The Learning Leader Show With Ryan Hawk

Episode 250: Shep Gordon – The Super Mensch: How To Add Value To The Lives Of Others

Shep Gordon is known in the entertainment industry as having an eye for talent and an innate understanding of what people find entertaining.  After graduating from SUNY Buffalo, Shep moved to LA and in 1969 co-founded Alive Enterprises.  Over the years, Gordon has been responsible for managing the careers of Alice Cooper, Groucho Marx, Raquel Welch, Luther Vandross, Kenny Loggins, and countless others.  He’s also credited as creating the celebrity chef,  which revolutionized the food industry and turned the culinary arts into the multi-billion dollar industry it is today.  His clients that include culinary legends, Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse, Nobu, Daniel Boulud and many more.  In addition to the impact he’s had on the music, film and food industries, he’s also highly regarded for his philanthropic endeavors.  Shep was named one of the 100 most influential people in Rolling Stone magazine.  He was the subject of Mike Myers 2013 documentary – Supermensch The Legend of Shep Gordon.  He’s also written a best-selling book called They Call Me Supermensch A Backstage Pass To The Amazing World Of Film, Food, and Rock ’N’ Roll.

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On meeting with His Holiness, The Dalai Lama — “When he walked in the room, it felt like I had taken the greatest shower of my life.” — Shep Gordon

Show Notes:

  • The value that Jayson Gaignard added to his life
    • “He came to Hawaii and helped me launch my book and it was a best-seller”
    • “You should always bring value first”
  • A 1968 graduate of college — great divide in our country at the time – Vietnam War, “I was raised a liberal Jew”
  • “I was a long haired acid dealer”
  • The Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix story — How it got him his start as a manager in Hollywood
  • Fame — Media is a manipulation – “It consumes people and can be very damaging”
    • “My job was to push the artist. Fame was fools gold.”
    • People who wanted fame needed attention… When they stopped getting it, bad things happened
  • Shep had a visionary eye for what would be successful in the future, the ultimate talent scout.  He also understand how to earn PR for his artists to help make them famous
    • “Create things that parents hated… Which led to kids loving it.” –> Alice Cooper played a show naked
    • Going from Alice Cooper to Ann Murray… Shep did great work for them and it kept leading to his next client –> Groucho Marx, Raquel Welch
  • Commonality among great entertainers? “They have that moment right before they go on stage… They are scared, neurotic, full of fear.  This fuels them to be great.”
  • Commonality of those who sustain excellence?
    • “They never did it on their own.  All the best were surrounded by great teams.”
  • Meeting with The Dalai Lama?
    • “When he walked in the room, it felt like I’d taken the best shower of my life.”
  • How to throw a world class dinner party?
    • Great food, customized for your guests
    • Eat at a round table and always leave an extra seat (for the host to sit at and move from table to table)
    • The food needs to be buffet style
    • Send quality invitations — “It’s all about the WHO” –> You must get that part right, it’s most important
    • Don’t talk business
    • Think — “What could I do to really make their night great?”
  • Life lessons — “The failures are more important than the successes”
    • “To me, failure is not trying”
    • “If your team can’t fail, you can’t win”
  • Success to Shep = “A life of service to others”
    • Serving others will make you happy
    • Use you wealth to help other people (ex: “If you own a private plane, find people who will never fly on a private plane and offer them a ride.”)
      • “Use your resources in service to other people.”
  • Always think about how you can add value to the lives of others.

“Success for Shep = “A life of service to others” –> Helping other people will make you happy

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More Learning:

Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 216: Jim Collins — How To Go From Good To Great

Episode 179: How To Sustain Excellence – The Best Answers From 178 Questions

Episode 107: Simon Sinek – Leadership: It Starts With Why

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