On-the-job lessons from Big Bird

June 16, 2008 12:45:54 PM PDT
Caroll Spinney's slim but charming book, "The Wisdom of Big Bird (and the Dark Genius of Oscar the Grouch): Lessons from a Life in Feathers," published in 2003, is full of career advice even non-puppeteers can put to work.-- ASK: Muppets founder Jim Henson saw Spinney perform at a convention and told him he should come to New York so they could talk about the Muppets. Spinney asked what he meant and Henson answered that he was offering Spinney a job.

-- STICK IT OUT: After his first year on Sesame Street, Spinney felt he couldn't live in New York on his salary. Puppet builder Kermit Love told him to give it a month; the next week, Big Bird was on the cover of Time magazine and Spinney couldn't imagine leaving.

-- SHARE: When the character Elmo became a star in the 1990s, "it was like having a new, younger brother in the family," Spinney wrote. "Elmo was now the cute young child on the street." His realization, though, was that Sesame Street is a big place, with room for everyone to contribute.

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