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I’m Barry Feldman. And you are?

It’s fitting to begin this book with a letter. The Road to Recognition uses the alphabet as a narrative device. A is the first point on the roadmap. Z is the last. Simple. Now, back to my letter…

I’m going to give myself a letter grade in personal branding: F.

F is for failure. Yeah, if I’m to look back on my career from a personal branding point of view, I deserve the harsh grade. Why?

I was a laggard. I failed to get serious about developing my personal brand until I was in my 40s. Ironically, I’ve been writing marketing copy for thousands of brands since I was in my 20s. In the early going, I wrote for chiropractors, contractors, and all sorts of personal brands.

But I neglected mine. I was simply trying to make a living as an advertising copywriter, satisfied with the anonymity of the vocation. There was rarely a day (okay, there was never a day) when I woke up and said, “Today’s a great day to develop my personal brand.”

Guess what, my friend?

Today is the best day to develop your personal brand. Not tomorrow. Today.

I suppose I didn’t realize I was lagging in the ways of personal branding. The term might have been tossed around a bit, but it wasn’t a course offered in school, the subject of books, or anything more than an idea slightly ahead of its time muttered by the likes of author Tom Peters (In Search of Excellence) and echoed occasionally by eclectic business writers.

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Check out how easy it is to download and share highlights from the book and personal branding quotes here. 

Even when personal branding began to gain some traction, I came around slowly. I had a website for fifteen years before I began blogging. I reluctantly joined LinkedIn so as to not be left out. I got going in social media just a few years ago. Podcasting’s a new pursuit.

I’m mostly pleased with what I’ve been able to accomplish in a short time. When I search my name on Google, I like what I see. I’ve created a sizable digital footprint. I’ve established a reputation. I’m recognized in the field of digital media and marketing.

Still, I wish I started much earlier. The truth is, publishers don’t throw book deals at me. There’s no line outside my door of event organizers waiting to pay me to keynote big conferences. And even though I now write for many high profile websites and blogs, get interviewed often, and land a few spots at the podium, these gigs seldom fall in my lap.

I make them happen. I make connections and ask for opportunities that help build my brand and forward my career. Sometimes I’m rejected; sometimes I’m welcomed. It’s not the steep climb it once was, but it’s far from an easy ride on cruise control. It’s work.

Personal branding is an ongoing class in the school of continued professional education. It’s a learning experience, which we’re about to share with you.

This book began (unknowingly) about two years ago when I had the idea to create an infographic called The Complete A to Z Guide to Personal Branding.

Seth, whom I had collaborated with before, agreed to work on it with me. Seth guided the design and is the reason the graphic went viral. He promoted the hell out of it, pitching it to publishers relentlessly. He repurposed it as a SlideShare and gave it a wider set of wings.

While I did the occasional interview or talk on personal branding, the A-to-Z Guide was in my rear view mirror. But not Seth’s. Sharing personal branding lessons had become a bit of an obsession for my co-author. He created an amazing website entirely focused on personal branding. He made some big plans.

Then he called to tell me about them. Seth declared these lessons shall become a book. He said (or was it threatened?) he’d create it with or without me. So we did this thing together—me with the “I’ll get to it when I can” attitude, Seth with the whip.

I wrote the copy for that infographic in a few hours. I simply tossed my ideas down following my instincts, drawing from experience, and sharing ideas I had picked up from Michael Hyatt, Dan Schawbel, William Arruda, and Karen Kang (all authors of inspired personal branding books).

This book was no high-speed affair. We’ve been bouncing ideas around, writing chapters, collaborating on the design, changing and making up our minds, and scheming launch and promotional plans for nearly two years.

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The Road to Recognition could be 26 books. Each chapter covers a big and important topic. And each topic actually is the focus of business books. Our aim is to give you the skinny on each—the need-to-know stuff that’ll rev your engine.

I want this book to have a profound affect on your career (and thousands more). I want you to learn from my mistakes, gain from my experience, and above all, I want you to get to work.

How about it? Ready to rally? Ready to rock? Awesome. Let’s roll.

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The book unfolds in a series of 26, A to Z chapters.


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