Book Review: The Knack

Today’s book review is The Knack: How Street-Smart Entrepreneurs Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up.

What I like about The Knack

The book offers practical advice for starting and growing a business. Its author has started and grown 6 companies, and made it to the Fortune 500 list. I enjoyed the stories of real entrepreneurs and their experiences.

Who should read this book and why

Would-be entrepreneurs

Most people starting out in business will make mistakes. Some of these can be avoided by learning from those who have made the same mistakes before. These include focusing on sales rather than profits, basing projections on desires rather than reality, and neglecting to pay attention to cashflow.

Entrepreneurs ready to grow their companies

Start a company is different from taking it to another level once established. Starting a company requires passion and a willingness to charge ahead. Managing an established company calls for attention to detail and patience. Brodsky shares his experience in making the transition and provide a roadmap for those wanting to do the same.

Those keen to learn about business

You may deal with businesses even if you’re not an entrepreneur yourself. In this case, you want to know how to judge if a business is sound. Some tips, like how to negotiate, also apply to life in general.

Quotes from the book

My favourite quote

“Good things happen when you accept the idea of walking away from a dispute a little unhappy. You stop letting your emotions dictate your business decisions. Don’t get caught up in anger, or revenge. Look for solutions instead of problems. You start to think about outcomes you can live with, rather than trying to get everything you want.” (page 102)

Other quotes

“What I’m listening for are goals that can’t be achieved by business. Or goals that will get in the way of the business, or goals that are totally unrealistic. I’m listening for what’s really motivating people. Usually, it’s something emotional.” (page 6)

“To be successful you have to get over your panic. You have to accept a never-ending flood of complications as a normal part of the business process, and you have to learn to enjoy that process. How? By getting caught up in the fun and excitement of finding solutions.” (page 39)

“Two of my negotiating rules: The first is, don’t go in with any preconceived notions. By that, I mean don’t make any assumptions about what the other party is thinking. Right or wrong, your assumptions will cloud your mind and keep you from hearing what’s being said. The second rule is: always assume that everyone else in the room is smarter than you. If you get the idea that you can outsmart other people, you stop paying attention to them.” (page 93).

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