The Unselfish Guide to Self Promotion

Image of The Unselfish Guide to Self Promotion
Release Date: 
January 5, 2009
Reviewed by: 

Cube 17, January 2009

The Unselfish Guide to Self Promotion explains how to appropriately promote oneself. Author Jorge Olson offers a new “Law of Relativity,” in which we come to comprehend how our problems are relative to other people’s problems and how our needs are relative to other people’s needs. Olson helps us understand how some problems cannot be resolved. We cannot control where we are born or whether we are affluent. But, whatever our story, we have the capacity to promote it. And, whatever the circumstances, we have the ability to enjoy the building process.

Olson instructs us to find our ultimate “high.” In this, he advises that we are more than our facets; we are our inspiration, our potential, and our cumulative experiences. Olson shares a number of childhood stories that project a firm belief in one’s unlimited potential in life. He proclaims his “lucky” childhood experiences, which provided him the assurance to promote himself successfully. Unfortunately, there is a dearth of adult examples that Olson might have established to illustrate his adult successes.

Olson extols the ability of all of us to be a “dream maker.” We have the capacity to help others to be “happy, healthy, and wealthy.” Then, he explains, you will be “a champion.” Olson says, when you place other people first, they will do the same for you.” This portion of the text is rather simplistic. Olson might have expanded this thought with some examples.

In Act II and III, Olsen provides a lesson in marketing and promotional tools. He proffers “magnet management,” a state in which we use “good magnets and management positively.” We have the capacity to invoke “sympathy, tolerance, humanity, and acceptance” as tools to help others. In doing so, we really help ourselves. He submits a pyramid that includes, “self actualization, self esteem, belonging, safety, and physiological characteristics.” Olson also shows us how listening is an important weapon in forging your promotion. Self-promotion is acquired by listening and learning more than talking. He advises that, “advanced listening means taking selfishness out of the equation.”

The technique of “Advanced Listening” is used as a means to extract more valuable information from a conversation by removing “selfishness.” Olson observes the value obtained from eliminating distractions, concentration, and timing. We too often feel the urge to interrupt, when we should remain a listener. And we should accept the person without prejudice. The concept of “me” versus “you” statements is covered adroitly. Too often, we focus on our problems, instead of the needs of the other person. This leads to a section on “consultative listening,” in which asking key questions becomes essential. Olson offers the dynamic of role-playing to demonstrate consultative conversation, as well as a dozen excellent “listening tips.”

Olson devotes attention to the importance of the “big picture” of promotion, and he offers a detailed examination of how promotion is “for life” more than specific events. He scores significant points by establishing that “you are not your job.” That is to say, we are all much more comprehensive than “what we do at work today.” He expands this concept by exploring career goals compared to current responsibilities. Olson extols us to “always be selling” and reflects that such sales must include “listening, observation, solving problems, and making others happy.” He implores that we will be successful if we are always smiling, always professional, friendly, and intent on discovering the other person’s needs.

A chapter on “Hanging with the Alpha Dogs” is particularly valuable. He entreats us to help these people become successful, and they will do the same for you. I have found this to be particularly valid in my career, which spans counseling, teaching, and higher education. “Alpha Dogs can have a circle of influence that goes around the world,” says Olson. This can extend your promotional reach to hundreds or thousands of influential people. The value of this matrix cannot be overstated.

In Act III of his book, Olson provides specific strategies for self-promotion, including Internet marketing, articles, social networking, public speaking, press releases, and image creation. He stresses “communicate, collaborate” and “commercialize” as the keys to Internet promotion. He also illustrates how to “build value” and drive traffic to your Internet site. He commends those who provide layers of high-value content, using all available techniques (audio, video, photos, etc.) and with multiple websites. Search engines crave such valued content. He also provides essential information for creating valued websites, email addresses, Internet mailing lists, and auto-responding software. Olson offers some useful tips on how to build comprehensive and effective lists and how to use email as advertising.

Finally, Olson teaches the reader how to construct the best possible image. He suggests that we are our own best brand manager. His chapter on personal grooming, hygiene, and physical appearance was rather mundane. Appearance can be incredibly critical in establishing and maintaining value to others. Yet Olson’s commentary is largely wasted upon insight already acquired by most of us. The commonplace tips for creating a compelling business presentation card are largely wasted and ineffectual.

Olson uses the technique of writing for self-promotion effectively throughout many portions of the book. However, he tends to overstate the obvious at times, leaving the reader wanting for greater depth and wisdom. For example, Olson devotes significant space to the thought that, “If one wishes to be famous, one must write. Whether its books, blogs, articles, or novels, one requires something to promote that is of value.” Such comments render the reader impatient for the deeper context.

Olson provides valuable “chapter notes” to help the reader summarize and internalize his suggestions. This technique is appreciated, although added detail would have made these sections better.

Overall, Olson has created a simple, easily understood platform for promotion. While not a literary masterpiece, it is effective.