it was dangerous.

Personal branding, defining and refining the you who you want the world to see, makes a lot of sense even if you don’t perceive yourself to be selling yourself or anything else.

Why? Even if you don’t perceive yourself to be selling yourself … you are. Unless, of course, you are a sociopath or a recluse. Selling yourself is really not a bad thing. Most of us would prefer to be liked rather than not liked; respected rather than disrespected; trusted rather than mistrusted; understood rather than misunderstood; heard rather than ignored.

Those are qualities and dynamics we like to sell. And they don’t sound very dangerous.

Personal branding sounds a lot less conniving when we use old adages to describe it, like put your best foot forward or you only have one chance to make a good first impression or dress for the part. [Read more…]

The Assignment Clause in a Book Publishing Contract

Q: What is the assignment clause in a book publishing contract? Is it important?

A: It defines whether you or your publisher can give-grant-sell to someone else the rights and obligations found in your Agreement. It might matter a lot.

Does the assignment clause ever become a business matter in book publishing?

Does the assignment clause ever become a business matter in book publishing?

I’ve worked on and signed hundreds of book publishing contracts as a publisher, author, agent, and packager. The first Agreement I signed as an author was in 1986 (the book is still in print and I still get a small royalty check every six months) and was just two pages long. Most publishing contracts today go from twelve to twenty pages with the goal of covering absolutely any and every potential situation and conflict imaginable in the ever-expanding and changing publishing universe.

I recently got a call from a friend from the advertising industry who was working on book contract, which was filled with new language and terms for him. He had a checklist of questions, including the assignment clause, [Read more…]

5 Stages of Grief for Sports Fans


This can’t be happening.

What do the 5 stages of grief have to do with sports fans you wonder? Just ask the diehard Wrigley Field denizens and they will provide you with enough angst and anecdote to write a Ph.D. dissertation in clinical psychology.

The five stages of grief were introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in the book On Death and Dying (Scribner, 1969). She posited that the stages of grief are universal and cross all socio-ethnic-economic classifications.

Now I know that losing a World Cup match is in no way comparable to the loss of death—though after losing to Germany 7-1 in Rio, there are Brazilians that might disagree—but our team, MY team winning or losing is so palpable … so visceral … so emotional … why shouldn’t the 5 stages of grief apply to sports fans?

Anyone that grew up with ABC Wild World of Sports on Saturday afternoons—back in the blurry days of television when the only channels we got were from the three major networks and maybe one or two local stations—knows the truth of Jim McKay’s words, when he intoned the immortal phrase, “Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sports … the thrill of victory … and the agony of defeat … the human drama of athletic competition.” [Read more…]

Presumption of Guilt and the Breakdown of Public Discourse

presumption of guilt and the lack of civil discourse

The meeting of the minds has become a contact sport!

Much is made of the lack of civil discourse and the breakdown of public discourse in American culture today. Is it time we declare the meeting of the minds to be a contact sport with special headgear?

The art of diatribe – a long, angry, bitter, satirical criticism against a different opinion – has always been practiced in the public square across generations and cultures. But doesn’t it seem worse than ever? Maybe I’m waxing nostalgic, but even in my lifetime, I seem to remember healthier expressions of dialog and debate on fiercely contested ideas.

Okay … I was born shortly before the Civil Rights Act was signed into law … my childhood was marked by the Roe v. Wade, the Vietnam War, nuclear proliferation, Watergate, and economic Stagflation. So it wasn’t very peaceful then either.

But I still seem to recall the mainstream political debates – every bit as contentious as today’s issues – having more civility. I think. Well … sometimes.

The constant companion of the diatribe today is the ad hominem attack – [Read more…]

Don’t Eat That Frog First

Eat that frog?

Eat that frog?

In his bestselling book, Eat That Frog, Brian Tracy tackles the issue of personal productivity with 21 ways to conquer procrastination, beginning with his classic breakfast recipe :

If the first thing you do when you wake up each morning is eat a live frog, nothing worse can happen the rest of the day!

If you’ve ever met Brian, read one of his books or heard him speak, you know what a disciplined, talented, savvy communicator – and person – he is. I have a lot of admiration for him. Better to listen to him than me! I’ve been known to procrastinate at times.

But I would humbly suggest that there are some days you will get more done by foregoing the frog for breakfast – it tastes nothing like chicken – and enjoying your Cheerios, oatmeal or bacon and eggs. [Read more…]