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Malcolm Gladwell: Football to Become "Ghettoized" (1 Viewer)

cobalt_27

Footballguy
mbuehner said:
treat88 said:
Especially if the science shows there's no way to play NFL football that doesn't result in brain trauma.
I don't think the science shows that at all.

The etiology of CTE is still very much in question.
Right but the evidence seems to be going that way. Most damning study showed that young players diagnosed with concussions had better diagnostics after HS, controlled for everything else. Why? Because due to being diagnosed they were playing less football...
Controlled for "everything else"? As in EVERYTHING? Wow, that is the most incredible research study ever conducted. I've published my share of peer-reviewed articles in my day, but I always struggled to rule out all other potential factors to explain my findings. Usually, I would end my papers with a "limitations" talking about other variables I couldn't control and how findings might not be generalizable because of such limitations. But, these guys controlled for everything. Wow. And such an interesting interpretive conclusion as well. Wonder how they would have spun it had the data looked exactly opposite.Anyway, I am not familiar with this study and I am steeped in TBI research. Can you please PM me a citation?

 
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Biabreakable

Footballguy
I like how the argument for the authors credibility is tied to their books being on a best seller list and how much money he makes.

You do realize that best seller lists are propped up by the publishing companies marketing campaign right? Just like pop music gets air play based on how much their marketing put into it, and similarly sales as part of the promotion. They buy their own product back to push this perception.

 

Thunderlips

Footballguy
There will always be someone willing to take a chance on millions of dollars at the expense of their body. The problem that pro football going forward is that A) the highest class of young athletes might be pushed into other sports....reducing the talent pool and B) With significant injuries, the longevity of a Pro career might go down. The NFL is realizing this and that why they are evolving the game. What the NFL will be in 15 years will be pretty much Arena Football.

 

Tool

Footballguy
I like how the argument for the authors credibility is tied to their books being on a best seller list and how much money he makes.

You do realize that best seller lists are propped up by the publishing companies marketing campaign right? Just like pop music gets air play based on how much their marketing put into it, and similarly sales as part of the promotion. They buy their own product back to push this perception.
So you're saying noone's actually buying his books. It's the publishing company buying a lot of them? Are you sure about that?

 

Man of Zen

Footballguy
I like how the argument for the authors credibility is tied to their books being on a best seller list and how much money he makes.

You do realize that best seller lists are propped up by the publishing companies marketing campaign right? Just like pop music gets air play based on how much their marketing put into it, and similarly sales as part of the promotion. They buy their own product back to push this perception.
So you're saying noone's actually buying his books. It's the publishing company buying a lot of them? Are you sure about that?
I think he's saying that people buy and read the books that the loudest voices tell them are good.

 
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3optic

Footballguy
A) Why the hell is a self-help author talking about football?

Even in loosest definition I don't think He could be categorized this way.

B) Last time I checked the Army didn't hand out multi-million dollar contracts to recruits.

So true! Exactly what I was thinking.

What Gladwell is saying has essentially already happened, and is kind of a steady state from college to pro sports. For a lot of people, sports represent the best chance at financial success. This has been true for not only football and modern sports but basically for all of history. There have always been mercenaries, professional gladiators, boxers, and others who rely on physical rather than mental prowess to make their way in the world.

Excellent point

I disagree that kids with other routes available will all opt out of football. I think we solve this concussion problem before that happens. All we really have to do is change helmets from a hard plastic to a softer, hard rubber material that is better at absorbing impact and delivers softer blows when a player lowers his head.

Wow I hope so!
A-

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
I like how the argument for the authors credibility is tied to their books being on a best seller list and how much money he makes.

You do realize that best seller lists are propped up by the publishing companies marketing campaign right? Just like pop music gets air play based on how much their marketing put into it, and similarly sales as part of the promotion. They buy their own product back to push this perception.
So you're saying noone's actually buying his books. It's the publishing company buying a lot of them? Are you sure about that?
No I did not say that no one is buying the books.

Yes I did say the publishing company buys a lot of them.

No I am not sure about this-

Bestseller reports from companies such as Amazon.com, which appear to be based strictly on auditable sales to the public, may be at odds with bestseller lists compiled from more casual data, such as the New York Times lists' survey of retailers and publishers. The exact method for ranking theNew York Times bestseller lists is a closely guarded secret.
The authors allegedly purchased over 10,000 copies of their own book in small and strategically placed orders at bookstores whose sales are reported to Bookscan. Because of the ancillary benefits of making The New York Times Best Seller list (speaking engagements, more book deals, and consulting) the authors felt that buying their own work was an investment that would pay for itself. The book climbed to #8 on the list where it sat for 15 weeks, also peaking at #1 on the BusinessWeek best seller list. Since such lists hold the power of cumulative advantage chart success often begets more chart success. And although such efforts are not illegal, they are considered highly unethical by publishers.[11]
For more on best seller lists- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bestseller

Debunking the Bestseller A Lesson in the Status Quo, Risk-Taking, and the Gray Areas of Life and Business
The other day, I received an unexpected phone call from Jeff Trachtenberg, a reporter at The Wall Street Journal. He said he wanted to talk about my bestselling book, Leapfrogging. At first, I was thrilled. Any first-time author would jump at the chance to speak with such a high-profile publication. But it turned out Trachtenberg didn’t want to discuss what was in my book. He was interested in how it had made it onto his paper’s bestseller list. As he accurately noted,Leapfrogging had, well, leapt onto the Journal’s list at #3 the first week it debuted, and then promptly disappeared the following Friday.

Suddenly, I wasn’t so thrilled anymore. I was just about to sit down to dinner with my family and now I was being put on the spot to discuss my role in perhaps one of the most controversial practices in the book publishing industry. I was tempted to make an excuse and plead the 5th. But I wound up talking to Trachtenberg several times over the next few days.

And I’m glad I did.

When No One’s Talking, You’re Living In the Status Quo

Trachtenberg asked me about my experience with a company called ResultSource, the firm I had hired to help me hit the bestseller list from day one. Trachtenberg said he had contacted all of the major New York publishers, but no one would speak to him about the firm or the role of so-called “bestseller campaigns” in helping authors reach the coveted status. No comment. Dead silence.

I can’t say I was eager to be the first person to go on the record about the topic. But then I realized something – Trachtenberg’s surprising phone call was an opportunity to live up to what I urge my readers to do in my book Leapfrogging.

I’ve seen the phenomenon of corporate silence repeatedly in my career. There’s a big, smelly, ten thousand pound elephant in the conference room. Everybody knows it’s there, but no one’s willing to take the risk and point it out. As Trachtenberg was discovering, bestseller campaigns are the unacknowledged pachyderm of the book business.

There’s good reason why most industry insiders would prefer that the wider book-buying public didn’t learn about these campaigns. Put bluntly, they allow people with enough money, contacts, and know-how to buy their way onto bestseller lists. And they benefit all the key players of the book world. Publishers profit on them. Authors gain credibility from bestseller status, which can launch consulting or speaking careers and give a big boost to keynote presentation fees. And the marketing firms that run the campaigns don’t do so bad either.

My book is all about the importance of taking risks to transform these kinds of unspoken and entrenched practices. Not only that, it’s about using what seem like unfortunate surprises – like an unwelcome phone call from a reporter– to find new insights and opportunities. It hit me that if I didn’t find the guts to talk about this issue, then everything I had written was just empty rhetoric. I knew I had no choice.

So, to Trachtenberg’s pleasant surprise, I told him my story.

The Making of a Bestseller

In exploring marketing strategies for my book, I had indeed stumbled upon the company that Trachtenberg had asked me about, ResultSource. I learned that this niche marketing firm had apparently cracked the code on how the sales of books are calculated by companies like Nielsenthat produce bestseller data – the very data that major trade publications, newspapers, and journals rely on to populate their bestseller lists, just like The Wall Street Journal. I learned that bestselling authors like Tony Hseih, CEO of Zappos and author of Delivering Happiness, and numerous other bestselling authors had employed its proven methodology.

I too contracted with ResultSource. The strategy the firm laid out for me was relatively straightforward. I would contact my Fortune 500 clients and others and ask them to preorder copies of my book. If I could obtain bulk orders before Leapfrogging was released, ResultSource would purchase the books on my behalf using their tried-and-true formula. Three thousand books sold would get me on The Wall Street Journal bestseller list. Eleven thousand would secure a spot on the biggest prize of them all, The New York Times list.

Prior to publishing my first book, I had run a thriving consulting and leadership development business, working with some of the biggest and most innovative companies in the world. I also speak at many conferences, so my network of contacts is pretty robust. It took effort, but in the end I was able to secure enough client orders, along with my own purchases to resell at conferences, to make it onto The Wall Street Journal’s bestseller list.

Trachtenberg, the reporter for the Journal, asked me if I had “gamed the system” by hiring ResultSource. The answer would most likely be “yes” for anyone outside the publishing industry who views books as simply things to buy, borrow, and read. But for me, having just lived through the entire book publishing and marketing process for the first time, the answer to Trachtenberg’s question is much more complex.

The Awful Truths about Book Publishing

When I first approached my publisher, Berrett-Koehler, they insisted I read an article they give to every prospective author called The 10 Awful Truths about Book Publishing. The number of books being published has exploded to 3 million titles a year, including self-published works. Despite this tsunami of growth, industry sales have been declining every year since 2007. To make matters worse, the average book has less than a 1% chance of being stocked in a bookstore. These are painful realities for the aspiring author who wants to get his or her message out to a mass audience with the intent of changing the world.

Despite these frightening facts and figures, I was thrilled when I received Berrett-Koehler’s book contract. They receive over 1500 book proposals a year and only accept and about 30-40. If I could beat these odds, I told myself, surely I could parlay my good luck into getting my book stocked on at least one bookseller’s shelf.

What I hadn’t fully internalized was that I would be almost entirely responsible for the marketing and promotion of my book. Publisher’s produce and distribute books, but that’s about all they do these days. It was my job to create the real market demand. *

Is it “Gaming the System” to “Work the System”?

Before Leapfrogging came out last August, I sought the advice of some industry insiders and seasoned authors to learn the secrets of book marketing. I tapped into my network and was introduced to someone who had just left her role as an executive at Harvard Business School Publishing. She was the first to mention “bestseller campaigns” to me. According to her, “everyone” was doing it, especially for non-fiction business books like mine.

I also spoke to two of my professional heroes, gurus in the field of management and both regular staples on the Thinkers 50 – the who’s who list of the world’s leading business thought leaders. Both of them told me that if they hadn’t used bestseller campaigns for their own books, they wouldn’t have hit the bestseller lists. “Guruship,” they told me, came from playing the game in a way that reinforced their personal brands as thought leaders. Ponying up the dough for the bestseller campaign was a small investment that would pay off later in speaking fees and consulting contracts.

What was happening here? Had I just uncovered the underworld of the publishing industry, a secret society that knows how to manufacture knowledge, fame, and careers? Was it really true that the practice had become standard operating procedure? If this was how everyone was doing it, was it gaming the system or simply working within the system that existed?

At first, feelings of excitement and disenfranchisement collided within me. On the one hand, I was elated that a bestseller was realistically within my reach – that this elusive status symbol was something I could actually control. But my excitement was tempered with the recognition that the trust I had placed in the very lists endorsed by reputable publications like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, and others, might not represent the institution I had assumed it was.

Playing the Game Using Unwritten Rules

I played the bestseller game using unwritten rules. And as I reflect upon what I experienced and learned, it’s clear to me that anyone with enough money can potentially buy his or her way onto a bestseller list. Although most authors attempt to pre-sell books to their existing networks, theoretically, as long as one has enough money to purchase 3000 of their own books while using the tactics of a bestseller campaign to do so, they are basically guaranteed bestseller status. When I have told this same story to friends, family, and my close colleagues, most end up with their jaws on the floor.

Out of the millions of books published each year, very few become bestsellers. Most first-time authors are unaware that these campaigns exist and, if they are, most are unable to apply the strategy because the costs and pre-selling requirements are beyond their reach. In the bestseller campaigning process, a book’s quality – good or bad – has surprisingly little to do with it.

It’s no wonder few people in the industry want to talk about bestseller campaigns. Bestseller lists are revered, longstanding, and – of course – incredibly influential. The fact that it has become standard practice to work the system that determines which titles wind up on these lists is not exactly good PR for an industry that’s already in turmoil.

Take Risks and Find Surprises to Break-Through

In revealing my personal story, I risk several things. If I ever want to write another book, I risk being blacklisted by an industry that benefits each time an author contracts for a bestseller campaign. I risk having my current book, Leapfrogging, dismissed as a sham, even though it’s received fairly wide press and positive reviews. And I risk damaging a few personal relationships with those who may see my words here as an attack on their livelihoods.

Of course this very article may lead to additional visibility for my book and my work. But that isn’t the end goal.

As I describe in Leapfrogging, personal and business breakthroughs don’t necessarily result from big visions, carefully crafted strategies and meticulous plans. It’s the unexpected, itself, that contains the seeds of insight, learning, and growth that leads to breakthroughs.

When I decided to write my book, I didn’t know that I would gain an insider’s view of an industry that was fighting the very type of disruptive innovation and change that I have dedicated my life to understanding and helping others to navigate. And I surely couldn’t have predicted Trachtenberg’s phone call. In opening up to these little surprises, and sharing them with others in the spirit of challenging the status quo, I can only expect that more will come my way.

Click here for Debunking the Bestseller Part 2



* It’s important to note that my editor at Berrett-Koehler actually questioned my choice to participate in a bestseller campaign. As a rule, this publisher feels that the campaigns wind up detracting from authors’ long-term focus on promoting their books. In the end, though, the decision whether to participate in the bestseller campaign was left up to me.

http://www.leapfrogging.com/2013/02/18/debunking-the-bestseller-book-sales-spike/
 
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cobalt_27

Footballguy
A) Why the hell is a self-help author talking about football?

Even in loosest definition I don't think He could be categorized this way.

B) Last time I checked the Army didn't hand out multi-million dollar contracts to recruits.

So true! Exactly what I was thinking.

What Gladwell is saying has essentially already happened, and is kind of a steady state from college to pro sports. For a lot of people, sports represent the best chance at financial success. This has been true for not only football and modern sports but basically for all of history. There have always been mercenaries, professional gladiators, boxers, and others who rely on physical rather than mental prowess to make their way in the world.

Excellent point

I disagree that kids with other routes available will all opt out of football. I think we solve this concussion problem before that happens. All we really have to do is change helmets from a hard plastic to a softer, hard rubber material that is better at absorbing impact and delivers softer blows when a player lowers his head.

Wow I hope so!
A-
Well, except the part about the helmets. They are designed to protect against skull fractures and bleeds and do a hell of a damn good job at it. You're not going to solve the concussion dilemma with helmets. The external shell, no matter how you construct it, isn't going to stop the the brain from slamming into the insid of the skull upon impact.

 

citsalp

Footballguy
Some players are just more susceptible than others, I played SEC ball 29 years ago, plus boxed in Golden Gloves, I had more issues @ the time with dehydration, and stingers than I ever did with concussions (then came the knee issues). Would I tell me kid to play football...YES, Box no.(Marvius Frazier talked me out that sport) You learn how to live life playing football...for me anyway, it changed my life .

 

ckalltheway

Footballguy
As long as the NFL is going to make and players are going to make millions of dollars there will not be a shortage of people lining up. Its not just the ghetto way out, it would be the way out for 99.9999999% of us if we had the talent.

People do far more dangerous jobs worldwide for far less pay. The NFLPA was lucky to get anything but the NFL didnt want the fight in public so they threw enough to shut them up at them. Its not the NFLs fault people know that concussions are bad now and you can get concussions doing anything. When I was a kid I had multiple concussions from sports and falling off my bike. As someone said earlier everyone responds to smacks to the head differently. Its no one elses fault that I had a few concussions. Should I have sued the bike company or local spirts organizations?

 

MoveToSkypager

Footballguy
Some players are just more susceptible than others, I played SEC ball 29 years ago, plus boxed in Golden Gloves, I had more issues @ the time with dehydration, and stingers than I ever did with concussions (then came the knee issues). Would I tell me kid to play football...YES, Box no.(Marvius Frazier talked me out that sport) You learn how to live life playing football...for me anyway, it changed my life .
How?

 

karmarooster

Footballguy
Gladwell is a pseudo-scientist. He takes a few decent "ideas" and then expands them into flimsy 200 page books that sell like hot cakes. He's done very well for himself, but those in academia and "real" social scientists don't take him seriously. He's Pop - the Britney Spears of his world.

But he basically has a point here. It's not really a good point - because the phenomenon has already started, more kids already play soccer than football. Ok Gladwell, thanks for labeling the obvious.

 

mbuehner

Footballguy
Does anyone really think a 15-year-old kid will quit playing football because he is concerned about long term affects?

What kid worries about long term affects of anything?
We should really find a system for putting one and ideally two adults in charge of them, somehow.

 

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