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Career Warfare: 10 Rules for Building a Successful Personal Brand and Fighting to Keep It Hardcover – November 24, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
D'Alessandro, chairman and CEO of John Hancock Financial Services and author of Brand Warfare, offers winning strategies based on the notion that everyone needs to develop a "personal brand" that distinguishes them from other employees. This lively book has advice that is entertaining and bluntly honest. D'Alessandro outlines 10 rules for career success including "Try to Look Beyond Your Own Navel," "Put Your Boss on the Couch" and "Everybody Coulda Been a Contender; Make Sure You Stay One." All employees need to realize that success won't come only from hard work and dressing appropriately-"by themselves, they will not set you apart from your peers, and they will not propel you into the executive suite. In fact, the biggest mistake you can make is to assume that organizations are rational, and that success will proceed in a rational manner from your good performance reviews, nice manners, and sharp suits." Instead, D'Alessandro shows how people can get themselves noticed within a corporation, find ways to make their bosses excel, develop reputations for honesty and effectiveness and learn how to work with the enemies that will inevitably jeopardize their positions. He also offers very specific advice on the three types of meetings-staff, get-something done, combat. Occasionally, his comments-not having an affair with a colleague or not getting drunk at off-site meetings-are obvious, but, overall, this volume is a solid and inventive guide to success that should inspire many readers to alter at least some of their on-the-job behavior..
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From the Back Cover
"A refreshing message ... from someone who has fought many corporate wars." -- The New York Times
In Career Warfare, David F. D’Alessandro, the bestselling author of Brand Warfare, has written a business classic: an insightful and delightfully frank book about achieving professional success at a high level.
What really defines those who get ahead? Hard work and accomplishments will only get you so far. If you intend to compete at the levels where the competition gets really ferocious—where everybody is hard-working and accomplished—you need a much more subtle weapon. According to D’Alessandro, the CEO of John Hancock Financial Services, you cannot win without the kind of reputation or “personal brand” that convinces powerful people to trust you.
D’Alessandro, a keen observer of the unwritten rules of organizational life, shows how personal brands are built out of people’s day-to-day behavior in even the most insignificant moments. He also demonstrates what a battle it is to build a good one. It is a battle even to be noticed early in your career; it is a battle not to become dangerously arrogant later on. You constantly have to defend your brand from the sniping of your enemies, the indifference of your bosses, and your own worst impulses.
Career Warfare will help you to win these fights at every stage of your career by showing you how to
- Look beyond your own navel
- Make people want to take a chance on you
- Get your boss to promote your “personal brand”
- Decide when to stay in a bad job and when to leave a good one
- Recognize the types of organizations that will keep you from rising
- Pull away from the pack in mid-career
- And much more
Using vivid stories from his own rise through the organizational ranks, D’Alessandro offers shrewd advice for disarming the people who hold your career in their hands and introduces a remarkable cast of characters along the way. You’ll meet the corporate chairman who gave himself a speech impediment, the account executive who sang opera for a president, and the job candidate who washed her face with a pancake. You will also meet some of the smartest managers of their own public images on the planet and learn from the things they have done right.
Success, says D’Alessandro, is not going to come from your accomplishments alone. But you can separate yourself from the crowd and rise to the level of your ambitions—if you create the kind of personal impression that commands respect. Career Warfare offers the smartest advice you’ll ever get about how to do it.
A breakthrough new book that shows you how to stand out from the crowd
“A witty and insightful book about personal and career strategy. It is impossible to read this book and not come away with new insights about how to further one’s career——and be a more effective person.”
—Michael E. Porter, Harvard Business School
“D’Alessandro dares to speak the truth. If you don’t manage your own reputation, those around you will. This is no theoretical exercise. In corporate America, people talk about you every day. You can affect what they say.
“With a cut-the-crap sharp eye for the passions, yearnings, and follies that drive every organization, D’Alessandro draws apart the drapes and reveals what it really takes to get ahead in business.”
—James Carville, Author and Democratic Strategist
“With good jobs becoming harder to find, D’Alessandro’s sage advice is more timely and important than ever, especially for those who are trying to build their personal brands and enhance their careers at the same time.” —Tom Neff, Chairman, U.S., Spencer Stuart
“Smart, strategic, and useful career advice from someone who has actually achieved success in the real world. D’Alessandro shares the lessons he’s learned, and the mistakes he’s made, on his way to being one of the most talented and respected CEOs in America.”
—Harvey Mackay, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller
Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive
“Lessons from the master. D’Alessandro is living proof that there’s no more important brand than the brand called you.”
—Donny Deutsch, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Deutsch Inc.
Top customer reviews
I interact more confidently with executive management now, and have gotten more positive feedback from these types directly and indirectly since reading this book. I have gradually been given a larger scope of autonomy over my work and influence over others without a formal authority position, which I find a huge achievement. I've figured out how to leverage my work ethic and achievements for optimum gain in career development and advancement, how and when to ask for what I want, and what type of people I should look to for mentorship. I think for anyone with ambition who wants a surefire method to building a successful career, this book will be a satisfying, insightful read. I bought this on Kindle but will probably buy it again in hardback so I can have it handy to pick up and browse through for refreshers without scrolling through my phone. It's worth the money and I will probably be buying other pieces from David's Warfare Series. Highly recommend.
Still, although we're not getting the whole story of a career here - it's a how-to, not a history - there is certainly a pleasing openness in describing many events and relationships, and the author's rise from that grocery store in Utica. He is naturally interested in the stories of other famous names in business and has found some great anecdotes: for instance, about John H. Patterson the founder of NCR: he had, quoting Mark Bernstein, "an absolute genius for firing people," including the executive who discovered he was fired when he found his office furniture on the NCR front lawn - in flames. . . But lesser mortals also are noteworthy, including the interviewee in the Chinese restaurant who thought the slim, tortilla-like moo shu pancake was a hot towel and slapped it on her face...
Good cautionary tales about "loose lips sink ships," such as the consultants who lost a multi-million dollar engagement when some of their private discussions came to the wrong (or right) ears...I'm pretty sure I know which firm that was, having (full disclosure!) been a computer consultant at John Hancock, and later Manulife, for several years.
And I really like his classification of meetings into three types: Staff, Get-something-done, and Combat!
D'Alessandro is rightly proud of his Italian ancestry (at least we have one thing in common!), but does not come over as a total Machiavelli. However, there is a certain ruthlessness: he is not at all the forgiving type. The word "Vendetta" springs irresistibly to mind. In fact, one section's heading makes an explicit reference - "You can enjoy a dish best served cold."
All in all, a pretty good read, and I'm sure very useful to the young aspiring executive...not exactly for me, as I never headed that way, being more of a technician/practitioner.
Others here have described the book in great detail, so I won't. Instead, I'll say that if you're new to the working world, stagnating in your current job, wanting a new career or promotion, or just starting a new job as a leader with aspirations for more, read this book! Reflect on your past and learn from it. Then go forth and be successful!
Who shouldn't read this book? Those who are happy with the status quo of their self, their career, and their life. Those who are not ambitious (not everybody is, and that's OK). And lastly, those you work with, for they need to know nothing about your implementation plans for your brand and your career.
If you don't believe this branding 'stuff' is real, take a look at pricing for premier products and compare them to lower priced products or, gulp!, a generic. Hand soap, shampoo, engine oil, CPUs (Intel vs. AMD). How many of you really believe that $10 soap is really going to clean 10x (1000%) better than $1 soap? I'm not suggesting there aren't differences because there are (some perceived, some real). They just may not total up to 10x better, which is precisely my point. Wouldn't you rather be paid 10x more (or even 2x more for that matter) because of your premier personal brand? If you're happy as a generic, great! There's a place for those, too. Just not on the top shelf.
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