About Arnie Malham

While selling TV airtime at a local affiliate, Arnie Malham created a small side venture to help a few clients market beyond just the TV station. In 1994, that venture ultimately got him fired and quickly became his best and only career option. Without a clue as to how to run a company, Malham repeatedly “got it wrong” when it came to hiring, firing, and everything else related to building a business. Armed with his belief that different is better than good, outliers are fascinating, and mind-set is everything, he persevered.

Thanks to hundreds of business books, dozens of patient mentors, and a universe conspiring to help him, Malham stumbled upon a bold, culture-first approach that gave his fledgling company the momentum it needed. cj Advertising grew to become the largest full-service brand-building agency in the country exclusively for law firms. Along the way, Malham also launched a call center named Legal Intake Professionals (LIP) in 2005 that was also strictly focused on serving personal injury law firms. Both businesses were sold to separate buyers in 2017, and Arnie turned all his attention toward a concept that played a huge role in creating the successful culture of growth at both cj and LIP: BetterBookClub.com.

Malham lives in Nashville with his wife of more than 20 years. When he’s not ranting about improving work cultures across the country or cheering for his son and daughter at their respective colleges, you’ll likely find Arnie with his dog Katy on his side porch enjoying a decent cigar, an affordable scotch, and an inspiring book (usually all at the same time).

Additional Achievements

EO (Entrepreneur’s Organization) Nashville Chapter Forum Six – 2004–present
EO (Entrepreneur’s Organization) Nashville Chapter, Learning Chair – 2008, 2012, 2013, 2017, 2018
Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year, Regional Finalist – 2009
EO (Entrepreneur’s Organization) Nashville Chapter, President – 2009
DiJulius Secret Service Summit, highest-rated speaker in event history – 2012
EO (Entrepreneur’s Organization) Entrepreneurial Masters Program – 2012
Nashville Business Journal’s Best in Business Awards winner – 2012
EO Nerve (Entrepreneur’s Organization, regional conference), Learning Chair – 2015
Published Worth Doing Wrong: The Quest to Build a Culture That Rocks – 2016
Nashville Business Journal’s Most Admired CEOs and Their Companies award winner – 2017

Media Featuring Arnie

Throughout his journey to create a rockin’ culture at cj Advertising, Arnie’s work hasn’t gone unnoticed. He’s always ready to talk camel culture and share his story with others. Check out his TV appearances and interviews to learn more about the great culture we’re talking about.

Arnie-isms

Arnie’s years of experience, endless stacks of books, and thought-provoking mentors have given him some great words to live by, every single day.

Without further ado, Arnie explains his “Arnie-isms”:

“IF IT’S WORTH DOING, IT’S WORTH DOING WRONG”

This phrase has become my signature approach to business and life as well as my most frequent advice to others on their unique journeys.

“BUSINESS IS HARD”

I can’t say it enough, it just is. Saying otherwise is like telling your kids they’re smart or talented rather than connecting their hard work to success. “Smart and talented” kids can often disappoint and quit when “hard working” kids take their place on the podium.

“CULTURE REFLECTS LEADERSHIP”

First heard from John DiJulius in his 2007 presentation at our annual client conference, this truth is typically ignored by businesses waiting to fail and embraced by businesses who are playing to win.

“TELL ME MORE”

More often than not, the most universally perfect response ever.

“THIS IS HOW WE LIVE!”

There are stories we tell others and truths we know to be so, but you can always see a person’s priorities through the lens of how they spend their time and their money. My quest is to continually eliminate the delta between my truth and my story.

“TWENTY YEARS TO BECOME AN OVERNIGHT SUCCESS”

Great brands, great people, great families typically all seem easy, but in reality all take time… lots of time. Life’s not a lottery ticket, buckle in for the long haul.

“GRADUALLY, THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN”

Discovered in Susan Scott’s “Fierce Conversations”, this answers the popular questions, “How did you get into Lawyer Advertising?”, “How did you build this great culture?”, “How did you and your wife raise your children?”, “How did you (fill in the blank)“… the answer is almost inevitably the same.

“WE’VE DONE IT WRONG ENOUGH TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO DO IT RIGHT”

My response to most compliments about my businesses.

Arnie’s Book Recommendations

After you finish reading Arnie’s book, Worth Doing Wrong, check out the other business-savvy, entrepreneurial-minded, culture-building books on his list of recommendations. These books and their authors have been vital to Arnie’s sustained growth as a business leader. Browse through the books below and visit BetterBookClub.com to see how Arnie has used this list to encourage his employees to read.

Don’t start a business without reading…

Don’t Build a Culture without reading…

Don’t do Marketing without reading…

Just because you should…