Cliff Hudson, Sonic pioneer, discussed his new memoir, “Master of None,” at Oklahoma History Center
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Published: 26-Oct-2020

OKLAHOMA CITY — Cliff Hudson, former longtime CEO and chairman of the board at Sonic: America’s Drive-In, joined Dr. Bob Blackburn on stage to discuss his new book, “Master of None” (Harper Collins), at the Oklahoma History Center (OHC) on Friday, October 23.  

This event was held both in person and virtually.

In this new memoir, Hudson challenges established thinking, offering counterintuitive career advice essential for every professional at all levels, whether just starting out or in the middle of a career. Hudson asks whether or not mastery is even necessary to succeed.

According to Hudson, most people do not need to be experts in their field. He believes the successful may know more than the average person about a particular topic, and they often possess a better-than-average ability with a particular skill set; but in his book, he makes clear that not everyone who is successful is an expert.

Hudson writes, “In today's technology-driven environment change is the only constant, including the nature of work and the skills required to do it. Over-investing in expertise is often riskier than learning to be adaptive and open to new knowledge, ideas and skills. Experience can also lead to overconfidence, yet we continue to deeply value the expertise ideal.”


According to a press release, in “Master of None,” Hudson “turns expertise on its head and shows that, by embracing variety and becoming more versatile, anyone can succeed and become more open to different opportunities in life.”

An attorney at Crowe & Dunlevy law firm, Hudson serves of counsel in the firm’s Oklahoma City office. In addition to leading the publicly held Sonic Corp. as CEO, he previously served the organization as general counsel, chief financial officer and chief operating officer.
During his tenure as CEO, Sonic’s systemwide sales increased from $861 million to $4.5 billion. In that time, he has been a frequent guest on Bloomberg News, CNBC and Fox Business News. In 2019, Entrepreneur Magazine’s list of Franchise 500 ranked Sonic as the #3 franchise opportunity in the country.

From 1994 to 2001, Cliff served as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), a presidential appointment. His nomination was approved unanimously by the Senate Finance Committee and by acclamation of the United States Senate.

Hudson is a former trustee of the Ford Foundation (New York) and is a past chairman of the board of trustees of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Cliff received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Oklahoma with Phi Beta Kappa and President’s Leadership scholarships. His many honors from the University of Oklahoma, include the University’s Regents Award and an honorary doctoral degree in humane letters.

A graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center, Cliff served as an editor of the International Law Journal (a publication of the Association of Student International Law Societies) and was a member of the legal honor society Phi Delta Phi.

He previously served as chair of the board of visitors for Georgetown University Law Center and was honored with its Paul Dean Award. He has also been awarded with the Georgetown Alumni Association’s highest honor — the John Carroll Award.

Hudson has supported the Oklahoma History Center since 1998, when it was in its planning stages. He served as the first president of the Friends of the Oklahoma History Center, donated funds to restore an original Sonic sign, funded a base for the bronze statue Unconquered, and agreed to donate the Sonic corporate collection to the museum.

The story of Sonic has been featured in the Oklahoma History Center for the past decade.
Pre-signed copies of the book will be available for purchase through the Oklahoma History Center Museum Store.

The current Oklahoma History Center opened in 2005 and is operated by the Oklahoma Historical Society.

The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. For more information about the OHS, visit okhistory.org. 
Publisher's Note: 

I regret that due to website challenges, this story – which was prepared in time for the original event – is posted late. Time references have been updated.


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