Rule 1: Don’t use Natural Disasters to Promote Clients.

Have you joined my incredibly non-annoying, once-in-a-while email newsletter?

Thanks to a savvy reporter for sending me this and letting me post it as a rule of what NOT TO DO. People – We’re not all really this non-thinking, are we? That we’d use Katrina as a way to promote A BOOK?? Sigh.

—–Original Message—–
From: Dottie DeHart
Wednesday, October 19, 2005 2:23 PM
Subject: Story Idea: FREE GULLIVER–Getting rid of the tiny strings that hold you down!

*For a review copy of Free Gulliver: Six Swift Lessons in Life Planning, or to speak with the author, Tripp Friedler, please contact Dottie DeHart, Rocks-DeHart Public Relations

Freeing Gulliver in the Wake of Katrina
As things slowly get back to normal in his hometown of New Orleans, life planner
Tripp Friedler continues to spread his philosophy: breaking through all the little strings that tie you down, pursuing your passion, and finding fulfillment.

    New Orleans, LA (October 2005)–For Tripp Friedler, Hurricane Katrina was both an ironic blow and a validation of his beliefs. His career is based on convincing people that they really can gain control over their own lives. And just as things were going great for him–he was preparing to launch his new book about life planning–bam! Mother Nature knocks his home, his business, and his life off their foundations. (See the irony?) Now, less than two months later, he’s upbeat and insistent on getting his life together again. (And there’s the validation!)

    “Interestingly, what happened to me bears a resemblance to what befell the literary Gulliver,” says Friedler, a New Orleans resident and author of Free Gulliver: Six Swift Lessons in Life Planning (Trost Publishing, 2005, $19.95). “Katrina was the shipwreck of all shipwrecks, you know? And I’m not saying I’ve got it all together yet, that I’m ‘free’ yet. But I’m getting there, I’m figuring out where I am now and where I want to go from here, and so are thousands of other people. So even though I knew the Free Gulliver message works, this has been yet another piece of very dramatic evidence.”

    Friedler is the president and CEO of Free Gulliver. This life planning firm offers seasoned advice on money and all the issues that come with it. It has an unusual focus: helping clients ensure that their lifestyle doesn’t tie them down, but rather centers on a relentless pursuit of their true passions. When people ask what he and his firm do, Friedler always responds, “We free Gullivers.” The reference, of course, is to the protagonist of Jonathan Swift’s classic Gulliver’s Travels.

    Make no mistake: Friedler is not your typical buttoned-down financial planner. He cares deeply about his clients’ happiness. He’s hip and quirky. (Check out his website,, and you’ll see.)  He’s refreshingly honest and enjoys deflecting meaningless niceties with his unique brand of humor. (For instance, when people try to end a phone call with the clichéd phrase “Well, I’ll let you go,” Friedler likes to throw them for a loop with a puzzled: “But I don’t have to go.”)

    In case you need a refresher on Swift’s tale, Gulliver was a doctor who couldn’t make any money on land so he decided to ply his trade on the sea. When his ship was wrecked, he woke up on a beach tied down by hundreds of tiny strings. The strings belonged to a group of equally tiny people–the Lilliputians–who shot Gulliver with little poisonous arrows when he tried to escape. So, not wanting to deal with the pain, he allowed himself to be tied back down for a while before he was ultimately freed.

    Friedler likens his clients to the beleaguered Gulliver, tied down by a lot of tiny strings: an unfulfilling career, a difficult boss, financial instability, too much credit card debt, too many social commitments. You name it. Separately, each string would be powerless, but together, they make up a formidable restraint system. The goal is to free his clients–whom he calls “Gullivers”–to discover and embrace their dreams.

Leave a Reply