I do not like reading about the mafia, I only saw one Godfather and I never saw the Sopranos. However, when I can across Louis Ferrante’s business book about ‘legitimate business lessons learned from working in the mafia’ it intrigued me.
Who do not like Horatio Alger rag to riches and prodigal son stories? Ferrante learned that the pen is sharper than the sword, and took up a new passion. I admire people who succeed with street smarts rather than via Harvard MBAs. I am also reading books on the reasons the Amish succeed in business and one by a Rabbi explains why his people are good businessmen. I try to keep my mind open.
For me Ferrante’s book comes under the category that you can achieve anything you put your mind to and change your life from bad to good.
Ferrante is a story-teller with motivational wisdom and business common sense sprinkled in. He has 88 lessons for business people who can be applied to legal business. Granted he is no expert on life, nor do I agree with all the things in his book, but I liked reading it and there are some take aways I will have to process and consider when making my own business plans going foward.
Perhaps my favorite part his is versed in the classics and balances his wise guy tales with reference with the classics and an impressive vocabulary to boot. If anyone who has ever read the Count of Monte Cristo, you will know what I mean. The hero is transformed and perhaps his soul is saved.
Anyone that was clever enough to succeed the underworld business environment at an early age and then change his life around is worth noting and that is why I am giving it a positive book review.
- “Don’t build Yankee Stadium, just supply the concrete: Spotting new rackets.”
- ‘A wrong decision is better than not making a decision’
But you need to read the book to see how he illustrates these points to make them come alive.
A good writer has you nodding your head yes, as you read,. In some remote way, not matter how crazy their circumstances are they have you nodding yes, I relate to that.
For example, here is a except from his book and this will show you what I mean. The rest for you to read.
Coming home from prison, I needed a car and an apartment. Time and again, I was ‘bull…’ by car salesmen with the old bait and switch… I rented an apartment. During the winter, my landlord would not turn up the heat, but the cheap bastard wanted his rent on time….When I left he claimed he did not have (my security deposit).
I am not the first to notice that prison is a lot like ordinary society.
In the words of George Costanza ‘I feel like the whole world is trying to screw me’.
Street Smart business
I do not want to say it, but countless times I too have felt this. That is, I have dealt with people fairly and honestly and usually for greed and ego or because they just could, they have taken advantage of my good nature. But it makes me feel better when I read a tough guy like Ferrante has felt the same and had the same experiences, it makes me feel less of a sucker and ask the question, what can I do about it.
My philosophy has always been people who use people are small bottom feeders, that will not get far in life, or only for a short time, and that life is fair and there is Karma at work. Like Plato said, ‘nothing bad can happen to a just man in this life or the next’. I also focus on creative and intellectual entrepreneurship, and you can be a total geek and wimp and get rich this way.
Why the rich have money – I go more into this philosophy here.
But on the other hand, maybe to learn a little street smart is not that bad. If you are someone who needs some rounding out of their business education, consider Lousi Ferrante’s book Mob Rules.
The take away from this business book could be said to be don’t join the mafia, just learn from the their experiences.