I just finished reading Am I Being Too Subtle? by Sam Zell. The title and the first page or so made me think this was going to be a book about an overbearing, rude, and self centered Billionaire. Rather, I found a funny, kind hearted, detail oriented man who was more concerned about performance than looks. He was more concerned about transparency, honesty and character than just making a quick buck.
Sam is a great story teller, and I think a lot of that comes from living so fully. He’s had a wild ride in business and in life, and he shares many of the stories openly, both the wins and the losses. This wasn’t a book about “look how great I am”, or a cheap “rah rah” session. Sam seemed genuine in his desire for the reader to take something away, and to make something better of themselves.
I recommend this book.
A few of my favorite quotes:
“If you’re really good at what you do, you have the freedom to be who you really are”
“I just had to assume there was a way through any obstacle, and I’d find it”
“If you’ve got a big downside and a small upside, run the other way. If you’ve got a big upside and a small downside, do the deal. Always make sure you’re getting paid for the risk you take, and never risk what you cannot afford to lose. Keep it simple. A scenario that takes four steps instead of one, means there are three additional opportunities to fail.”
“When you are hungry for experience, you just get to do more.”
“I think it was Confucius who said ‘the definition of a schmuck is someone who reached his goals’. It is up to me to keep moving the end zone and go for greatness.”