I found Career Warfare: 10 Rules for Building a Successful Personal Brand on the Business Battlefield by David D’Alessandro ($12@ Amazon) in the audio section at the library, one of those happy occurrences when I’m looking with no particular item in mind, just something interesting to listen to while I drive.
I’m fan of personal brands, so it did catch my eye, but I wasn’t really expecting a lot going into it, I think everyone likes personal brands. But I was just thrilled with the book, and it’s not often I’ll rate something that well. D’Alessandro is the former CEO of John Hancock Insurance. The book has some really great stories from his career, some that are just funny, some that talk about his mistakes and missteps. It’s not quite a formula, but there really are some good lessons in this book, some that I’ve learned the hard way and some that I still need to learn.
For example, he talks about knowing when it’s time to move on, dealing with a bad boss, and how to deal with enemies at work. I like his take on remembering that you never know when what seems like a simple and unimportant conversation or decision can turn out to have a big impact later on. He talks about how to do well, how to stand out from peers, how to compromise. Yet, he acknowledges that there are times when you have to go to war, clearly and aggressively. A man after my own heart all around!
I wish I had read this 20 years ago. Some of the lessons are obvious, some are cynical, and they reflect how to live in an imperfect world in a pragmatic way. Would I have been ready to hear them then? Maybe. But definitely now. That doesn’t mean I’m a shining example of his approach, just that I see the hard truth of experience in the lessons.
If you’re serious about branding you need to read this one.