I was saddened to wake up this morning and hear the news that Alexander M. Haig, Jr. died today at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He was 85. He was the four-star general who served as the secretary of state under President Ronald Reagan and a commanding White House chief of staff during the Nixon administration.
Although I never met General Haig in person I do have a special connection to him. In 2005, he wrote a glowing endorsement for my book, Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work. How did I get such an endorsement? Well here’s how.
One day I was getting my teeth cleaned and I happened to tell my dentist, Dr. Gregory Boyajian, that my editor asked me to get some endorsements for the back cover of my book. He must have detected the discouragement in my voice when I told him that I didn’t know any famous people.
As I was just about to leave the office, Dr. Boyajian told me that General Haig was one of his patients and that he was coming into the office in a few weeks for a routine exam. He said that he would be happy to pass along my manuscript to him. I was so grateful that he would do that for me.
The day arrived and General Haig came in to see the dentist. During his visit, Dr. Boyajian told General Haig about me and asked if he would take a look at my manuscript. General Haig didn’t promise anything but gladly accepted it and took it home to review.
Several weeks passed and I still had not heard a word from General Haig. Then one day I went to my post office box in Palm Beach. I opened my mailbox and much to my surprise, a personal letter from him was waiting for me! With much excitement, I opened his letter which contained the following endorsement:
“[Business Class] fills a gaping void in contemporary business leadership grooming and constitutes an overdue and easy primer for success-oriented commercial leaders.”
I can’t tell you how delighted and honored I am that someone as prestigious as General Haig would take the time and read my manuscript, let alone endorse it! But I can tell you that after I received his endorsement, it was much easier to get endorsements from others.
My grandmother was right when she said to me when I was a little girl, “Jack, it not what you know, it’s WHO you know.” And in this case, she was right. I am grateful to General Haig for believing in me! I only wish that I could have expressed my appreciation to him in person.