Patrick E. McLean : Just what it says on the tin.

What do you believe about work?

This is an easy one for me to answer. I wrote a book on it. And I got to do it for a client. It was a strange, frustrating and wonderful project. An outdoor advertising company wanted to do a “Mission Vision Values” project. They said they wanted to be a cool company, like Apple. But c’mon, their a frigging outdoor advertising company! And the language they used to describe a lot what they did was awful. Like using the word cool.

But the thing was, the company, and especially the president had a great deal of vision. This was 10+ years ago and lots of people still thought Radio and TV were hot shit for local market advertising. But not these guys. They knew that a sea change was coming and pretty soon, outdoor — and spectacular outdoor — was going to be the most powerful way to reach a locality. You can cut your cable, you can get satellite radio, but you can’t even run away from outdoor because it’s along any route you might use to flee.

But this “Mission Vision Values” thing was awful. Two other firms — big design firms — had gone down in flames on this. And it was just me. We butted head something fierce, but I wouldn’t give it up.

So I got so sick and tired I said, I’m going to give it one last draft, then I’m done. And I sat down and wrote pretty much what I believed to be true about work. And that wound up being the spine of the thing.

It was simply designed and letterpress printed on thick paper bound together with old billboard vinyl, so you could see who was and wasn’t reading it in the organization. The more you turned the pages, the whiter the cover would turn. What’s below is the interior of the book.

(Oh, and after it went to press, I realized that Plato didn’t say that. It was Confucius. But nobody noticed. Shhhh)

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