Book Review: BRAG! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It

May 29th, 2007

Brag! The art of tooting your own horn without blowing itRun, don’t walk, to get your hands on this book.

Huge thanks to Dan Johnson for turning me on to this book. I resisted cracking it for a while, and have library fines because I read it so slowly, but from the first page realized that it might be one of the most important books for someone to read this year.

It’s not about networking, although it helps you communicate better in network settings.

It’s not about personal branding, although it helps you effectively communicate your personal brand.

It’s not about the job search, although it helps you respond to interview questions with power.

BRAG! is a book that gives you permission to say what you should be saying. We are taught to not brag (this word makes people cringe as much as the word “brown-nose”) – ever. So how do we effectively communicate our wins?

BRAG! is a book that teaches you how to say what should be said, giving it amazing impact. Lots of times when people talk (especially about themselves) there is a lot of noise.

BRAG! let’s you know when to communicate things so you don’t get lost. How many times have your efforts not been appreciated by someone? It could be that you are assuming they’ll know all the great things you do – maybe they do know! But because of all the noise they deal with, maybe they don’t rememember when it counts.

This book is awesome, and will serve as a reference book for me for years to come. I can’t give you a book report – it would take too much time and you should read the book anyway. I’ll just share two things:

Peggy Klaus - Brag!First, here are seven bragging myths that Peggy Klaus dispells:

  1. Myth #1: A job well done speaks for itself
  2. Myth #2: Bragging is something you do during performance reviews
  3. Myth #3: Humility gets you noticed
  4. Myth #4: I don’t have to brag; people will do it for me
  5. Myth #5: More is better
  6. Myth #6: Good girls don’t brag
  7. Myth #7: Brag is a four-letter word

Second, straight from her website, the Take-12 Questionnaire (which lays the foundation so that you can put your Brag Bites and Bragologues together):

  1. What would you and others say are five of your personality pluses?
  2. What are the ten most interesting things you have done or that have happened to you?
  3. What do you do for a living and how did you end up doing it?
  4. What do you like/love about your current job/career?
  5. How does your job/career use your skills and talents, and what projects are you working on right now that best showcase them?
  6. What career successes are you most proud of having accomplished (from current position and past jobs)?
  7. What new skills have you learned in the last year?
  8. What obstacles have you overcome to get where you are today, both professionally and personally, and what essential lessons have you learned from some of your mistakes?
  9. What training/education have you completed and what did you gain from those experiences?
  10. What professional organizations are you associated with and in what ways_member, board, treasurer, or the like?
  11. How do you spend your time outside of work, including hobbies, interests, sports, family, and volunteer activities?
  12. In what ways are you making a difference in people’s lives?

(Note that you can put your answers to these questions in JibberJobber’s Interview Prep area, under the Question/Answer section)

Seriously, I can’t think of one person I know that shouldn’t read this book. Go get it. That’s all I have to say :) Luckily there are other bloggers who have already written about this (yes, I’m late to the game again):

Amybeth Hale (Research Goddess) – Self promotion and tooting your own horn

Mike St. Pierre (The Daily Saint) – Mini review of Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Horn Without Blowing It

Have you read it? Do you need to? Leave your thought below!


15 responses to “Book Review: BRAG! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It”

  1. Thanks for the hat-tip, Jason! I couldn’t agree more. I also wasn’t aware I could put my answers to the questionnaire in JibberJobber’s inteview prep section. I learn something new everyday!

  2. Brandon says:

    Fantastic book!!! I refer to it often. It sits between Never Eat Alone and Swim with the Sharks.

  3. Dan Schawbel says:

    Interesting book. I think it’s a challenge to come off like your bragging and can affect your Personal Brand in a negative way.

  4. Brandon says:

    Dan, that is a fair point. However, I think the strategies in this book can help build a sharper, more focused brand.

  5. Jason Alba says:

    Dan says “I think it’s a challenge to come off like your bragging and can affect your Personal Brand in a negative way.” I totally agree, that’s why you should get this book and see how to do it in a positive way.

    Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a book that tells you to brag and be obnoxious, it is a book that teaches you how and when, and to be prepared. One of the things I love about this book is that it has a lot (dozens and dozens) of pre-coaching brags and post-coaching brags. I’ve learned a lot on what sucks and what shines…

    … or as Brandon says, what is “sharper, more focused…”

  6. Arjun Thomas says:

    Brilliant book, thanks for putting me on to it…

    Arjun Thomas.

  7. Brandon says:

    I think we need to be careful not to confuse branding and bragging with self-promotion. I believe the phrase “self-promotion” connotes a narcissitic, self-absorbed image. Personal Branding is about creating win-win situations; discovering opportunities for us to use our powers for good.

    I agree with Jason, BRAG! gives us the tools to brag appropriately.

  8. […] So how do you become less cliche, and more interesting?? If this is your problem I recommend you go to the library and pick up Brag! If you don’t have time, figure out how you can incorporate really interesting stories into your communication. When I was at a convention recently and people asked “so what is JibberJobber” I started my response like this: “When I was laid off last year I used an Excel spreadsheet to manage my job search. When I got over 100 companies I outgrew what Excel could do for me… and I realized that all of this information would be great to really keep and grow during my career (since I’ll change jobs “every 3 – 5 years”). So… “ […]

  9. Karin H. says:

    Hi Jason

    Have put it on my wish lists straight away, so thanks for the tip. Always interested in being able to create a win-win situation (like Brandon says) through proper – or even subtle – promotion.
    Looking forward to read it.

    Karin H. (Keep it Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)

  10. Karin H. says:

    Not on my wish-list anymore 😉 Ordered it now (and will get another bonus book with it – always like discounts ;-): “Get Slightly Famous: Become a Celebrity in Your Field and Attract More Business with Less Effort – by Steven Yoder

    Will let you know what I think (learn) from both books

    Karin H.

  11. […] For me, the hardest thing to do is come up with lasting, on-brand responses. I strongly recommend Brag! by Peggy Klaus and Career Distinction by William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson. Of course, some of you will need coaching to really do a whiz-bang job. Don’t hesitate to look up one of my partners (you can see a partial list here, the ones that are certified brand strategists) to get expert coaching. […]

  12. […] So, why does this fit in my blog? I’ve been thinking about it since the 3rd, when I read it on his very cool blog. I’ve blogged about Brag! by Peggy Klaus and the concept of figuring out how to communicate your unique value propositions. […]

  13. […] I have blogged about a number of books that I’ve read. I think it would be cool to make some money from promoting those books but I have not, even though I know many of you have bought some of them. I still think that every single person should read Never Eat Alone, Brag! and Career Distinction. I always promote those because they each helped me immensely – but here’s my dirty little secret – I rarely buy books… my local library is just too good and I read too many books to be able to afford them. […]

  14. […] I’m really not going to get all flowery about myself – it goes against the whole Brag! thing but hey, you already know me and don’t need to read my own words about how great I am…! So you can read about the award here, and now let me turn it around and talk about Dan. […]

  15. […] If I don’t put it, however, I have friends and partners who get after me. And I guess it’s good form to show that YOU need to figure out how to brag about yourself! I guess I should go back and reread Brag! […]