Bill Matassoni, a former McKinsey & BCG partner, lays out his life and adventures in this swashbuckling memoir. You may also watch all 20 episodes of The Bill Matassoni Show within the app.

When we think about marketing we tend to think about advertising and the promotion of products and services. Maybe some of us remember Mad Men and Death of a Salesman. This is a story about an entirely unusual career in marketing—unusual because it focuses on selling what its author calls ‘ephemeral” products. It is a success story that takes many twists and turns as it recounts the challenges of promoting products as different as philanthropy and management consulting. How, for example, in the 80’s McKinsey changed its positioning to become a " leadership factory.” It describes how the author learned to convince people to take drugs that won’t cure them but keep them alive and how to convince investors to finance a student’s education.

Selling ephemeral things makes you think differently about marketing. “If you want to succeed,” says Bill Matassoni, "make sure you understand that the game is about constructing new market spaces with genuinely new dimensions. and realize that you need to redesign the systems that surround and deliver the value both you and the customer can now see."

Bill started his management consulting career in 1980 when he joined McKinsey & Company. He was a partner for almost 20 years responsible for building the firm’s reputation and protecting its brand and worked closely with many of his colleagues worldwide. He was publisher of the McKinsey Quarterly and responsible for much of McKinsey’s internal communications, including the creation of McKinsey’s systems to manage and disseminate its practice knowledge.

Bill left McKinsey to join Mitchell Madison Group, a strategy consulting firm he helped take public through its sale to USWeb/CKS in 1999. He thereafter joined The Boston Consulting Group, where he headed for over five years a group responsible for innovation, marketing and communications. As at McKinsey, Bill worked closely with several of BCG’s thought leaders to develop their ideas and turn them into consulting assignments. Bill retired from BCG a few years ago and founded The Glass House Group, a consulting firm that helps professional service firms with branding and marketing issues.

Bill is a graduate of Phillips Andover (1964), Harvard College (B.A. Literature, 1968) and Harvard Business School (M.B.A., 1975).

For many years Bill was on the board of trustees of United Way of America and United Way International. He is now on the board of trustees of First Book and a senior advisor to Ashoka, an organization that invests in social entrepreneurs. He remains interested in the management and marketing of professional services firms and social marketing.

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Ratings and Reviews

5.0 out of 5
25 Ratings

25 Ratings

Stella JC ,

A conversation with a wise man

There is a Chinese saying, “A single conversation across the table with a wise man worth 10 years study of books”. Reading Bill’s Memoir, you feel like talking to a wise and successful man who exposed you to more than 30 years of learnings in marketing, strategy, business. Bill’s book can be an easy read in a flight , and at the same time it’s worth reading several times, reflecting on, and pondering over. I am grateful to Bill for sharing his personal life, ups and downs, success and struggles, which allows me to better understand these concepts such as market space, dimensions, system design and change in life. I am eager to apply these ideas in my work and career. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to have an inspirational journey and to find a new dimension of one’s career and life.

billgraca ,


This was hard to put down - I read it in only a few hours. Bill’s perspective on Marketing and his experience both in and beyond the world of consulting left me inspired, hopeful, and energized! I loved how “real” Bill was in his memoir. Here you have a man of exceptional education, experience, and influence (someone who was mentored by Marvin Bower himself and who shaped the thinking and trajectory of McKinsey) sharing his life and his thinking in a relevant, witty, and motivating memoir. It’s beyond unique. Most importantly, reading this memoir has given me a new perspective on my profession and in how I think about the challenges that clients face. It encouraged me to think outside the box, challenge the status quo, and look for experiences that matter - to be a world changer. Thanks to Bill and the FC team for sharing this with all of us. Your work is truly an inspiration!

superleo60 ,

A must read for anyone in a professional/managerial career!

The book is a vivid account of how Bill contributed to the substantial changes in practice at McKinsey, BCG etc during his time. Filled with interesting stories from Bill's life, the book also highlights the various lessons learned and the challenges he faced during his career. The book's central theme is that marketing, not sales or negotiation skills, is the key ingredient for the success of companies (and the people who run them). It takes a lot of reflection and painstaking thought to summarize the gist of the most important business lessons from one's career, and I think Bill did that brilliantly. I personally would like to say "Thank you Bill" for taking the time to write such an informative (and entertaining) book. Cheers!

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