Matt Tyrnauer is a special correspondent at Vanity Fair and a filmmaker. His documentary feature film, Valentino: The Last Emperor, was short-listed for an Academy Award for best documentary feature.
Advertising guru, branding god, industrial design maven, and man about New York Peter Arnell has written an astonishing, emotional, revealing, and very honest memoir in the form of a self-help book. Shift reveals how Arnell rose up from a bright and industrious kid in the last years of the old, innocent Brooklyn to make his mark in the rough world of Manhattan advertising, marketing, and publishing. When we meet Arnell in this vibrant and disarming book, the author has undergone a life transformation: the shedding of more than 250 pounds. Once a famous, kinetic Big Guy who wore un-tucked tent-like white shirts in his high-stakes account pitches in the world's fancier boardrooms, Arnell tells us how he remade himself after one visit to a diet doctor following some simple math about life expectancy for 407-pound short guys. Shift is, in part, the story of Arnell, master brander, rebranding himself, and, along the way, learning and relearning lessons about his present and past. The author is an intuitive edge player, who always dives in head-first to whatever he is doing, and what he is doing is beguiling: Inventing electric cars; re-inventing the fire extinguisher; helping Frank Gehry sell himself to a reluctant world; aiding Samsung in a bid to overtake the American market. It is fascinating to learn about Arnell's motives for his own rebranding (the weight loss, a totally new bespoke Italian wardrobe, and a reframed view of himself and his ability to contribute to the culture), and to go with him back over his own life and career and learn how his wildly eclectic mind synthesized tropes to create some of the most successful and artful corporate identity programs in history. Pepsi, Donna Karan, Home Depot, and McDonald's all benefited from Arnell's vision. Arnell brings us on a very personal voyage, introducing the reader to the countries he loves (Italy above all others), and the big players in the city that made him: New York, New York. The heroes of this book are the good friends (most of them highly accomplished people) and geniuses (some historical figures) from whom Arnell drew strength: from Michelangelo to Martha Stewart to the obscure, brilliant shrink, Milton Wexler, who taught to Arnell to "go helium," and rise above the petty problems of everyday life. Arnell shows us in fast-paced and exciting prose how we too can float on a helium jet stream to happiness, success, and fulfillment of our biggest dreams.
“He transformed my vision into a brand and our name into an icon. His passion and desire allow him to see endless possibilities and move dreams into reality.” –Donna Karan
“An intriguing look into the mind and creative genius of Peter Arnell...This is an invaluable read for anyone seeking true change in their life and business.” –Gwyneth Paltrow
“If you want to know how to change your life for the better, read Shift. Peter Arnell is living proof that you can do it too.” –Mark Wahlberg
“Peter has the unique talent of integrating design, branding, marketing, and innovation. I have seen him work magic.” –Robert Nardelli
“Peter Arnell has defied the odds to lose 256 pounds and keep them off. Anyone trying to make positive changes in their life will benefit from his inspiring focus and discipline.” –Dr. Louis Aronne, Weill/Cornell Medical Center
From the Hardcover edition.