It’s not Security Analysis, Intelligent Investor, Business Adventures, or any of the other books entrepreneurs read. It’s not a how to book, it’s not an accounting book, it’s a memoir. When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead by Jerry Weintraub has been my favorite indirect business book. Jerry Weintraub was one of the world’s most successful producers in history. His memoir is inspiring and his journey gives anyone who reads it the blueprint to success. It’s all about not quitting.
The greatest lessons are in this book.
People will pay you to make their lives easier; always take the time to make the pitch; personal service is the name of the game; never get paid once for doing something twice.
As soon as you feel comfortable, it is time to start over.
Always tell the truth.
Set yourself apart, it will make you interesting, and interesting is valuable.
“I was know in a position to see how the company really worked, how the deals were really made, how a contract was negotiated, how the terms were reached, how the points were traded and the deal closed, but the more I observed, the more I realized how much I already knew… Bronx, street-corner stuff.”
After a few years of working with Wasserman I felt I learned all I was going to learn and was ready to move on.
I was tired of being a cog in another man’s machine.
Strike now, ask questions later. Pull the trigger, ask permission/forgiveness later.
You’re the public face of your business. First impressions matter. “Kept in good suits and luxury, as our potential clients would judge the health of the company by my appearance. I bought myself a Rolls Royce and hired a driver though I could not afford them. I figured it was all about appearance, perception, as the man who rides in style often rides away with the big contract.”
Dreamed about something and went for it. “I’m going to present Elvis Presley… I dug up a number of colonel Parker and got him on the phone. Hello Colonel this is Jerry Weintraub and I want to take Elvis on tour… [No, hangs up]…” “If there is one piece of advice I can give to young people, to kids trying to break out of brooklyn and Kankakee, it’s this: persist, push, hang on, keep going, never give up. When the man says no, pretend you can’t hear him. Look confused, stammer, say ‘Huh?’ Persistence–it’s a cliche, but it happens to work.
The person who makes it is the person who keeps going after everyone else has quit. This is more important than intelligence, pedigree, even connections. Be dogged! Keep hitting that door until you bust it down!
Jerry called the Colonel every day for months and months. I did not flip him in the course of one of those calls, but I planted my name so deep in his brain he would never forget it.
Be a man of your word. Be a handshake kinda guy (always have everything on paper but be a handshake guy).
“When I have a partner, I have a partner”– Colonel Parker
“I need to sit with a person, to watch him, read his hands and eyes, see if he is as excited as I am, If I’m coming across.
These are lessons you need to thrive in life. Nothing more. Don’t worry too much about discounting cash flows, financing strategies, synergies, and all the other B.S. they try to scare you with. The more you’re not afraid to pull the trigger, make mistakes, take risks, and learn from these risks the sooner you will succeed. Jerry Weintraub lived a life of challenges from where he was born, to discrimination he faced, etc. Yet, like many of the greats, he kept pushing forward till he succeeded. Always tell the truth, don’t be scared of the truth. When you’re starting to get comfortable, pivot. Set yourself apart and always be selling. Basic of business is all you need. When you have a partner, be a partner. Don’t be afraid of making a call, sitting down with someone, be a handshake guy. Strike now and ask questions later. First impressions matter.