The Bookworm with Ben Pritchett
This is going to be a very different article for the Book Worm series, in large part because I dedicate this article to one person, his life’s work, his books, his information products, his copy, his legacy. That person is Dan Kennedy.
I’ve recommended Dan’s books and products in the past, but something has changed … Dan Kennedy has announced his impending death. As I write this article, there are stories that he may be making a miraculous recovery, and there have been rumours of his death. I hope for the former and dread confirmation of the latter.
One thing appears certain; he is in hospice and is in very poor health.
Like many people, I was introduced to Kennedy by several of his books about 15 years ago. I found them quite at random in the bookstore while I was looking for reading material for a trip to Cancun. I picked up three or four of the No BS book series and between the flights and time not spent on the beach I devoured them all.
Dan’s books both changed my way of thinking on many issues and reinforced many ideas that had previously run contrary to what mainstream thinking held to be true. I’ve never looked back.
I determined that I needed to see Dan live at an event, and I have at least twenty times over. I even made sure to take my now 12-year-old daughter – Calleigh – to see him speak in Dallas last March. Before going, I had her read the recently released book version of Magnetic Marketing, and I even had her write a book report about what she learned from it. She got the concepts, and I hope her path towards entrepreneurship and thinking outside of the box is firmly implanted now, regardless of her ultimate career path. (For the record, she wants to be an optometrist like her Mom, but she can be a great entrepreneur in that career too!)
But, back to Dan …
Dan Kennedy was quite open about his life, his successes and his failures. He taught us that you can screw up lots of things and still be a raging success. Dan admitted to a bankruptcy and a battle with alcoholism. After losing a considerable amount of weight, he talked about his having to totally restrict himself from some things because that was the only way to avoid things he knew shouldn’t have. Ultimately, that showed the rest of us that he was a human, warts and all.
What a human though. Dan has been called “The Millionaire Maker.” Without a doubt, he has had a hand in creating more 7-figure coaching, consulting and information marketing businesses than anybody else – and these are just the ones we know of. How many people have bought one of his books or products, applied the principles and gotten rich from it? God only knows, but I’d bet they’re out there by the thousands!
We all have our heroes. Many are athletes, scientists, actors, business leaders, or another type of celebrity, but for my money and accolades, I’ll stick the moniker of Hero on Dan Kennedy as well. By his own reckoning, he was one of the most famous people most people never heard of, but within certain circles, he is practically worshipped. I’m no hero worshipper, but I believe in giving respect where it’s earned and deserved.
In a society where people give into the least little ailment, Dan was a trooper. He raced horses as a hobby and was once involved in a serious accident days before one of his major events – where most people would have dropped out (with every right to do so) Dan was wheeled out on stage in a wheelchair and still gave his presentations. (This compares to one keynote speaker who failed to show up at all one year and another didn’t come because she had a cold.)
I know that there are many who will disagree with me on this, but I found Dan to be very entertaining. I went to learn, but Dan presented in such a way that I was entertained as well. I’m an auditory learner who barely filled a notebook through three years of high school and two years of college, but I took page upon page of notes when Dan was on the stage because there were always valuable nuggets when he spoke.
Quotes by Dan
Here are a few of the sometimes humorous, but always truthful Dan Kennedyisms that I find myself using over and over again:
“The worst number in business is one.”
No matter whether it’s a key employee, key supplier or major client, if you rely heavily on one, your business is in a precarious position.
“They all go lame.”
This harkens back to Dan’s love of horses and directly relates to the previous point. No matter how many wins your horse (or client) has, they will eventually go lame. If there’s only one horse in your stable, you’re in big trouble when it goes lame.
“If I wake up more than three mornings thinking about you and I’m not sleeping with you, you need to be fired.”
Come on, we’ve all had a client or employee who drove us nuts, but we stuck with the relationship far longer than we should have for one reason or another. This leads to another of his axioms:
“Hire slow, but fire fast!”
I’m not sure if I nailed each of those quotes exactly, but I most definitely captured the spirit of the messages he was delivering.
One final thought that I picked up from Dan is that you will, as a Six-Figure Coach, be tempted to take on a client that you know will become a trainwreck from time to time. The first lesson is don’t! The second is that if you can’t talk yourself out of it, take your fee and double or triple it, if they still write the cheque you will at least be better compensated for the aggravation.
I know that I enriched Dan’s bank account by many thousands of dollars over the years, but my life was enriched in the process. While Dan barely knew me, I’m proud to have known him and have been mentored by him. Whether he recovers or not, I will be mentored by him for the rest of my life from the many books and recordings that I have acquired.
Go get yourself something of Dan’s today and let him mentor you through the body of work that he has created. It’s a legacy of which he can be proud and evidence of a life well-lived. You’ll be a better coach for the effort.
One final thought: I was looking forward to seeing Dan again in Dallas next Spring … it would appear unlikely that he will be there in person (although I’m confident he will be there in spirit). This is a lesson for all of us. None of us know how long we have. How long our heroes have. How long our loved ones have. If you have anybody in your life who has impacted it and possibly isn’t aware of that impact, tell them today, don’t keep it to yourself.
Until the next time, keep reading, learning and applying.
Photo Caption: Dan Kennedy with Calleigh Pritchett in Dallas, March 21, 2019.
About Ben J. Pritchett
Ben Pritchett started his first business at the age of 15, and began his own consulting practice in 1991. For over 25 years he has worked with clients in many industries including restaurants, direct sales, software development, tourism, dimension stone (granite quarrying and manufacturing), aviation, and optometry, just to name a few. Companies coached by Ben have nearly doubled and tripled their revenues in a single year.