Click Here To Purchase The Greatness Gap: Personal Strategies to Boost Your Professional Potential

Today, Norm Goldman Publisher and Editor of Bookpleasures.com is excited to have as our guest Mike Sprouse, author of The Greatness Gap: Personal Strategies to Boost Your Professional Potential.

Good day Mike and thanks for participating in our interviewing

Norm:

Please tell our readers a little bit about your personal and professional background.

Mike:

Thanks for taking the time to speak with me, Norm!

Most people probably think of me as a Chief Marketer, Philanthropist and avid Writer. As a young adolescent, I became very passionate about the sport of tennis and pursued it with gusto through high school and college, and ultimately landed on the ATP Tour playing professionally after graduating from the University of Notre Dame. Once the prize money checks started getting a little thin, I took my first “real” job in Direct Marketing doing direct mail and catalog for a major collectibles company which was one of the three largest of its kind in the U.S.

While there, I led a team which launched the company’s first e-commerce website and got interested in technology and the internet. After five years, I moved on to a role at Playboy Enterprises and ended up being there for five years as the SVP of Marketing. I then took the Chief Marketing Officer role at the leading digital marketing company called Epic Media Group in New York City. Ironically (I say that because most people think that technology replaces the written word, which is false), I began writing a lot in my Chief Marketer role and became very enthused by it. I had been sitting on the contents of a book for some time and felt like I had one written in my head, but never put pen to paper until late 2010. I’m glad I did, because I really want to create a franchise around the overall concept covered in this first book and if people can use what I write about successfully, then I do in fact have a lot more to write!

Norm:

How did you decide you were ready to write The Greatness Gap: Personal Strategies to Boost Your Professional Potential?

Mike:

I get asked a lot by people for advice or coaching on a broad range of topics including management, careers, marketing, and goal-setting to name a few. So I personally just saw a lot of demand around these topics, and people seemed to value my perspective on them. I got to a point where I just “knew” I had to write it, and I based the book off of what I saw other people around me struggling with at various stages of their careers. I think people underestimate how tough it is to navigate one’s career and find their true passions during these times especially. There’s so much great technology, networking opportunities and clutter in people’s everyday lives, there is a tendency for it all to get watered-down which actually makes it more difficult for someone young or in the middle of their career to truly succeed.

For instance, if I have 1,500 Twitter followers, how many of those people do I genuinely “know” or could call for help? Probably not many. I just felt a real need to write this book truly from a coaching standpoint, which was one reason why I was honored to have Lou Holtz write my Foreword. I felt the opportunity to speak to people college-aged, or those just embarking on their career, all the way up to people in the latter stages of their career with equal perspective and share with them my own good and bad choices and how they impacted me. If someone can take one piece of my experience and use it to their benefit, then I’m happy.

Norm:

Why would someone purchase your book and what differentiates it from books of a similar nature?

Mike:

Hopefully, the reason someone would buy the book is because it is structured differently than most in the motivational/non-fiction genre. As an avid reader myself, I truly love reading non-fiction and biographies. I love to understand what makes people tick and what their success secrets are. That’s what I’m passionate about reading…learning about people. But in reading most books in the genre, and I can’t think of one where this was not the case, I felt like I wanted to know more about the author and wanted to have something read as if everything the author was saying was really actionable. In other books, I wanted to put a real character behind the words, but was never able to do so. My goal was to do just that in The Greatness Gap. I want people to really know me, personally, so that they understand where the advice is coming from and how the coaching is rooted. I also want the reader to literally make a mess of the book by writing notes and responding to the calls-to-action in each chapter. I think that’s how I view it differently than most others I’ve read. The book is written in the hopes that people react and have the tools to do so.

Norm:

Why do you think this is an important book at this time? Whom do you believe will benefit from your book and why?

Mike:

This is an important book because there are a lot of people who want to understand the various potential paths to success and how to find what they’re really passionate about. Now, no one can be told an exact path to success; but there are symbols from people’s own experiences that can guide them if they understand the signs. While I am a big proponent of technology, and what it has done for communication and efficiency, the downside is that people have a tendency to be less enriched or become less versatile in their pursuits. I do not believe every person has just one thing they’re good at or have the potential to be great at; in fact, there are many things each of us is good at and the key is just to find the common thread between them. That’s why this book is important, and I think anyone struggling through some of these issues will benefit.

Norm:

How did you come up with the title The Greatness Gap: Personal Strategies to Boost Your Professional Potential?

Mike:

I had one working title; I won’t even tell you what it was! I brought home an early draft and put it on the counter in front of my wife, and she wasn’t all that positively affected by it. I knew THAT wasn’t going to be the title. I kept writing the actual contents of the book thinking that as I wrote, the title would become clearer to me. I came home a few weeks later and put the manuscript on the counter with about five different working titles. She happened by it and immediately said “THAT’S IT” pointing to what would eventually be the title. The Greatness Gap was the one that I thought was the best, too…but I had a little help.

Norm:

What was the most difficult part of writing your book? Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Mike:

I’m a first-time author, and honestly knew it would be difficult but I was also extremely motivated. I don’t think I ever really got writer’s block, but I had so much I wanted to say that the challenge was putting it all in a concise format and presentation. I wanted the book to read quickly; the litmus test was whether someone could reasonably read it in one cross-country flight, or about 5 hours. It ended up at 196 pages. So the biggest challenge was making my thoughts come across clearly and concisely, yet with impact. I can honestly say that I really enjoyed everything about writing this book. There isn’t anything about it that I wouldn’t do again. I guess my favorite thing was when I got the first few copies of the book and brought them home; that was a proud day.

Norm:

What are you upcoming projects?

Mike:

Well, there are already plans for a second book and it is in the works. It will be part of the “Greatness Gap” franchise, and will for sure be more intensely-focused on Marketing and Business. I want to basically write a tell-all book about all facets of marketing (because I’ve been involved in all facets through my life) and how companies can become more entrepreneurial in their marketing practices and how entrepreneurs can cherry-pick some of the best practices from the corporate world to help them succeed. Since Marketing is where a bulk of my expertise is, I want to relay some of the important things I’ve learned that have worked over the course of decades. I believe we are all marketers to some degree, and given my background I think I can dispel the notion that marketing is a dirty word and actually turn people into efficient marketers for themselves, their small business or their company. I saw an article written by one particular venture capitalist recently that said “Marketing is what you do when your product stinks”. Wow, how wrong! That’s when I knew I had to write my next book!

Norm:

I notice you keep your blackberry by your side when you go to sleep at night. Are you a workaholic? As a follow up, how do you balance your life between work and family?

Mike:

I used to be a quintessential workaholic. I was a global traveler and was burning the midnight oil working. I think this stemmed from my tennis days knowing the overtime I had to put in to succeed in that pursuit. Over time, I eventually learned how to work smarter, not longer. I guess I flipped that old cliché of “living to work” into “working to live”. It took a while, though. Now, I keep my blackberry at my bedside but only because it acts as my alarm clock. I do admit to checking emails before I get out of bed each morning. Though, I will also admit that’s a little ridiculous. I believe I have found the perfect balance, for me, between work and personal life now. But I think this also varies by each individual. Some people like to work all the time; others don’t. I think I’ve slid along the entire continuum during my career so I can probably sympathize with both sides of it.

Norm:

What do you think of the new Internet market for writers?

Mike:

I really think that the Internet has been a great outlet for writers. The thing that I’ve seen, coming from the corporate world, is the total transformation of how content is created and consumed. Years or decades ago, you had a finite number of content creators or news aggregators. It was a one-way communication, and people who consumed content were passive. Now, it is a two-way conversation and anybody with something to say can create content, blog, self-publish or comment on articles. The downside obviously is that not everyone is an expert or is qualified to give sweeping opinions about certain topics; but I still look at that as positive because it gives readers a tremendous amount of choice. Certainly, the ease at which information travels is a boon for writers and has opened up great potential for budding writers to start their careers. I do worry about the brick and mortar shops and hope that they can channel the internet and technology to their own benefit. While all the digital advances are great, there really is nothing quite like having a great book – in print – in your hands. There still is nothing more powerful.

Norm:

Where can our readers find out more about you and The Greatness Gap?

Mike:

You can visit my personal WEBSITE. All of my email contact information is there, and I love to hear from readers. This is the site that I update most frequently. I also created a website and forum for the book itself which is at THE GREATNESS GAP.COM

Norm:

Is there anything else you wish to add that we have not covered?

Mike:

Norm, thanks so much for taking the time to interview a first-time author, I really enjoyed it!

Thanks once again and good luck with all of your endeavors.

Click Here To Read Norm's Review of The Greatness Gap

Click Here To Purchase The Greatness Gap: Personal Strategies to Boost Your Professional Potential