Friday, July 3, 2009

Book Review - I'll Make You an Offer You Can't Refuse by Michael Franzese

I'll Make You an Offer You Can't Refuse: Insider Business Tips from a Former Mob Boss I'll Make You an Offer You Can't Refuse: Insider Business Tips from a Former Mob Boss by Michael Franzese

rating: 2 of 5 stars

In I’ll Make You an Offer You Can’t Refuse, Michael Franzese, former capo in the Colombo crime family, shares his insight and wisdom in running and making the most of your business. From the basics, like creating a written business plan, to keeping it legal, Michael offers antidotes and stories that describe how he reached success while a high ranking member of the mob.

But therein lies the problem. There were double standards throughout the book. For example, Michael Franzese tells us to put together a clear, focused, and written business plan. However, not if you are a mobster. A mobster’s objective is always to get as much money as possible, as fast as possible, and they prefer not to have paper trails as these can be incriminating. So if Michael Franzese did it the mobster way, without a written plan, why is he telling his readers to do it another way?

The business information contained in the book wasn’t particularly unique or fresh. Play it straight, learn to listen, put a lid on greed, don’t gamble, and operate with integrity are just some of the significant messages explored in the book, but a lot of the information felt like common sense. Certainly good lessons with moral appeal, but not new, insightful, eye-opening information for most people (perhaps I think too highly of the integrity of the human race?).

One of the best aspects of I’ll Make You an Offer You Can’t Refuse is its strong message of motivation and encouragement. Michael Franzese devotes an entire chapter to failures. He explains that failure is normal, and that some failure in life is to be expected. But value comes from using the failure as a tool for learning and improving, and the best way to handle failure is to pick yourself up and dust yourself off.

Michael Franzese writes with a strong, wise-guy voice that is easy to read and entertaining, but may not be the business book readers think. He writes, “Life is all about the ingredients.” Put in good ingredients and you’ll get a good product. I’ll Make You an Offer You Can’t Refuse is less a lesson in running a business, and more instruction in living a good moral life.