If not friends, then better enemies
Lessons from books
I read a lot of books and thanks to audio books, I can now listen to at least 2 to 3 books a week.
Many people might wonder how and why I listen or read so many books. It is very simple, I look for inspiration in these books. I don’t just listen or read them, I also make notes. You can do the same in several ways. In the gym, whilst walking or during your very quiet times or in your car or on the way to work. There are countless opportunities to learn.
Knowledge buried in books
My belief is that buried in many of the ancient books are great messages that can resonate with us. Some of the smartest people that ever lived tried to leave messages for those coming behind. These people have lived their lives and at some points will realise that the knowledge and experience gained will be of no use to the rest of us unless they pass on their experiences. At that point, they have nothing to lose.
Not all the messages will be relevant to us, but there are some diamonds in books that only a few will find. These are parables and words of wisdom, they are some of the greatest lessons. The bible and the Koran have some great lessons, books like “As a man thinketh” or the “Richest man in Babylon” are still as relevant today as when they were written.
I am not only thinking of old books though, there are also modern books that people write about their lives and experiences. Why do I want to have a bad experience when I can learn from other people’s mistakes?. It is not just about being afraid of taking risks, it is about being smarter and willing to stand on the shoulders of giants. That is what progress is all about.
In my previous blog, I wrote about some lessons from the Rapper; 50 cents a.k.a. Curtis Jackson in his book “ Hustle harder; hustle smarter”. This is an incredible insight into the mind of a great business man. Yes, of course 50 admitted to selling drugs and hustling his way through life. He made and lost a lot of money. He was an incredible show off and at a point was dishing out money like candy. My job is not to judge the man’s conduct but to learn from his experience. There is a lesson to be learned here. I have never walked in the man’s shoes. What would I have done if I lost my mother at the age of 8? Or if the only way my mother made money was through selling drugs or lived in a neighbourhood where i had to avoid being shot at on the way to school?. I remember listening to some of the lyrics of his songs, if you are still not convinced of the talent of the man, here is a song from him “In da club”
What I learned
Anyway, another strategy I picked up from the book is the way the mind of the man works. How do you get an influencer like Oprah Winfrey to take note of you? Oprah has interviewed some of the most successful people in the world and 50 wanted a piece of that, but he knew there was no way that with his image, he was ever going to get on her show. He obviously wanted to be invited to put his case across to Oprah’s audience, but he stood no chance. So, 50 postulated that the best option is always to be friends with other people, but if that is not possible, then being enemies with them is a close second. It provides for passion. Rivalry may not necessarily be a bad thing. So, if Oprah was not going to be friends with him, then he may as well attack her. In that way Oprah will have no option but to take note. For 50, there is nothing in between.
The strategic thinker
The strategy worked as Oprah did take note. Oprah’s influential best friend approached 50 at an event and asked why 50 disliked Oprah. In the end, a meeting was arranged and Oprah ended up interviewing 50 and the rest is history. Is there a lesson here?, absolutely. If you don’t want to be friends with me, let us be enemies at least that way, there is some passion going on rather than some lukewarm none event. There is no chance of ‘frenemies’ with people like 50.
Definitely a good read. I didn’t want to read the book at first, but I ended up not being able to put it down. We must never stop learning, even from those that we may initially believe we do not have things in common with.
Are there other lessons from the book for further research? You bet. I learned about the story of Soichiro Honda, founder of Honda motors, about Rene Lacoste, the tennis player as well as the the rivalry between the Envo Ferrari and Furruccio Lamborghini, the founders of the famous Italian car manufacturers. These are great stories for another day and time.
Great lessons from the entrepreneurs of the past.