All posts by Michael Berland

Publisher's Weekly: Review of What Makes You Tick

Publisher’s Weekly Nonfiction Reviews (Apr 20, 2009)

What Makes You Tick?: How Successful People Do It–and What You Can Learn from Them

Berland and Schoen, founding partners of a strategic research firm, take on a familiar subject–examining the common traits of highly successful people–with a fresh twist, arguing that success is achieved not by remaking your personality but by enhancing the skills you already have. They offer ways to use your own skills, attributes and personality as a path to charting an individualized course to achievement. Studies of 50 leaders in a variety of fields (e.g., Mark Burnett, Steve Forbes, Mario Andretti, Bob Woodward) make up the meat of the book and offer models as a learning tool as well as shedding insight into how the successful think. The authors identify four major categories of successful individuals–“Natural-Born Leaders,” “Independence Seekers,” “Visionaries” and “Do-Gooders”–and determine the inner personality, motivational and external traits that comprise each group. By identifying and embracing the unique potential of these archetypes, readers will be well positioned to put their best self forward. (June)

The New York Times: (PSB’s) Voter Profiles for Bloomberg Went Beyond Ethnic Labels



The New York Times: Voter Profiles for Bloomberg Went Beyond Ethnic Labels
Published: November 15, 2005

Throughout this year’s mayoral campaign, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s spending records included something called “voter list development.” It looked ominous to Democrats – especially as Mr. Bloomberg poured millions into it.

Lists like this usually include voters’ personal data – the magazines they buy, the cars they drive, their political affiliations. But as the cost of compiling Mr. Bloomberg’s list inched up toward $10 million, not even aides to President Bush, who perfected this sort of voter identification last year, could figure out where the money was going.

Now, speaking publicly for the first time about the behind-the-scenes details of their campaign – one of the most expensive in New York City history – Mr. Bloomberg’s aides have explained the mystery: rather than trying to read the tea leaves of public records to figure out voters’ tastes and leanings, they had the money to simply call and ask about them directly. They called hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers in what top strategists in both the Republican and Democratic Parties said was one of the most ambitious pollings of an electorate ever undertaken.

They stored the answers in a vast computerized database to develop sophisticated psychological portraits of city voters – identifying eight never-before-identified voting blocs based on people’s shared everyday interests and concerns, not on their broader racial, cultural or ideological differences, aides said in interviews in the last few days.

The extensive polling gave Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign a deep understanding of the city’s voters, and allowed it to tailor mailings, electronic messages and prerecorded telephone calls to voters’ specific interests as never before, aides said.

“We sat down in February and said we wanted to do this campaign differently, we wanted to unify the city by looking at people who had common beliefs,” said Kevin Sheekey, Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign manager. “We were not going to classify them by party or race; it was thought-based.”

With these new, multiethnic “thought-based” groups in hand, Mr. Bloomberg’s aides said they were able to transcend the traditional political fault lines of race, party and class that have been so crucial to city elections of the past, in the process developing a new model for running elections. This model, they maintain, could just as easily transcend the differences between red and blue states nationally in 2008. (The firm that created the system, Penn, Schoen & Berland, has Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as a client, and created embryonic versions of it for President Bill Clinton in 1996 and for Mr. Bloomberg in 2001.)

Among the groups were these:

FANS, or “Fearful and Anxious New Yorkers”: described as mostly lower- and lower-middle-income New Yorkers of all races whose lives are “utterly dependent on New York surviving.” They rely heavily upon the city’s social services, and, perhaps working as janitors or in the airports, they depend for their livelihoods on the city’s remaining financially stable and free from attack. “They were motivated by what I call security, broadly speaking,” said Douglas E. Schoen, who devised the database with his business partner, Mike Berland. “They do not just fear crime, they do not just fear another terror attack; it’s, ‘How do I keep my life secure in an uncertain time?’ ” These voters, many of them members of minorities, received messages that emphasized Mr. Bloomberg’s record in fighting crime and combating terrorism, as well as his record on job creation and health care.

Read the full article

Los Angeles Times: Bring On the Nachos and Beer — It's the National Huddle writes Michael Berland


Los Angeles Times: Bring On the Nachos and Beer — It’s the National Huddle
By Michael Berland and Doug Schoen
Published February 01, 2005

This week, Americans will celebrate this country’s 11th national holiday — Super Bowl Sunday. In a nation of highly polarized red states and blue states, what else do we all join together to celebrate? Only the Super Bowl can truly claim to be a uniter, not a divider.

Think about it: The outrage over the Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction” at last year’s halftime show was not so much about the partial nudity as about the desecration of what we all think is appropriate to this national celebration.

According to a random sample survey of 1,735 Americans we conducted this last week, Americans now treat Super Bowl Sunday the same way they treat Christmas or the Fourth of July. They make plans. They do “something special.” They spend it with others. In fact, half of all Americans would rather go to a Super Bowl party than a New Year’s Eve party.

And Super Bowl celebrations are no longer thrown- together beer-and-pizza bashes. In a growing trend, half of Americans plan well ahead for Super Bowl Sunday, usually before the final teams have even been determined. On average, Super Bowl plans are made 41 days in advance, our research shows. (By comparison, New Year’s plans are made 35 days in advance; anniversary plans are made 30 days in advance; birthday plans are made 25 days in advance.)

Why is Super Bowl Sunday so powerful in our culture? Maybe because Christmas and Thanksgiving are family holidays, and we each have our own traditions. Fourth of July fireworks and parades are celebrated city by city across the country. But Super Bowl Sunday is unique — a shared, nationwide social event organized around a single stage at a single time.

Read the full article