Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Success Books - Sandy Weill "The Real Deal" Part 1

Sandy Weill, former chairman of Citigroup, the word’s largest bank, is one of the foremost businessmen of our age. I am in the early part of his autobiography The Real Deal: My Life in Business and Philanthropy. Here are some of the success factors Sandy demonstrates:

Be disciplined or become disciplined

Sandy was an excellent young tennis player and also spent some years in a military academy. Many successful people acquire discipline through sports, or through an experience int he military . Discipline helps you look past nearby obstacles towards the success of the mission, and teaches you to stay motivated during setbacks. Often, in sports and life, a concentration on “fundamentals” yields more than more “fancy” ideas.

Be where the action is

In other success books such as “How to Attract Good Luck” and "High Visibility" it is shown again and again that to be successful you need to go where the “action” is in your field. If you want to do movies, you need to be in Hollywood. If you want to be in brokerage (like Sandy Weil) you have to be on Wall Street.

Be in an expanding field

Sandy Weil noted how busy the brokerage office looked as he passed it on the street. If your field is expanding, you have the “wind at your back”. If the field you are in doesn’t “look busy” there will be more difficulty making a success. For instance, now might not be a very good time to go into making photographic film, or Apple II-e expansion boards .

Conservation of Capital = Opportunity

Again and again, whether it be Warren Buffet or Wal-Mart, the great businessmen know how to conserve capital. Whether at home or on business, when Sandy Weil started out, he knew it was more beneficial to be tough on expenses. By keeping his balance sheet conservative, his ability to pursue opportunities was expanded. If you have no capital, or if you have bad cash flow, you are never going to be able to: buy a home, buy a business, quit your job, expand your operations, etc.

Don’t cut off your nose….

Early in his career, Weil was faced with the possible departure of several of his best employees. He knew he was a lot better off with them than without them so he found a way to meet some of their demands. Don’t be too proud to keep your best people!!!

Part 2 of this review

Part 3 of this review

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Jamie Dimon

Jack Welch

Warren Buffett

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