Ken Auletta | The New York Times Best-selling Author Describes the Process for Researching and Writing a Quality Book

Show Notes

Today we are interviewing the New York Times best-selling author, Ken Auletta. Throughout Ken’s career, he has profiled the leading figures and companies of the Information Age, including Google, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, and Ted Turner.  In addition to being a best-selling author, Ken has also been a journalist and media critic for the New Yorker.

NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “Be so good that people can’t ignore you.” – Steve Martin

Wikipedia Page –

  1. Ken Auletta is a best-author, journalist, and a media critic for The New Yorker.
  2. His 2001 profile of Ted Turner, “The Lost Tycoon” won a National Magazine Award for Profile Writing
  3. He is the author of twelve books, his first being The Streets Were Paved With Gold (1979). His other books include The Underclass (1983), Greed and Glory on Wall Street: The Fall of The House of Lehman (1986), Three Blind Mice: How the TV Networks Lost Their Way (1991), The Highwaymen: Warriors of the Information Superhighway (1997), and World War 3.0: Microsoft and Its Enemies (2001). His book Backstory: Inside the Business of News (2003) is a collection of his columns from The New Yorker. Five of his first 11 books were national bestsellers, including “Googled: The End of the World As We Know It.”

Website –

  1. Ken, throughout your career you have written twelve books, and five of your first 11 books were national best-sellers, I would really love to DEEP DIVE into your process for writing books. Specifically, when you sat down to write your newest book Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business (and Everything Else), how did you decide that this was a book that you wanted to write?
  2. Ken, you are known for really doing research for each book that you write. After you have decided that you are going to write a book like this, what is your process for doing the research?
  3. Ken, how do you take and organize your notes?
  4. Who were some of the individuals that you met who had an encyclopedic knowledge of advertising?
  5. Where is home for you?
  6. FUN FACT – Ken, tapes every interview that he conducts.
  7. FUN FACT – Ken, keeps a list of questions that should be asked.
  8. NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “Who else should I be talking to?” – Ken Auletta
  9. How many hours do you invest in the research portion of writing a book like Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business (and Everything Else)?
  10. When you sit down to begin writing your books, where do you sit and what type of work environment are you most productive in?
  11. What are the most enjoyable and frustrating parts of the writing process for you?
  12. How many months or years does it take you to create a manuscript that you are happy with?
  13. If you had to estimate, how many times did you have to go through and completely edit and modify that manuscript for Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business (and Everything Else) before you were happy with it?
  14. How do you know that the book it’s time to stop editing the book?
  15. Are you ever truly satisfied with your manuscript?
  16. Once you’ve completed writing the book, a considerable amount of time must be then invested in marketing the book, what role do you as an author play in marketing the book?
  17. Most successful authors that I have interviewed have shared with me how challenging it can be to find a literary agent, I understand that your wife is a literary agent, does your wife, Ms. Amanda Urban serve as your literary agent?
    1. If not: How did you go about finding your agent?
  18. Ken, before the book writing you have had legendary career including working on Robert Kennedy’s 1968 run for President. Can you explain the character of Robert Kennedy and the experience of helping him run for President?
  19. What did your daily life look like behind the scenes as you were helping campaign for President?
  20. Ken, you’ve been the chief political correspondent for the New York Post, a journalist and media critic for The New Yorker, a weekly columnist for the New York Daily News and award-winning author and it’s almost like you have lived 4 lifetimes. Which job or position was the most rewarding for you as you look back over your career?
  21. Ken of the 11 books that you’ve written, do you have any that you like more than others and why?
    1. Recommended Reading:
      1. Googled: The End of the World As We Know It –
      2. The Underclass
  1. Ken, as I’ve interviewed multiple best-selling authors (Dan Heath, Jonah Gerber, Tom Peters, Sharon Lechter) aspiring authors out there who have actually invested the time to write quality manuscripts, many have indicated that the biggest challenge was finding a literary agent. In your mind why is it so difficult to find an agent, and how essential is it to find a literary agent if someone wants to enter the world of traditional publishing?
  2. If you were mentoring a young author on how to find a literary agent, what is the best advice that you would give them?
  3. Ken, I’m always curious about the habits and routines of top performers such as yourself, what do the first four hours of a typical day look like for you?
  4. Do you have any habits or routines in terms of time management and calendar management that you believe have allowed you to achieve massive success?
    1. 5:00 AM – Wake up
    2. Grab coffee
    3. Check emails
    4. Go to New York Times Online
    5. 5:30 AM – Read Newspapers
    6. 7:00 AM – Exercise and stretching
    7. 7:20 AM – Writing or Pack up for the Day’s Interviews
  5. FUN FACT – What motivates Ken Auletta?
  1. Motivation #1 – Curiosity is the main driver for Ken Auletta.
  2. Motivation #2 – He loves to teach what he has learned.
  3. Ken, what kind of listener out there would enjoy your newest book, Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business (and Everything Else)?
  4. Ken, I greatly appreciate you for being on today’s show you a source of wisdom my friend.
Business Coach | Ask Clay & Z Anything

Audio Transcription

All right, thrive nation. Welcome back to another exciting edition of the thrive time show on your podcast download and radio broadcast. I’m so excited about today’s show because we’re interviewing somebody who has been a New York Times best selling author now, uh, for full transparency. I have been an Amazon best selling author, but I have never been a New York Times best selling author. I’ve never sat down with Rupert Murdoch, the famous Guy Behind Fox. I’ve never sat down with Ted Turner. I’ve never sat down with Bill Gates. I’ve never written a New York Times bestselling book. Well, today’s guest, Ken Aletta, that’s he does Ken’s done this. Ken Auletta has been a New York Times best selling author multiple times. I mean, the guys released 12 books that I know of. I’m sure he’s written other books where he decide that it’s not good enough for all kinds of shelf that and come back to it. But Paul, he explained his process for how he researches a book, how he writes a book, how his daily routine. Paul, why is it so important for all of our listeners out there if they want to become successful to surround themselves with successful people like Ken who’ve already gone down that path and who’ve already achieved success, people who’ve already got to the top of the mountain top. Why is that so important?

What? Clay? Let me one up you. I am a hood and associates bestselling author. I have sold more books than anybody at hood and associates, Cpas. Oh Wow. So take that. Well, success. You can get it through the school of hard knocks, making all your own mistakes, but the problem is you don’t know what you don’t know and it’s just, it’s revolutionary. It’s, it’s breathtaking to sit and just listen to somebody who is already walked that path that you’re wanting to walk of success and to hear the things that, that you know, the potholes that they, they encountered and how they overcame them and it’ll save you a thousand times, uh, uh, all the pain and misery to get to where you want to be.

If you think about this for a second, think about a notable quotable from Jim Roan. A Tim Ferriss has said a similar thing. Proverbs says, a similar thing says you’re the average of the five people that you spend the most time with and if you’ve listened to the show for any amount of time at all, um, you’re going to know that to be true and you’re going to know that to be something that we believe in here at the thrive time show. So as an, as an example, just just giving an example for my life, um, I decided years ago I’m going to write a book, you know, this was in 2000 and maybe six [inaudible] six. And Paul had just built the DJ company to a large level and I didn’t know how to write a book. I’d never written a book before. So I reached out to a company and they said for $15,000, we’ll go ahead and write the book.

And so Paul, you don’t. I did. What’d you do? I paid him. And you know what happened at the end of the $15,000? What happened, I didn’t have a book because they said that they’re working on it. The Guy said, well, we’re going to have to do is do this, we’ll do that. We’ll come back. What you need to do is relate. Now we’re just working through it together. We’re going to long story. Should I get to the end of about $20,000? And then they said, well, now you need to make a cover. So the book cover guy, uh, he, he’s a guy that was referred to me by this particular book, Publishing Company and they charged me $2,500 for the cover on top of, about 17 grand. I’d spend the book, now we’re up to about $19,000. Then the editor wanted to charge me $5,000 to edit the book. Now we’re up to about $25,000. Then another guy charged me $2,500 to put the book up on Amazon and all of those things added up to about $30,000. Um, my wife also paid somebody almost $15,000 to help her with her book. Okay, that’s $50,000. $50,000. Now today when you and I worked together on your book, I’ll look under the hood. Do you recall getting an extra charge for writing that book?

No, I’m still waiting for it in the mail. Clay. I’ve figured because you know what? Even in my world, in your world, that’s what happens. People. You see people ads on TV. If you owe the irs over $100,000, call us and what they want is they want that money upfront. They really don’t do anything. They’re just always another charge. When I came and saw you, clay, you talked to me and I’ve experienced this too, where you know somebody can set up my website, what costs 20 grand and then then they needed another amount for this and another amount for this and another amount for this and it’s, you know what? I’ve learned a lot. That’s saved me a ton of money just coming to you because like you said, like you said earlier and learn from other people’s mistakes and you share in that story about writing a book. I’m saving tons of money for other people.

I just know for me, uh, I have personally spend at least $50,000 going in the wrong direction before I figured out the system. Now, right now, if anybody out there is listening and you want to write a book, um, if you are a consulting client pretty much for about $6,000, that’s two grand a month for three or four months. You’re gonna have your book done cover, done Isp in number Amazon. You’re going to have that done, but we can’t help you, uh, edit the book or type, set the book or improve the book if you don’t do what Kennel let us telling you to do here. So, so Ken’s breaking down the process for researching his books. His newest book just came out here. This is a book that I’d encourage you to check out. It’s called Frenemies, the epic disruption of the advertisement, business frenemies, the epic disrupted disruption of the ad business. You can get it anywhere that fine books are sold. And now that any further ado, back to our interview with Ken Auletta, how are you sir?

I’m doing great. Thank you.

Uh, can I, I really love your writing style and I would love to start our interview today by tapping into an interviewing you about your actual process for writing books and specifically with your newest book, Frenemies, the epic disruption of the Ad Business and everything else. Um, how did you decide that this was a book that you actually wanted to write?

For many years I’ve covered the media for the New Yorker magazine and written books relating to the media. And yet I’ve, I’ve spent very little time looking at the, at the industry that fuels the media. Uh, and that’s appetizing. I mean, without advertising dollars. Uh, most newspapers, most radio, most television, many podcasts.

That’s right.

Not to mention Google and facebook would die. So I said, my God, if you want to follow the money, the old Watergate adage, you really ought to follow advertising instance. I write a lot about disruption. The question then becomes, is the disruption that I’ve written about in newspapers and magazines and television and radio, I’m, is it happening to the advertising business stamp? And if it is, then my God, it endangers old media.

Do you do such obsessive and I mean that in a good way and when you do some obsessive research it looks like into every book before you put that book together. And I, I’m just curious, when you decided you committed to the idea of, okay, I’m going to write a book about the advertisement industry as it relates to the media. Did you have a kind of a working title in your mind or do you start with a blank sheet of paper paper, but where, where do you, where does your research start?

A blank. It basically says I don’t have a point of view. I’m bringing, I’m starting with, I have questions I’m starting with and obviously I’m adding and building more questions as I go along, but I don’t have a thesis. Um, I’m reporting and I’m talking to lots of different people and at some point much later in the process it, it’ll cohere into a, into a point of view and, and, and title I, I’d never been with a title title actually when I finished the manuscript. I don’t even have a title. What you do is what happened with this book is I sent the manuscript, you know, electronically to my editor, he reads it a edits and then we talk and I think seriously at that point about what a title might be. And I liked the idea of frenemies in the editing process. We came up with it before we were done with the editing process because actually I strengthen parts of the book, Chris.

I came up with the title. It was a, it was a phrase that Martin Sorrell the head of the largest advertising holding company, WPP use all the time to talk about how he’s being challenged by consulting companies that are consulted him but also compete with them and in the advertising business by PR companies do the same bite by publishing platforms that, that, that solicit add some him and yet increasingly are doing advertising themselves and bypassing him and going to the client by Google and facebook are doing the same who are bypassing the ad agency and going to the client. But I, as I thought about it, um, and this came out of the reporting I did for the book, the biggest friend of me and I had already written this and the book was the public, which doesn’t like being interrupted by, by as particularly on their mobile phones, which is the most important device in their lives. So I said frenemies. And when I threw that out to my, my editor, he then said I love that. And, and then the question becomes what your subtitle and you want to get the word advertising in the subtitle, but he wanted to also imply that there’s disruption of, have so much more than that. And that’s basically how you tinker and come up with a title. In this case we did.

So when you decided to deep dive into that research, what does that process look like for you? Can, I mean, are you just working the phones and scheduling interviews or do you like to go and just purchase a lot of books and deep dive into it for those people out there that aren’t best selling authors such as yourself? I think that it’s infinitely fascinating the process of your research, how do you go about doing the detailed research that you’re known for?

Well, you start gathering stuff to read before you go on and interview people because she wanted to have some idea of the kind of questions you want to be asking. So you want to read and you know, some people who you really look for people who really have an encyclopedic knowledge of advertising or broad view. So you, you do a couple of interviews with people and among the things you do is you ask what should I be sure to ask and, and um, and, and what you then do. What I do, at least in my computer is that I started preparing questions and I always ask people early on who else should I be talking to? So I began to make Melissa people I should be talking to. And, and after you read books you say, or we do research in the library and newspaper and magazine articles.

You’re creating a master list of people you want to talk to. You creating a massive list of, of questions you want to ask and then you go out and you want to be people. I prefer doing it in and abuse. Of course. You just get a lot more out of people when you look at them in the eye. And what I do is after every interview and, and, and I’ll ask everyone at the end of the interview, who else should I be talking to? Um, and I also keep a separate file of questions that I want to ask specific people that had to come up in a book I’ve read or clips I’ve read where the someone else said to me in an interview, you know, they just grabbed some anecdotes, some scene to me and I said, who else was there? And they give you the names of people who were, who were in that meeting.

And then I just make a note to talk to the people who in that meeting. And from that you can create scenes and, and anecdotes which in live in any book. What I do though, as let’s say I do four interviews in a day, which I’m scheduled, I’m scheduling myself. Ideally you want to have the email address of people because a lot easier to just send them an email and ask for an appointment and tell them what you’re doing that way. And what I do is when I come home, I write at home, um, I, what I then do is I create what I call an index, which is I go through then I tape every interview and I create an index of from my notebook, uh, interviews. Um, and so the next might consist of, um, the name of the person, their last name and the headline of what they said.

They might say, this is what I worry about. And I put a under the concerns that people have had a, I would, I would, I would deposit that inflammation and I, I’ve put down the notebook and the page number, the notebook that the person, the person who said it is. So I wind up at the end of, uh, of all the indexing which may take over a couple year process with, you know, 500 single spaced pages of names of people in headlines and, and, and I’ve taped of everything so I can go back, I go to the notebook, I see something I’m interested in and then I go, I track it, you know, on, on, online with, you know, and I, I find the spot where the, I don’t, I don’t transcribe every interview I do because it’d be too expensive to do that, but what I then do is I found the spot I want and I play the tape and then transcribe the paragraph or sentences that I want.

When you went about finding individuals that had an encyclopedic knowledge of, of advertising, who were some of the individuals that you met along your path that you thought, wow, that was, that guy was a true wealth of knowledge because this book is as powerful and who are some people you met along the way that really were that vast resource of knowledge for advertising?

Well, Erwin Gottlieb, who recently this year retired as head of chairman of group. I’m a longtime advertising. It’s brilliant guy who’s been business a long time. He had a, he has real scope and knowledge of the industry, so he was a source of, of real information. Me Martin Sorrell who founded the largest holding company, WPP 33 years ago. I’m a brilliant guy. I mean knows, knows an awful lot and then you just find people. I mean Carolyn Everson who is the head of advertising for facebook, who’s been in the business for awhile but really smart, knows everybody, kind of a person. And then you, then you go to professors and you know, and, and, but you just go to a wide range of, of people and uh, and then you know, then you go out and you, you interview and you, you don’t really know what your narrative is going to be or what your thesis or a thesis.

These are going to be a, you’re just out there and you’re. Sometimes you feel lost. Sometimes they, oh my God, I’ll never get this. Or Am I ever going to come up with a narrative for this? Or I have so many different interviews. Can I make a coherent whole lot of it. You always worry and that insecurity actually is very good because it drives you to work harder to try and figure out what the hell it might be and, and, and the thesis or frame of the book might be. And, and at some point you stare at that $500, so page, single space index that I described with all its different topic that you have and you stare at that for weeks at a time and you start moving things around on your computer, like a deck of cards. And you say, if I put this here, if I lead with this, what would come say? What will be my second chapter in the third and the fourth and fifth? And you move things around and, and then after you’ve, you’ve really, you begin it. It requires you to, we learn all the interviews you’ve done in effect and, and all the stuff that you’ve read. And, and then you, I mean, you wind up with a mic with this case. I, I had a, I had a total of about

check one, check two. Okay. Hello, are you there? Oh yeah. I think I just lost you just for a second there. You were talking about how you were, um, you have to kind of relearn everything you have to do. We learn and

everything you’ve done, you basically relive your interviews by going through the index this way and with, and the highlights of what people said and you and, and you know, the index consists of roughly 2,500 documents that you’ve index that you’ve put a headline to and where they are and the document and then roughly 60 books and you Roman numeral the books so you can find them in the page number and your index of what you want to use. It might want to use my book. And then I had in this case that had 24 notebooks.


Yeah. With a to Z. I mean I’m a. and so I do it notebook a page 62 or notebook, page 55.

Where does this science project take place? Are you doing this at your house? Do you like a Home Office? A walk us through.

I have a Home Office. I like to be near my refrigerator so

uh, I have a home office and I like to go to the gym in the morning and I have the flexibility to do that at home and I, and also flexibility and understood. I get up at five in the morning so I could work early or if I want to work late I can do it. I don’t have to go it being in the say the New Yorker Office or an office. He wants to be in a barren office late at night, you know. And you also, I’m much to my wife’s Chagrin, I mean the office, my office is full of file cabinets and stuff and, and we’re all, my documents are, I can cart them to an office.

So you have New York, is that correct? Correct. So when you get all this, when you’ve done all this work, all this research, she. By the way, one of our show sponsors is here with us today. Mr Paul Hood, he’s a, he’s a CPA and so probably the way that you look at your content, he looks at numbers, but how many hours do you estimate you’ve put into your newest book? Frenemies

hours. I can do it. It’s a two and a half to three year project,

so two and a half to three years. You’ve been working on this baby. You’ve been a molding it, sculpting, carving it

of. I’m going to do this book to the publication.

How many times do you see a quote unquote final edit of the manuscripts? Like how many times will you edit through the manuscript before you finally say it’s as close to perfect as it’s gonna get.

That’s something you do in collaboration with your editor. I’ve worked with a wonderful letter, Scott Penguin and have done previous books with Scott and so what you do is I finished a draft of the book and this was a 19, a chapter book. I, I email it to Scott, you know, electronically send it to him. He then, um, calls me at some point when he’s finished and we talk and it gives me his overall impression and if he says, you know, I think I think you need a little, do a little more this or a little less of that or whatever, you know, we talked that out. He then will send me back electronically his edits and, you know, you could see it. The way you do online today is you can see his are in red or yellow and I could tell the suggested changes he’s making and I then can either agree with them or not.

Um, but it’s a very collaborative process. I mean, he may say, uh, I don’t think we need this and I’ve come back and say, I think we do need it goes. I’m building up this character for later delivery to the reader. Something about, about him or her. And, and, and since I know I’m more intimate with the subject because I’ve lived with it for two and half years or three years, um, you know, but, but it’s very collaborative and sometimes they’ll say to me, this doesn’t work. In the end, he’s right, you know, and, and so then what will happen is he’ll send me back is that as, I then will edit his edits and send it back to him and he may or may not send back a next one, you know, uh, certainly we’ll have questions. He’ll say, do we, what about this or we don’t, we need to add a little more about this, you know, stuff like that. And at some point, you know, you’re done. And then what happens is that, uh, the next step in the editing process is it goes to a, I’m a copy editor at the publishing house and that’s all of us stylistic stuff, you know. And, and I’ve, I’ve generally had great experience with copy editors. I mean they save you from silly, you grammatical errors or punctuation or whatever and um, and then it goes, then it goes to the printer.

No, I understand. Your wife is a literary agent to. Does your wife represent you as your own literary agent or do you have a different agent?

I am, I have a different. I have my own age and at her firm she, she’s an international creative management and um, she’s my first reader. She reads everything I write and she’s tough as nails. She’s a really good at it and, and, uh, I have the bruises to prove it and, and, and then I send it to my, at the same time I send it to my editor. I sent it to my agent phone errors.

You know, we, we’ve interviewed some really neat author, know Gretchen Rubin, New York Times best selling author will be on here in a couple of weeks and everyone always tells me it’s so hard to find a quality literary agent. For the listeners out there, they’re serious about being an author. And I know there’s not, there’s millions of people that talk about being an author, but let’s say for the serious writer out there, what’s the best process that you would advise for our listeners to go out there and define a quality agent? Like the one you have?

Well, there are lots of editors. I mean, lots of agents out there and you can look them up in the book, but, but essentially if you are a writer who has not written a book before, uh, you, you’ve, what you’ve got to do is send the prospective agent a manuscript or a detailed account of what it is the book that you’d like to write. And one of the things that’s key in, in doing that is to give them a sense of what kind of writing war. So make it a vivid letter, let’s say, or email to the agent that really will give them a sense that you normally have a good idea, but you can, you can write and, and that’s really key, but there are lots of agents and lots of good agents. But who, who, I mean, it’s so personal and it’s chemical.

I mean, who you feel comfortable with and you know, um, if you’re, if you’re an author has had some success you can get in. If you can interview agents, if you want to switch your agent, you can. Interview is going to be harder to do that if you’re a first time author. So you’re going to have to go to the check the book of who, who the agents are that you might send this to, and obviously one of the things you want to look at is you. Every agent has identities. I mean there are agents who are very strong with fiction and the red are others who are very strong with nonfiction and, and there are different types of fiction and different types of nonfiction that different agents are strong with and, and that’s part of the research that an author or to be doing before they reach out to an agent with a submission

in your career. I’m looking at a picture right now of you and you’re obviously are drinking a lot of fish oil because you’re looking young here, but you’ve lived and ethic career. Uh, you’ve been the chief political correspondent for the New York Post. You’ve been a journalist and media critic for the New Yorker and you actually helped you, helped Robert Kennedy run for president. And am I correct? You helped Robert Kennedy ran for president.

What helped is a little strong. I was a kid and I was on a, I mean, I was a dedicated support or Robert Kennedy, but, and I, I met him a couple times, but if I walk down the street he might say, I think I know that guy, but I’m not sure

I want to help him out

because I believe in them. I feel Robert Kennedy was, was, um, was really capable of redefining Democratic Party. He was not, he was against the Vietnam War, which I was against, but he was also someone who, who could talk to working class people as well as minority people and he had this ability to bridge gaps, um, in the population. But something that we see is so necessary today because we’re so polarized in our politics today. We’re, we’re, you know, people who support. I’m have a hard time talking to people who don’t support trump and, and vice versa. And Robert Kennedy really was able to bridge many divides. I thought he was really smart and passionate and, and, uh, effective. Proud to work for

you. Uh, your, your career has been, again, it’s a sort of an epic journey. You’ve had so many different really neat occupations are neat positions. As you look back on your career, has there been one job that you’ve enjoyed the most in addition to it to be an being an author and a writer?

I, I love writing the annals of communication for the New Yorker magazine, which I started writing and 92 to today. And, and I, I loved, I loved it because I love, you know, I love it, the beat the communications world, which, which is broadly defined by me as not just newspapers or magazines, but Google and facebook and Rupert Murdoch and, and, and Bill Gates. And so an ad of those stories and profiles. I did, I’ve done over the years for the New Yorker. They grew some books. I cover the Microsoft antitrust trial and, and wrote a lot about Bill Gates and Microsoft in that I wrote a book called googled, um, which grew out of my reporting for the New Yorker and now Google was disrupting the traditional world. So, I mean, I just, and, and I got to know some interesting people and, and, and I mean I spent five months doing a profile of Rupert Murdoch and not in 95 one, he still doesn’t talk to me. Okay.

Now you also did a profile on Mr Ted Turner. Uh, you’ve, you’ve, you’ve been super amounts of time studying Microsoft. Is there a certain personality and entrepreneurial personality? Did you spent the most time with you thought was probably your entrepreneurial personality you thought was the most interesting?

Well, uh, Ted Turner, you mentioned that that was one of the fun projects that had proceeded. He’s such a colorful guy, had a profound impact on the Cable News, Cable News, which he invented with CNN and, and, and he was the one who brought programming. I’m more than anyone else, the cable industry with tmt and, and, and Turner Broadcasting. And he was just a great character. I mean a really colorful character and who had a very life full of path. I mean he was, it was a young kid and his having his father is very rough on him. He was in his 24 years old and at the breakfast table his father went upstairs and put a, put a gun in his mouth and the trigger and, and left a note to his best friend saying his father was, had, had the biggest billboard, uh, one of the biggest billboard companies in the United States at the time. It left a note for his best friend saying, I want you to sell my company because my son, ted is not capable of running it. Well, Ted Turner was able to convince the friend not to sell the company. And he took that small relatively compared to what he built later as small a billboard company and, and turned it into Turner Broadcasting through sheer force of will and talent. And he was just a very colorful character. And, and yet, uh, have a character who was deeply wounded by his father and carried that burden to all his life.

You are a guy who goes deep into the research for every book you do, you, you won’t even put your toe in the water of writing a book unless you’re going to commit two years of your life to researching it, and I know you have a new book, but if you think back about all your books, is there a particular book we have roughly 100,000 people that are listening right now? Can that will download each and every podcast? Is there one book you’d say everybody needs? If you’re an entrepreneur, you need to read this book.

Well, you know what throws me is when you say if you’re an entrepreneur, if, if, if you didn’t say entrepreneur would have had one answer. If if, if for an entrepreneur, I think the book to read would be googled. The end of the world is you know it because that’s a book about entrepreneurs who were, who were succeeding in this case, Google and digital world of Silicon Valley and people who fail to be entrepreneurs who were failing because they failed to be entrepreneurs and that’s traditional legacy media. That was reactive and defensive and, and to Google and not thinking entrepreneurially, if you’re talking about the book that I thought was most important, I would say the underclass, which is about poverty in America and, and, and about, um, the hardcore poor who I call the underclass, um, who were very hard to reach and, and, and many of them you wouldn’t be able to reach, but I made the argument that you don’t, that, that shouldn’t stop you from trying to reach them even though you won’t be successful with everyone. And if you asked me what I felt was the easiest to read book or the, the best narrative book, it would be green and Gloria on Wall Street, which was the subtitle was the fall of the house to Lehman who’s about Lehman brothers and the oldest partnership and on Wall Street collapsed and, and, but it was a good yarn and it was a good story with some vivid characters. So depending upon the specifics of the question, you would get a different answer for me.

Makes Sense.

Now I don’t want to ask this because Paul and I are infinitely interested in this idea. You’re a successful guy. Therefore, um, you probably have some success habits and I’d love to tap into your wisdom on what the first couple of hours, the first, let’s say the first four hours of your typical day looks like. If you could think, if you give us kind of a look into your daily habits and routines, what are the first four hours of a typical day in your life? Look like? Well, it depends. Reporting a book or writing a book. Typically let’s say I’m home, which is my office, right? I wake up the side and, and I go and I put it on the coffee and I turned on my ipad and I, I, first of all, I go through the email. I go through the, some of the blog posts and other things that are sent to me overnight.

Um, you know, media, Brian stelter at CNN. I read his [inaudible] and various other things. And then I, and then I turned on, I go to New York Times online and I thought reading that and then around 5:30 I hear the thump of the newspapers outside my door and the newspapers, men deliberate. So, uh, I started reading them, um, my wife who gets up around 5:30 slash six, um, she claims the New York Times first. So I start with something else and you know, one of the other papers and, and, and then by seven I’ll go in and, and, and I’ll do some exercise just stretching, you know, loosening up. Um, and then, um, I’m at my computer, my computer around 7:20 and I’m writing, if I’m writing, if I’m actually out reporting, um, I’ve got uh, you know, I’ll get to the computer at seven. I may print out the questions for the person, people I’m interviewing that day, if I haven’t done that, usually I do it the night before. Actually I’ll make sure the batteries is up to date in my, in my digital recorder. Um, and pack up and, and I’m out in first meeting is probably 8:00 at a breakfast or something, interview. And um, that’s, that’s the typical first four hours for me.

What time do you wrap up your day? Do you like to work until five or Tila? You work until like 5:00 AM and you get up at 5:00 AM again, I mean, what, what do you call it? Quits for a difficult day.

Uh, it depends on whether my wife and I have something that night, um, and, but, but generally speaking I like to cook. And so if we’re home at night, um, I generally will, will go into the kitchen, turn on the TV, in the kitchen at 4:00 and just get a fill in on what’s happened that day as I’m cutting up food for dinner and um, and I’ll do that for like say 40 minutes, do my prep. They don’t come back to my computer and either right or whatever I’m doing. We’re planning plotting questions and people I want to set up interviews with and my wife gets home at at typically it’s 6:30 and we’ll leave at 7:15. And if we’re home, you know, it depends. I mean if, if I’m in the throat, she, she has a lot of reading to work so she’ll often read at night as well or were addicted to some television show on a or series on Netflix or Hbo and bold. We may binge a little of that or I’ll come in and she’ll read and I’ll look at what I’ve written that day and say, God, I gotTa Redo this. I’m not happy.

Wherever, you know, what can’t, you know? Paul Hood is one of our show sponsors and in Paul has thousands of clients all across America. Has been a CPA for 25 years. And uh, Paul, I know you love sponsoring the show because one of the, uh, a little, uh, benefits. Did you get a chance to interview great guys like ken auletta here. What hot and fresh question do you have for Mr Kim?

Well, it can first. Thanks for, uh, even hearing my voice and entertaining my question. Um, it, it brings such insight to read books and into here from, from the author like you and, and just to get the deeper story. Uh, we interviewed not too long ago, a lady named Sharon Lechter who was a co Co author of Rich Dad Poor Dad. And one of the things that she said that stuck with me is that, uh, what motivated her and she asked herself, have I added value to somebody’s Day? And so what motivates you? I mean 11 time bestselling author. What on earth has kept you motivated and kept you going? Is there some driving force in you?

Well, one is that I’m just curiosity. I mean, I, I, I, I view a book as a marriage and, and I don’t want to get married unless I’m committed to the book. So I take my time before I decide to plunge in and get married and, and I, I choose to get married because I’m really curious about subject and, and the mysteries that it poses for me. And I’d like to try and figure them out. And the second thing that motivates me is that I, I think writers are our teachers and, and what, as I do my research, I’m being taught and then my task is an ambition is to teach others. And, and, and I find that both of those very satisfied

as you’re thinking about this, this book here, I’ll frenemies. You’re your newest book, the epic disruption of the Ad Business. Uh, we’ve got a lot of our listeners who are very action orientated. They love to buy books. I devour books, dog ear, the books, take notes. Uh, why should all the listeners pick up a copy of your newest book?

Well, hopefully they would think it is. It’s a narrative with some excitement, some interesting characters in it. I mean, I’m not writing an essay, uh, that for only four people read. I’m trying to write a book that, that, that, that teaches something about advertising, what’s happening to it and the disruption and why it’s important. But I’m trying to do it through characters and stories that are enticing to people who would not in the advertising business and the way I’m not. And, and so that’s my hope and I think what I’ve tried to do in this book was what I learned that advertising is fundamental to the media world and by the way, so it’s not just the immediate world, the traditional media world of newspapers and magazines and radio and television. Ninety seven percent of facebook’s revenues come from advertising. Ninety percent of Google’s search revenues come from advertising.

Most apps come from a habit, a supportive by habitat, most podcasts as supportive advertising. So advertising dies. What else does a lot of other things. And then people say, well, you know, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll go to a subscription model and instead of advertising, well last night, that’s a pipe dream. That’s not going to happen. People can’t afford it. Do you think people are going to pay for facebook or Google searches? No Way. And the one thing that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton agreed on it 2016 is that the American middle class or working class, the bulk of the population hadn’t had an income rise in 10 years. The thought that they who are now paying $270 a month for subscriptions and that doesn’t include gas and electricity, I’m going to start paying subsidizing newspapers and magazines instead of appetite. Not going to happen.

I think that there’s people out there that would do. You do have that pipe dream. Oh, subscriptions are going to take the place of advertising and the data is conclusive. It’s just not gonna Happen and so your book is a great deep dive for anybody who’s curious about how media works, how advertisements were, how the advertisement industry works. If you’re an entrepreneur, you got to check out [inaudible] newest book, Frenemies, the epic disruption of the Ad Business. Ken Auletta, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to be here with us and in particular I really enjoyed reading your, your deep dive book, Ted Turner, the last tycoon. That book to me was awesome. Awesome. And so I thank you for taking the time to write that book and you have a blessed at least one reader and educated at least one reading. That would be me. When I read Ted Turner’s book, I, I honestly, when I realized that he had had success despite battling demons of his dad killing himself and almost blaming his son for it, uh, it was, uh, I mean that, that book really, really ignited a passion for me to, uh, go out there and be thankful for having the kind of family life that I had as a kid.

So thank you for writing that book and thanks for the Nice word. Alright, you take care of my friend.

All right. Thrive nation. We like to end each and every show with a boom, but not before I give you a shameless and sincere sales pitch. Ken Auletta has numerous bestselling books that you’re going to love. I personally would recommend that you check out Ted Turner, the last tycoon. That book was very inspirational for me. I did not realize that Ted Turner, Ted Turner’s father was so disappointed and so verbally abusive. Paul Ted Turner’s dad literally wanted his son to become good at making outbound sales calls, selling billboards. He had built a big billboard empire, right? And he wanted his son to take over the company. And so ted Turner was in his twenties and his dad said to him, you are never going to be able to run this company. It makes me want to kill myself. Wow. Then he actually went upstairs and killed himself. Oh my gosh. After making that statement, how does a guy who was a person recover from something like that throughout Ted’s life?

This is, these are stories that are verified by Jane Fonda, who he was once married to and other people in his life whenever he gets like a big deal. Like when he bought the braves, when he bought the hawks, when he launched tbs, tnt, he did the merger with AOL. Apparently he looks up at the sky and yells, is that not good enough, dad? Wow. Consistently. So he turned that adversity, that, that negative into a positive drive to create things. Uh, you know, I wonder if he ever felt like you did enough. Numerous people have said that the guy has this nervous energy where he cannot stop working on achieving goals because he feels like he’s chased trying to beat his dad’s ghost and to show his dad that he was wrong and again, he turned his bitterness into betterness, but you can learn so much by studying the lives of other people because it’s easy to skip the headline version of Ted Turner’s life and say, wow, that guy, uh, had a hard time with marriages.

Oh Wow. That guy’s merger didn’t go so well with AOL or, but you don’t understand. This guy took a billboard company and then bought a small local cable access TV station and turned it into the largest cable news network. Then he started CNN. I mean, he started. People don’t realize CNN, they were running out of money when they were building CNN. And so as a way to cut costs, he converted a golf course into a dormitory for all of his employees. So he could pay them less and say, hey, but you get to be on TV. And I include free housing. I mean, who buys a golf course? And turns it into a dormitory for all their employees to live. That’s Ted Turner. That guy is a fascinating story. Remember AOL. You’ve got mail. Remember that? I do remember that he teamed up with Steve Case after Steve Case at AOL and built America’s biggest company.

He turned around the Atlanta braves, who were a terrible baseball team. He turned around around the Atlanta Hawks, the guy, just the cartoon, the cartoon network, and the TBS. TNT. Unbelievable. The life of Ted Turner. That’s just one of his books. I mean, so if you have yet to to check out a Ken Auletta book, just go onto Amazon today and type in Ted Turner, the last tycoon and after you click on that, maybe you’ll find a different book that’s better suited for you. You could learn about Microsoft and its enemies. World War three, that’s a great book. I’m googled the end of the world as we know it. There is a book for you that you’re going to love. If you love entrepreneurship, I promise you you’re going to love the behind the scenes stories and the detail, the research that ken auletta a pours into each and every book, and now without any further ado, Paul, here we go. Three, two, one. Boom.


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