Book Club #5: How to Win at the Sport of Business, by Mark Cuban

Mark CubanMark Cuban is a man who needs no introduction.  He’s best known today as one of the sharks in the ABC Emmy-award-winning series, Shark Tank, but most people don’t know that in 2011 he managed to pen a thin book called How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can do It, You Can do It.

At 73 pages, it’s not a hefty read and is worth your time.  But we’ll give you a couple nuggets of wisdom he shares in order to nudge you towards picking up a copy.

Getting Paid to Learn

In every job, I would justify it 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 be when I grew up.”

This is an attitude that everyone in our society could really use more of.  Instead of disdaining jobs and possibilities as “beneath them,” people could enjoy the journey more, realizing that they were being paid to learn.

What is he always asking himself?

Always ask yourself how someone could preempt your products or service.  How can they put you out of business?  Is it price?  Is it service?  Is it ease of use?

While it’s astonishing to see someone who wears t-shirts with 3 commas on them (to signify he’s a billionaire) be so dogged about continuing to grow, these points are all valid.  They belie a fundamental paranoia that Cuban tries to preach often on Shark Tank: imagine someone is coming for everything you have.

Why he might not invest in you…

The reality is that most businesses, they don’t need more cash, they need more brains.”

Mark always talks about how much he loves “grinders.”  This is because he believes that it’s okay to grow slowly.  He feels that cash can “make you stupid” at times and it’s the thinking you do when you’re the leanest that can often be the most creative.

There are plenty of great stories and other memorable lessons in the book.  You can find a copy of it here.

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