How to Win at the Sport of Business
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Mark Cuban is the entrepreneur owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team; a familiar personality in the US, though not quite as well known across the pond here in the UK and Europe. This is probably understandable, given that most of his business interests are based in the US, but I would argue that his kind of intelligent, bold, modernist, relentless and hard-working entrepreneurial spirit (along with that of similar entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson) is exactly what the world needs more of.
As a basketball fan and a follower of Cuban's business writings for a number of years now, I couldn't help picking up his book "How to Win at the Sport of Business". Admittedly, the title is a little on the cheesy side (at least for my tastes), but it shouldn't be all that surprising given his position in both the sports and business worlds.
In reality, to call it a book would be somewhat of an exaggeration, as it's really just a collection of his best blog posts (reflected in the low sales price). Nevertheless, it's an excellent book if you're interested in reading about business and entrepreneurship issues from someone who's lived through the journey and succeeded. His story is a testament to what hard work combined with quite a bit of luck can do for you.
Particularly interesting and humorous is that Cuban gets his break into the world of PCs and technology (software sales) with very little background in the industry. Much of his knowledge in this area came from sheer will and hard work to learn things on his own. He even goes on to stress the importance of education being about "learning how to learn", rather than expertise in any one subject area.
"I tell myself that people walking in the door know as little a I do, so if I just started doing what I told my boss I would do - read the manuals - I would be ahead of the curve. That's what I did. Every night I would take home a different software manual, and would read it. A guy with minimal computer background could compete with far more experienced guys just because he put in the time to learn all he could.
In one segment which I found myself agreeing with, he explains that "most people won't put in the time to get a knowledge advantage".
"To this day, I feel like if I put in enough time consuming all the information available, particularly with the Internet making it so readily available, I can get an advantage in any technology business."
His casual and down to earth style of writing makes the book an easy and enjoyable read for just about anyone, and gives you the sense that you're hearing stories and advice from an old friend. While some sections should be taken with a grain of salt, overall it's an excellent book that I would highly recommend. While everyone's path to success will ultimately be unique, we have much to gain by understanding and learning from the experiences of others.
"The point of all this is that it doesn't matter how many times you fail. It doesn't matter how many times you almost get it right. No one is going to know or care about your failures, and neither should you. All you have to do is learn from them and from those around you, because all that matters in business is that you get it right once."
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