Basic Black: A Must Read for Career and Life Sucess

Today is Tuesday, so this post is on positive personal impact. 

On my blog yesterday, I highlighted an article in the October 2007 Oprah MagazineCathie Black is the President of Hearst Magazines.  She has written a book called Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life) which gives advice on how to build a great career.  It hits the bookstores today – remember, you saw that here.

I read the article and believe that Ms. Black’s advice is great common sense – for anyone interested in becoming a career and life success.  Here is an overview of her Seven Rules for a Really Big Career.

Seven Rules for a Really Big Career: Cathie Black

  1. Take risks that are calculated, not crazy.
  2. The worst-case scenario is rarely as bad as you think.
  3. Don’t personalize things that aren’t personal.
  4. It’s best in the long run to make yourself a grudge-free zone.
  5. Be generous with praise and careful with criticism.
  6. Know the rules, so you know which ones to break.
  7. It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to get permission.

I like all of this advice, but Rules 4 and 5 are really important for making a positive personal impact. 

Number 4 – “make yourself a grudge free zone” is great advice.  Grudges are just plain bad for you.  They make you into a small and petty person.  If someone does you dirty – forget it, move on with your life.  If you begin keeping score every time someone does something you don’t like, you will have a long list of slights and wrongs.  This list will do you no good.  All it will do is keep you in a perpetual state of anger, and more importantly, get you labeled as an unpleasant person – not the way to have positive personal impact.

Grudges can make you into one of those negative people I urged to avoid in yesterday’s post.  In most cases, the things about which you hold grudges are very small in the greater scheme of things.  So do yourself a favor and drop your grudges.

Number 5 – “be generous with praise and careful with criticism” – may be even more important to becoming known as someone who makes a positive personal impact.  All people like to be around other people who make them feel good.  One of the best ways of making someone feel good is to give them their due – a simple “thank you,” or a “great job” can go a long way in making another person’s day.  Equally as important, you’ll become known as a person who is appreciative of others and what they do.

My friends at Walk the Talk Company have a great little video that makes this point.  You can check it out here

I’m heading out to my local Barnes and Noble today to pick up Cathie Black’s book, Basic Black.  I’ll give you a more complete report on it once I’ve read it.

Even if you don’t read Basic Black — which I think you should — the common sense points here are simple.  Don’t hold grudges.  Be generous in your recognition of others.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website for more common sense.  Check out my other blog: for common sense advice on leading people and running a small business.

I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand – my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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