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Ketchum’s Ragone: Presidential Decisions Provide Lessons to Clients and Business Leaders

L to R: Jill Nicolini, entertainment reporter for PIX11 Morning News; Nick Ragone; Courtney Friel, Fox News entertainment reporter; and Ali Velshi at the 'Presidential Leadership' book party in NYC. Photo: Philip Robertson, Britrock Photography

By day, Nick Ragone is a partner and associate director at Ketchum. Lately, he’s been celebrating the release of his fourth book, Presidential Leadership: 15 Decisions That Changed the Nation. As the name implies, the book is about the office of the U.S. President, a topic that Ragone covered with his other books as well. So why would a publicist become an expert in government and the presidency?

“I went to Georgetown law school, I loved being in D.C., and I’ve always been deeply immersed in government history,” says Ragone. “It’s a way to stretch myself. You can have a vocation and an avocation.”

This book, which has a foreword written by CNN anchor Ali Velshi, is told in 15 vignettes and discusses “leadership principles,” Ragone says, a topic applicable to clients.

“Some of the lessons learned are how important message is and staying on message; being decisive; and knowing how to make a decision and back it up,” he told us. “Big decisions… have to be grounded in conviction because you’re going to have to defend it.”

Both business leaders and the President also have to deal with the transparency forced on them by social media and leaks. “That type of hyper-transparency is something that everyone is dealing with if you’re a politician or a business leader,” he adds.

Ragone is already working on his next book, which will focus on Winston Churchill, President Theodore Roosevelt, and the lend-lease bill. (Remember that one from high school?) Every morning without fail, Ragone says he’s up at 5a.m. to write 500 or 1,000 words.

“The best thing for your career is to follow an outside passion and if there’s overlap, great. If not it teaches discipline.”

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