Published in 1989, Mackay’s ‘Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten Alive‘ is a classic business book, and like all classic business books the information, techniques and lessons in this book are 100% sound to this day.
It doesn’t matter that this book was published before the rise of technology and the internet as the techniques and tactics that worked for Harvey Mackay, the Minnesoda Millionaire continue to work to this day. They’re timeless.
Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten Alive is broken down into two main sections:
The 69 Lessons
The meat of the book focuses on 69 individual lessons Harvey learned over the years, with examples from his businesses, actionable advice and a plethora of wise quotes the content as well as the formatting are both on point.
The 19 Quickies
Wrapping up the book Mackay throws 19 quickies or short lessons our way.
These are all roughly 1 page lessons on everything from changing careers to the mindset of success.
Here’s My Takeaway Points From Harvey Mackay’s Book
Pick up a copy on Amazon or scout your local secondhand bookshop to find a copy of this gem and take note on what you can apply to better yourself and your entrepreneurial ventures as this is a relatively dense book unlike the majority of others I’ve reviewed lately.
The key points I took away after reading through my notes and highlighting are…
You Must Be Able To Replicate Your Success
Salesmen and the like will lie, cheat & steal to try and get ahead in business, they’re too shortsighted – they’re only viewing the one transaction.
Think about it – if you got ripped off, a bad deal or were told false information you wouldn’t likely go back to that shop or salesmen would you? I wouldn’t.
If you want lasting success you must think ahead.
If you screw someone over they’re not going to be a repeat customer, repeat customers are a hell of a lot more valuable than a bunch of individual fly-by-night sales.
It’s All About Demand
The sense of value a certain pair of shoes hold, the desire for to have six pack abs… it all comes down to demand.
You cannot create a product before there’s demand and expect it to sell.
You cannot undercut a competitor on a product that has little to no demand and expect sales to burst through the roof.
Without A Destination In Mind You Can Never Arrive (Set Goals!)
You can’t win if you don’t know what winning actually is, success must be defined.
This comes down to implementing a three step process:
- Set your goals
- Develop a plan of action to achieve these goals
- Keep track of time to ensure you’re executing the plan
“A goal is a dream with a deadline.”
Storing your goals in your head isn’t enough, you must write them down – not in your phone or on your computer but instead of a piece of paper or in your journal.
The act of writing out your goals by hand gives them life, it adds substance and makes them real.
By writing those words on that piece of paper you’re essentially taking ownership of your goal.
The Little Things Make Up Everything
Don’t gloss over the small details or the small tasks that make up your job or discipline… as neglecting or just scraping by when it comes to the little thing will be the driving force behind your lack of success.
Vince Lombardi said it best…
“Victory doesn’t mean a lot. it means everything”
You don’t have to attain absolute perfection on every minute detail, but you do have to pay attention to every facet and make fewer mistakes than the opposing team or fewer mistakes than your competitors’ business.
You Must Know What You’re Doing (Or You’re Wasting Time!)
Practice doesn’t make perfect… it’s perfect practice that makes perfect.
You can practice all day long, but if you don’t really know what you’re doing, no matter how much talent you have you’ll only be perfecting an error.
The top tier in business and sport is comprised of individuals that learn the right way – they have expert coaches.
Expert coaches combined with iron determination (and time) are the key to your rise to the top.
Never Forget The Formula
Determination + Goal Setting + Concentration = Success
My Highlighted Quotes
“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.”
“A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.”
“Good habits are as addictive as bad habits, and a lot more rewarding.”
“People begin to become successful the minute they decide to be.”
“One mistake will never kill you. The same mistake over and over again will.”
“Dig your well before you’re thirsty”
“If you want one year of happiness, grow grain. If you want 10 years of happiness, grow trees. If you want 100 years of happiness, grow people.”
Should You Read Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten Alive?
If you’re on a quest for betterment you should have a copy of Mackay’s Swim with the Sharks on your bookshelf.
grab a copy from Amazon or a secondhand bookshop if you prefer the old school paperback copy and absorb the wealth of knowledge Mackay presents.
Not only is the information in here great but it’s a very readable book, the chapters, lessons and formatting is as arranged for ease of reading – many older business books are overwhelming to read due to the sheer amounts of small text, page after page.