author of “A New Way to Wealth” and “World Inc”
In today’s super hyper media savvy world, you are encouraged — if you are a strong or an aspiring women or minority — to “live out loud.”
You are encouraged, as you should be, to “lean into” life, to strut your stuff like a peacock. I notice this even on TV ads during basketball March Madness games. Nike started it as a theme with Michael Jordan, who when I met him, is actually a quiet alert guy made global by good promoters. But Mike had it in him — this ability of great focus and competitiveness. They just had to teach him how to “let it out” off the basketball court. We were encouraged to be LIKE MIKE. As Walt Whitman wrote: “I contain multitudes, why not let it out then?”
Self-display of worthy content, not mindless selfies, are so appropriate for this decade. Medium.com posts are appropriate, not anything improper here! Blasts, loud book covers. You name it. That is part of the game of making books that writers write in their lonely quiet majesty. Last night my wife showed me a memoir she is enjoying that was so loud it made me write this piece.
STARTING PAST WHERE WE WERE BORN
As I grew up poor in an interracial family of factory workers, I can tell you firsthand that most of what I felt in my first two decades was repressive. Stay in your lane, stay in your box, be a little Bruce. You may have experienced the same, even if a blue blood at birth. Repression of the early self is normative, almost. College or graduate school does not make writers, experiences do.
Now how does this relate to self-promotion, self-invention, and the power of publishing?
It was reading greats like Walt Whitman, writing my dissertation about Whitman’s self-invention into the world of Long Island, Manhattan and then elsewhere, where I learned to strut my stuff.
I am not bi-sexual like Walt was. Yet I noticed early that the best and the brightest women as Cornell were attracted to me as a basketball player not as a self-effacing intellectual. You need to peacock your perceptions as a writer. Dribble. Dribble, Sway to the Left, SHOOT.
And these lovely women became early cheerleaders of my confidence building. I document the role of these women in my creative memoir Missing Persons.
GETTING PAST PUBLISHER PREJUDICE and MYOPIA
Today, I want to add a few more points for the next generation of writers, both men and women, gay and bi-sexual. Every writer has to self-promote like a Walt Whitman and a Mark Twain. You need to realize that the elites running commercial publishing do not have a clue — they are blind to it in fact — to what is original in your voice. After a few books, you realize the publishers assign you often, the wrong editors, or worst one that graduated from Vassar or Harvard or another elite school last year! They do not have your experience. Remember that.
We peck at the floor for seeds, we look up and realize, hell why not share what we learned! For my first dozen books I was pig holed as either a business writer or as a social environmental writer, at the convenience of the publisher. Simon and Schuster wanted me an environmentalist in my 1990 book; while Wiley wanted me a business writer across the titles I did for them. When I was courted by Sourcebook for another three commercial titles they wanted a globalization writer — as Dominique Raccah had an instinct for THE WORLD IS FLAT before Thomas Friedamn wrote that well received book. My book, now in ten foreign editions, proved her right, although the book did not sell as well as someone who has the forum of The New York Times, and that is how it should be.
When in fact, I’ve always been a social historian recording Business and Society. See what I mean. If you relate to this, please look into applying for our $5,000 Award on Business and Society writers under 40.
When in fact, all of my work is in the mode of personal narrative, a tradition that starts in America with Princeton’s President Jonathan Edwards in his “PERSONAL NARRATIVE” and continues thru Ben Franklin, Ralph Walden Emerson, Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau — and hundreds of women writers now being rediscovered from those times.
WRITERS WRITE TO BE FOUND
From my superheroes Walt Whitman to Mark Twain, many writers have adopted this same stance from within the American grain. A good writer creates a style and sentence structure that mimics their unique sensibility, and the work becomes valid and valuable as you grow. It is not overnight, believe me.
We live out loud, recording what we see, confronting what we dislike, and being like a Peacock. Sure, this proves embarrassing for some elites, but to hell or high water, proceed.
- Is that not what adds color to the spectrum of all those high-rises, and giant corporations — from Singapore and Vietnam to San Fran and Chicago? You can be an accountant, an engineers, and MBA and still write creative stuff!
- Is this not what we learn from reading the greats? Wallace Stevens was an insurance executive; William Carlos Williams was a doctor. I happen to have earned my wealth as a man who founded a global management consulting firm after my dissertation on Walt Whitman and his American estimate of Nature. Big deal, proceed.
Mark Twain was a master at witty self-promotion; and Walt Whitman, the kid starting from Paumanock, acted throughout the Civil War years as if Abe Lincoln was his best friend, and that each soldier he nursed were his personal friends. You befriend the universe by strutting, not by watching. Amen. I am thinking about here the famous poem by Allen Ginsburg watching Walt Whitman touch the melons in a supermarket. He was an omnivore, you might say.
Today they teach self-esteem. Writers have found that path/juice thru self-invention.
YOUR WAY TO WEALTH
So how does this relate to your self-invention, your way to wealth.
There is nothing new in learning how best to hang your own shingle in everything you do. But there is something new and healthy about the new world’s readiness to expect this of newcomers. The age of the Boston Brahmin has passed. I think the smart families are by passing the expensive Ivys and the best writers are by passing the elite commercial publishers for a reason. The world has changed. It is more inclusive, less exclusive.
Wake up young writers. Strut your stuff like a Peacock. Do it your way and never stop.
Bruce Piasecki founded his corporation (www.ahcgroup.com) in 1981; has written 19 books, enjoying every minute of it. “A New Way to Wealth” is available on Book Shop and Amazon, and all the venues channeled by Book Baby. See www.doingmorewithlessbook.com for video, podcasts, the stuff.