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Tuesday
Nov162010

fame or money?

There are a thousand forms of success more valuable and important than fame or money. However if you want the kind of success that is condoned by society there are only two sorts: money or fame. Most writers and artists aim for fame. Some businesses do too. They then hope to convert that to money. Because you can spend money. But it isn't that easy to do. Many of the 'celebrities' who are quite well known are not nearly as rich as you would think. I remember being shocked that Joe Strummer of the Clash lived in a normal terraced house in the 1990s- not the mansion with pool and rolls royce I imagined all super famous pop stars owned.

My old friend, wealthy 'successful' and philosophical Aussie rug salesman, Fat Frank Nasre wrote this to me:

"I was still mixed up about fame and money like most people in the West. We see famous people and assume they are rich. Often they are scraping by- being USED BY FAME rather than using fame to their specific advantage.

You can turn fame into money but it isn’t always obvious how to do it. Take the UK publicist Max Clifford- he is famous for getting newspapers to pay famous people for their life stories. He is much less ‘famous’ than his clients. Only his name is known- we don’t know his wife’s name, what car he drives or any other details. But he is FAMOUS FOR DOING SOMETHING that earns money, rather than simply being famous for being famous. If I become famous for being the man who has the best rugs in town that’s a useful fame. If I am simply a well known ‘face’ then that’s useless except for getting free into nightclubs. I concluded that attending Trade Shows was mainly just building my ‘face’ rather than my reputation for something useful.

The useless kind of celebrity fame fades with time. The useful kind of fame is more impervious to time, it is more like the old idea of a solid reputation.

I sold rugs to make money. If a rug show could make money than I would attend. But I did not know for sure. On the other hand I knew that advertising sales really did make money."

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