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United Breaks Guitars: The Power of One Voice in the Age of Social Media [Paperback]

Dave Carroll
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 22 2013
Songwriter Dave Carroll wasn't the first person abused by an airline's customer service. But he was the first to show how one person, armed with creativity, some friends, $150, and the Internet, could turn an entire industry upside down. United Airlines had broken Dave's guitar in checked luggage. After eight months of pestering the company for compensation, he turned to his best tool-songwriting-and vowed to create a YouTube video about the incident that he hoped would garner a million views in one year. Four days after its launching, the first million people had watched "United Breaks Guitars." United stock went down 10 percent, shedding $180 million in value; Dave appeared on outlets as diverse as CNN and The View. United relented. And throughout the business world, people began to realize that "efficient" but inhuman customer-service policies had an unseen cost-brand destruction by frustrated, creative, and socially connected customers. "United Breaks Guitars" has become a textbook example of the new relationship between companies and their customers, and has demonstrated the power of one voice in the age of social media. It has become a benchmark in the customer-service and music industries, as well as branding and social-media circles. Today, more than 150 million people are familiar with this story. In this book, you'll hear about how Dave developed the "just do it" philosophy that made him the ideal man to take on a big corporation, what it felt like to be in the center of the media frenzy, and how he's taken his talents and become a sought-after songwriter and public speaker. And businesspeople will learn how companies should change their policies and address social-media uprisings. Since "United Breaks Guitars" emerged, nothing is the same-for consumers, for musicians, or for business. Whether you are a guitarist, a baggage handler, or a boardroom executive, this book will entertain you and remind you that we are all connected, that each of us matters, and that we all have a voice worth hearing.

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About the Author

Dave Carroll is a singer-songwriter and social media innovator from Halifax, Canada. Following his 2009 YouTube music video release called 'United Breaks Guitars,' about his poor customer service experience with United Airlines, Dave's career blossomed and he is now a highly-sought-after performer, content creator, author, keynote speaker, and consumer advocate.

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5.0 out of 5 stars And now we know....the rest of the story June 22 2012
For anyone who has ever had luggage or personal belongings destroyed by an airline without being properly compensated or perhaps not even acknowledged, this story is a triumph. The youtube video, "United Breaks Guitars" has been viewed by over 12 million people as of today and Dave Carroll gives us all of the 'behind the scenes' details about how the video was conceived and how it grew into a life of its own. Imagine, one guy from Halifax, Nova Scotia on a music gig for his band, "Sons of Maxwell" who when landing in Chicago. has the unfortunate experience of being told by people across the aisle on his United Airlines flight, that the luggage handlers are throwing around guitars while unloading the plane! This made the blood run cold of every musician on board who had checked a guitar before boarding. The rest of the story is history.

This book is all about the events on the United flight and the aftermath with all the red tape Dave Carroll went through trying to get reimbursed for the damaged guitar (Unbelievable, the hoops they tried to make him jump through, like flying back to Chicago to fill out paperwork!) and then lots of details about making the first and then second and third youtube videos. It tells about Taylor Guitar contacting him and inviting him to their plant in California and letting him choose two guitars to take home with him. He tells about speaking engagements afterwards and other opportunities afforded him on the basis on this video and the larger story. I found it to be very inspiring that there IS a way to make one small voice heard. He also examines how companies can make social media good for, and relevant to their companies.
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5.0 out of 5 stars United Breaks Guitars, but not this book July 18 2013
Dave Carroll's book UNITED BREAKS GUITARS is both an entertaining account of his misadventures with United Airlines AND a guideline/inspiration for consumer activism in the new age of social media. It also includes a download link for six of his songs, including all three parts of the book-title song. For the benefit of American readers, he explains some rather Canadian-specific references, which is also good, and a courtesy some Americans should extend, though the irony is that we tend to know more about the US than the other way around.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fan in Awe! Sept. 19 2012
I just finished reading United Breaks Guitars and found it very entertaining and insightful. Dave has taken an unpleasant experience and turned it into something positive. Not only did he turn his own experience around, but he has become a great role model for others to follow. This is a `must read' for anyone who has ever had a bad customer service experience and for all customers who should take heed on the power of social media. Dave's sense of humour shines through on every page. His story successfully shows that anything is possible, even for the little guy.

I first met Dave and became familiar with his music, back in 2004, when he was there performing with his brother Don, (part of his band Sons of Maxwell). Many of the songs that he has performed, both as a solo musician and as a part of S.O.M, were penned by himself, and showcase his amazing talent as a songwriter. It is no surprise than, that his writing talent should flow over to a book.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. If you want to read about how one person faced a difficult situation, used his talents to respond to that situation in a positive manner, and made a change that rippled around the world, than this is the book for you!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational and Life Changing June 27 2012
There are few books I read to the end because most fail to capture my interest and hold it. That was not the case with this book. I gobbled it up in two days, just not wanting to put it down and that says a lot.

United Breaks Guitars is a story of triumph over adversity, the power of social media and so much more. When faced with the daunting challenge of reversing United Airlines' decision not to compensate for turning his Taylor guitar into a tarmac projectile, Mr. Carroll wrote himself an action plan and executed it. The result was a trilogy of songs that enhanced his musical career, captured a huge audience on You Tube and sent United executives scurrying around the boardroom wondering where their stock value went. Mr. Carroll, very calmly and in a non-confrontational way, became a large corporation's worst nightmare and a shining example of why no business should ever take its customers for granted. It takes a special person to be able to rock the foundation of a company and win the respect of some of its executives at the same time and Mr. Carroll is every bit that special person.

When I downloaded this book I really didn't know what to expect. I knew I loved the songs, but I wondered what reading the story would be like. It doesn't stop with how the incident with United happened and the making of the videos, although that story is fascinating in and of itself. The book goes well beyond that to humbly and honestly tell the story of how a supremely gifted song writer and musician, never sufficiently recognized for his amazing talent, was about to give up on a 20 year career in music when a life changing event prevented itself. Dave Carroll was at a crossroads when his guitar was broken and opportunity disguised as adversity came knocking on his door.
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