San Francisco Meeting:

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 @ 7 PM
Location: Java Beach Cafe (Sloat/La Playa)

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Upon another great recommendation from one of your fellow book-clubbers, Jennifer, we'll be taking on Peggy Klaus' breakout work, Brag!, and learning "how to toot our own horn without blowing it." Here's a bit of the Amazon review:

"Brag! is a whip smart tool kit--one that tampers with our beliefs about humility by defining bragging as an act of authenticity. Peggy Klaus, a Fortune 500 communication coach, sharpened her strategies..."  >read more 

Here are some questions to help lead (let me know if you have any suggestions for this):

  • What was your greatest take-away from the book?
  • What actionable items have you given yourself as a result?
  • Is there anything that you disagreed with?
  • What books have you read that were similar?
  • Any additional Thoughts?

Discussion notes from our meeting are posted below. Please include your thoughts on the questions above in the comments section below.


General consensus around the group was that this wasn't perhaps a perfectly written book, but the overall message and theme of the book was very strong and thought provoking. The common takeaway is that we can all work on establishing our brag bites, brag bag, and bragalogue, as defined below:


  • Brag Bites: Short snippets of information to be inserted into conversation to elicit interest

  • Brag Bag: all the information available to pull from to describe one’s better self

  • Brag-a-log: an inviting story that completely tells your story in the best light; elevator pitches (sometimes of varying length)

Take 12

The book was very anecdotal with a lot of example stories. It made it quite easy to relate to and simple to establish actionable items to achieve some newly defined personal targets. The best tangible takeaway are the Take 12 questions identified in the book, and on the Brag website:

  1. What would you and others say are five of your personality pluses?

  2. What are the ten most interesting things you have done or that have happened to you?

  3. What do you do for a living and how did you end up doing it?

  4. What do you like/love about your current job/career?

  5. How does your job/career use your skills and talents, and what projects are you working on right now that best showcase them?

  6. What career successes are you most proud of having accomplished (from current position and past jobs)?

  7. What new skills have you learned in the last year?

  8. What obstacles have you overcome to get where you are today, both professionally and personally, and what essential lessons have you learned from some of your mistakes?

  9. What training/education have you completed and what did you gain from those experiences?

  10. What professional organizations are you associated with and in what ways member, board, treasurer, or the like?

  11. How do you spend your time outside of work, including hobbies, interests, sports, family, and volunteer activities?

  12. In what ways are you making a difference in people's lives?

Our Actionable Items and Observations

I always like to ask the group what their one key takeaway was that they are going to try to implement in their life that they weren't doing before. It always leads to some great discussions. Here are some of the thoughts:

  • You need to identify the goals you wish to achieve so that you can strive for them and later record them as accomplishments
  • This may sound kind of obvious, but it's important to make a concerted effort to realize when it would be beneficial to toot your own horn
  • Learn how to pull everything together, make your passions succinct with one goal, and turn it into a motivating story.
  • Similar to some of the messaging in our previous book, Lean In, acknowledging that women sometimes have a harder time bragging, fight against a historical social pressure of being humble and modest.
  • I thought it was really great how this book tied in a couple themes from both our previous books, Lean In and The Startup of You (and some potential future selections). But the overarching message that you cannot rely on other people to promote you, merely working hard and waiting to be recognized, is very important to understand.
  • In addition to developing brag bites, a brag bag, and bragalogue on a regulate basis, the biggest takeaway is PRACTICE. Practice, practice, practice. Remember, while there is "over-rehearsed," there is no "over-practiced."

Book Recommendations

Finally, I like to ask our attendees what kind of books they would like to read for the group. Here were some suggestions. What are your thoughts?

Conscious Business by Fred Kauffman
How to Build Value Through Values

Joy at Work by Dennis Bakke
A Revolutionary Approach To Fun on the Job

Quiet by Susan Cain
The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

A Failure of Nerve by Edwin H. Friedman
Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix

We'll very likely hit a few of these over the next several months.  If you have any suggestions of your own, we would love to hear them.


AuthorBen Larson