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Build Your Own Life Brand! : A Powerful Strategy to Maximize Your Potential and Enhance Your Value for Ultimate Achievement Hardcover – March 1, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

According to marketing consultant Graham, the most successful individuals are those who understand how to muster their character, personal beliefs and unique abilities to add value to their jobs, their relationships and their communities. By doing so, they create and build upon a distinct and recognizable "Life Brand," similar to the way Coca-Cola, Oprah Winfrey, Microsoft and Martha Stewart evoke clear, consistent images that underscore the value they add to their target audience's lives. Graham acknowledges that brand success is not necessarily measured in dollars, citing Nelson Mandela, for example, as a man whose name holds universal meaning for people worldwide. Like other motivators, he prizes the power of having goals, focus and passion, but his reasoning is tepid in this book that mostly rehashes his popular You Can Make It Happen. With advice limited to determining one's skills, talents and knowledge; bland reminders to follow through on promises and project a positive attitude; and suggestions for increasing one's visibility (e.g., start a nonprofit organization, create a Web site), Graham fails to provide detailed practical instruction to a readership looking for direction. All in all, this work is hollow and appears hastily put together. (May)Forecast: In contrast to Robin Fisher Roffer's Make a Name for Yourself (Forecasts, Nov. 20, 2000), which provides motivation and concrete instruction for a slightly more sophisticated audience, this book's strongest asset is Graham's well-known association with Oprah Winfrey, who is mentioned repeatedly in the book.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Even though Graham runs his own management and marketing consulting firm and founded Athletes Against Drugs, he is best known--rightly or wrongly--as Oprah Winfrey's boyfriend. Furthermore, Graham is a coauthor of The Ultimate Guide to Sport Event Management and Marketing (1995) and has taught sports marketing at Northwestern University's business school. He also co-taught "Dynamics in Leadership" there with Oprah during her much publicized foray into academia. Other books by Graham are the motivational You Can Make It Happen: A Nine-Step Plan for Success (1997) and a heartfelt spin-off called Teens Can Make It Happen: Nine Steps to Success (2000). Graham suggests that this new book complements and expands the ideas he presented in those two earlier titles. He acknowledges that personal branding is no longer a novel tactic, but he applies his own unique perspective. He discusses the concept of branding, explains how it can be applied to one's life, and offers up plenty of examples. David Rouse
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1st edition (March 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684856972
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684856971
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,196,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Alice V. Henry on June 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I am halfway through the book as I type this. This book has a wealth of real-life examples of successful individuals who have branded themselves (e.g. Oprah, Michael Jordan, and others who are not-so famous). It also includes some examples of branding missteps (e.g. Dennis Rodman, the Barbie doll Holiday Edition debacle). All in all, it rehashes the same stuff over and over again without giving less motivated readers a clear cut plan on where to start (most readers with motivation know this stuff already). Examples include: 1. Live your passion (how many times have we heard this) 2. Don't let your circumstances keep you from branding yourself (again...it's been said before) 3. Don't let others influence your choices 4. Make the right choices and things will fall into place (the examples he uses makes it seem as if this will magically take place with no pitfalls) 5. Make the wrong choices and...DOOM! 6. Spend your time on your dreams and goals .....
I have read 100 pages and have yet to read a truly unique piece of advice. Sure this is an OK read for those of us who know these principles and may need a kick in the pants to jump-start ourselves again...however, some people need more tangible advice.
The section on creating success circles is the best part so far...but it took up a total of 10 pages. I am skimming the rest of the book and see more of the same. (e.g. Ways to Expand Your Brand include creating a website...starting a newsletter...create a non-profit organization)
All that I can say is that a typical man or woman in a humdrum existance will not feel any better about their lives after they are fed example after example of celebrities and major companies with successful branding.
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Format: Hardcover
In this celebrity-fascinated age, Professor Graham has written a solid book advocating the opportunity to build a more meaningful personal life through public service in ways that build on your strengths and preferences. The book contains many, many examples of celebrities pursuing this direction successfully, as well as the author's own experiences.
Build Your Own Life Brand! could have used fewer celebrities, and many more people who are like the typical reader. Professor Graham talks about his personal pain in the past at being seen merely as Ms. Oprah Winfrey's boyfriend, yet works Ms. Winfrey and that former connection into the book ad nauseum. Methinks the professor doth protest too much!
The book's basic weakness is that it outlines principles rather than having the kind of practical, detailed directions most people need, despite having a number of exercises in the book. As a result, the advice will probably work well for people who are celebrities already, people who are friends of celebrities already, those who are obsessed with becoming celebrities, and people who are part of "minority" groups that are underrepresented in the public mind and need attention.
The best part of this book was its focus on what value you bring to others as the first element of establishing a positive public image. Compare this idea to the behavior of people like Michael Milken and Bill Gates who began to work in philanthropic activities only after they ran into serious government and public relations problems.
I agree with this point for several reasons. First, your own efforts to add value to others will be vastly more effective than anything you could do to add value only for yourself. So you can accomplish more this way.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dennis B. H. Ang on June 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
In books like Rich Dad, Poor Dad, the author wrote about returning to society what one has reaped. In this book, Mr. Graham attempts to do it the other way round - almost. Build your brand from the community side. Market yourself as trustworthy and let the word of mouth spreads and presumably good things will come to bear.
While the examples were very inspiring, many of them African Americans, the concepts and ideas are not new. One get a sense of deja vu if you have read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and the likes.
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Format: Paperback
“Build Your Own Life Brand! A Powerful Strategy to Maximize Your Potential and Enhance Your Value for Ultimate Achievement” by Stedman Graham is a motivating and encouraging guide to making one's life matter. It contains a strong theme for dedicating our lives to things greater than ourselves, and in taking joy in every second, every minute, and every hour allotted to us during our life. I enjoyed the read, and it encouraged me to do even more of those things I want my life to stand for. Those things that comprise my Life Brand.

Graham illustrates what he means by Life Brand through many examples, both of himself and others you will know. He provides guidance in figuring out what you want your Life Brand to be, and how to market and expand that brand to not only achieve greater success, but to help more people along the way, because as I said earlier, there really is a theme of helping others throughout this book. There are chapters on the power of your Life Brand at work, in your relationships, and in your community.

The most powerful message in this book is one that you can make more of yourself, do more for others, and make your life mean something. Reading the book should motivate you toward those goals. I also believe the seven rules for building a a quality Life Brand in the last chapter are important considerations for all of us. If you are looking toward a more fulfilling life, Graham's strategies can help you get there.
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