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Brag!: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn without Blowing It Hardcover – May 21, 2003

4.2 out of 5 stars 109 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Brag! is a whip smart tool kit--one that tampers with our beliefs about humility by defining bragging as an act of authenticity. Peggy Klaus, a Fortune 500 communication coach, sharpened her strategies in Hollywood, "the bragging capitol of the world," where she learned the art of tooting your horn, without blowing it. "To brag is to talk about your best self with pride and passion in a conversational manner." explains Klaus. She includes a snappy "Bragging Dictionary" with highly practical techniques including instructions for the "Bragalogue," a brief memorable elevator pitch and a "Brag bag," the collection of your greatest hits with colorful details that can be easily accessed.

Bragging rights and responsibilities are surveyed in a variety of situations: the co-worker who takes credit, techno-bragging online, performance reviews, job interviews and working a room. Klaus peppers her points with examples from her coaching sessions and seminars, sample dialogues and self-assessments. Although several examples may seem too studied, Klaus has much to brag about. This is a book that will change the way you think about the slippery skill of selling yourself. --Barbara Mackoff

From Publishers Weekly

"Using the same techniques that have turned thousands of professionals and executives into skillful self-promoters," Klaus, a Fortune 500 communication consultant, teaches how to make an impact in today's unstable business market by becoming "a master of artful bragging." Klaus's persuasive writing style and authentic tone combined with real-life anecdotes culled from her 10 years conducting training seminars show off the transformative effect successful bragging can have on a career (including the author's own), while deflating any fears readers may have of coming off as phony, arrogant or obnoxious. Creating a "bragalogue"(or short, enthusiastic, continually updated story showcasing strengths and accomplishments) that you can deliver comfortably and sincerely is key to "planting seeds for the future" or standing out in interviews, performance reviews or networking situations. Sample conversations, self-evaluation surveys, advice on avoiding common bragging pitfalls, hints on body language and concrete tips for stay-at-home moms, freelancers, retirees and recent college grads lend a hands-on feel to this valuable business primer.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Business Books (May 21, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446531790
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446531795
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #655,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


You may have seen Peggy Klaus on Nightline, the Today Show, and 20/20 or read her advice in the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Newsweek, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, and O magazine. You may know her as the "brag lady" or--as one newspaper called her--a "bragologist" because of her popular book, BRAG! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It (Hachette Books Group, Hardcover 2003, Paperback 2004). Or you may know Klaus for the soft skills savvy she promotes in her second tome, The Hard Truth About Soft Skills: Workplace Lessons Smart People Wish They'd Learned Sooner (Collins, January 2008).

For more than a decade Klaus has provided communication and leadership training programs, keynotes, and executive coaching at leading corporations and organizations worldwide. Her client list reads like a who's who of Fortune 500 companies, including firms such as JP Morgan Chase, MasterCard, Computer Associates, Chevron Corporation, Deloitte, General Mills, Goldman Sachs, The National Football League, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, American Express, Mattel, Booz Allen Hamilton, Kaiser Permanente, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, among others. She reaches thousands each year through her workshops, keynotes and executive coaching.

With advanced degrees in drama, speech, and theatre from London's Royal Academy of Music and the Drama Studio, Klaus began her career as an actor and classical singer. She then moved to Hollywood to become a producer, director, and coach who worked with actors, comedians, musicians, and broadcast news talent for productions at Paramount Studios, Warner Brothers, ABC, CBS, and NBC TV, among others.

In the mid 90's, Klaus started getting panicked calls from friends on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley asking for help with their presentations at industry and press conferences, client meetings, and congressional hearings. Applying the same performance and communication techniques that she used successfully with stage, television, and film performers, Klaus left Hollywood behind to start Klaus & Associates. She quickly earned a reputation for teaching business professionals how to bring their best, most authentic and dynamic self to every situation.

Taking her message from the boardroom to the classroom, Klaus has lectured to students and faculty at the University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business, Boalt School of Law, and the Harvard School of Public Health & Sciences. She has also served as lecturer at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and School of Public Health; Wharton's Executive MBA Program; the University of California, Davis MBA Program; Pepperdine University School of Law; and Smith College's Executive MBA Program. Klaus currently sits on the board of the Young Women's Leadership Network and has served as a member of the Women's Leadership Board of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, the Financial Women's Association of San Francisco Board, and on the SAGE Scholars Advisory Board at the University of California, Berkeley.

Following her passion for working with youth, in early 2004 Klaus launched BRAG! Connections, a unique program in which teen girls are paired with professional women to learn and practice networking and self-promotion skills. Continuing her work with youth, she developed the educational curriculum, Soft Skills 101: Lessons for Teens on Getting Ahead at School, at Work, and in Life.

When she is not coaching, training, lecturing, making television appearances, or giving keynotes in the US, Europe, and Asia, Klaus can be found in Berkeley, California, where she lives with her husband and their adorable pup, Ernie.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book won't cure cancer, but it sure will overcome a lot of missed connections among people with valuable knowledge, experiences and talents who could be sharing them with one another.
Ms. Klaus argues persuasively that most of us don't put our best foot forward, out of a desire not to seem like braggarts. In the process, we look worse than we really are . . . and no one really cares. Careers, relationships and opportunities languish as a result.
Most people would like to present themselves better, and would concede that point. What's good about this book is that it is filled with practical advice for turning yourself into an interesting and relevant brief story for those you meet.
The heart of the book is the Take 12 self-examination where you start developing what's potentially interesting and relevant about you to share with others. Then, there's lots of advice for how to customize that material into 30 second (for elevator conversations) to 3 minute (for selling or interview intros) versions that fit your audience at the moment. If you only read that section and did the exercises there, you would more than get your value from this book.
The book begins with Ms. Klaus challenging myths about bragging (such as jobs being well done speaking for themselves, and good girls don't brag) by looking at actual experiences where the results of those myths were harmful for those who acted on them.
Quickly, attention shifts in chapter 2 to "What So Good about You" and there's more there in the Take 12 than you probably appreciate now.
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Format: Paperback
Brag! was recommended to me highly... three different times. The third recommendation was because the book was on the "must read" list of a class I was taking on marketing. I finally bought the paperback version of the book since I was unable to find it at the local library.
I ho-hummed as I opened the book thinking it would be yet another inspirational speaker writing a book bragging about her success and that everyone else should be inspired. Inspirational speakers have never been that inspirational to me - probably because their "inspiration" lasts as long as it takes for me to get back to my car (usually at the top level of the parking lot furthest away from the auditorium). Once I'm behind the wheel of my car I am thrust back into my own world wondering what just happened. Hadn't I felt great just a few moments before? Wasn't I ready to go get `em? Wasn't I determined to get going and make a success of my business?
I read the first paragraph of the Introduction of Brag! and Peggy Klaus had me hooked. Wait a minute. I know she was talking about her own background in her narrative, but it sounded as if she was talking about me! She speaks of her father telling her as a child, " ...don't toot your own horn; if you do a good job people will notice you." My parents and Sunday School teachers said that all the time, too, and more. "Bragging is a big no-no." "The Bible says that modesty is a virtue." No wonder I never really liked inspirational speakers. They come off as giant braggarts. According to Peggy Klaus, they're not doing it right.
Countless phrases of virtue and avoidance of being obnoxious and self-aggrandizing hang in the back of my head waiting to pounce as soon as someone asks me what I do.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The 5-star reviews here mystify me. I found Peggy Klaus's book "Brag!" to be borderline unreadable and completely unhelpful.

It had a great title/subtitle and stellar Amazon reviews, so I figured this would be the book to help overcome my natural reluctance to tout my own achievements. Instead we have a supposed "communications expert" -- who readily admits that she feels like a fraud because she's not really a communications expert -- giving us commonsense advice that can be distilled into about five sentences. For example, the "12 Tooting Tips for Bragging" she ends the book with look like something anyone would come up with in 10 minutes when tasked with creating such a list: "Have a sense of humor" and "Use it all: your eyes, ears, head and heart" and "Know when to toot" and "Think about to whom you are tooting." OK...

The rest of the book is similar: full of trite observations and sweeping generalizations that sound like they were written by someone with not much corporate experience. Like "People on all rungs of the corporate ladder -- from entry level to middle manager, from heads of divisions to heads of companies, from Silicon Valley to Wall Street -- had a hard time talking about themselves." Heads of Silicon Valley and Wall Street companies have a hard time talking about themselves? If you find that sentence credible, then buy this book, because there are lots of others like it in here.

Don't brag too much, but let people know your accomplishments when it matters, and tell it in a quick story they'll remember. That's what this book takes 200 pages to say. I've never seen such an obviously bad book get such high ratings on Amazon.
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