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No You Can’t Pick My Brain

 You’re in business to make money. Some people will tell you this is the wrong attitude, but I tell you it’s the right attitude to help you stay in business. There is nothing wrong with giving free advice to people who genuinely need it or to flex your knowledge in an interview to show you know your stuff. But it’s not OK for someone to keep coming back expecting you to hand them a finished blueprint or do their work for them without any compensation.  Your knowledge is valuable. YOU are valuable. Stop letting others take advantage of you. Learn to control how, when and to whom you give free advice to.

Adrienne Graham



Price: $18.99 (paperback); $9.99 (Digital)



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What started as a blog post on in March 2011, launched a worldwide conversation for weeks after. That conversation keeps being reignited. Many service professionals have no idea how to assign value to their knowledge and most don’t know exactly how or where to draw the line between free friendly advice and fee based consultations. They find themselves being taken advantage of by people looking to get maximum information for no cost.  Some people will say you have to give away a lot of free to earn paying clients. But I say that’s the quickest way to train people to expect to always get free stuff from you.


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It’s time to teach people where the boundaries are and how to value our expertise.

In No, You Can’t Pick My Brain, It Costs Too Much, author Adrienne Graham gives practical advice on determining your value and enforcing your rules to stop the brain picking. In this book she shows you how to:

  • position yourself as (a respected) expert
  • differentiate between legitimate requests for advice versus free consulting
  • draw the hard line between fee based consultation and free advice, and make it stick 
  • keep job interviews from turning into surprised brain picking sessions (who hasn’t gone through that before!)
  • manage habitual brain pickers 
  • communicate your message with people so they understand what they get for free and for fee
  • remove the guilt from charging what your worth
  • establish your fees (and get them)
  • balance volunteer/philanthropic giving and paying clients
  • and more


This book is for anyone who:

  • has a service business
  • is a service professional
  • is always the “go to” man or woman by friends and family members
  • is uncomfortable setting fees and rates
  • has difficulty saying “no” to people who want to get endless freebies because they feel entitled
  • needs to differentiate between consulting and advice
  • is tired of being taken advantage of and not compensated
  • wants to sincerely balance giving freely and selling



And for those who want to learn how to implement what you’ve read, join the new Brain Safe Community-


Did you know we have a T Shirt line based on the book?

We have a brand new line of 6 t-shirts that come in sizes Small through 2X. They are just what you need for an added boost of motivation.

Check it out.



See what people are saying on the web:

Twitter Buzz:

via BrokeAssGourmet  @talentdiva I can’t begin to tell you how helpful it was to read your @forbes piece. Brain-picking requests have become a big problem for me.

via LoriGama @talentdiva Awesome! I just read your article in SUCH a perfect & eloquent rant. Loved it!

via @WordofMouthATL Huge thanks to @talentdiva for this awesome article! “No, You Can’t Pick My Brain. It Costs Too Much” – Forbes #article

via @BCampagna @talentdiva Tx for your follow & helping to remind professionals that we’re not nonprofits! #architecture #smallbusinessisnotyourbank

via @Greg_Bartos @talentdiva it is because I care. That is why I am sharing my enjoyment of your “brain picking” article. :) Keep it up!

via @MsDaniella Keeping it real in 2012 via @talentdiva @ForbesWoman “No, You Can’t Pick My Brain. It Costs Too Much” Love it!

via @BenjiHyam My favorite article of the year! No, You Can’t Pick My Brain. It Costs Too Much. Thanks @talentdiva

via @ElizabethMitolo @talentdiva Can’t wait to read the book! I have to admit, this is easier said than done :)

via @jemofthesouth @talentdiva your article is all over Facebook! What a way to kick off the New Year!

via @Soumyapr When you start a group ‘Ban on Brain Pickers’ , Count me in! @talentdiva. :)


Facebook Buzz:

via Oana Hogrefe: congratulations, Adrienne Graham, for having this insightful piece published on Forbes.

via Carolyn Davenport Moncel: Adrienne Graham, you are so right! You go, girl!

via Tammy Freeman: Awesome article by Adrienne Graham.

via Sonya Donaldson: Glad to see this piece making the rounds again. Thanks Adrienne Graham for this bit of wisdom.

via Amos Winbush III: LOL.. We all have/had these experiences but never better worded than by my buddy Adrienne Graham.

via Marie Roker Jones: Just read your awesome article in Forbes magazine!

via Lerkia Lee Tidball: I loved this article!

via Shannon O’Regan: Struck such a powerful, inspired nerve for me and the work with my clients. Shared it on my pages SMO Ventures and MBAA – Mindful Business Action Alliance. Love your direct candor Adirenne. Thank you.

via Kimmoly Rice-Ogletree It was so great…I had to share it.

via Traci D. Ellis: Yes, I saw it! I posted it when it originally came out last Spring, but I think it’s worth the re-post.


Download a preview of the book


Buying the digital copy and want it autographed?

Get a free Authorgraph from Adrienne Graham

Price: $18.99 (paperback); $9.99 (Kindle/Nook)



Or you can get it for your Kindle or Nook: