Personal Brand Book Reviews: SHIFT – how to reinvent your business, your career, and your personal 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.
SHIFT – how to reinvent your business, your career, and your personal brand by Peter Eric Arnell
© 2010 Peter Eric Arnell 208 pages. Hardback.

5R Score: 24/35

Main Focus – how little changes can make a big difference.

  1. Be a Tiger
  2. Go Helium
  3. Create a Fan Club
  4. Shock and Awe
  5. Embrace Mistakes

On a scale of 1-7

  • Relevance – is it right for personal branding? – 4
  • Resonance – does it make sense to the reader? – 4
  • 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? – 6

Would you pick it up?
This is one of the books that came up in my regular Amazon search for personal branding books.

Peter Arnell is an interesting character who has successfully built a globally recognized advertising and marketing agency and worked with many of the world’s top brands. In a quest to go from over 400 pounds in weight to an incredible 150, he mapped many of the branding approaches he applies to products and services, to himself.

This was a life changing experience for him and although he starts off early in the book saying the book is NOT about weight loss, he cannot help to refer back to this subject again and again, perhaps a little too much.

The authors own personal brand does come through VERY strongly and I wonder if this publishing was part of his personal therapy first, versus having a strong urge to write a book on personal branding. Because the focus is so much on the one event of weight loss I find that much more of his personal brand is ‘lost’ and question how much practical value the reader will get out of it.

There is a lot to get through before you get to the five key steps that Peter espouses as the “SHIFT”. It might have been better to have these steps throughout the book as he gave examples of them in action.

I like the fact that he believes that personal and business cannot be separated – one life as he calls it. I also enjoyed the 5 steps that he attaches to his SHIFT process, especially “Be a Tiger” and “Go Helium”, as they encourage, but also support – reasons why you need to push the envelope when it comes to defining or even redefining your personal brand.

This can apply to all levels; entrepreneurs might find the content and story more compelling than the corporate market. Also, anyone facing a particular personal challenge will find lots of inspiration and motivation in his story – even though now he strikes me as slightly obsessive with eating 50 oranges a day – whatever works!

One big disconnect for me is with such a strong personal brand relating to the oranges, the cover and design of the book fades. The grey background and subdued green and white lettering seem to be completely off his brand.

This is certainly a personal branding book that stands out a little more because there is a lot of the author and his personal challenges intertwined within. It provides a good contrast to the text-book approach of many of the books on the topic.

The real personal brand of Peter Arnell comes through loud and clear, he is obviously quite the character and many of the personal photos of him with various leading celebrities and figures speaks to his ego. There are a host of examples relating back to his branding and marketing work with global brands and clients, which help and he takes lesson from those experiences, and challenges you to think how they can apply to your personal brand.

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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