Cover image for The brand you50, or, Fifty ways to transform yourself from an "employee" into a brand that shouts distinction, commitment, and passion!
The brand you50, or, Fifty ways to transform yourself from an "employee" into a brand that shouts distinction, commitment, and passion!
Peters, Thomas J.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Alfred A. Knopf : Distributed by Random House, 1999.
Physical Description:
xv, 205 pages : illustrations ; 18 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HF5381 .P472 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The common denominator/bottom line for both the professional service firm/PSF and the individual/Brand You is: the project. And for the cool individual in the cool professional service firm there is only one answer: the cool project.
A seminar participant said: "Reward excellent failures. Punish mediocre successes." So, how many of you are at work -- right now -- on "mediocre successes"? At work on projects that won't be recalled, let alone recalled with fondness and glee, a year from now?

We don't study professional service firms. (Mistake.) And we don't study WOW Projects. (Worse mistake.) There is, of course, a project management literature. But it's awful. Or, at least, misleading. It focuses almost exclusively on the details of planning and tracking progress and totally ignores the important stuff like: Is it cool? Is it beautiful? Will it make a difference? My No.1 epithet: "On time . . . on budget . . . who cares?" I.e., does it matter? Will you be bragging about it two--or ten--years from now? Is it a WOW project?

So, then: Step #1 . . .the organization . . .the professional service firm/PSF 1.0. Step 2 . . .the individual . . .the pursuit of distinction/Brand You. And: Step #3 . . . the work itself . . . the memorable project/WOW Projects.

The Project50 is a simple and handy guide that provides 50 easy steps to help the modern businessperson choose the right project, find the right team, develop strategies for success, and ultimately know when it's time to move on.

See also the other 50List titles in the Reinventing Work series by Tom Peters -- The Brand You50 and The Professional Service Firm50 -- for additional information on how to make an impact in the professional world.

Author Notes

Tom Peters, public speaker and author, graduated from Cornell University and received a M.B.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University. He has also received honorary doctorates from the University of San Francisco and Rhodes College.

He was in the U. S. Navy during Vietnam and later served as a senior White House drug abuse advisor (1973-74). He worked for McKinsey & Company from 1974 to 1981. He holds about 75 seminars a year and has created and starred in a series of corporate training films.

He is the co-author of In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America's Best-Run Companies, which was a New York Times bestseller for three years. This book and subsequent titles have become bestsellers in Europe, Latin America and Asia. Peters contributes to several newspapers and journals, including writing a bimonthly column for Forbes ASAP.

(Bowker Author Biography)



STEP NO. 1 TO WOW PROJECT POWER: AWARENESS! The Nub Winston Churchill said that appetite was the most important thing about education. Leadership guru Warren Bennis says he wants to be remembered as "curious to the end." David Ogilvy contends that the greatest ad copywriters are marked by an insatiable curiosity "about every subject under the sun." So, too, great project reframers! The good news: Curiosity can (more or less) be trained/learned. My best friend -- my wife, actually -- is one of a number of "notebook freaks" I know. When she's on a product-sourcing trip for her home-furnishings business, for instance, she'll fill 40 pages of a notebook (she copied this habit from her adored grandfather). There will be notes . . . and sketches . . . and pasted-in articles and ads from newspapers or magazines. Likewise, my friend and business guru Karl Weick carries a packet of 3 x 5-inch cards in his inside sport coat pocket: I've never seen him go more than 20 minutes -- literally! -- without jotting down some observation or other. Another pal writes on matchbook covers, cocktail napkins -- and stuffs the little scraps into his left (always left!) pocket; he cleans out the pocket, he reports, every few days . . . and types the notes, with some elaboration, into an ongoing computer file. It boils down to studenthood-in-perpetuity/curiosity-in-perpetuity/applied-fanatic restlessness. That is, a belief that life is . . . ONE BIG LEARNING EXPERIENCE. Something mysterious happens to a curious, fully engaged mind -- and it happens, as often as not, subconsciously. Strange little sparks are set off, connections made, insights triggered. The result: an exponentially increased ability to tune up/reinvent/WOW-ize today's project at work! Curiosity Capers Milliken and Co. chairman Roger Milliken: On the job for 50 years, he sits through a meeting, listening like a submarine commander. Meeting ends. Five minutes later, I observe Roger pacing in the parking lot, dictating machine in hand, noting his observations -- and almost immediately translating these into "things to do." * * * Yours truly: I take a mass of notes -- perhaps 20 pages -- while listening to a two-hour presentation. In the next half hour I religiously retreat for a couple of minutes (literally) and distill these into summary points on a single 5 x 7-inch index card. * * * Jennifer Hansen, Hansen Design: "To keep myself focused at the beginning of a project, I start a small journal specifically for that job. . . . I jot my ideas for [that] project, whether a few words or a simple sketch, in [that] journal. I also tape and staple a lot of . . . article clippings and photocopies. . . . I also use these journals to keep notes from client phone calls and meetings. I keep this record with me until the close of the project -- it's a great reference tool." Journal Power! From Aha!, by Jordan Ayan: "Creative thinkers ranging from the inventors Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, and Leonardo da Vinci to the novelist Virginia Woolf, the psychologist Carl Jung, and the naturalist Charles Darwin all have used journals and notebooks to record their ideas and inspirations. These people understood that new ideas often come from combining many disparate pieces of information or concepts over an extended period of time. The only effective way to track your ideas and synthesize them is to document them as soon as they bubble up in your mind. . . . "One of the easiest and most effective ways to record your ideas is to start a personal 'idea journal.' By keeping this journal near you at all times -- on top of your desk, in your briefcase or purse, on the kitchen counter, on the nightstand by your bed -- you can record ideas that flash through your mind during the day and even at night. . . . "Whatever form your journal-keeping takes, the most surefire way to murder your impulse to use it is imposing a set of meaningless rules or guidelines. For example, don't feel that your journal is worthless if you don't write in it every day, or if you don't use full, grammatically correct sentences. This is nonsense. . . . "Use whatever journaling method works for you. One of the best methods I've heard about was developed by a manager at Boeing who wanted to track ideas he had while traveling. He carried pre-addressed, stamped postcards with him on which he wrote ideas as they hit him. Then he mailed the cards back to his house. I also know people who call their voice-mail boxes and leave themselves messages. And tiny tape recorders that will capture a spoken line or two are available inexpensively. There is no end to the clever (and creative) ways you can record and document your ideas." Tom Comment: Strong . . . and important . . . stuff! Put this book down. Right now.(But please pick it up again later!) Go out and buy yourself a journal -- or start on the nearest scrap of paper -- and make your first observation. It could well be one of the most important steps of your entire career. (P.S. I'm not exaggerating!) T.T.D./Awareness 1. Buy a simple spiral-bound notebook. TODAY. Label the front cover "Cool." Label the back cover "Awful."  START RECORDING. TODAY. 2. Wander the local mall . . . TODAY . . . for one hour. Write down 10 "cool" and 10 "awful" observations: great (and awful) service, signage, merchandise, food, restrooms, decor, music, whatever. 3. Record these observations on your computer. Translate four of them to your current project. 4. Work with one or two pals on this. Start an Observations Fanatics Team. Share your "data" . . . and translate your insights/observations to your project(s). Excerpted from The Project50 (Reinventing Work): Fifty Ways to Transform Every "Task" into a Project That Matters! by Tom Peters All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Why the Big Deal About Projects?p. 3
I. Create!
1. Reframe. Never--ever!--accept a project/assignment as givenp. 25
2. Translate your daily experiences into "cool stuff to do."p. 29
2a. Look at every-small-thing-that-happens-to-you as a Golden Learning Opportunityp. 33
3. Learn to love "WOW!" Use "the word." WOW!p. 36
4. There Are No "Small" Projects: In every little form or procedure, in every "little" problem there usually lurks a b-i-g project!p. 44
4a. Any activity can be converted to a WOW!p. 48
5. Put on the brakes. Never forget: Will the results of this project be Memorable/Braggable/WOW?p. 53
6. Love makes the world go 'round. Keep rethinking/reframing the project...until you fall in love!p. 56
7. Will "it"--the project, our baby--be Beautiful?p. 58
8. Design-Is-It! Beauty/Grace/Friendliness/Identity/WOW/Magical Moments: It's a designer's worldp. 61
9. Is the project Revolutionary? (ARE YOU SURE?)p. 64
10. Is the Web factored in? (Big time?)p. 66
11. Impact! Was it worth doing? (Does it Matter?)p. 68
11a. Made anybody angry lately? (All WOW Projects piss off The Establishment.)p. 70
12. Raving Fans! Wanted: Clients who L-O-V-E our stuffp. 73
12a. Women-as-Raving Fans. Cater to women's (different) needs ... explicitlyp. 75
13. We are ... Pilgrims ... Pioneers ... Pirates ... embarked on a Crusadep. 78
14. Create a "place"/lair with cachetp. 81
15. Put it--our WOW Project--in your resume now. Does it Sing to you?p. 83
16. Think Rainbow! Cool projects come from cool people. I.e.: a creative-diverse mixp. 84
17. Treat the WOW Project like a Small Business. (It is.)p. 87
18. Obsess on Deadlines. WOW Projects deliver!p. 88
19. Find a Wise Friend. WOW Project leaders need a terrific counselorp. 90
20. Find co-conspirators. ASAP. Start networking n-o-wp. 92
20a. Find-a-customer. Think User ... from the startp. 94
21. Carry a little card that reads WOW!/Beautiful!/Revolutionary!/Impact!/Raving Fans!p. 96
Reprise: Createp. 99
II. Sell!
22. Develop a succinct WOW Project sales pitch. Selling = Brevityp. 103
22a. Metaphor time! You need a compelling theme/image/hookp. 106
23. "Sell" anyone and everyone ... anytime ... not just The Big Cheesep. 109
24. Work on BUZZ ... all the time!p. 111
25. Do your "community work." Constantly Expand the Network!p. 113
26. Love Janie-come-lately! A supporter is a supporter ... regardless of when she signs onp. 115
27. Preach to the choir. Never Forget Your Friends! (No matter how busy you are.)p. 117
28. Don't Waste Time on Your Enemies. (You ain't gonna convince 'em.)p. 120
29. Create an A-Team Advisory Board. (You are as Cool as the Cool People who are seen to be supporting you.)p. 123
30. Become a Master Bootstrapper. Live Lite. Too much money turns you into a slavep. 127
31. Think Beta! You need Customer Test Sites. ASAP.p. 131
Reprise: Sellp. 133
III. Implement!
32. Chunk it!/Test It!/Try It!p. 137
33. Live ... Eat ... Sleep ... Breathe ... Prototype!p. 139
33a. Teach prototyping. Create A "Culture of Prototyping."p. 145
34. Play. Find Playmates. Scintillating "implementation" is about a Culture of Playp. 147
35. Scrunch the Feedback Loops! Get Fast Feedback ... From the "Real World." (Again. And again. And ... then ... again.)p. 150
36. Blow it Up! You've gotta have the guts to destroy-and-start-over ... if you are serious about WOW!p. 153
37. Keep Recruiting! You always need more WOW Peoplep. 155
37a. Wanted: Court Jester! Humor makes the World-of-WOW go 'round ... when you are under constant attackp. 157
38. Make a B-I-G Binder! You need a Master Document. (And it's a Big Deal.)p. 160
39. Make Lists! Succinct lists may be Power Tool No. 1p. 162
40. Think/Live/Eat/Sleep/Breathe Timeline. Become A Milestone Maniacp. 165
40a. Wanted: Ms. Last Two Percent. Finishing Fanaticism is what separates a "pretty good job" from a "WOW."p. 168
41. Master the 15-minute meeting. The succinct, summary morning meeting matters!p. 170
42. Celebrate! The smallest success deserves celebration: Call it "momentum management."p. 172
42a. Celebrate Failures! Only fast failure foreshadows fast successp. 173
43. Keep your eye on the WOW Ball! Don't let the exigencies of "implementation" distract you from WOW!p. 176
44. A WOW Project has Identity ... Spirit ... Personality. Keep focused on these ideas!p. 178
45. Time to Cast the Net More Widely: Embrace the Suits!p. 180
46. Keep Focused on the User Community. (Now more than ever.)p. 182
47. Concoct a Buzz Management Program! Implementation = Marketing. (Call it: The Permanent Campaign.)p. 184
Reprise: Implementationp. 186
IV. Exit!
48. Sell Out! We must put Our Baby into The Mainstream if we want lasting impactp. 191
48a. Recruit a Mr. Follow-Up. Take succession planning seriously!p. 193
49. Seed your Freaks into The Mainstream ... where they can spread The Word of WOW!p. 195
50. Write up your WOW Success. Celebrate. Move On!p. 197
Afterwordp. 199
The Movement!p. 201
Reading and Viewing Resourcesp. 203
Acknowledgmentsp. 207