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Cynthia Grossman

that is very suspicious that the two are so very similar

Cynthia G.

Bob Sutton


In general, publishers do wield a lot of control over titles -- although it varies a lot, and as with many experienced authors, I have learned to fight back and insist on my titles, and have reached the point where my contracts will insist on final approval. But in this case, the title selection is a bit different as note that she published this book through Amazon's vanity press -- I have never heard of a vanity press that exerts much influence over the title. It would be nice if the author weighed in and told us her side of the story, but this is apparently not going to happen.

Scot Herrick

As an author, I can tell you that authors have none to very little control over the title of the book; only the content.

The publisher is the entity that controls the title, not the author (which is being said in a roundabout way with the 'title is not copyright' meme here).

In this case, regardless of the merits of the book, people are blaming the victim (the author). The real culprit is the publisher.

The good news: you have a very large following with an impeccable reputation. Good thing...

Shane Twomey


Like all the above, I agree that it is a shame. I blog but am always careful (I hope) to link to the source of anything I quote. Apart from reputation, it is good manners. Have you heard back from the good Doctor yet>

Johnnie Moore

Wow, Kevin Rutkowski's research on that content being regurgitated by coaches is pretty astonishing. Plagiarism is usually depressing, but this is off the scale.

Wally Bock

For the record, CreateSpace is not just any POD publisher. It is Amazon's captive POD publisher.

Bob Sutton


You are almost certainly right, titles are not protected according to every lawyer I know, including my wife. But reputational risk is different, as the reactions here show. I now feel sorry for her, and am not surprised I have heard nothing. Note the book is 60 something pages long and is published by a vanity press. Still, she could have ran the title through Google. I do think that there are some cases where borrowing tiles is OK so long as the application is clearly different. Thanks.


Simply stunning. I marvel at the naivety required to think you could get away with this in the modern information age.


It's unfortunate, but book titles are not protected by trademark law. I work for a publisher who had another publisher come out with a competing book with the same title, same basic content ... And at the end of the day, there was nothing we could do.

Mark Modesti

Bewildering! I posted the comment below at Amazon:

This is unbelievable! The author wrote the entire book with no knowledge that the same title and concept had already been used? Might as well go ahead and start a blog now called "Working Matters" (instead of Work Matters).

I almost didnt post it because I wondered if they would start the blog I suggested!

Rod Johnson

Its really hard to get our arms around this. Why would a person that is tied to leadership development even think of going down this path. The risk of being caught and then perceived as someone that is willing to plagerise just doesn't make sense. What if she sailed through the first layer and was granted the gig, and then she was in a training program and the book surfaced and a student stated, "Isn't that Bob Sutton's book?"

Her position is highly visible and scrutinized. The marketplace will be your friend on this one.

My guess is she will realize the error in her judgement and will pull it off Amazon and everywhere else quickly. Although, time will tell.

Patricia Knight


This is awful. For someone to be so bold to take your title is just wrong!! I do not believe in coincidences. It is just a slap in the face.



I can’t believe that! I am truly sorry that this happened to you. You have every right to be dismayed, and for what it’s worth, I think you are handling it very professionally. I think I would have a hard time containing myself.

I don’t think I will be buying a book on management from someone as unethical as this author.

Chris Turner

Couldn't agree more, Bob. Now if you really want to raise your blood pressure check out


I seriously have no idea how people manage to cheat their own selves in the first place. How can they live with being dishonest to their own intellectual abilities!
people should be groomed not to go for short cuts as it matters ofcourse to reach the destination but it also matters how you get there.....or maybe for some it does'nt ;)
those who like to go for original will always find the true things behind all scenes...those who don't, will enjoy the company of people who kill their moral values to get things in life
As for Dr. Doreen McGunagle lets see what she has to say about what happened.

John E. Smith

This whole situation is sad.

The lifting of another's blog posts and publishing as her own are even worse offenses, in my opinion. As other's have pointed out, nobody with any smarts is going to confuse her book with yours, even if she matches the font.

Based on the facts so far, her actions appear to me to be a combination of brazen theft of intellectual property and a distinct lack of moral judgment.

I notice that Dr. McGunagle's webpage bio misspells her PhD school name. Makes me want to check that fact out as well.



Most modern readers are savy enough to do their own homework regarding authors. I never buy a book from Amazon without learning more about the author's background. Even if what this woman did was unethical, I would bet that most purchasers could tell the difference between her and the incredible Bob Sutton.

Your books speak for themselves in reviews and press. No worries about this woman. Think of it as the managerial version of fan fiction.

Patricia Tryon

Regardless of whether she and her publisher are en"title"d to use the title, it reflects badly on them. And I bet it will backfire: Good Book, Bad Book. What a shame.

John Hunter

As people have said, I don't think there are legal grounds (based on what I have heard - which frankly is a pretty flimsy basis for judgement). But I think you stated it well when you said it was a "misguided move."

I think by and large we have created a culture where being ethical doesn't have much support. All that matters is what is legal and if you are powerful enough to win. It is a shame, but the unethical behavior by for example the senior executives of all the large failed and then bailed out financial institutions. We continue to elect politicians that do the bidding of those people. As long as they are not locked up most people think their unethical behavior is just fine.


Title's cant by copyrighted if I recall correctly. I believe they can be trade/service marked, though.

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