James Brown, ‘Success Machine’

James Brown, known as “The Godfather of Soul,” maintained a leadership position in popular music for decades, probably even transcending his death in December. Here are some of the career stratagems Brown passed on to others in the industry:
  • Never copy; be original. That’s what Brown told Tina Turner when she asked how she could revitalize her then-flagging career.

  • Throw a spotlight on what people are thinking to themselves. Brown did that when he first uttered the words, “Say it loud: I’m black and I’m proud,” and used them in a hit song.

  • Hold something back. When asked how he became an industry leader and mentor to other performers, Brown explained: “I taught them everything they know, but I did not teach them everything I know.”

  • Create a trademark image. Brown called himself “the hardest-working man in show business,” and made good on that image in every show.