Q After the success of “Ask More,
Get More,” what drove you to write
Michael Alden: About two-and-a-half
years ago, I was in a spin class. The music
was pumping and the instructor — a
woman named Nicole — was motivating.
About 45 minutes into the class, she said,
“In these last five minutes, I want you to
give me just 5-percent more! You’ll burn
more calories. Your metabolism will rise.
Anybody can do anything just 5-percent
Bells and whistles went off for me! I
walked out of the class, went to my car
and wrote down, “5% More.” I believed we
could apply this to every aspect of life, but I
also figured there had to be something out
there in the world with this idea. I took it to
my editor to research it, and there wasn’t a
thing like it. There are so many books that
tell you that you need to be 100-percent on,
100 percent of the time. I don’t agree with
that mentality, but I do believe in small,
I’m happy to say that I’ve reconnected
with that spin instructor via Facebook
thanks to an old friend of mine that knows
her. She’s very excited about the book. She
helped us promote the release to the gym’s
customer base. We’re now donating to a
charity of her choice, one that supports
children with Asperger syndrome.
Q What is the main premise of “5%
Alden: When I started to look at other
successful people, I recognized how it’s
often those small moments that make a
difference — that last 5-percent push can
separate the good from the great. I remem-
bered a great Arnold Schwarzenegger
quote about how the final couple reps in a
workout can lead to fitness breakthroughs.
We can’t go all in, all the time. But we can
do things progressively, until they become
a habit. The steps that change habits help
us achieve our goals.
When I look at the success of Blue Vase,
we were forced — in the beginning — to
take baby steps. But we kept compounding
on those and kept growing.
I also remember Jim Collins’ book “Good
to Great.” He asked six-time Ironman
Triathlon world champion Dave Scott how
he was so successful. Scott said, in part, “I
rinse my cottage cheese.” He believed that
a thing that small could set him apart.
Q What do you hope the average
person will carry forward after reading “5% More”?
Alden: Due to my upbringing, I try to
remain a simple, uncomplicated person.
I want things to be simple, realistic, and
“5% More” is a mindset: do a little bit
more each day, each week, each month
— no matter what you’re trying to accomplish. Send just one more e-mail at day’s
end — maybe you’ll close that deal. It’s
that simple. How do you climb a mountain?
By putting one foot in front of the other.
It’s about putting in that little bit of extra
effort at whatever level you’re working on
— no matter what level.
Q What honors has the book received? How are sales tracking?
Alden: Once we went on sale in late
August, we were No. 1 on Amazon in
several categories. We were No. 1 in the
business category and No. 3 overall at
Barnes & Noble, and we were No. 1 at
Target. Both Target and Barnes & Noble
had inventory back-ordered.
My goal was to become a New York
Times bestseller — it creates huge legitimacy and opens a lot of doors. We sold
16,000 books in the first week, which we
believed would get us on that list, but it
didn’t happen. We did make the USA Today
bestseller list. I feel good about where we
are sitting. We did everything we could to
hit the New York Times list. It wasn’t for
lack of effort. I had to take a page from my
own book, you know. Sometimes you put
in 5-percent more and it just doesn’t happen. It doesn’t mean you’re never going to
accomplish that goal.
Q Do you foresee adding a third
book to the series?
Alden: I already have the third book
written. It’s in the editing phase now. I
mean, as a kid from the projects, who
would’ve thought? I look at the people in
this business, the success. I just try to keep
it all in perspective and work harder every
day. I’ve found that writing is therapeutic
and something I enjoy. This next book is a
little different — it’s pretty business-cen-tric. The things we’ve done at Blue Vase
can benefit the average person.
Alden Pushes Readers to Give ‘5% More’
BY THOMAS HAIRE ( THAIRE@QUESTEX.COM)
Michael Alden is founder, president, and CEO of Beverly, Mass., direct response marketing firm Blue Vase Marketing. He’s also the author of the best-selling 2014 self-help book “Ask More, Get More.” In August, his follow-up book — “5% More:
Making Small Changes to Achieve Extraordinary Results.” Recently, Response caught up
with Alden to chat about his new book and more.