The Don Draper Effect

Above: Don Draper, portrayed by actor Jon Hamm

AMC’s Mad Men star, Jon Hamm, has said about his character, Don Draper, “people tell me they look up to Don, like they look up to Tony Soprano or Walter White. People have these weird fascinations with people who in reality you would not want to be for a second. There seems to be that vicarious thrill. Maybe it is the fact of doing everything wrong and getting away with it.” Don Draper has issues, to say the least. But there is something about him that is appealing, nonetheless. Maybe it is his successful career, maybe it is his ease with women, or maybe it was his ability to come from nothing, and somehow always radiate confidence (although, it remains to be seen how the final season will play out). Don Draper may not be the best role model a lot of the time, but he does have some hypothetically good qualities. Here are some ways being like Don Draper wouldn’t be such a bad thing.


Don is always impeccably dressed. Expensive suits are his uniform, and you rarely see him in sweats. There was that one episode where he was wearing swim shorts while lounging on the beach, but that was a rare glimpse into his casual side. Even his accessories are perfect. The hat, the sunglasses, the briefcase. Don Draper can do no wrong when it comes to fashion. Being in advertising, Don knows that appearance matters, and he makes sure to always appear put-together.  Ultimately, looking the part is essential to your success. So why not invest in a decent suit?


Don Draper was not always Don Draper. He started out as a kid with nothing, but he recognized that he had the talent to be something. Maybe he didn’t go about it in the most honest way, at times, but he knew how to make things happen. He is not one of those guys who blames things that are beyond his control for his failures. His creativity and understanding of advertising helped him push the boundaries and become part of a successful ad agency. Everyone has setbacks, even Don Draper. But it is how you overcome them, that defines your success.

Willingness to Take Chances

Don Draper didn’t get where he is by doing everything the “right way”. When he sees an opportunity, he jumps at it. The advertising industry is about originality, novelty, and knowing your audience, and Don is always able to deliver well thought out, unique campaign ideas to his clients. The ability to be creative and take chances is not only valuable in advertising. There isn’t an industry out there that doesn’t value people who have ideas and the ability to execute them. So, don’t keep your ideas to yourself. Share them. You never know how you could change everything.


Don Draper not only charms his clients, but also the ladies. Women are drawn to him because he is mysterious, and confident. He may leave a little bit to be desired in the fidelity department, but he still manages to attract women without even trying. He is the strong, silent type that keeps his emotions close to the vest, but he has that old fashioned, masculine appeal that women can’t help but be attracted to. He will always order his female a companion a drink, hold the door open for her, and hail her a cab. He’ll probably pay for it too. The key is to make the person you are with feel important, like they are the only one that matters.

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