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  • Writer's pictureCharles Cherney

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.


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