Do you talk to yourself? If you do, writes Harvey Mackay in his new book, The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World, you’re more likely to succeed. By talking to yourself, you keep yourself motivated, you can think through and map out your thoughts and you can give yourself feedback. As a young salesman in his mid-20s trying to launch his own envelope company, Mackay would constantly give himself pep talks. “I had to, in order to keep alive my dream of owning my own company,” he writes. “I had plenty of ups, many downs, and needed all the encouragement I could get. And it wasn’t always coming from other sources!”
In 82 short chapters, Mackay, an entrepreneur, speaker and author of best-selling books such as Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive, offers a lifetime of advice that stretches far beyond selling. The title is in fact a bit misleading: Mackay’s new book is as much an MLA — master’s of life administration — as anything else.
Optimism, Rejection and Other Lessons
The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World is divided in seven sections, which cover such topic areas as perseverance and attitude, visualizing, dealing with adversity, connecting with others, and “You.”
There is much in the book that may sound familiar, whether Mackay is talking about the power of enthusiasm, the fact that winners don’t quit after early setbacks or that you need to believe in your dreams. Whether familiar or unexpected, however, each piece of advice is supported, informed and enlivened with compelling anecdotes, funny but revealing stories, inspiring quotes and, often, how-to lists. Each chapter ends with a “Mackay’s Moral” that summarizes the core thought of the chapter.
In a chapter on the power of attitude, for example, Mackay describes post-tornado news footage of a man standing by his car, which had been crushed by a tree. The man was smiling, waving at people driving by and holding a sign that read “new-style compact car.” Mackay ends with his more lighthearted “moral”: “Keep your eye on the doughnut and not on the hole.”
A chapter on how to let go of rejection includes a bulleted list of how-tos, among them:
Analyze your thoughts. Don’t overreact with too much negativity that’s unwarranted.
Identify realistic fears. Who can reject you, and how do you overcome their objections?
Focus on the moment. Learn to move through both ups and downs. Don’t wallow.
Be more assertive. Don’t base your self-esteem on others’ opinions.
Additional advice and anecdotes are distributed throughout the chapters in callout “Quickie” sections. Finally, most of the sections end with a list of inspiring or thought-provoking quotes that Mackay calls “Fortune Cookies.”
Mackay suggests that readers “snack on this book and dip into its lessons regularly and at random.” This is good advice. Either look in the index for an intriguing chapter title, or simply open the book: There is bound to be an inspiring or compelling story, anecdote or quote to take away.
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