The “Penalty of Leadership” – MacManus ad for Cadillac

Excuse the gender bias in this, but it is a good read

The most famous MacManus ad was for Cadillac. It first appeared in The Saturday Evening Post of January 2, 1915. The car was not pictured; only a small rendering of the Cadillac “coat of arms” still in use today appeared at the top of the page.

Headlined “The Penalty of Leadership,” it struck so responsive a chord with the public that Cadillac still receives requests for reprints. (The ad’s focus on men reflected the times.)

Here’s an abridged version:

The Penalty of Leadership

In every field of human endeavor, he that is first must perpetually live in the white light of publicity.

Whether the leadership be vested in a man or in a manufactured product, emulation and envy are ever at work.

In art, in literature, in music, in industry, the reward and the punishment are always the same.

The reward is widespread recognition; the punishment, fierce denial and detraction.

When a man’s work becomes the standard for the whole world, it also becomes the target for the shafts of the envious few.

Whatsoever you unite, or paint, or play, or sing, or build, no one will strive to surpass or to slander you unless your work be stamped with the seal of genius.

The leader is assailed because he is a leader, and the effort to equal him is merely added proof of that leadership.

Failing to equal or to excel, the follower seeks to depreciate and to destroybut only confirms once more the superiority of that which he strives to supplant

There is nothing new in this.

It is as old as the world and as old as human passionsenvy, fear; greed, ambition, and the desire to surpass.

And it avails nothing.

If the leader truly leads, he remainsthe leader.

Just lead, let the naysayers and critics chase you – if they chase you – they are chasing the leader…

 

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