Terrell Owens

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

When I saw that the 2008 rate for a speech by Larry Summers was $45,000 to $135,000, I got to thinking.

Out of curiosity, I started prowling the various Web sites of speakers' bureaus and came to six conclusions:

  1. It seems everybody in the world is available for speeches. Included are political and show business stars, second and third bananas, and hundreds upon hundreds of people I never heard of.
  2. All of these people—luminaries and nobodies—get fees from $1,000 to $1 million, plus expenses.
  3. I used to make a lot of speeches, and all I ever got was expenses and a plaque with my name engraved on it.
  4. I was a damned fool. I was as much a nobody as anybody else and could've picked up some dough if I'd just asked.
  5. If someone invites you to make a speech, think about asking for an honorarium at the very least, if not a fat fee, plus expenses. For Colin Powell, expenses include a private jet along with his $100,000 fee.
  6. The worst that can happen is that no money in the budget exists for fees or expenses. If you refuse, someone will replace you.

In the autumn of 1954, my father went to Rome to research a biography of Clare Boothe Luce, playwright, wit, former congresswoman, and President Eisenhower’s Ambassador to Italy. That was the year her husband—Henry R. Luce, founder of Time, LIFE and Fortune—launched Sports Illustrated to the astonishment of everyone who knew him, because Luce was emphatically not a sports fan. The story running around Rome and New York was that someone inveigled Luce to go to a ball game at Yankee Stadium and he was stunned to see 50,000 screaming fans. “How long has this been going on?” Luce reportedly asked his companion. “A

One of the most shadowy, behind-the-scenes characters of recent history was a sixth cousin of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a plain little spinster lady named Margaret (Daisy) Suckley (rhymes with “book-lee”), whose Hudson River mansion is being renovated. Suckley died in 1991 in her 100th year. For years she maintained she had nothing to add to what had been written about Roosevelt and his presidency. But when her house was cleaned out, a suitcase of letters was found under her bed, and to the astonishment of historians and family members, Suckley and Roosevelt had a long-term and very close relationship. Although the words are

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