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The Brand You 50 : Or : Fifty Ways to Transform Yourself from an 'Employee' into a Brand That Shouts Distinction, Commitment, and Passion! Hardcover – September 21, 1999

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Editorial Reviews Review

If Dilbert and Tom Peters ever attended the same party, they'd probably find themselves in opposite corners. The cynical cartoon character would have a hard time in Peters's upbeat, high-energy world of "Cool-Beyond-Belief." The Brand You50 is Peters's manifesto for today's knowledge workers. It joins his Reinventing Work series, which includes The Projects50 and The Professional Service Firm50.

In The Brand You50, Peters sees a new kind of corporate citizen who believes that surviving means not blending in but standing out. He believes that "90+ percent of White Collar Jobs will be totally reinvented/reconceived in the next decade" and that job security means developing marketable skills, making yourself distinct and memorable, and developing your network ability. His list-filled prescriptions cover everything; for example, "You are Your Rolodex I: BRAND YOU IS A TEAM" (no. 22), "Consider your 'product line'" (no. 25), "Work on your Optimism" (no. 35), "Sell. SELL. SELL!!!" (no. 47). While the book is overwhelming at times--its hyperactive typography pretty much shouts at you--any baby boomer thinking about his or her career will find much to consider. --Harry C. Edwards


Technology is changing almost everything. Management guru Tom Peters argues it's also going to change the entire landscape of work. In his set of self-help books for professionals, the Reinventing Work series, he declares that "90-plus percent of white-collar jobs will disappear."

Downsizing ain't over, but Peters claims he can help you through it.

The employment landscape is going to be full of "free agents," he says, and if these newly "freed" individuals want to succeed, they'll need a new approach to their jobs. One way is by approaching work as a set of projects. Find out what's most interesting about each project and thrive on that, Peters advises.

In his latest publishing project, Peters urges readers to forget about loyalty to a particular company and replace it with a self-motivated dedication to the work at hand.

The entire book series has the feel of something transcribed from one of Peters' motivational speeches; his use of bold letters, ellipses, exclamation points and oversize type is perhaps a better fit with the lecture circuit than the publishing world.

Knopf plans five books in the Reinventing Work series, but for now, there are three: The Brand You, The Project and The Professional Service Firm.

Each of the pocket-size hardbacks starts with a description of an unemployed, Dilbert-ized landscape, followed by 50 ways to sidestep such a fate. In The Brand You, the list of 50 ideas includes a chapter titled "'Inc.' Yourself." After a comment on the concept, Peters launches into The Nub, his plan for making the affirmations take flight. The idea is to visualize yourself as a company - with departments, goals, bottom lines, branding. The chapters close with a Thing to Do section. In this case, it's two things: adding an "Inc." to your name, and treating every to-do list like you're preparing for the next quarterly board meeting.

By turning everyday work into interesting and inspiring projects, Peters believes workers will become self-motivated, completed projects will become more innovative and companies will become less stagnant.

Peters constantly reassures readers that they are worthy of independence. Anyone can follow the path to success, he encourages, although he tempers his enthusiasm with comments like, "I'm not living in dreamland. I know not everyone can be a superstar."

The free-agent concept applies particularly well to the online industry, where companies must grow quickly to have more than a slim chance of succeeding. In a free-agent world, workers aren't disappointed when their company tanks, but instead move on to the next project. In fact, the rampant job-hopping in the Internet Economy has been one of the original drivers of the free-agent workforce. Establishing a reputation, networking and positioning one's easily digestible brand: That's perfect for the Net.

If you're looking for rose-colored lenses for your job, Peters has what you need. This self-help series is mostly about making work fun, which isn't a bad idea, after all.

- Laura Rich -- From The Industry Standard

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Product Details

  • Series: Reinventing Work
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (September 21, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375407723
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375407727
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 0.8 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tom Peters is co-author of In Search of Excellence--the book that changed the way the world does business, and often tagged as the best business book ever. Sixteen books and almost thirty years later, he's still at the forefront of the "management guru industry" he single-handedly invented. What's new? A lot. As CNN said, "While most business gurus milk the same mantra for all its worth, the one-man brand called Tom Peters is still reinventing himself." His most recent effort, released in March 2010: The Little BIG Things: 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence. Tom's bedrock belief: "Execution is strategy--it's all about the people and the doing, not the talking and the theory." (Keep up with Tom at, ranked #9 among "The Top 150 Management and Leadership Blogs.")

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

144 of 154 people found the following review helpful By Gene Bromberg on August 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I remember an anecdote about a young writer who sent a manuscript to a famous author asking for criticism and advice (I forget who the famous author was. Faulkner?). The author graciously sent back a long, detailed reply which contained a nugget that I remember to this day. The author said, "You should be more judicious in your use of exclaimation points. A writer only gets to use three of them in his career." Meaning, of course, that if you overemphasize every other sentence, how to you get the reader to understand the importance of something that really needs the emphasis? If you have to use italics and caps and exclamation points to get your point across, you're choosing the wrong words.
Which brings us to Mr. Peters. If you're looking for some interesting and useful advice on how to market yourself and your career, this book is quite good. Peters does drive me up the wall a bit with his relentlessly energetic and optimistic tone, but he does give good advice. I don't think Tom takes into account how resistant some workplaces are to people who behave like he tells us to, and his irritating call to make everything you work on a "WOW" project makes me wonder if he knows what it's like to man the front-line trenches of corporate America. But again, what he writes is worth reading.
What I find fault with is the how Peters says it. He can't write a sentence without words in ALL CAPITALS and italics (which, alas, I can't show you in an Amazon review). And, of course, Peters loves exclamation points!!!! In fact the logo of his company is an exclamation point!!! He uses enough exclamation points that there is NO WAY to tell what is just ROUTINE INFORMATION and what is VERY, VERY IMPORTANT. See how INCREDIBLY IRRITATION this is??!!! Read "The Brand You 50" and you find all sorts of good info, but you'll have to hack through an ENTIRE BOOK that is written LIKE THIS!!!!!!!
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful By David E. Rogers on January 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
...if you're serious about personal and professional growth. In his typically no-holds-barred style, Tom Peters scores with 50 (plus) strategies for breaking the shackles of faceless employee-dom and turning you into a rock 'em, sock 'em mini-firm --complete with personal "brand" and a passion for constant renewal.
...if you feel discouraged in today's business culture. With down-to-earth, "I can do that" tactical suggestions, Peters relentlessy lifts your hopes and revives the dreams long suppressed by "corporate." Like his "live" lectures, you'll feel like you just attended a revival meeting.
...if you're looking for more than your job offers. The 50 strategies get your juices flowing, help you diagnose your current position, and plan for the future. The chapters may be bite-sized, but they provide more than enough food for thought and reflection. Read it with savor.
...because it can change your life! This book played a key role helping me decide to quit my job and reach for what I really want to do. Read at your own risk!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Ever since he first blew my mind with "in Search of Excellence", Tom Peters has been on my "must read" list. He combines the utterly brilliant with the utterly obvious, fusing the two into the most powerful, most compelling vision of the possibilities of business I have ever encountered. I want to live in Tom's world, a world where work has meaning, purpose, passion and joy. "The brand you 50", is the latest chapter in this ongoing quest. If you have read his previous books, you will find no surprises, if you haven't, then read this book drunk, because he is going to scare the hell out of you. (and -maybe- set you free). In the book, Mr. Peters gives a list of things that an individual can do to thrive in the new economy. This is the Tom Peters vision of the world boiled down to its most pragmatic form. The author's views on what it takes to succeed has changed radically since "In Search of Excellence", but his absolute love for the topic burns hotter than ever. The only thing he could have done better would have been to combine "The Brand You 50", "The Project 50", and the "Professional Service Firm 50" into one book, instead of making me make three (expensive) trips to the bookstore.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kieran Lal on December 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Tom beats you up. He knocks you down and points out where you are weak. But when he is done you definately don't ever want to wear that mediocre suit to work again. His chapters are short and his homework is frightenly creative and challenging. I think it takes about a minute to read a chapter and a day(at least) to tackle his to do lists. Each to do is a groaning soul searching question that drags you down and lifts you up with a euphoric (and addictive)self-realization.
I decided to buy Tom's book after reading about a fifth of it in the book store. I described it to a new member of my Brand Me inner circle as a book I had to buy after I wrote down two quotes and laughed out loud three times.
The part I like the most about !'s book is the reaction I get from my inner circle when I share my things to do. "That is very very cool", "Storms, hurricanes, fires, natural disaster are churning in my belly after talking to you about it", "This is really exciting I am so eager to get started" are a few comments I have gotten since I started working on my brand.
Tom's book reads like he wrote it after 6 cups of coffee on a trans-atlantic flight and it probably was. So it doesn't flow as well it could. Also, if he really wanted people to take action as quickly as he says he does it would have helped to have some room to write right there in the book. I definitely recommend a workbook edition.
With a shortage of a million IT workers in the world it only makes sense that everybody start asking why they aren't doing what they absolutely love doing. Tom's book is a guide to start doing it.
Cheers, Kieran
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