The original “How To Win Friends & Influence People” has been a 15-million best seller ever since it came out in 1937. Since then — even long before then — its core formula has been a winning one for shamans, oracles, gurus, how-to-authors and positive-thinking writers alike. Why…? You know why…! They all offer you the golden goose to ride through life dropping golden eggs wherever you venture.
This is not to kill the goose. But have you ever been backstage during one of these big-name seminars whose flashy titles range anywhere from”You’re The One” to “Bring On The World.” It’s not unlike peeking behind the Wizard’s now-infamous curtain. A band of brothers who have each made their fortune in different ways, and are here joined at the hip of their bulging personal portfolios. CEOs …retired generals…Hollywood action heroes….hot selling authors…and occasionally some warrior-women who can talk the talk with the best of the boys.
You’ve heard of candidate’s “stump speech?” That’s what these folks are working from. The gig is easy and the pay is extraordinary. Most of them jet in that morning, do their thing for the cheering audience, then jet out that night. What’s known among the rich-and-famous-in-sales as a “quickie.”
Is this to say these are con-artists? Not really. Having worked with many, I have to believe they half-believe their own story of living-the-American-Dream. And if that dream grows a little larger with each seminar…well, what the hell. Your very princely presence should be enough for the hungry little guys in the audience to feel their pricey registration fee was worth it.
Oh, about the title above. As a contract speech writer, I can bear witness that the easiest way to lose friends and alienate people like these is to imply, even politely, they just might want to admit something to their zealous audiences: “Me telling you how I got rich is no guarantee you will too. Or that you should walk away believing rich is the same thing as success. ”
No surprise….! Not one of them I know has ever said this.
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