1. Losing It

Mailin’ It In, Starring the Coasters, with a Guest Appearance by One-Trick Pony

I may as well get my story out on the table before I start pontificating about others. Irving Berlin once said, “The toughest thing about being a success is that you’ve got to keep on being a success.”

In the late 1990s, on a beautiful Connecticut summer afternoon, my cell phone went off in the Grill Room of Brooklawn, the idyllic old country club I frequented. I was finishing a two- or three-beer lunch before teeing it up with “the boys,” 50ish dudes like myself. It was my secretary “Mr. Welch called. Would you call him?” “Sure.” I knew this was not going to be a high-tension deal, as many Welch calls were. I had been Jack Welch’s speechwriter and communications ...

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