How to Win at the Sport of Business
How to Win at the Sport of Business:
If I Can Do It, You Can Do It
by Mark Cuban
I love the TV show “Shark Tank”. When I started doing these book reviews, I knew that the books written by the Sharks would be near the top of my list to read and review. So it was natural for me to pick up a copy of “How to Win at the Sport of Business” to give it a gander.
Right off the bat, Mark Cuban lets the reader know how the book is structured. A lot of the business books I have reviewed have been written in a story format, where the author told their story and the insights they were giving were incidental to the story. Mark decided to simply curate some of his most popular blog posts and put them together in a book. Mark did give them some order as the first blog posts were primarily about before he had found major success and the later ones are more about how he runs his businesses now. But readers should not expect a smooth story format.
Many of the lessons from Mark are explicit, such as his Twelve Cuban Rules for Startups. Some are less obvious, like the one found in the very first paragraph. Mark starts off dreaming about being rich. He used to do what many people have done, which is to drive by big houses and dream about living there, thinking about what the occupants do, and how they became successful. But Mark did more than dream. He read. Mark says, “I read books about successful people. In fact, I read every book or magazine I could get my hands on.” In this fast-paced digital world, sometimes the importance of reading is sometimes overlooked. Later on, Mark says that he generally reads three hours a day. If you are daydreaming about being rich and wondering what rich people do, wonder no longer. They read. Imagine how much you could read if you cancelled your subscription to Netflix or Hulu and instead got a library card to your local library or subscribe Amazon Prime and use their book service.
But I digress. Mark is a big proponent of education, something he stresses over and over. He doesn’t necessarily recommend going back to school for an MBA or anything like that. He does advocate for continuing your education outside of school by reading and by learning from the School of Life. Mark himself worked a variety of jobs doing everything from selling powdered milk to selling software. The difference between Mark and most other people is that Mark intentionally found something to learn from every job, even the ones he hated. The problem with many people is that they drift through life with no real plan or purpose. Working difficult or boring jobs is a part of life. But you can decide whether to just show up and burn time at your job or you can, as Mark puts it, get “paid to learn.” Instead of paying for a degree at a university, get an L.I.F.E. degree by getting paid to learn.
Overall, this book is a good one to read for anyone aspiring to be an entrepreneur. It’s not necessarily a book I would recommend reading straight through, but one to read a chapter here or there or to keep for reference. My main takeaway from this is the importance of continuing your education, especially along non-traditional lines. Read a book every week. Figure out what you can learn from your current job. Once you have learned all you can, find a new job where you can learn something new or strike out on your own. Do everything with purpose instead of just drifting with the currents and perhaps you will find similar success as Mark Cuban has.
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