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By age 24, charming mob boss Michael Franzese was one of the wealthiest people on Fortune magazine's survey. As one of the rare people who quit the mob and lived to tell about it, Franzese has a unique perspective on how business is done. And one thing he noticed was that the way he made millions per week in business inside the mob can ...
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By age 24, charming mob boss Michael Franzese was one of the wealthiest people on Fortune magazine's survey. As one of the rare people who quit the mob and lived to tell about it, Franzese has a unique perspective on how business is done. And one thing he noticed was that the way he made millions per week in business inside the mob can be applied to doing business outside the mob (minus the illegal part):
"Anyone who sells the mob short when it comes to its ingenuity, its ability to connect with people from all walks of life, and its substantial profit margins is simply kidding themselves." This book promises a mob's eye view of business that will change the way you see business forever.
Most people don't like reading long quotes. Indulge me:
CRIME PAYS. Annual gross income from the rackets will probably exceed $50 billion this year. That makes the mob's business greater than all U.S. iron, steel, copper, and aluminum manufacturing combined, or about 1.1% of GNP. These figures, compiled for the President's Commission on Organized Crime, include only revenues from traditional mob businesses, such as narcotics, loan-sharking, illegal gambling, and prostitution. They do not include billions more brought in from the mob's diversification into such legitimate enterprises as entertainment, construction, trucking, and food and liquor wholesaling.... The organization chart of a crime family or syndicate mirrors the management structure of a corporation. At the top of the pyramid is a boss, or chief executive. Below him are an underboss (chief operating officer) and a consigliore (general counsel). Then follow the ranks of capos (vice presidents) and soldiers (lower level employees who carry out the bosses' orders). Like corporations, crime groups often rely on outside consultants.... Consultants are almost as popular with organized crime families as they are with corporations. These special counselors—lawyers, labor experts, and political advisors—shuttle between members of the mob and moviemakers, hotel and casino operators, owners of professional sports franchises, corporate chief executives, and public officeholders...."
Organized crime, a $50 billion annual industry? Revenues greater than U.S. Steel? Consultants, lawyers, and labor experts? A business structure similar to a major corporation?
Tony Soprano, what the heck happened to you?
No doubt about it: The information presented to the President's Commission on Organized Crime paints a far different picture of the mob's business operations than the one portrayed by Tony's sometimes inept crew of not-so-merry "made men."
How do I know? I was a capo in the Colombo crime family when the commission made its report in the 1980s. I can tell you firsthand that Tony and his men may be entertaining, but they miss the mark when it comes to the mob's extensive and complex business dealings. Not to mention that if a real mob boss was caught pouring out his heart to some sexy psychiatrist, you can bet he'd end up in the trunk of a car by the end of the week. At the latest. We didn't reveal our secrets to outsiders, not about business, not about anything. That would be considered a breach of confidence. And breaches of confidence are not tolerated in "the life," more commonly known as La Cosa Nostra, translated from Italian as "this thing of ours."
Business in "the Life"
Fortune magazine covered the Commission's report. It was 1986, and the editors ranked the fifty biggest mob bosses in terms of wealth and power—like the Fortune 500 for wise-guys. I was one of the mobsters featured in the twelve-page spread. At thirty-five years of age, I held the distinction of being the youngest mobster to make the list. I ranked just five slots below John Gotti. The "Dapper Don" himself was ranked number thirteen, and that was after he allegedly orchestrated the infamous rubout of Gambino family boss "Big Paul" Castellano.
The reporter devoted a full page to summarizing the various operations I controlled and the intricate business scams I was alleged to have masterminded.
I had interests in labor unions, construction, entertainment, and sports. I ran numbers, bookmaking, and loan-sharking operations. I operated auto dealerships and repair shops. I had interests in nightclubs, restaurants, and catering halls. I controlled bankers and accountants. I had vice presidents and CEOs of major corporations on my payroll. I even dabbled in the stock market. And I was the boss of what proved to be the most lucrative enterprise the mob had seen since Prohibition, the wholesale gasoline business (more about that later).
My operation was pulling in $6 to $8 million a week, give or take a mil. Vanity Fair called me "one of the biggest money earners the mob had seen since Al Capone." Tom Brokaw called me a "prince of the mafia, as rich as royalty." I wonder if Jack Welch would have hired me to run a division of GE, or if I could have gone all the way and survived a season of Trump's The Apprentice. Oh, well. Life can sometimes be an endless string of blown opportunities.
My dad was happy. Sonny Franzese, my father, was the underboss of the Colombo family. He proposed my membership into the family. At the time, he was serving fifty years in the federal pen for a phony bank-robbery rap. But he was real proud of me as I shot up through the mob ranks, generating money from the streets in the way that Michael Milken was generating money from his junk bonds. Back then, and especially when he was out on parole,we—the mob's elder statesman and its young rising star—were quite the team to be reckoned with.
And there was a reckoning.
Calling It Quits
Former Manhattan U.S. attorney Rudolph Giuliani was the first G-Man to take a shot at me as a made man. He tried pinning a conviction for racketeering on me. Though Giuliani's office was stealing national headlines as the most aggressive gang-busting squad of G-Men since the days of the Southern District's own Thomas Dewey, I managed to beat the case.
Next came Ed McDonald and the Organized Crime Strike Force in Brooklyn. McDonald and his team of FBI special agents had a bull's eye on my back for years. Let me tell you: these guys were relentless. McDonald had managed to make quite a name for himself a few years earlier when he flipped Henry Hill and took down the guys allegedly involved in the infamous Lufthansa robbery at New York's Idlewild Airport (since rechristened JFK International Airport). His accomplishment was so lauded that he was later cast to play himself in the movie Goodfellas. McDonald assembled a massive fourteen-agency government team, the "Michael Franzese Task Force." They created a colored chart that outlined my business interests and needed twenty Magic Marker colors to isolate all my streams of income. It took them months to figure out my organization. But they finally linked it all up.
Toward the end of 1985, McDonald hit me and members of my crew with a twenty-eight-count, ninety-eight-page racketeering bombshell. The charges were the garden variety, things like loan sharking, extortion, wire fraud, and labor racketeering. The usual. I had a few additional charges that were unique to my own personal misdeeds, mainly those pertaining to my scheme to defraud Uncle Sam of a few billion dollars in gas-tax money.
It was a complicated scheme that involved a considerable amount of ingenuity to pull off. And it worked like a charm for years. Every gallon sold by the cartel I controlled cost the government thirty-five cents in unpaid taxes. And we sold a lot—a half billion gallons of bootleg gas every month at our peak. We had a near monopoly on independent gas stations in Northeastern and Atlantic seaboard states.
The irony of the scheme was that while the government treasury was being defrauded, the price of gas at the pump went down. With a thirty-five-cent advantage over our major branded competitors, we lowered our prices to the gas stations, which, in turn, lowered their prices to the consumer at the pump. I stole from the rich and passed on the savings to the consumer. A veritable modern-day Robin Hood! Of course, I made sure both myself and the Colombo Family took a healthy cut of the action in the middle.
The Department of Justice didn't consider our beneficiaries akin to the poor people of Sherwood Forest. The feds were onto us. It was only a matter of time before they squeezed cooperation out of an insider who would eventually bring me and the enterprise into a federal courtroom to answer charges. That day came on December 16, 1985, just three days before the Castellano hit. Having been indicted and tried four times previously by both state and federal law-enforcement agencies, and after never being convicted of anything, it appeared I would be squaring off with the feds for yet a fifth go-round, this time in a Brooklyn federal courthouse.
"You could beat this rap," I remember my lawyer saying. "We beat Giuliani; we can beat McDonald too."
But I didn't. I didn't try. I ended it. All of it. I decided to quit the mob. Easier said than done. How I managed to do that and live is covered in a previously written book.
Business Is Business
That was then. I did my time and no longer consider myself a member of organized crime, having renounced the blood oath I took more than thirty years ago when I was inducted into the Colombo crime family. I no longer engage in mob-related activities or run multimillion-dollar business operations. That chapter of my life is closed. Mostly.
For the purposes of this book, I want to pull out a few pages, specifically to share with you what I learned during the years I managed booming enterprises for the Colombo family.
Some of you might wonder what possible similarities there are between running a mob enterprise and operating a legitimate business. What can be taken from a mobster's approach to business that can prove beneficial in the straight workplace? After all, mob guys are criminals. They are in the "business" of crime (the operative word being "business").
Organized crime in America has been thriving for almost a century. It has raked in billions of dollars year after year through a plethora of lucrative endeavors—plenty of them clean as a whistle, or pretty close. The mob has extended its influence to almost every industry known throughout the United States, from the stodgy boardrooms of Manhattan, to the spine-tingling sound stages of Hollywood, to the revered halls of our nation's capital. Make no mistake about it. The mob has made its formidable presence known everywhere. Want proof? Just ask the Department of Justice and the various law-enforcement agencies throughout the country that have been trying for decades to strip the mob of its massive web of business interests.
I assure you, none of this has been accomplished by accident. To operate any business successfully, one must possess certain qualities and adhere to a certain philosophy critical to the success of that business. The men who run the business of organized crime are more than qualified to do so. Without ever earning a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, or a PhD, and in many cases without even graduating from high school, mobsters have managed to operate and dominate legitimate businesses having annual revenues in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Law enforcement will have you believe that this is accomplished through fear and intimidation, by using a gun and a lead pipe instead of PowerPoint and a spreadsheet. In some cases that's true, but in most cases I can tell you it's just not practical to wave a gun in the boardroom. And usually it's not even necessary. Anyone who sells the mob short when it comes to its ingenuity, its ability to connect with people from all walks of life, and its substantial profit margins is simply kidding themselves.
There is no doubt in my mind that many of the mob executives who succeeded in the business of organized crime would have been equally successful in the boardrooms and business offices of corporate America. Mob executives possess unique instincts, a "street sense" that isn't taught in the classrooms at Harvard or the Wharton School of Business. They're acquired through living a lifestyle where almost every day presents a challenge just to survive, where every friend is your potential enemy, where a board meeting just might prove to be your last encounter on earth. Mob executives whose bottom line is penciled in red ink don't get fired. They end up lying in something red. Blood. Their own. Hostile takeovers amount to either racketeering indictments and business seizures from raiders on the outside, or a bloody war waged from traitors within. That's bound to engender a certain knack for survival.
Don't get me wrong. Before we go any further, I want to make it crystal clear that in no way am I suggesting to the readers of this book or to anyone in general that they be involved in any kind of criminal activity, in or out of the workplace. Crime at any level has no place in our society, and I know that better than most. It's destructive, immoral, and harmful to innocent people.
And don't fool yourself: You cannot get away with criminal activity in this country. Not in the long run. For most people not in the short run either. Law enforcement is too sophisticated and has garnered too many technological and legal weapons to fight crime in the streets as well as in the boardrooms. My indictment, conviction, and imprisonment make this point all too well. The federal and state governments have beefed up their arsenals of crime-fighting weapons over the past twenty years, particularly in the area of white-collar crime. White-collar criminals no longer receive a slap on the wrist in a federal courthouse. These days they get hit with a swift, hard kick in the tuchas. After all the corporate scandals of the last few years and the financial meltdown of 2008, you can bet that trend will continue.
Often, it's when a corporate executive is least aware that eyes are on him or her. Just ask the boys from Enron and WorldCom who are donning orange cotton instead of Italian suits. Had Dennis Kozlowski been paying a little more attention, he might have figured out that people tend to notice six-thousand-dollar shower curtains. And Martha Stewart might have avoided an extended stay at the fed's country inn had she realized that the diva routine does not bode well with the all-powerful Department of Justice. A little humility on her end when facing the DOJ lawyers might have kept her cooking in the studio kitchen instead of planting seeds in the prison garden.
Finally, in no way is it my intent to glorify organized crime or the mobsters who run it—me included. I'm going to tell you how it is, but I'm also the first guy to tell you the life is bad, and that no one who chooses it should be held in high regard.
No Magic Formula
There is no shortage today of people willing to share their secret formulas for business success. Books on the subject are as plentiful as mob guys at the racetrack. Visit any airport bookstore and you are sure to see the latest offering from the likes of Donald Trump, telling you why he wants you to be rich, how to get rich, and how to find your way to the top. That's right: The Donald will share with you his best-kept secrets.
Well, here's a not-so-well-kept secret about The Donald, one that Trump has in common with a few other famous billionaires, like J. Paul Getty and Howard Hughes Jr. When they were coming up, these guys all inherited huge fortunes from their fathers. The senior Trump amassed a $400 million fortune, which was largely left to his children, forming the bulk of Donald Trump's wealth. Similar story for Getty. "While I did make money—and quite a bit of it—on my own, I doubt if there would be a 'Getty Empire' today if I had not taken over my father's thriving oil business after his death," he wrote in his autobiography. And Hughes? Dad created the fortune that Howard Jr. inherited at the age of eighteen. The company he created, the Hughes Tool Company, when taken public in 1972, earned Howard Hughes Jr. $150 million in one day.
There are exceptions, but a generous number of multimillionaires, including Bill Gates, got a head start from parents or grandparents. I am not taking anything away from their accomplishments. By all accounts, they were or are very intelligent entrepreneurs who worked hard and made the most of what advantages they were given. But let's be honest: it's hard to take a guy's word on success when his pop bankrolls him to the tune of a few hundred million. Besides, if a guy like Trump really had the secret, would he tell? Not even Tony, on his couch, would spill those beans.
So how do you make it? Trump says, "Everything in life is luck." Getty's closer: "Rise early, work hard, strike oil." Hard work and an early start to the day are helpful for success. I'll talk more about that later. Inheriting the substantial bankroll needed to dig for oil doesn't hurt either. And the success of any business is helped by a stroke of good luck, along with a few hundred million in inheritance. Hardworking, wealthy businesspeople seem to have all the luck.
Excerpted from I'LL MAKE YOU AN OFFER YOU CAN'T REFUSE by Michael Franzese Copyright © 2011 by Michael Franzese. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted May 6, 2009
Having had renounced the "blood oath" that bound him to a life of crime, Michael Franzese feels the urge to redeem himself and share with the reader some basic lessons he has extracted from his former life of running a "mob enterprise". Written from the colorful perspective of a former mob boss, the information in this book has an impact that reaches beyond the scope of the business sector. Drafted in an upbeat and motivational fashion, the suggestions on how to achieve success in the legitimate business world are general enough that they may be applied to life as well.
The book provides a brief and relevant background of the author's mobster activities and their demise as well as vivid real life anecdotes. In of themselves, his real life experiences are quite entertaining. It is ironic that we find some wise and surprisingly moral concepts in bettering one's life, such as honesty, accountability and sacrifice coming from a former mob source. Negative Machiavellian principals of deceit for the sake of expediency are rejected and exchanged for the morals of Solomon of the Proverbs. Furthermore, Franzese dispels some common myths about success in business as he explains that extensive experience and education are not essentials in succeeding in the business sector. Rather, he advocates integrity, common sense, advance planning, team work and hard work- things which anyone who has motivation can accomplish.
Hoping to salvage something good from his years as a criminal mob boss, Franzese presents the reader with one-of-a kind insight, via age old universal truths of morality and hard work- which are in of themselves powerful tools for personal success.
As a member of Thomas Nelson's Book Review Blogger program http://brb.thomasnelson.com/ I have reviewed this book and I would recommend this book for anyone interested in some advice for a positive business or leadership experience.
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Posted April 3, 2009
You could refuse to read Michael Franzese's book and not miss too much. The former mob boss's book of insider business tips has a few gems, but is overall full of common sense business tips that even I, a stay-at-home mom mostly removed from the business world, know. The small book contrasts a Machiavelli (the end justifies the means) and Solomon (integrity first) way of life/business, asking the reader to decide which way of life to choose. For this reason I would recommend the book to younger people. College age, or just-out-of-college readers would benefit more from this basic outline of the two world views (and the warnings of choosing poorly) more than one who is already established in the business world and has most likely already made their decisions about this. I did enjoy the stories of Franzese's former life as a mobster sprinkled in to illustrate the lessons of the book. (Although I must admit a few times he came across as quite arrogant.) I think I would really like to read his other books about how he quit the mob and lived to tell about it! I do appreciate the book's message of integrity. Everyone knows that moral corruption and greed are running rampant in today's business world. If anyone is inspired to do business in a moral, ethical way after reading this book then some good has come from it.
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Posted February 5, 2012
I am inviting you to see him. WHERE: First Colony Church of Christ, Sugarland, Texas. WHEN: 8:30 AND 11:15 Superbowl Sunday Patriots vs. Giants. 2012 I'll see you there! I hope! P.S. go GiantsWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 8, 2011
I looked forward to reading this book, yet once I started reading it, I kept putting it down. The cover of the book communicated something totally different than what was inside. Don't get me wrong, Franzese writes a lot about how he made the mob millions engaging in illegal commerce. But it comes across as, "Hey, kid! Look at me! I'm a made man!" It seems just a little too Scorsese. I kept looking around the room for Michael Corleone. This is a little book at 152 pages; it should have been easier to read. Franzese writes nothing in the early part of the book to make the reader care about learning the principles he lays out. There is something slimy about looking to a former mob boss to get business principles. Somehow, I can't see Joel Comm or Dan Cathy turning to this volume searching for nuggets of truth related to business. While I did not care for this book, I think I would enjoy reading Franzese's other books about life in the mob. The subject is always fascinating, as mystery envelopes anything related to organized crime. Without a doubt my favorite thing about this book was Thomas Nelson's experimental program, Nelsonfree! When you get the hardback version of the book, you also get access to a free ebook and an audio version of that book. I love this idea! I hope the Nelsonfree program extends to their other selections as well. I'm just bummed I had to learn about it with a book I couldn't bear to trudge through.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 7, 2009
I just finished the book I'll Make You An Offer You Can't Refuse: Insider Business Tips From A Former Mob Boss by Michael Franzese last night. I have to admit, it was a very good book. Now if you happen to be a Harvard Business School grad, this may not be for you. And, if you are looking for some in-depth business concepts discussed, then you should probably move along. If you are looking for an interesting read about someone who has lived on both sides of the law, was successful on both, and genuinely wants you to succeed within the boundaries of the law, this book is for you.
What you will get with this book: A comprehensive compare-and-contrast of the Machiavellian (mobster) way of conducting business vs. the wisdom of Solomon (fm the book of Proverbs). The author, Michael Franzese, discusses how he got ahead as a made man by following the way Machiavelli proposed in his works The Prince and other books. He contrasts this with the teachings of Solomon from the book of Proverbs, and shows how a legitimate business person can succeed. At the end of each chapter, the author summarizes his main points in tidy packages he called "Get the Message" which I appreciated.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Mr Franzese's book. It was entertaining, and I would recommend it to anyone, regardless of their interest in the world of business. It also made me curious to read his previous book about his life and how he was able to extricate himself from the mob.
Posted July 16, 2009
I thought Michael Franzese's new business book was the best business tip book I've ever read. Bar none.
And I'm not just saying that because he's a former mob boss either.
And I definitely know what I'm talking about. And even if I didn't I'd have to share my new favorite word learned from my favorite former mob boss: Fudgeaboutit!
Seriously. I really thought I'll Make You An Offer Your Can't Refuse: Insider Business Tips From a Former Mob Boss by Michael Franzese was terrific.
I know that I'm not your most educated sort of businessman, and maybe that's the sort of think-on-your-feet, street wise audience Franzese is looking for, but this book made a lot of big word definitions very small and palatable.
Like this adorable little phase describing the nature of a sitdown:
""Did that maraduke pay his vig? We gotta sit down." "Who we taking in the game tonight? We gotta sit down." "Where we gonna eat tonight? We gotta sit down." You get the picture. The sit-down is so ingrained in a made guys vocabulary, it caused one FBI agent listening in on a secretly installed bug to remark, "Do these guys ever decide anything standing up?""
Maybe describing a former mob boss as adorable isn't such a good idea. But his language is so cute.
After I stopped laughing I actually tried out Franzese's advice on my boss, SCV Business Journal Publisher, Ian Lamont.
In our next sitdown I was like a Mafioso on steroids. I was a sittin and sittin and sittin.
It worked! I'm still employed and I got what I wanted.
Maybe its because Franzese and Lamont are both from New York.
Oh well. Who knows? This California girl absolutely adored Franzese's book! I was so entertained.
And I have to tell you this title, published by Thomas Nelson is in a very different marketing campaign.
If you buy the hardback book, which retails for about $20, you also get an e-book and audio book download for free.
All you have to do is know the secret information that automatically arrives in your brain when you grab your bookstore receipt and click your heels three times.
Just kidding. It's a matter of following a few simple questions. - I don't want to get my legs broken - again.
So. Go get this fast read published by a Christian publisher and written by a former mob author and be as drop-dead impressed as I am.
On second thought. I better not say "drop dead."
Posted July 4, 2009
This is a book that you have read before if you have read any business advice books. It does however present the information in a way in which christian business people can relate without being overtly christian in its presentation. At times it read like scenes from The Godfather series, but it made its point. You either conduct your business from a Machiavellian point of view-
the end justifies the means; or from the point of view of the ancient Israelite king Solomon where integrity matters.
This book is a quick read and at times humorous. I give it an average rating.
Posted July 4, 2009
I recently read 'I'll Make You An Offer You Can't Refuse' by ex Mob Boss Michael Franzese as part of the Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers program. This book intrigued me for one reason, that fact that Franzese was once part of the mob! For one who loves the gangster movies like the Godfather, Good Fellas and even British films like Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, this book seemed to appeal as it would give a peak into the underworld of Organized Crime.
This book focuses on business principles Michael Franzese discovered, used and even abused while he was one of the leading Mob Bosses of the 1980's. These principles include following the wisest person ever to live, King Solomon; learning to use your brain before opening your mouth; mastering the art of a one on one conversation; doing business by the book; learning from your failures and keeping your integrity. Throughout the book Franzese gives illustrations of situations he had to deal with during his time as a mob boss. These situations even though on the extreme scale of the business spectrum provides good (and humorous to the reader) insight to someone in business, in leadership or thinking about starting in a new endeavour.
Throughout the book Franzese is very evident trying to reassure the reader he is no longer part of mob life and has gone 'straight'. However, it is clear that Franzese was at one time a big time player and he illustrates this by referring to an article 'Fortune' magazine published in 1986 called, 'The fifty biggest mob bosses' of which Franzese was number 18.
Some may think that life in the mob is very different from life in business but this book gives more than enough evidence that the same principles that worked in the mob will work even better in a legitimate business. The author quotes many times from the father of the proverb, King Solomon and these proverbs give more than insight into how to conduct yourself in the business world. One of these proverbs he used in the chapter called, 'Use Solomon's Solution', to give an example of how one must work hard in business was, 'Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor' (p46).
One of my favorite chapters was, 'Master the art of the sit down' where a story is told about a business deal with maggot invested chickens. This was a story straight out of the Soprano's itself. It was funny, interesting yet the principles learned were a treasure to hold on to.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants an enjoyable read. Especially those who are interested in gangster movies. On a more serious note, if many businesses today had worked with these principles I am sure many would not find themselves in position they do not want to be in. This is a business book for the self employed right through to the CEO of a multinational company. I would not say this book changed my life, but it is a book I will not forget and one that does inspire me to push forward in my endeavours in the future.
Posted June 13, 2009
Have you ever thought about starting a business only to back down because you think you won't know what to do? Well in I'll Make You An Offer You Can't Refuse by the former mob boss Michael Franzese he teaches you tips and tricks of the game he learned while in the mob. He informs you on hiring employees you can trust, learn from your past mistakes, having information before making decisions, and much, much more.
When he was let out of jail he decided to leave the mafia, taking all his good information with him, and now you can learn all of it by picking up this book! He's redeemed himself and is now making millions legally, and you can too! If your in business, thinking about starting a business, or even learning about business this book will help you get out ahead of everyone!
Posted June 12, 2009
Michael Franzese used to be in the mob. He was pretty successful in his Mafia business dealings, but eventually the life caught up with him (he says that's the case for all mobsters) and he went to prison. Franzese doesn't get into the reasons he decided to leave the mob, but he did and now makes a living writing books and as a motivational speaker. I'll Make You an Offer You Can't Refuse compares life in the mob to working in a legitimate business. Franzese uses the philosophies of Machiavelli and Solomon to get his point across. At the end of each chapter is a summary of the advice, which is really handy to come back to.
Since I really don't know anything about the Mafia, I enjoyed learning more through the comparison to the business world. Some of the tips are simply common sense, but the stories still make for an interesting read. In Chapter Seven he shares insight about how gambling affects legitimate businesses negatively by giving examples of those who have met their downfall because of a gambling addiction. Those real life examples come throughout the book, which makes it easy to understand how all of these tips apply. The mob stories were especially intriguing!
Reading this made me interested in Franzese's other books, Quitting the Mob and Blood Covenant; I'd like to know more about what made him change his life. I'm glad I selected this book through Thomas Nelson's Book Review Blogger program (http://brb.thomasnelson.com/).
Posted June 2, 2009
This book is about a former mob boss, Michael Franzese, who was able to leave the mafia and live to tell about how his experiences as an outlaw helped him make important business decisions. Although Michael does not glorify mafia life, he does provide information you can use in business.
One very important thing you can learn about "the life" is how to master the art of a sit-down. A sit-down is where most decisions are made for everything involving the life. In business we have another name for sit-downs.meetings.
Two people that Michael often quotes in this book are King Solomon and Nicolo Machiavelli. Most people involved in the mafia life like thinking of Machiavelli as their guide in whatever it is they do on a daily basis in business; Machiavelli was famous for promoting the "whatever it takes" idea. In other words, do whatever needs to be done in order to obtain the desired results.
After reading this book, the message I took away was that although you might have done some things you regret in the past, there is always a chance to change your ways.
Posted May 3, 2009
I'll Make You an Offer You Can't Refuse
Insider Business Tips from a Former Mob Boss (Nelson Free) Jacketed Hardcover By Michael Franzese
I choose this book for my husband to read because he is a fan of Mob movies and books. Also, I was curious as to how this book ended up in the hands of Thomas Nelson.
Here is what my husband had to say about this book .
I like this book because of the simplicity of the business practices that were used by the Mob in running a successful business. It is like reading a book about good versus evil, where good always triumphs over the latter.
Each technique is talked about and demonstrated by the Mob and how this same principle is used with successful business men today. It uses the comparisons of Machiavelli a sixteenth-century Italian philosopher and King Solomon of the Bible.
As a business man myself, I have always been challenged to be profitable. This book outlines good character practices viewed as one that takes the low road and the one that takes the high road with both being successful in their world. However, in the end, crime doesn't pay - just ask Michael Franzese.
Posted April 24, 2009
As a capo in the Colombo crime family, Michael Franzese operated businesses that generated millions of dollars each week. Then he left that life behind. After turning his life around and serving time, he now helps teach others how to run legitimate businesses.
I really didn't know what I was going to think about this book before I read it. I must say that it has a different perspective from any business book I have read. The principles Michael lays out are simple and sound, but the perspective he brings is compelling. I found the personal stories interesting and informative. While none of the ideas are ones I haven't heard before, the new perspective reinforced them in a different light. The book is well thought out and an interesting read. I would definitely recommend it to anyone. And I'm not just saying that because the author used to be a crime boss.
Posted April 11, 2009
Well I am refusing this offer. This book is definitely not for me.
While the Proverbs sections are good, I have no interest in reading about the criminal mind or what they might do instead.
I was in business for many years and one might think the information would appeal to me, but no, no, no.
I am happy that the writer has found a new life. I am glad he has changd his lifestyle.Maybe it's just because I am a gal that this is not for me.
I have passed the book along to other business folks, (male this time). No doubt their review might be very different. I hope so. I have enjoyed all my reviews but this one? No,not at all.
Posted April 10, 2009
I thoroughly enjoyed this easy-to-read, up-to-date, nonfiction book, which is chock full of good business advice offered with anecdotes and quotes from Machiavelli, Solomon, as well as mobsters. Humorous Italian references ring true; mafia background information is fascinating to read.
The author compares the Machiavellian philosophy of "the end justifying the means" with Solomon's advice from Proverbs, which he clearly favors. This is no ordinary self-help business book. For instance, Chapter six, "Master the Art of the Sit-Down" gives good business advice about incorporating the mob's art of conducting a sit-down while using Solomon's advice. Any one in business would do well to master this chapter.
At the end of each chapter, the author sums up his major points with a "Get The Message" list.
This is a NelsonFree book. Once the book is purchased, the owner can download an audio MP3 file and several types of e-book files, including EPub, MobiPocket, and PDF. For more information, click here. I tried it out. I downloaded one chapter at a time. It was quite simple and took less than two minutes. I can see that someone might download a chapter to "read" while driving to work, or download the entire book to "read" while traveling. With this innovative method, readers can read wherever they choose.
Posted April 7, 2009
I must admit, I was a bit apprehensive about reading a book about business and leadership written by a former mob boss. After all, Franzese was once in the "business" of organized crime. But after reading through the first few pages, I was hooked. I loved it. The stories of his experiences in the various business situations he was involved in are just terrific, and I can certainly see how the "street smarts" Franzese talks about could never be acquired in a classroom or in a boardroom, but only on the streets that he prospered in. For instance, I'll never go to sleep in my pajamas again, nor will I ever have a business meeting. From now on, my office will only conduct "sit downs."
It's a quick read, quicker for me because I wanted to get to the next page in a hurry. Franzese makes a very compelling case for those of us in business that there really are 2 philosophies under which we would conduct our business. We are either Machiavellian in our approach, where we believe we must win at all costs and the end will justify the means in achieving our goals or we follow the philosophy of the Solomon of Proverbs and operate with integrity. I have been in the business world for quite some time, yet I was able to pick up some very good "tips" from Franzese that I believe will benefit my company ss it struggles through these challenging economic times.
I have read my share of business books and I can tell you they are normally anything but entertaining. I'll Make You an Offer delivers big time in that regard. The author masterfully weaves in his mob business experiences with the lessons he learned from them in a most satisfying way.
I highly recommend this book for students and young professionals who aspire to succeed in the world of business. You will get a lot out of it and possibly most importantly, understand why not to be afraid of failure. For the rest of those in business, you will love the mob stories and come away with some valuable insight and quite possible an entirely new perspective on both the operation of your business and on your ife in general. It delivered for me. "I'll Make you An Offer You Can't Refuse," would make Vito Corleone proud and it will make you a better business person.
My lone complaint about the book is that it wasn't long enough. I wanted more, but hey, I'm not going to make any complaints to a former mob boss. Fuggedaboutit! Instead, I plan to read his autobiography next, "Blood Covenant." I'm out!
Posted February 17, 2010
No text was provided for this review.