Who the hell is Alexander Berardi… and why should I give a crap?
ALEXANDER BERARDI is a contrarian. He thinks, plans, acts and reacts in direct opposition to the mainstream crowd, and is leading a small army of devoted followers to do the same. An international bestselling author with over two million books in print in Asia, Africa, the Americas, Europe, and Australia; his works have been translated into over a dozen languages. He is perhaps best known, by those in his close inner-circle, for discovering hidden riches in secret places and for opening closed minds to new possibilities.
Those who know and work closely with him say he’s the real deal; the kind of guy you’d want sitting on your side of the negotiation table.
This former medical researcher turned serial entrepreneur, turned international best-selling author and professional speaker has been turning conventional wisdom on its head for over two decades.
Despite his radical, counterintuitive approach to business and marketing, highly criticized and non-conventional ideas, his reputation for blunt criticism and irreverent sense of humor, he is recognized internationally as a thought leader in the field of counterintuitive thinking… and a champion of freethinking men and women everywhere.
He writes and speaks about human possibilities… critical thinking, the folly of Conventional wisdom, the importance of individualism, and the challenges facing leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs in today’s unpredictable world, with a sense of clarity, depth of knowledge, and level of understanding that can only be had through intimate, hardcore, frontline experience.
His keen insight into business, marketing, leadership and personal success comes from real life, trial and error, hard knocks experience—not from a book report or warmed over platitudes or recycled pop-business rhetoric. Berardi owns and operates his own network of successful small businesses, which he refers to as his “living laboratory.” Its here that he risks his own money, time and reputation testing and retesting the proven strategies he shares with others.
That’s a rare commodity in a world populated by an endless parade of talking heads, armed only with untested opinions, dangerous, pop-culture business myths and no real-world, practical experience to back them up.
Tens of thousands of people from all walks of life and all corners of the globe read and follow his blog, monthly e-letter, syndicated articles, Internet radio podcast, public appearances and one-on-one mentoring sessions. Why?
Maybe it’s because you really never know what’s going to come out of his mouth next. He’s refreshingly straightforward and often wildly irreverent. He talks about issues that saner minds shy away from. Everything is fair game with him. He seems to enjoy butchering sacred cows, smashing golden idols and ripping back the curtain of Conventional wisdom to reveal the ugliness of its ropes, gears and pulleys. In a world where pop-psychology, marketing propaganda and flat-out bullshit are mistaken for solid business, leadership and personal growth advice, intelligent people everywhere are simply hungry for some blunt honesty… and Berardi ladles it out in overflowing portions.
The real reason people keep coming back for more, however, might be something else again. Perhaps it’s because Alexander Berardi helps us push past our own limitations—those placed upon us by culture, custom, convention and society, and those we heap upon ourselves. He has a way of holding up a mirror to our inner soul; forcing us to see ourselves in a new light—doing things we never saw ourselves doing and achieving goals we never imagined we’d achieve. Or maybe it’s just his natural ability to present complex issues in simple, unique and entertaining ways; it’s not uncommon to hear him quote Plato, Dr. Seuss and Curley from the Three Stooges in the same breath.
Whatever the reasons, and wherever the venue—on the radio, from the meeting hall stage or holding court in an airport bar, people tend to gather ‘round him with a seemingly cult-like zeal.
What are you trying to make happen?
Are you an entrepreneur looking for a new product or service idea to bring to market? If you ask Berardi, he’ll tell you you’re going about it all wrong.
The reason most new businesses fail, according to Berardi, is because they focus on the product or the service, first. They come up with an idea, build it, and then go out in search of a market. Most will go broke before they succeed. Instead of doing what everyone else does, Berardi says, take the contrarian approach—focus on the market, first. How do you begin?
Look around you. There are clues everywhere. What are the most commonly searched for terms on Google, Facebook or Yelp? What’s trending on Twitter and Instagram? What are people already looking for, that they’d be willing to pay for? Look for what frustrates, infuriates or irritates people. Find a common pain—a common problem or need and then figure out a way to fill that need. If you do it right, the market will find you—after all, you’ve proven they’re already out there looking for what you’ve selling. Makes sense, right?
Here’s another one of Berardi’s counterintuitive tips…
Instead of taking a gamble on creating something new, try taking something already in play and recreate it. Berardi has a simple, eight-point formula for getting it done.
First, find something people are already using and then apply his Recreate formula to it…
Ask yourself, how can I make it smaller? (Think nanotechnology, or the Apple Watch–which is simply examples of the next natural iteration of the trend toward smaller and smaller computers. The first Macintosh computer was rooted in this strategy… In the day, the idea of a “personal computer” seemed completely contrary to the trend in computing—which was focused on giant, mainframe supercomputers employed by governments and huge companies. Steve Jobs, as Berardi points out, was a contrarian, so to him, the idea of making a smaller computer that would sit on a desk and be used by the average person was something that came natural to him.
The next logical step in Berardi’s Recreate formula is the exact opposite: make it bigger. Examples of this strategy in play might be the Oasis Class cruise ships—capable of carrying over 5400 passengers, or the Seawise Giant oil supertanker 458.46 m (1,504.1 ft.) in length, or the double cheeseburger and supersized fries. And then there’s Berardi’s favorite example… the world’s largest Ben & Jerry’s ice cream sundae— weighing in at 27,102 pounds.
Make it smaller. Make it bigger. Those are the first two points of Berardi’s Recreate formula. Care to guess what the other six might be? Subscribe to his free blog and you just might find out.
Looking for something to give a nice little bump to your current sales?
Let’s suppose you’re a retailer thinking about doing a special promotion to increase sales. One of the more popular retail strategies used to get people in the door and move slower selling merchandise is what’s referred to in the trade as a “BOGO,” meaning: Buy One, Get One. There are many variations of this offer, but the most common is to offer the second item free, for buying the first. Well, Berardi offers a little counterintuitive twist for this, too.
Instead of offing the second item free, offer it, instead, at a ridiculous bargain price (say, buy one, get the second for a nickel). In his tests, Berardi has proven you’ll likely always get a bump in sales over the traditional offering. As strange as it may sound, says Berardi, in the consumer’s psyche five-cents seems like a better bargain than free. Maybe it’s because the word free has been so overused it disappears into the background, and the idea of getting something of value for just a nickel is so rare, it sticks out in ones mind. Why not test this strategy out for yourself and see how well it performs for you…
But if you think running a sale to attract customers is a good strategy, Berardi says think again. Based on years of closing observing customer behavior, he has concluded that running frequent and regular sales is a great way to go broke. Berardi sums it up like this: People will buy the way they have been trained to buy. What he’s alluding to is a behavior we as consumers are almost always guilty of—waiting for sale before we buy. Everyone wants a bargain. It makes us feel good, like we discovered hidden treasure, or something. But when retailers sell a bargain by cutting their price, they sacrifice profit. That’s not good. And if you make a habit of scheduling regular, predictable sales—like so many midrange retail mass-marketers do, you’re actually training your customers to wait until the next sale to buy. Berardi offers a more profitable approach, once again, simply buy turning the tables on the common practice.
Instead of cutting your price (as most retailers do) raise the price and bump up the value. Berardi points out, this is a much more profitable long-term strategy to justify price by increasing value—increase the perceived value of the product or service in the customer’s mind to a level which makes the price seem like something foolish to be concerned about. For instance, a person who has just been diagnosed with brain cancer is not likely to consider price when seeking a cure.
That’s a radical example, for sure. But carry it down to something as simple as a pain remedy or hot, freshly baked cinnamon roll—when you’ve got a crusher of a headache or get a whiff of that delicious aroma wafting through the mall, it’s hard to resist buying it now… even if it comes at a premium price.
When was the last time you found yourself paying a buck for a blister pack of two Tylenol® or standing in line waiting for a Cinnabon? The retail marketing folks at Johnson and Johnson and Cinnabon’s Kat Cole ain’t no dopes. They know how to pump up the volume on perceived value, and make it convenient for you to buy whatever they’re selling, right now… and in turn; they generate a very healthy profit for their efforts.
And speaking of Cinnabon, Berardi points out, there’s brilliant marketing behind the reasons why they make and bake their delicious product right out in the open— where everyone can see and smell the process. Could it have anything to do with the fact that the smell of cinnamon is an aphrodisiac, or that cinnamon‘s scent also stirs the appetite, invigorates and warms the senses, or that it produces a feeling of joy in our brains? Well, that’s another one of Berardi’s lessons, entirely.
These are just a few examples of what you’ll gain from following Berardi, and some of the behind-the-scenes marketing secrets the world’s best marketers hope you’ll never find out.
Berardi is a natural enemy of groupthink…
Alexander Berardi offers daily hope to those of us in the trenches— helping us to distance ourselves from the damaging influences of Groupthink.
Groupthink is a term first used by American urban planner and journalist, William H Whyte in an article he wrote for Fortune magazine in 1952, to define a behavior as old as mankind.
The term refers to a psychological phenomenon in which people strive for consensus within a group, setting aside their own personal beliefs in trade for the opinion of the rest of the group. Individuals who are opposed to the decisions or overriding opinion of the group tend to keep their mouths shut, preferring instead to maintain the peace rather than disrupt the uniformity of the crowd and risk being shunned.
Why does groupthink occur? Think about the last time you were part of a group, maybe during a meeting at work. Imagine someone proposes an idea you think is crap, but everyone else in the group seems to agree with the person who suggested it. Do you voice your dissent and risk being ostracized or labeled a rabble-rouser or do you just go along with the majority opinion?
In most cases, people end up going along to get along. They would rather keep their opinions to themselves than rick rocking the boat or looking like a jerk. These go-along-to-get-along people, are unwittingly engaging in groupthink.
When people fear that their objections might disrupt the harmony of the group or suspect that their ideas might cause other members to reject them, they tend to yield to the opinions of the group. And, according to Berardi, that’s a recipe for disaster. He says suppressing individuality and creativity always leads to poor decision-making and inefficient problem solving. Rather than ending up with a good solution, all you get is a solution. And there’s a decided difference between the two.
Roman Stoic Philosopher, Seneca the Younger, was identifying the timeless tragedy inherent in the abandoning of ones own judgment to the will of the group when he wrote, “For it is dangerous to attach one’s self to the crowd in front, and so long as each one of us is more willing to trust another than to judge for himself, we never show any judgment in the matter of living, but always a blind trust, and a mistake that has been passed on from hand to hand finally involves us and works our destruction.” Berardi puts it this way, “A variety of individual vibrant colors when pooled together will always produce a muddy grey.”
At every opportunity He warns us of the perils of herd mentality. He helps us recognize and overcome the hidden mental attitudes, blind customs, common misconceptions and social pressures that quietly and sneakily, bury themselves deep within our psyche, where they secretly work to destroy our creativity, poison our self-image, lead us into lousy decisions and hold us back from attaining our goals.
In closing virtually every speech, broadcast or live program he reminds us to…
“Read… every day, something everyday people don’t read,
Think… every day, thoughts everyday people won’t ponder,
Do…every day, what everyday people avoid.”
His simple, yet profound mantra is rooted in his intimate association with some of the greatest innovators of our age, his own personal experience—building and growing a series of successful small businesses, and from the knowledge he gained through his personal study of human motivation and consumer behavior—most of which he discovered, quite by accident, selling Kirby vacuum cleaners, door-to-door, in New York City’s, South Bronx, while working his way through college. (If you ever get the chance, ask him to tell you the story about the rat, the hooker and the bottle of gin.)
“Because someone noticed something nobody else did… The most important discovery for success in business and in life has been made.”
The result of Berardi’s accidental discovery and decades of research is the creativity-sparking, innovation-birthing, problem-busting sledge hammer known worldwide as— CounterThink.®
Watching what the crowd does, and then doing the opposite is, in a nutshell, what Berardi’s CounterThink® philosophy is all about.
Today, freethinking people in countries all over the world (surprisingly, even in those countries where thinking differently can get you killed) are using this radically unorthodox and counterintuitive thinking strategy to make life give them what they want.
As you roam your way through our archives, you’ll meet many of the people who are successfully employing Berardi’s CounterThink® strategies to transform their thinking, accelerate their careers and empower their lives.
You might be familiar with his books Never Offer Your Comb to a Bald Man and Servant Leader, which after being adopted by some of the world’s most prestigious business schools, introduced millions of hardcore business, government and military leaders to the counterintuitive concept of Servant Leadership as a surefire strategy for building enduring loyalty and endless career and personal success.
His book, Wishes of the Soul, became somewhat of an international phenomenon when it was released simultaneously in New York and Milan. The small inspirational gift book uses stunning photographs and illustrations— submitted by artists around the world—to beautifully illuminate the twelve ancient and intrinsic virtues which can lead us to finding purpose, meaning and lasting fulfillment both in our lives and in our life’s work.
The music CD of the same title was produced and mastered at the legendary Sony Music studios in New York City.
The CD contains a series of ethereal, instrumental musical tracks—all based on ancient Gregorian chants and written in a largo tempo. The music contained on the beautifully soothing CD is scientifically designed to unlock the creative, right hemisphere of the brain and inspire your creative imagination and problem solving abilities. Critics have called it “Hauntingly beautiful.”
No conference speaker delivers the goods quite like Alexander Berardi
Success as a human being in modern-day society does not come naturally. It requires the conscious utilization of our minds, our talents, our abilities and ourselves in the service of others.
As a speaker, Alexander Berardi has addressed audiences in venues around the world. Audiences know him for his colorful, compelling storytelling, his wry, self-effacing sense of humor and his edgy, irreverent delivery style.
An accomplished musician in his own right, he often appears on stage with live musical accompaniment to entertain his audience and illuminate his performance.
Today, he speaks exclusively for a small number of select groups around the world, at a limited number of invitation only seminars, as well as for members of his renowned CounterThink Tank® (a mastermind group, which meets four times a year at key venues around the world).
Encouraging us to stand out from the crowd—by refusing to fit in, and teaching us to think, act and behave differently than the crowd, Berardi enables anyone courageous enough to open their mind to a new way of thinking to see themselves and their possibilities in a whole new and wonderful light.
It’s no wonder why he’s been called “Everyone’s Mentor.” Not a day goes by that he does not learn something new and pass it on to others. It is his consuming passion.