Apr 29, 2021
I tend to be a bit skeptical of books like the one my friend, Michael F. Schein has written. Here’s the entire title: “The Hype Handbook: 12 Indispensable Success Secrets From the World’s Greatest Propagandists, Self-Promoters, Cult Leaders, Mischief Makers, and Boundary Breakers.” A title like that automatically puts me off because it sounds like lots of heat but not much light. But Michael is my friend and I knew better than to take his writing lightly, so I got the book. I have to say, the book is the best book of its kind. It’s deep, thoughtful, powerful, and highly practical. I am excited to present Michael to you and to make this conversation available to you.
Most people use the word “hype” to infer that what is being “hyped” is not worth the energy and emotion being invested in it. But Michael feels that if hype is being used to bring attention to something that brings about benefit or positive change, then it’s worth doing. This conversation chronicles Michael’s experience in rock-n-roll, being an outsider, and where hype came into the picture for him. He’s done the work to write one of the best books of its kind out there, so be sure you take the time to not only listen to this episode, but also to get your hands on this book. He cites so many sources, tells so many stories you’re familiar with in ways you’ve never heard before, and uses those stories to illustrate his points masterfully.
Michael shares the story of how when he was in a rock band, he really didn’t care about things like clothing. He wore casual clothes (not “rocker” type clothes) when he was off-stage instead of carrying the rock-n-roll image with him 24/7. He eventually realized that he was living in a way that was counterproductive to his larger goal of rock-n-roll success. When he finally took the step of burning all his regular clothes and donning the rock image all the time, things started to change. This is only one example of the kinds of things you’ll learn from reading The Hype Handbook. Michael points out the time-tested principles that have been utilized by all kinds of people to drive success, build brands, and leave legacies that outlive the people involved.
Back when the Beatles hit the scene, everyone was trying to copy what they were doing. The interesting thing is that their pre-fame persona was rough, not clean-cut and polished like we knew them to be when they first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. What brought about the change? A promoter who knew what would resonate with audiences worldwide and crafted their image to be appealing. A kid who worked for that promoter came across the Rolling Stones and liked what he heard. And ironically, the band members were the upper middle class kids the Beatles were trying to be. What did he do? He turned them in the opposite direction, making them the wild guys, trixters, anti-Beatles, if you will. And fans ate it up. Michael points out that people love this kind of thing and highlights why — not only from history but also from science.
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