Pilot Your Life: Lessons I Learned Navigating My Way from Comedian to CEO

Overview

There is no magic formula for defining the world's most successful business people. In fact, one will often find that business acumen is based on many things, not least of all old-fashioned, conventional values that are more common sense than MBA blueprint.

In Pilot Your Life, Ronald Shaw tells the real-life story of his road to success with a truck-full of tips to take away from his journey.

Ronald Shaw's career is a great American success ...

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Overview

There is no magic formula for defining the world's most successful business people. In fact, one will often find that business acumen is based on many things, not least of all old-fashioned, conventional values that are more common sense than MBA blueprint.

In Pilot Your Life, Ronald Shaw tells the real-life story of his road to success with a truck-full of tips to take away from his journey.

Ronald Shaw's career is a great American success story - a young blue-collar comedian making it big in business by applying the lessons he learned in the spotlight. It almost sounds too good to be true, especially considering Shaw is the president and CEO of Pilot Pen Corporation, a $180 million a year company. It's a fact however, and this inspiring book provides readers with instructive lessons that will shed new light on ways they can incorporate old-fashioned values back into their business and personal lives. Each significant business lesson is accompanied by light hearted stories and anecdotes from the author's life.

Including testimonials from well-known figures such as Ted Turner, Larry King, and Harvey MacKay, Pilot Your Life offers readers a map through the treacherous waters of the business world and their careers.

AUTHORBIO: Ronald Shaw is President and CEO of Pilot Pen Corporation of America. He is a member of the Pilot Corporation Board of Directors, the oldest and largest manufacturer of writing instruments in Japan, and one of only six Americans to be elevated to the Board of Directors of a publicly held Japanese corporation. Richard Krevolin, an author, playwright, screenwriter, poet, is professor of screenwriting at the USC Film School. He is the author of Screenwriting from the Soul.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As a comic, Shaw never became a household name, having retired from the stage at age 21, newly married and ready for steadier work. Still, this mix of memoir and advice mostly succeeds thanks to his genial but focused voice. In short chapters, the current CEO of Pilot Pen leads off with a joke or anecdote from his career, then draws a lesson from it, sometimes proving that show business can indeed inform commercial business. "[E]ven if you are scared to death, you can't show weakness or vulnerability," Shaw declares, adding that "success is bred by a constant quest for improvement." He advises readers on how best to enter a room and grab a crowd (hint: keep your introduction short). Earlier in his career, Shaw helped introduce the disposable lighter at Bic thanks to his willingness to challenge conventional wisdom. At Pilot, he managed to turn the use of a Pilot pen to sign a Middle East peace accord into a public relations bonanza. Still, some readers may question his nostrums e.g., marketers should abandon an idea that won't take off quickly. And he acknowledges that his success is based on what many modern couples will no longer countenance: a marriage with a supportive wife who cared for their kids on her own up to five days at a time while he was on the road. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780735202900
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2001
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.88 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Given that you are reading this foreword you probably fall into one of two categories: browser or purchaser. Let me explain: The browser is a person that goes to the local bookstore, sometimes with the intention of possibly buying a book and sometimes just to look around or "browse." I frequently fall into this category. I love to read and have been blessed with the good fortune of having a job that allows me to meet and interact with many prolific authors. In the end, many different things affect whether or not I remain a "browser" or become a "purchaser." For instance, I may be drawn to a particular book by something on the book cover. In some cases, it is the title of the book that has garnered my attention; in yet others it is the author. When I pull the book off of the shelf I may read the inside jacket cover, the foreword of the book or the opening lines of the first chapter. Maybe you are doing exactly that right now.

You may have been drawn to this book because you recognized the author on the cover from his humorous commercials for Pilot Pen. Perhaps you heard about the book during a recent television interview or read a favorable review. Regardless of how you may have gotten here, you can now consider yourself to be very lucky. Why? Well, first I need to provide you with a bit of background information.

It's hard to believe but earlier this year, I celebrated my 44th anniversary on the air. That means I have now broadcasted on television and radio in six different decades. I broke into the business by starting at a small radio station in Miami Beach on May 1, 1957. I was this little Jewish kid from Brooklyn who dreamed of following in the footsteps of Arthur Godfrey and Red Barber -- such giant imprints. I wound up working with both of them at the tail end of their brilliant careers. Early in my career I actually did radio broadcasts from the window of a delicatessen in Miami Beach (I would tell you more about that here, but the details are contained inside). It was in Miami Beach that I was lucky enough to meet and interview a rising stand-up comedian who happened to be a former little Jewish kid from Philadelphia. Hardly did I know that this aspiring comic would change the path of his life to become the President and CEO of a major pen company. Of course, I am speaking of my friend of over thirty years, Ron Shaw.

When I hear the name Ron Shaw, several adjectives come to mind: honest; compassionate; generous; intelligent, loyal and of course, successful. All of these attributes have contributed to Ron becoming one of America's most successful and well-known corporate leaders. Ron is also held in very high regard for his philanthropic goodwill. Ron remains a strong supporter of numerous charitable organizations, including serving as a member of the Board of Trustees of the charity that I started to help underprivileged individuals pay for life-saving cardiac care: The Larry King Cardiac Foundation. It is in the context of the Board meetings of the foundation that I have had the opportunity to observe first hand and fully appreciate many of the unique and effective methods utilized by Ron in interacting with people. This book will now help you to glean and develop those very same skills.

Pilot Your Life is a delightful journey that offers the reader personal insight into everyday living. This is not an ordinary "how to succeed" guide. This book is what I call a "thoroughly enjoyable read." As you traverse the pages you will empathize with the various problems and situations that Ron has encountered over the years. You will smile as you read about how he resolves various personal and business dilemmas. The lessons contained in this book are subtle and effective; incidentally, these are two other adjectives that are aptly used to describe the author.

In this day and age we frequently hear about what some people refer to as the "ruthless corporate ethic" in American business. That type of perception seems to support the old cliché that "nice guys finish last." In this book Ron Shaw completely debunks that theory. He proves that with hard work, your own initiative and the common sense plainly laid out in the following pages that you can not only succeed in your personal and professional life, but that you can enjoy yourself, family and friends while in the process of doing so.

At this point, if you are still a "browser," you have now come to the time to make an important decision: Do I put the book back on the shelf or do I buy it?

If you make the right choice, I am confident that you will have absolutely no regrets. If you have already purchased Pilot Your Life, congratulations. You are about to embark upon a fun and hopefully life changing flight.

Larry King
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Table of Contents

FOREWORD vii
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS x
INTRODUCTION xiii
1 Saved by Slipping 1
2 Hello, Miami! 9
3 Stepping into the Spotlight 15
4 Reinvent yourself 23
5 First Impressions Can Be Deceiving: The Larry King Story 29
6 Perfection Can Be Rehearsed 35
7 How to Survive a Tough Audience 39
8 You Can't Juggle without Focusing 47
9 Falling for Phissy 51
10 Getting a "Real" Job 57
11 To Stand Out, Stand Up 65
12 Irwin Helford's Fanatical Customer Service 69
13 "It'll Never Work" 75
14 Starting Over 79
15 Taking Risks in Advertising 87
16 To Sell to the Head, Speak to the Heart 95
17 The Big Picture Includes Details 99
18 The Power of Goals 105
19 Listen to Your Instincts 111
20 Your Greatest Assets 121
21 When Saving Money Is a Lousy Investment 131
22 Visions of Bagels 137
23 Show Business Secrets for Presentations 143
24 Pay Attention to the Big Rocks 157
25 Protect Your Name 163
26 Publicize Your Name 167
27 Are You Saying What They're Hearing? 173
28 Marketing Hidden Treasures 179
29 My Favorite Failures 187
30 My Favorite Recoveries 193
31 Dress Rehearsal for a Retirement Dream 209
32 Pilot Your Life 215
INDEX 221
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