Personal Brand Book Reviews: Build Your Own Life Brand!

Personal Brand Book Reviews
By Paul Copcutt

Wondering if you should read “that” book? A seasoned personal brand strategist offers his in depth reviews.
Build Your Own Life Brand! A powerful strategy to maximize your potential and enhance your value for ultimate achievement

© 2001 by Stedman Graham, 245 pages, Paperback

Build Your Own Life Brand!

7 Rules for Building a Quality Life Brand

  1. Your brand can’t be all things to all people
  2. Keep stretching for everything within your grasp
  3. Think long term when building a life brand
  4. Market your brand, but then let it sell itself
  5. Fortify your brand by teaming up
  6. The strongest life brands are those that lift others up
  7. Build joy into your life brand

5R Score: 26/35

On a scale of 1-7

  • Relevance – is it right for personal branding? – 6
  • Resonance – does it make sense to the reader? – 6
  • Relation – is there a connection for everyone? – 5
  • Remarkability – does it stand out, will it get noticed? – 5
  • Real – does the personal brand come through? – 4

Would you pick it up?

This is one from ‘the archives’! But I thought it rather timely because just this past month I had been keynoting at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and the author Stedman Graham (best known for being Oprah’s life-partner) was a Masters graduate from the school, along with David Letterman (although not at the same time).

Published 10 years ago this book was one of a number that came out in the early days of personal branding, and probably suffered because of it, or the title!

But don’t let that put off. After people have embarked on or gone through the personal branding process they often remark that they didn’t realize how much of their personal brand was in fact all about their whole life. Personal branding is not just about your work brand and certainly not just your online brand.


Although perhaps not immediately evident that this is a book about your personal brand it absolutely is. It is packed full of suggested exercises. Chapter 4 entitled “Brand Value With a Capital YOU!” is particularly an excellent set of exercises to complete and get really connected to your core personal brand foundation.

And the Chapter 5 process of ‘Success Circles’ really helps you hone in on not just what you are good at, but also what you really like doing. Something that the recently reviewed book ‘Standout’ does with great focus.


If you believe that your personal brand encompasses everything in your life and is not just a tool to advance a career then this book will make absolute sense to you. If you are seeking something more professionally focused there are others that will get the job done for you, faster.


Personally I feel that this can apply to everyone. Graham’s particular focus is geared toward the student – high school, through to university. The book is based and connected loosely to his patented 9 Step Plan for Success model and therefore has relation to this group as well as others.

However many of the questions asked of the reader are quite deep or introspective, so do not expect an easy time of it! I notice he has a new book coming out soon called Identity, which appears to be again mainly focused at his main target group – the student. 10 years on this might prove to be a better purchase or be more relevant for more people.


At the time I can imagine that amongst the others available on the subject this may have stood out more. The challenge would have been getting noticed with an approach that had not been readily embraced. The notion of personal branding was a little before its time perhaps.

Many of the books published on personal branding since have covered many of the same areas that this book does. However, I did find that this one has a much more emotional connection than many others. That emotional intelligence connection is what makes it remarkable for me.


The author has dedicated the book to Oprah and there are the ‘mandatory’ references to celebrity brands. In the main though the author weaves in many more ‘normal life’ examples as well as instances of his own brand development and work. His own successes and bodies of work do appear to stand-up well on their own, so it’s certainly not a coat tails tome.

Paul Copcutt, Personal Brand Architect, is a sought after speaker and coach who uses real client stories and practical applications to help successful professionals and executives get clear about their uniqueness.


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