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The Motivation Show meets Gianni Russo who played Carlo Rizzo in The Godfather

Gianni Russo is a colorful character in real life as well as in the numerous movie roles he played.  Best known for his role as Carlo Rizzi in the original 1972 film The Godfather, Russo sat down with me for a chat about his tell-all book Hollywood Godfather: My Life in the Movies and the Mob which describes in vivid detail his dual life in the movies and in the real life mob as a mafia associate.   Wait til you hear about some of the incredible people he palled around with including some of the infamous ladies he was…well…let’s just say he was associated with. 

When asked what it is what like growing up and how did he get involved with the mob, Gianni says he grew up on Mulberry Street in Little Italy and in 1949, he became bedridden and quarantined with polio for five years. Who was Gianni’s nurse in his ward at Bellevue?  Carlo Gambino’s niece he says!   Destiny?    His primary source of entertainment and distraction from his distressed and depressed state was a transistor radio. When he turned on the radio, he discovered Frank Sinatra was born the same day.   He says Sinatra became his mentor and singing teacher.   Gianni met a guy Sinatra knew by the name of Frank Costello (not to be confused with Lou Costello), the infamous mob boss of the Luciano crime family.   Gianni used to sell ballpoint pens in front of the Sherry Netherland hotel and Costello would go there every morning for a shoe shine.   “He gave me some money, some words of advice…and never took a pen (I’d hate to think where that pen may have eventually ended up if he did).  I stuck with Costello til the day he died in 1973.”  Right behind Gianni as we spoke on Zoom was a dining room table that can seat 16 people.  As a different kind of wise guy that I am, I quipped about “if only that table could talk,” oh what interesting tales it can tell.   Gianni found that amusing and said jokingly “I would be indicted again.”   Oops.   I asked Gianni to further elaborate on what exactly a Mafia Associate actually entailed.  “That’s why I never got locked up. Carlo Gambino and Costello made sure that I was only a messenger.”    He said he was even registered as a bona fide messenger and courier registered with Lloyd’s of London…pretty clever if you ask me.    

What about this famous code of silence and why did wise guys start signing like canaries, I ask?  The new RICO laws (The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) enacted in 1970 changed everything.  “The feds were allowed to take all of the assets you acquired while being in the mob.  Omerta went out the window.  Everybody became singing canaries.  That’s why these guys started flipping.” 

What were the rules that Gianni knew to live by to keep Frank Costello on his good side?   “Don’t lie to me.  Be on Time.  Talk to Nobody.”   In the late 1990’s, I once flew Don Miguel Ruiz, the author of “The Four Agreements” to New York to promote his mega bestselling book.  With these new rules, I can now write a new book destined to be a bestseller called “The Three Agreements: A Mafia Guide to Not Getting Rubbed Out”…bada boom! 

At the age of 25, Gianni came out of nowhere and was cast in the original Godfather movie as Sonny Corleone’s brother-in-law.   How did he feel about getting that plum role?    “I am making a couple of thousand dollars a week already.  I just wanted to do it for ego.”   Gianni says that after 45 minutes of rehearsal one day, Brando tells Coppola he has to rethink the part.  Gianni puts his arm around Brando and says dead seriously “You get me fired, I will suck on your heart.  You will bleed out here right now.”  Brando’s reaction?  Gianni says Brando told him “That was brilliant!”    To Gianni’s amusement, he says Brando “thought I was acting.”    I ask Gianni who is the most interesting person he worked with in his film career.    “Brando!  He was so generous.”

Then there’s the famous nightclub Gianni owned in Sin City, and the night where he shot and killed in self-defense, unknowingly, a henchman of notorious Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar and had to survive the hit that was put out on him.   Perhaps the most remarkable revelation among many, was his relationship with Marilyn Monroe.   What became of his dalliance with Hollywood’s most glamorous starlet of the day?  You will have to listen to my podcast to find out in an ending that even Hollywood couldn’t come up with!

You can listen to the Gianni Russo interview on The Motivation Show C-Suite Network Radio https://c-suitenetwork.com/radio/shows/the-motivation-show/ or any podcast listening platform     To contact Eli, email motivatea2z@gmail.com.

Advice Branding Entrepreneurship Growth Marketing Skills

Why Traditional Marketing is Dead: The Case for Contrarian Marketing




In today’s digital age, businesses are obsessed with online marketing and social media. But what if I told you that this approach is outdated and ineffective?

For over 15 years, I have been a marketer and I can confidently say that the traditional approach to marketing is dead. Instead, I propose a contrarian approach to marketing that goes against the grain and is rooted in authenticity, individuality, and innovation.

In this article, I will outline why contrarian marketing is the future and why businesses should embrace it.


The Problem with Following the Crowd: Don’t be a Lemming

Traditional marketing follows a herd mentality where everyone is copying the same strategies and tactics. But how can you stand out when you’re doing the same thing as everyone else? Instead, contrarian marketing means standing out from the crowd and doing something different. Be the person who stands up and takes a risk. The most successful businesses have always been those who dared to do something different.


The Power of Authenticity: Be Yourself

In the age of social media, authenticity is everything. People are tired of seeing the same polished, fake content. Contrarian marketing means being true to yourself and your brand. Share your story, your struggles, and your successes. This is what sets you apart and builds a loyal following.


The Importance of Individuality: Don’t Be a Clone

Contrarian marketing means embracing your unique identity and not trying to fit into someone else’s mold. It means being true to your brand and your vision. This is what sets you apart and makes you stand out in a crowded market.


Innovation is Key: Don’t Fear Failure

Contrarian marketing means taking risks and embracing failure. It means trying new things and pushing the boundaries. Innovation is what drives success and sets you apart from your competitors. Don’t be afraid to try new things, even if they might not work out. Every failure is a learning opportunity.


Building a Loyal Following: Fans, Not Customers

Contrarian marketing means building a community around your brand. It means creating fans, not just customers. People want to feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves. By building a loyal following, you create a group of people who will advocate for your brand and spread the word.


The Future is Contrarian: Embrace the Future

Contrarian marketing is the future. With the rise of social media and the internet, traditional marketing is becoming less effective. Consumers are becoming more savvy and are tired of being sold to. Contrarian marketing means embracing the future and adapting to new technologies and trends.



In conclusion, contrarian marketing is the way of the future. It means standing out from the crowd, being true to yourself, embracing innovation, building a loyal following, and adapting to new trends. Traditional marketing is dead, and businesses that don’t embrace contrarian marketing risk being left behind.

So, take a risk, be authentic, and embrace the future of marketing.

For more information visit tylerhayzlett.com

Advice Best Practices Branding Entrepreneurship Growth Marketing Networking Personal Development Skills

The Power of Personal Branding: How to Build a Strong Online Presence





In today’s digital age, building a strong online presence is critical for individuals and businesses alike. One of the most effective ways to do this is through personal branding. Personal branding is the process of creating a unique identity and image for oneself in the eyes of others, whether it’s online or offline. It involves showcasing one’s strengths, expertise, and values to build a strong reputation and attract opportunities. In this blog post, we’ll explore the power of personal branding and how you can build a strong online presence.


Define Your Personal Brand

Before you start building your personal brand, it’s important to define who you are and what you want to be known for. Begin by identifying your unique strengths, skills, and values. Ask yourself questions such as: What sets me apart from others? What do I want to achieve in my career or personal life? What are my core values?

Once you’ve identified your unique attributes, it’s time to create a personal brand statement. This statement should capture the essence of who you are and what you stand for. It should be short, memorable, and easy to understand. Use your personal brand statement as a guide when creating your online presence.

When creating your online presence, make sure to use consistent branding across all platforms. This includes using the same profile picture, bio, and visual elements such as color schemes and fonts. Consistency is key when it comes to personal branding.


Create a Strong Online Presence

Now that you’ve defined your personal brand, it’s time to create a strong online presence. This involves using social media platforms, blogs, and websites to showcase your expertise and build your reputation.

Start by choosing the social media platforms that are most relevant to your personal brand. For example, if you’re a photographer, you might want to focus on Instagram and Pinterest. If you’re a business professional, LinkedIn might be the platform for you.

When creating your social media profiles, make sure to optimize them for search engines. This includes using keywords related to your personal brand in your bio and posts. Use high-quality visuals that reflect your personal brand and engage with your audience regularly.

Blogging is another effective way to build your personal brand. By sharing your knowledge and expertise, you can establish yourself as an authority in your industry. Use your personal brand statement as a guide when creating blog content. Make sure to promote your blog on social media to reach a wider audience.

Finally, consider creating a personal website. This is a great way to showcase your portfolio, share your story, and connect with potential clients or employers. Make sure your website is easy to navigate, visually appealing, and optimized for search engines.


Engage with Your Audience

Engaging with your audience is crucial when it comes to building a strong online presence. This involves responding to comments, asking for feedback, and creating a sense of community around your personal brand.

Make sure to respond to comments and messages promptly. This shows that you value your audience and are interested in their feedback. Ask for feedback and incorporate it into your personal brand strategy.

Creating a sense of community around your personal brand can be achieved through various means. Consider starting a Facebook group or hosting a Twitter chat related to your industry. This allows you to connect with like-minded individuals and establish yourself as a thought leader in your field.



Personal branding is a powerful tool for building a strong online presence. By defining your personal brand, creating a strong online presence, and engaging with your audience, you can establish yourself as an authority in your industry and attract opportunities. Remember to be authentic, consistent, and engaged to build a personal brand that truly reflects who you are.

For more information visit tylerhayzlett.com

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