The Bourdain Tragedy

Foodies, chefs, and lovers of all things food and wine got the terrible news on the morning of June 8th 2018: Anthony Bourdain was no longer with us. That it was suicide was particularly tough to hear and made it all the more frustrating and heartbreaking.

Bourdain was one of those great characters on the world’s stage. Somebody who could be counted on for a zinger when a quote was needed, or a particularly interesting question to motivate a conversation.

His television shows were a perfect example of perfect storytelling.

There is much to learn by watching them. Not just about other cultures, of course. His shows, especially in his last few years, captured the essence of storytelling and yes, sales. Selling by listening. Selling by observing. Selling by getting the hell out of the way, building humanity through humility, listening to people, and connecting the dots afterwards.

Bourdain developed and sold his personal brand by simply being the one that told us about people and places. When you think about it, that’s pretty magical in today’s digital age. He was a storyteller.

Storytelling has and always will be one of the great forces of nature. It’s a superpower. Learn how to tell a great story and you are ahead of others. Learn how to develop a great story to connect with others. Learn how to step out of the way and let other’s stories move the ball forward.

Raise a glass to Bourdain. I’m so saddened that the darks took him.

On a personal note: as somebody who has suffered with a bit of anxiety and depression over the years, I can tell you this — depression is a disease and an illness the same as physical maladies. And just like physical illnesses, learning how to handle it, watching out for early stage warning signs, and knowing when some help is needed is key. Personally, I’ve found the most powerful antidote for depression (besides exercise) is to talk out loud about it. Don’t keep it a secret. (Of course don’t wear it on your sleeve and have it define who you are, either.) What I’m saying is that for me a little acknowledgement, a little admission, a little hint to the world that I’ve encountered the darks the same way many others have, has been incredibly therapeutic. Keep the conversation in the open.

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