Awards Worth Winning

Posted by

Are you cynical of people who win awards or make some kind of bestsellers list?

Whether it’s the New York Times‘ book list or an advertising award, I have always had a love/hate relationship with these types of accolades. I’ve seen so many people game the system (yes, even ones that seem un-gameable) that I often look at the "winners" with an air of deep suspicion. Not that long ago, a friend released a business book that debuted on one of the major bestseller lists. I was a little dumbfounded. They had not done much in terms of pre-press and sales, they had no serious/significant presence on social media, and there wasn’t even that much media attention the week of the book’s release. Still, the book hit the top ten list. The next week, it was gone. And, even on the week where it did appear on the list, if you were tracking its position on Amazon, there wasn’t any significant spike. Isn’t that all a little strange? Not really. You can buy your way to the top of the list. If you don’t believe me, you can read more about that topic right here: Buy Your Way To The Top. I’ve seen the same thing happen at industry awards. Where agencies who are on the selection committee or the board of directors of the organization tend to accumulate the most awards. It has to be a coincidence right?

On the other hand…

Awards and making bestseller lists can be very validating. For the hard work and dedication. For helping the team behind the work to coalesce and come together. When it’s merited, it is magical and it can change business. In that blog post above on buying your way to the top, I did contemplate using one of those business book services that guarantee a spot on these lists. I never did it. It felt icky. It didn’t feel real. I see brands and individuals do this everyday online. Buying friends, followers, fans, likes… you name it. It makes me sad. It’s an act of vanity that is simply thinly veiled desperation. The numbers don’t validate anything, especially if there’s nothing behind it. People who buy their way on to lists like that tend to feel like it’s a strategic move because they can use the title of "bestselling author" or "one million fans" on Twitter to drum up more business in terms of speaking, consulting or impressing new clients. But it’s hollow. It’s not sustainable.


If anyone does any semblance of research, they will see the truth. Your book may be number six on the bestsellers list this week, but if it’s gone next week (never to return), the only people that you may be duping are these poor new clients that are being lied to (not the best way to start a new business relationship). If you can sleep at night, good luck to you. If a book falls off the list, it means its a book that didn’t attract an audience. It means that people bought it and never took to it. They didn’t share it. They didn’t help it grow. It means that the publicity that a lot of authors grab in this moment still isn’t enough to make anyone really care. So, it’s more like a desperate cry for attention than anything else. If you buy a million followers, but nobody cares about your messages, posts and shares, it’s the worse kind of vanity metric.

Earning it.

You have to earn it. Don’t you? When it’s earned, it’s honest. It’s true. It’s something to be celebrated. You may be wondering why this all on my radar at this point? I just got an email from my publisher that my second business book, CTRL ALT Delete, won two business book awards. One is the Gold Award in Networking from the 7th Annual Axiom Business Book Awards. I had no idea that my book publisher has even nominated it. The book was also named one of the Best Books of 2013 in Business & Investing by Amazon. I was proud and I wanted everyone to know. I wanted to share the news with you, but I almost didn’t. I got worried. I thought that people might think that I am simply bragging, or that I did something in the background to make these awards happen, so when the news broke, I could be all like, "What? Me? Why, I’m flattered… for sure…"

I’m really blown away… and proud.

What these two awards mean to me, is that people actually bought this book, talked about it, told others to check it out. For me, that’s the "big checkmark" when you write something like a business book. So, I’m thrilled to announce that CTRL ALT Delete has been recognized. And, I mean it. Because I truly had no idea that it was even nominated. I can’t thank you enough for your constant support and belief in the ideas that happens between my ears. On top of that, make sure that your work gets the opportunity to be recognized by your peers, by your industry and by the people who care. When it’s done authentically and ethically, there is nothing that is more rewarding.

Thank you… and if you want to know more about CTRL ALT Delete, please watch this:


  1. Both awards are very well-deserved, Mitch. CTRL ALT Delete is outstanding! And I totally agree with your assessment of lists and awards. Trophies are nice, but only if they are an indication of impact. I’ll take true impact any day over a showpiece for my mantle.

Comments are closed.