QUESTIONS & ANSWERS: Michael Levine

He repped Streisand and survived. He recites excerpts from The Godfather at every opportunity. Yet he's still not very good at selling books. Meet Michael Levine, godfather of Levine Communications Office

He repped Streisand and survived. He recites excerpts from The Godfather at every opportunity. Yet he's still not very good at selling books. Meet Michael Levine, godfather of Levine Communications Office

He repped Streisand and survived. He recites excerpts from The Godfather at every opportunity. Yet he's still not very good at selling books. Meet Michael Levine, godfather of Levine Communications Office

Describe the company you work for Our philosophy is based on my 'Tiffany Theory.' If you give someone a present in a Tiffany box, it has a higher perceived value than if you give it to them in no box, or a box of less prestige. PR is like gift wrapping.

What do you do there? Sell fame.

How do you make a difference? By listening carefully - very carefully - to the client and creating a clearly defined goal.

Tell us something interesting about your agency? Since 1983, we recognized that the metabolism rate of business was unalterably speeding up. We created an approach of responding to that kind of velocity.

What is your proudest achievement? One year spent simultaneously representing Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson and Nancy Kerrigan and living to tell. I felt like I was being held under water for an entire year.

What is your biggest failure? Not being able to make my book, Selling Goodness, which was the sequel to my best seller, Guerilla PR, take off. Despite the strong critical reviews, it hasn't yet found its audience.

How did you get into PR? I was always drawn to the media.

What would you do if you did not do what you do? Become a psychologist.

What would you like to change about the PR industry? I would like to shout in the ear of every publicist that people are silently begging to be led.

Who is the PR industry's next big hero? Whoever learns to control Matt Drudge.

What is the best invention of all time? The phone.

Who do you hate most? Anyone who has a complicated voice mail system. I refuse to push one, push two, push three, push ...

What would you do on an island? Is there a computer or not?

What are your hobbies? Photography, exercise, and reciting dialogue verbatim from The Godfather I and II.

Name one thing about your past that people would be surprised to know. That I am self-taught and didn't graduate college. I never let school interfere with my education.

What will you do when you retire? Continue my effort to build a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast to counter-balance the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast.

What is your motto? There is no shortcut through the firewalk.

What is the secret to your success? Comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.





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