May 23, 2009

Best Selling Author Keith Ferrazzi’s Take on the Valli/Gaudio Lifetime ‘Contract’

May 23rd, 2009

Keith Ferrazzi’s Who’s Got Your Back

By Howard Tucker, Jersey Boys Blog Correspondent

Keith Ferrazzi, an internationally renowned thought leader, consultant, and bestselling author of “Never Eat Alone,” shows in his second book “Who’s Got Your Back” that becoming a winner in any field of endeavor requires a trusted team of advisors who can offer guidance and help to hold us accountable to achieving our goals. It it’s the reason PhD candidates have advisor teams, top executives have boards, world class athletes have fitness coaches and Presidents have cabinets.

Keith says that “none of us can do it alone.” We need the perspective and advice of a trusted team. In “Who’s Got Your Back,” Keith shows us how to put our own dream team together.” He details how to master the mindsets to help build deeper, more trusting, “lifeline relationships.”
He supports the “lifeline relationship” mantra on p. 296 with: “DREAM TEAM OF FRANKIE VALLI AND BOB GAUDIO”

Pop singer Frankie Valli and the man who wrote most of his hits, Bob Gaudio, have worked together on a simple handshake deal since 1962. After more than four decades they still split every dollar they earn fifty-fifty. Amazingly, they even split money that they each earn individually. (The pair still work together on some projects but also have separate careers.)

For example, in 1978 Valli made some $2 million for singing the title song to the movie “Grease”. Half went to Gaudio, who did not work on the film. Three years later, Gaudio produced the music for the Neil Diamond film, “The Jazz Singer.” Half his profits went to Valli.

The two friends, who grew up in working-class Italian neighborhoods (Gaudio in the Bronx and Valli in Newark , New Jersey), conceived of their unusual arrangement when they were struggling to launch their new singing group, The Four Seasons. The group, and the relationship between Valli and Gaudio, is the subject of the recent Tony-winning musical “Jersey Boys”.

Figuring they could achieve more by supporting each other, the two friends decided from the beginning they would watch each other’s back—forever. As Gaudio recounted in “Time” magazine, “We said, ‘Neither one of us knows where we’re going to wind up, but maybe we should hedge our bets. You get fifty percent of me, and I get fifty percent of you.’ ”

Added Valli: “If you trust your partner, contacts are not important. We have never had to police one another.”

Finally, Keith thanks Danielle Gaudio-Lalehzar and me, among others, for “reviewing, early outlines, chapters, and drafts.” He adds that our “generous input and help not only led the way to a good book, but also gave me the encouragement I needed to get across the finish line.” And I further thank my lifelong friend, Priscilla Florindi, who, although not named by Keith, also provided input and insight into my comments to Keith.

Barnes & Noble is presently offering a 40% discount (with coupon) on “Who’s Got Your Back”. It may also be purchased from or directly from In fact, Keith offers a free coaching session for those who buy four books, and he is speaking nationally for the next few weeks. (Keith coached me at age 55, leading me to a great “Act II” in life.) For those New Yorkers and Jersey Boys and Girls, he’s speaking at the 92nd St. Y at 8 PM on May 21, and at the Grand Hyatt Hotel near Grand Central at 6 PM on May 26. Please check the Ferrazzi Greenlight website for details.


  1. This just shows what happens when you have two class individuals. They should be an example for many others in the entertainment industry and to kids in school

    Comment by Marty — May 23, 2009 @ 8:54 pm

  2. Great article Howard…I truly enjoy all of your work on the blog. I look forward to reading Keith’s latest book. Thanks for the introduction!

    Comment by Carolyn — May 23, 2009 @ 11:07 pm

  3. great article howard…as usual…………..the partnership is the greatest freindship has to offer, im proud to say those partners form my favorite group of all time along with nick massi and tommy devito.

    Comment by jim petrecca — May 23, 2009 @ 11:32 pm

  4. Howard,

    I know you’ve mentioned this author’s first book before on a past blog post, and your reference to Mr. Ferrazzi’s latest publication, “Who’s Got Your Back,” has piqued my interest further. I will be checking out these two titles next time I’m in a local book shop!



    Comment by Len Gersten — May 24, 2009 @ 2:06 am

  5. Howard,
    What a great review! As someone who has Department Heads reporting to me, this review leads me to want to read “who’s got your back” YESTERDAY!

    Comment by Steve Hammel — May 24, 2009 @ 12:41 pm

  6. It’s still quite unbelievable how their handshake agreement has endured all these years and especially when you consider how much money is at stake. No one today would ever consider doing this without a legal contract. It’s a terrific testimony to Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio. It’s no wonder their story is so endearing and captivating.

    Howard, thanks for a terrific article.

    Comment by Linda/Tiggerbelle — May 24, 2009 @ 1:49 pm

  7. Great article, Howard! :)

    Comment by Patie — May 24, 2009 @ 4:59 pm

  8. I love this article, Howard. Those of us who have seen Frankie Valli perform know that his handshake with Bob is as enduring as the music they made together. What a rare quality these two men have to entrust their legacy to each other without “a piece of paper”.

    Comment by Linda — May 24, 2009 @ 8:53 pm

  9. Thanks so much, as always, for all the great comments and e-mails. Here is the link to Keith’s interview on “Larry King Live”. He’s just as he appears with Larry…giving, genuine, and down-to-earth. Please take a look–it’s about nine minutes long.

    Comment by Howard Tucker — May 25, 2009 @ 12:21 pm

  10. Keith was just interviewed on Good Morning America. He’s obviously passionate about people being committed to one another’s success. (I’m tempted to catch him at Manhattan’s Hyatt Hotel tonight at 6.)

    Comment by Audrey — May 26, 2009 @ 8:03 am

  11. Great story Howard! I’m going out and buying a copy of WGYB tonight and expect it will be as good as “Never Eat Alone” which I read several years ago. The Valli/Gaudio handshake from the beginning of these two men’s careers and living the intention behind it proves that sometimes a deal really is a deal.

    Comment by Michael Heath — May 26, 2009 @ 2:05 pm

  12. I wonder where the the success of the Valli/Gaudio partnership ranks in music history or any other industry for that matter?

    Comment by Ray — May 28, 2009 @ 4:44 am

  13. Again Howard, what a great article !I am curious looking forward to Keith’s new book.

    Comment by Reiner Bussmann — June 2, 2009 @ 7:22 am

  14. As the author of the 1987 TIME article quoted, I’m grateful that it is still being read and used more than two decades later by an astute writer like Keith Ferrazzi. Thanks, Howard, for bringing this to our attention. Best, Charles

    Comment by Charles Alexander — June 10, 2009 @ 2:02 pm

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