Putting your best foot forward, in life and online with Reputation by Design

Those of us of a certain age remember those famous Canon camera commercials featuring tennis star Andre Agassi telling us "image is everything." Those ads came out nearly 30 years ago, and the cheeky ad makers playing up the athlete's "rebel" image probably had no idea just how true that sentiment would become.

Two Spokane-based women have co-authored a new book, Reputation By Design, that explores just how important image and reputation have become both professionally and personally in the internet age.

The book is based on a course designed and taught at Gonzaga's School of Business by one of its authors, KHQ news anchor Stephanie Vigil. That course, Image and Reputation, and Vigil's interactions with students inspired her to team with Colleen McMahon, a Gonzaga professor specializing in public speaking, communications and public relations, to create a short book to help people outside the classroom.

Reputation By Design is a breezy read that thankfully avoids the pitfalls of most dry academic writing while still rooting its chapters in hard research. The statistics the authors use to illustrate, for example, that most permanent impressions you make on someone are formed in the first seven seconds, are supported with anecdotes from students, local businesspeople, athletes like Ryan Leaf and the authors' own experiences. That approach, as well as a colorful array of illustrations, photos and lists, helps the book's messages get through to a more casual reader.

At times, Reputation By Design reads like a self-help book, and one might think the authors' ideas for managing one's image on social media are either unrealistic or maybe just too time-consuming. But overall, it's hard to argue with the case Reputation By Design makes for living your best life, one in service to a greater good than just oneself. Whether you're reading it with your business in mind, or your personal life, you'll likely find some useful tips here for always putting your best foot forward.

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About The Author

Dan Nailen

Dan Nailen is the managing editor of the Inlander, where he oversees coverage of arts and culture. He's previously written and edited for The Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City Weekly, Missoula Independent, Salt Lake Magazine, The Oregonian and KUER-FM. He grew up seeing the country in an Air Force family and studied...