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Career Warfare

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Career Warfare

10 Rules for Building a Successful Personal Brand and Fighting to Keep It


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

From corporate war stories, career truths emerge: be aware that everything matters in building your personal brand.

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Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Every business person needs a cranky mentor who speaks from vast experience and offers lessons and examples about the skills necessary to realize their ambitions in various business cultures. Author David F. D’Alessandro is a marketing guru, and a skilled phrase maker and spin doctor. To his own surprise, he was offered a chair at the management table where the bottom line decisions get made on his way to becoming CEO of John Hancock Financial Services. In the framework of rules for personal branding and in the interest helping you play office politics successfully, D’Alessandro spins dozens of yarns that bring context and reality to a subject that is often speculated about by authors who have never really achieved the success their books describe. His advice is ruthlessly honest, pointed, witty, precise and ripe with polished anecdotes. For this reason recommends this book to business persons anywhere on the corporate ladder who suspect their battle plan may be ready for a few new moves.


No Time Off

If you already have the skills and ambition necessary to succeed, you can learn how to create your own brand and, having done so, how to avoid damaging it beyond repair. Think of your reputation as your brand and accept the fact that perception is a great deal like reality in the vertical corporate village of your office building. Spend every moment of your career designing, building and bolstering your brand. You can’t create an indelible and successful brand with one major event. It takes time and constant attention to detail. But you can do permanent damage to your brand by failing to consider how other people will view each of your actions and by failing to anticipate what they will say about you and your actions when your brand is being evaluated.

War Stories

During a regional water shortage, the government begged businesses to cut water usage. The senior vice president of a marketing company decided to show the firm’s commitment to water reduction by restricting the occasions when the toilets ought to be flushed. To do this with a flourish, he sent out an officious memo telling people under what circumstances to flush or not. You can imagine...

About the Authors

David F. D’Alessandro, a former marketing executive, is the chairman and chief executive officer of John Hancock Financial Services and is often credited with bringing the company into The New York Times’ top 100 brands of the twentieth century. He also wrote the bestseller Brand Warfare and he is a minority owner of the Boston Red Sox. Michele Owens is a freelance author, screenwriter and former speechwriter for Mario Cuomo.

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