Winning at the Sport of Business

Screen Shot 2012-11-28 at November 28, 2012 10.56.34 AMNo, I don't have a man-crush on hunky billionaire Mark Cuban. Yes, this is the second post in a row I'm writing about him, but that's entirely coincidental. Just ask my dog, Maverick (the Dog Formerly Known as Hercules).

When I read his blog post slamming the business value of Facebook last week, I noticed in the sidebar he had written a book, cleverly titled, How to Win at the Sport of Business. It was only $2.99! I couldn't believe that I could get advice on how I, too, could grow up and be a billionaire for only $2.99. That was an offer I couldn't pass up. So I bought and downloaded it to the Kindle software on my iPad (yes, it's an ebook).

I will give my review here, but I should first point out that when I went to the Ganxy website that sold his book, it magically became $4.99. I assumed this was my first lesson on becoming a billionaire, which I will implement immediately with all my products.

The book is short, like a good ebook should be. In Kindle it's only 98 pages with large type, so it's fast reading. Cuban's style is very conversational, so it's easy to read. I sat down after work and finished before dinner.

The book is terrific and I highly recommend you read it. Cuban's advice is down-to-earth and practical. Yes, he falls into the predictable trap of, "If there is an overriding theme, it is my wish for you to recognize that if I can become the luckiest person in the world, then with a little bit of work, and yes some luck, you can give me a run for my money for the title." I'm sure he honestly feels that way, but I think all billionaires had a little more than "some luck."

You should still read it. Even more important (or is it "importantly?" I hate adverbs), you should make anybody under the age of 30 read it, especially students. Cuban shares awesome advice on how to approach early jobs. I wish I had this book when I was still in college. I might have to go back and start over.

For example, Cuban shares how he saw his first few jobs as learning opportunities, not career starters.

"In every job, I would justify in my mind, whether I loved it or hated it, that I was getting paid to learn and every experience would be of value when I figured out what I wanted to do when I grew up."

He also stresses the importance of life-long education.

"Most people won't put in the time to get a knowledge advantage. Sure, there were folks that worked hard at picking up every bit of information that they could, but we were few and far between."

Of course, I'm sure one of the reasons I like this book is so much of how Cuban's philosophy is a lot like mine — "Creating opportunities means looking where others are not," for example. (Apparently, he did a better job of implementing this.) But he's got plenty of other perspectives that can still push my little brain outside its comfort zone — "Being focused at 21 is way overrated. Now is the time to screw up, to try as many different things as you can and just maybe figure things out." I think that might still carry a lot of truth for a 61-year old. 

I've always carried a list of people I'd like to have a drink with in my head. People like Stan Freberg, Melvin James Kaminsky, Steve Jobs, Sally Ride, Mary Meeker, Zig Ziglar, Jack Nicklaus, and Tosh.0. Some I have met. Some, obviously, won't happen now. I think I'd like to add Cuban's name to that list. I'd definitely have some questions I'd like to ask.

Read the book and then make sure every young person you know reads it, too. I'm going to make sure Kelly reads it.