You need both.
Whether in life or business or your relationships.
To be kind.
Extremely kind. Like a bottle of chilled water on a sunny afternoon.
And to be ruthless.
Ruthless in your negotiations. In been bold. In closing deals. In dealing with employees and employers. In dealing with associates and friends and enemies.
For our purpose, ruthlessness is not cruelty. It means you recognize what you want and you go for it all in, not allowing any force or lack of it to stand in your way.
It means acting dumb if dumbness gets you the trust. Or walking into the building like you’re the owner if confidence gets you the deal.
Mobs and former mobs have something valuable about navigating through business and professional life with ruthlessness.
They operate(d) in a system where you have to guard your space with every mustard seed you’ve got in your brain.
A system where the very moment you ascend; your lieutenants are on the move to replace you.
A system where there’s no space for weaknesses, flaws, and indecisiveness.
The Mafia Manager is one of such books that gathers, as the author, V puts it, the knowledge and precepts of the ruthless bosses whose genius at organization and management contributed far more profitability and growth than did the brute strength.
The bedrock secret of success can be summarized as this: Find a place in the system where you manage others. To find such a place, if you start with no inherited wealth, you must be more intelligent, ambitious, and vigorous than your competition.
Once you find your place, you must be able to keep it, defend it against attack from your rivals, and improve upon it. Many will contend for your place because such places reward the holder inordinately. To hold it, you must be clearheaded – and (again) ruthless.
Dig through the book, you’ll find several pieces of pins on managing yourself and others. V’s pieces of wisdom aren’t traditional ones. They’re the ones that contain zero ounces of fat whatsoever.
The ones that tell you to keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer. That tell you there’s plenty of rooms at the top, though never enough to sit down.
Now, Listen to V…
- If you’re going to walk on water, you have to know where the rocks are.
2. If you must lie, be brief.
3. Boldness in business is the first thing – and the second – and the third.
4. Make plans as complex as necessary, but give simple orders.
5. The best armor is to keep out of range.
6. He is a fool that cannot conceal his wisdom.
7. To finish sooner, take your time.
8. If the only tool you have is a hammer, all problems look like nails.
9. The wife of a careless man is almost a widow.
10. If you are the anvil, be patient; if you are the hammer, strike.
11. The wrong choice usually seems more reasonable.
12. For peace, be ready for war.
13. To deceive an enemy, pretend you fear him.
14. The future is purchased with the present.
15. Misfortune always comes in by the door that has been left open for them.
16. Calm water may conceal sharks.
Treat a stranger as a friend, but trust him as you would a stranger.
Let your adversary talk. When he is finished, let him talk some more.
Victories are always temporary; so are defeats.
After a victory, sharpen your knife.
Do business with strangers as if they were brothers, and with brothers as if they were strangers.
Work smarter, not harder. Get others to do as much as they can for you.
Give trouble makers the most risky assignments and let them prove or disprove their worth.
Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer.
There’s plenty of room at the top – though never enough to sit down.
Every rule is an arbitrary border waiting to be crossed by adventurous people.
Winning is not the best thing; it is the only thing.
Always assume an opponent is lying. The acid test as to whether he is or not being – who benefits?
Opportunity makes the thief; the thief who has no opportunity to steal considers himself an honest man.
Promise little, deliver much.
The only way to keep a secret is to say nothing.
Better to cut the shoe than pinch the foot.
Open your mouth and your wallet cautiously.
Study the conventional wisdom, then shun it.
Often you lose the bait when you catch the fish. This is a necessary loss.
Don’t pluck a green apple; when it ripens it will fall off itself.
Don’t use both feet to test the depth of the river.
It takes a thousand blows to drive a nail in the dark.