Even today, McCormack’s 1984 business classic remains a must-read for executives and managers at every level, featuring straight-talking advice you’ll never hear in business school. The New York Times best seller was #1 for 21 weeks in a row. Relating his proven method of “applied people sense” in key chapters on sales, negotiation, reading others and yourself, and executive time management, McCormack presents powerful real-world guidance. It surely can become your business Bible. Here are 3 key lessons from the book: 

  1. Being interested is better than being interesting

Think of all the wins you’ve had as a business owner, and how many of them are because of a relationship you’ve struck. Business isn’t as much about graphs and statistics as it is about relationships. Creating these relationships are key. Listening to your colleagues and to others is a great way to build these relationships and network properly.

Don’t just stand quietly until it is your turn to talk. Listening is an active task, not a passive one.

     2. Everyone gets rejected, use rejection to make you stronger

Imagine you’re trying to sell something. You really want a positive response and you’re negotiating your way towards a deal. It’s sometimes at this very moment that you can feel something’s off, that something’s not right. Do you stop? Or do you press on? You have to learn to trust these feelings of doubt. It’s OK to feel uncomfortable and put the brakes on, especially when you know you’re selling something valuable; it’s a perfectly understandable response. If you don’t feel right, or if you sense an unpleasant tone in someone’s voice, that’s fine. Come back another day when the timing is better. Just think of those uncomfortable sensations of rejection and failure. Some people let those feelings interfere when they’re selling a product; instead, you can use them to boost your endeavors. 

McCormack says that everyone hates rejection and failure – there’s no denying it. But when it comes to rejection in business, it’s rarely personal. It’s about the product you’re selling.

     3. Take some time for self-care (and enjoyment)


Manage work and play with an organized yet achievable schedule, and don’t deviate from it. Be sure to allocate sufficient time for your activities; in other words, be realistic, not optimistic. Meetings, writing emails or visiting a client always take longer than you think, so don’t be stingy. Allocate more time than you think you need, so that you have a buffer if anything goes astray.Business can be cut-throat, and all-encompassing. It is also a marathon, not a sprint. You’ll be needed tomorrow, so look after yourself. Schedule time to do what you enjoy doing.


Don’t have time to read the full book? Get smarter in just 15 mins and read our Insights and Key Takeaways from What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School. 




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