Category Archives: books

Eat What You Cook: Voiceover Lessons from Sam Walton


My favorite buyer program is one called Eat What You Cook. Once a quarter, every buyer has to go out to a different store and act as a manager for a couple days in the department he or she buys merchandise for. I guarantee you that after they have eaten what they have cooked enough times, these buyers don’t load up too many Moon Pies to send to Wisconsin, or beach towels for Hiawatha, Kansas. – Sam Walton p. 288,289


Is it outlandish to think that every VO should have an experience on the “other side” of the Mic?


Being a VO with a history in radio, I have written copy, produced commercials, worked with voice talent, and been a voice talent.


I think that experience on the ‘producing’ side is really beneficial to me as a performer. I can relate to the whole process a bit better, not just my “copy”. I may not have written the commercial, but I know what went in to writing it, also what went in to auditions and the hiring process.


Sam required his buyers to go out and manage the department they bought for.


What if as a VO, at least once in your life, you had to produce One project. I think it might change you.


You might appreiciate the whole process a bit more.


You might understand what directors and writers and producers have to deal with.


You might love it and want to do more of it, and learn all about it as well. You never know. 


Mabye that’s just the ‘Radio guy’ in me, but I think it might be beneficial. 




All quotes are from Sam Walton Made in America by Sam Walton and John Huey, Bantam Books 1993


Do you have a book that I might like to read? If it pertains to the world of Voice Over, Creativity, Leadership or Marketing, I would gladly read and discuss it on the Creative Mouthpiece blog! Email me at stu (at) stugray (dot) com

Constant Improvement: Voice Over Lessons From Sam Walton

He gets up every morning bound and determined to improve something…he is less afraid of being wrong than anyone I’ve ever known. – David Glass, Former CEO, Wal-Mart, about Sam Walton (p.50)


*What have you improved today?

*What decisions have you made about your business?

*What are you procrastinating on?

*What HAVEN’T you made a decision on that you really need to?

*Have you read something outloud (EVERYDAY!)?

*Have you worked on your marketing?

*Have you called old contacts that you made 5 years ago?

*Have you sent emails to friends in other cities?

*Does everyone in your family, on your street, in your church, know what you do?


Check everyone out who is our competition. And don’t look for the bad. Look for the Good. If you get one idea, that’s one more than you went in the store with, and we must try to incorporate it into our company. We’re really not concerned with what they are doing wrong, we’re concerned with what they are doing right, and everyone is doing something right. – Sam Walton (p.81) 


*Have you listened to every demo on
*Are you listening to radio commercials, Television commercials, listening to audiobooks?
*Are you learning from people and their techniques?
*Are you listening to podcasts, reading blogs and making contact with other Voice talent?

I always carry my little tape recorder on trips, to record ideas that come up in my conversations with the associates. I usually have my yellow legal pad with me, with a list of ten to fifteen things we need to be working on as a company. My list drives the executives around here crazy, but its probably one of my more important contributions. – Sam Walton (p. 149)


*Do you write down ideas that you have when you hear something you enjoy?

*Do you have a list of potential clients you are interested in pursuing?

*If you had five minutes with your ideal “VO” person (the one who you look up to most…) What would you ask them? (are those questions written down somewhere?)

Read the first post in this series here


All quotes are from “Sam Walton Made in America” by Sam Walton and John Huey, Bantam Books 1993


Do you have a book that I might like to read? If it pertains to the world of Voice Over, Creativity, Leadership or Marketing, I would gladly read and discuss it on the Creative Mouthpiece blog! Email me at stu (at) stugray (dot) com







When Do you Work? A book list.

I was talking with my very good friend Brian yesterday about a book I am reading by Tim Sanders called Love is the Killer App. Love it!! I want to be a lovecat! (gotta read it)

He was giving me grief about how much I seem to be reading…and he says:

When do you work?!?!

You know, that is an interesting question.

I see reading as Part of My Work.

Who I am, and who I am becoming, and who can I pass along my knowledge to?

If I can learn something of value to pass on to someone else thru my reading, then in the long run, it will help my “traditional work”.

All that said…Here are the books that are stacked on my dining room table, that I got for Christmas, that will begin my reading for this year:

The Art of Voiceacting (the TOME on Voice Acting that I have read chapters of standing in Barnes and Noble)

Getting Business to Come to You (on being an entrepreneur)

The Creative Habit (saw a great quote from Twyla Tharp from this book that piqued my curiosity)

The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude (Jeffrey Gitomer on Good Attitude)

The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way (Gitomer on Speaking, Writing, Presenting, Persuading, Influencing, and Selling Your Point of View )

Ideaspotting (training for new !deas)

A Whack on the Side of the Head (creative thinking)

Six Thinking Hats (about how to think better)

What are you reading? What knowledge are you learning to pass on to others? What value are you creating?


(edited on July 10, 2008 )

As I have gone back over this list, I have only finished ONE of the books here.

The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude by Jeffrey Gitomer. It was a great read. And really started me on a different path of reading this year.

I have gotten into The Creative Habit , The Art of Voiceacting, Six Thinking Hats and A Whack on the Side of the Head, but not done with them just yet.

I’ll talk about some of my other reads in another post.