Insider Tips from the Pocket Mentor: Persistence, part 2

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Vince Reardon, author of The Pocket Mentor: Insider Tips from America’s Most Successful People, is back to share more great advice. Over the past few weeks, we’ve learned the importance of being yourself, having compassion, being for others and being a learner. This week, Vince further explores the fourth most talked about piece of advice in his book: being persistent.


Vince explains how Jeffrey Wigand exemplifies the value of persistence. Jeffrey Wigand was the VP of Research and Developmnet at Brown & Williamson, one of the major tobacco companies back in the 1990s.

Wigand tried to develop a safe cigarette and he found roadblock after roadblock, so he left the company (or he may have been asked to leave…) Later, while he was watching CSPAN in April of 1994, seven CEOs of the major tobacco companies raised their hands in front of Congress and testified that nicotine was not addictive. He knew this was a lie.

Wigand couldn’t accept the news, so he went to 60 Minutes and he told them that Big Tobacco has known about the addictive qualities and the health hazards of smoking for decades, but have hidden those data from the American public.

60 Mintues was going to run the program when Brown and Williams approached CBS and threatened to sue. CBS backed away. Rather than give up, Wigand persisted. The momentum shifted when he went to the Wall Street Journal. He got a different reception from the Wall Street Journal than he got from 60 Minutes. The Wall Street Journal was very interested in hearing and airing his story – and they did.

When the FDA read the story, they contacted Wigand and asked for his help in understanding how cigarettes are addictive. Within a couple of years, state attorney generals successfully sued Big Tobacco for $368 Billion. In four short years, one man took down Big Tobacco – one man through this persistence and his courage.

Stay tuned to the final Insider Tips from the Pocket Mentor next week to hear more about topics from the variety of people in Vince’s book, The Pocket Mentor: Insider Tips from America’s Most Successful People.

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