I borrowed "Winning Through Intimidation" by Robert Ringer from my friend Chris. The book is exceptionally good.
I've been meaning to review it, but I already returned the copy I borrowed to Chris. Thus, this review has been left undone for a long time.
That said, it ain't going to get any easier for me to review, so I've decided to stop dragging my heels and instead review it from memory.
First point - GET IT.
Highly, highly recommended. If possible, the original 1970's version - "Winning Through Intimidation." He toned it down and re-released it as "To Be Or Not To Be Intimidated? That Is The Question" about 10 years ago.
I flipped through a copy of the new version. It's basically the same content, but it loses a lot of entertainment value and style. It's much more politically correct.
It's also a more accurate title. Really, the book isn't about intimidating people. Instead, it's about how to overcome your own fears, and how not to be intimidated by others. What he calls "being intimidating" is really him just dressing up "having presence" in sexy, controversial language.
His points - being well-prepared, knowledgeable, licensed, well dressed, and efficient at communicating - really have nothing to do with intimidating, and everything to do with being on top of things. That said, those points are very important so you don't feel intimidated.
There's a few broad themes in the book. I'm going from memory, but these are my thoughts:
*A general call to get wealthy and not feel bad about it: Not so useful to me since I've read on the topic plenty recently, but still a pleasant enough refresher. One particular way of phrasing it was amusing, and I excerpted that already in another post. Not too much value in this section for me, but there'd be lots of value for someone at the appropriate time in their life that needs to read it. It's readable though, it's fine.
*His stories and experiences getting screwed and losing deals: *Excellent* sections. Very readable and captivating. This is the kind of thing where you can feel and ideally internalize his mistakes, as if they're happening firsthand. He's also really funny in his writing style. He calls his first year in business "My Education at Screw U." Some of the points are riotously funny. Also, there's an exceptionally about people that "honestly, genuinely, really don't want to screw you, and only do it by accident - which isn't any consolation when they've got your money." That hammered home a point I'd never seen before.
*There's some good strategic considerations - some step by step guides on how not to be intimidated, and how to have everything lined up. Skills you need to learn, an apperance you might be wise to cultivate, etc. This was valuable stuff.
*Some tactical considerations - how his playbook went, roughly. Not all of this is directly applicable any more, but it still makes you think better. Reading Sun Tzu's Art of War makes you a better tactician even though the same style of combat doesn't apply. Reading Ringer's Winning Through Intimidation will make you a better business tactician. One point that I found fascinating and amazing is that he'd bring three secretaries with him to a closing deal with typewriters with them, along with copies of almost every potential necessary bank document, generic escrow documents, and over a dozen variations of his most common contracts. The author, Ringer, is *huge* on preparation. Reading his thoughts on preparation are excellent.
There's also some good mantras that stick out and get remembered, and plenty of entertaining stories. The biggest mantra for the book is "GET PAID" - emphasizing that the goal isn't to just do great work (though he is big on doing great, thorough work), but to get to paid for doing that great work.
The book was awesome. A great read. It's already in my top 10 favorite business books, maybe top 5. I'd recommend it to anyone that ever does any sort of negotiation, selling, or business - even anything as basic as negotiating a pay raise. Exceptionally good book. Highly recommended.
Alright, I'm going to try to review books before I give 'em away going forwards. Questions welcome if there's any.
My friend Chris gave me a copy of "Winning Through Intimidation" to read - wow. Just wow.
Title's misleading. It's actually about how not to be intimidated, and how to generally do good business by being prepared and ready. At least, I think that's what it is, I'm only halfway through.
Here's an excerpt from page 106-107. Bold added by me:
The lender went crazy. During the ensuing heated discussion he said two things that would ring in my ears for a long time to come and, consequently, help me to prepare for earning and receiving substantial money in the near future.
The first thing he said was: "You have a lot of nerve trying to earn $15,000 on one deal; why, you're only a broker."
"Kobe Bryant is so clutch." I constantly hear this statement from people, whether they're basketball fans or not. I have never bought any of this; in fact, I don't believe in being clutch. I'm going to lay out my logic why. Unfortunately, I didn't use any statistics, just pure reasoning. I think there's a variety of statistica proof on the Internet against the notion of clutch. Hopefully, though, mine will make intuitive sense.
My argument is as simple as this: people have a misconception about being clutch because they take into account the number of successes, not the percentage. What does this really mean? Here's one of my favorite quotes (I'll explain how it relates, don't worry):
I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. – Michael Jordan
Doesn't this quote deal with failure? Well, yes. But, there's a certain part of the quote I want to focus on. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. Wait, isn't Michael Jordan regarded as a clutch player? 26 misses a lot, especially compared to the limited opportunities one has to make a game-winning shot.
What I'm trying to say is that basically people care about the number of successes. It doesn't matter if a player misses 4 game-winning shots; if they make the fifth, they will be regarded as clutch. There is a similar phenomenon with All-Stars and scoring. Fans think the best players are the ones with the most points. But, that's obviously not true. NBA statistic sites, like Wages of Wins, highly stress the importance of Field Goal Percentage. A player who scores 20 points or more is not that beneficial if their FG% is below 40%. They might as well pass up the opportunity and give it to a teammate who has a higher conversion rate.