85: The Boron Letters - Gary Halbert
Gary Halbert is among the great icons of copywriting. He passed away in 2007. I became aware of him recently and picked up a copy his book The Boron Letters - a series of letters he wrote to his son Bond while in prison in 1984. This is a pre-internet cult classic in the copywriting world. The version available on Amazon includes commentary by his son Bond after each letter. This is the version I read.
Here are some five nuggets I found in The Boron Letters: from Letter 1
- "Road work is walking, jogging, running." And road work is good for you. If you can move, do some road work each day.
from Bond's response to Letter 1:
- Try things at least twice. "Just the second attempt at anything hard will be much easier."
from Letter 4
- "Rely on your own strength instead of somebody else's compassion."
from Bond's response to Letter 4: "Never, ever encourage people who drag you down to hang around."
from Letter 15
- "Work with a proven sequential outline like AIDA:
• ATTENTION: First, get his attention
• INTEREST: Second, get him interested
• DESIRE: Third, make him desire what you are selling
• ACTION: Compel him to take whatever action is needed to get whatever it is you are selling."
from Bond's response to Letter 15: "Remember, the copy is only about you in so much as it proves how you can help the prospect solve their problems."
from Letter 25
- "Don't forget HALT. Hungry. Angry. Lonely. Tired."
from Bond's response to Letter 25: "Being off happens to all of us, and is super important to know when you are off."
from Letter 25
- "One of the things I have learned here is how precious the good time and the good people are"
from Bond's response to Letter 25: "Drop the dead weight."
These letters are a father writing to his son. A good man in a bad place (prison) with a lot to share that is worth pondering.