Being smart and successful in business is possible only for those armed with the “kill or be killed” mentality. Competition is inevitable, says author Shell, a professor at the Wharton School, but in a cutthroat world that rewards street smarts and cunning-along with good connections and unlimited funds-conquering business enemies is the necessary ingredient for true success. Shell explains “everything-you-wanted-to-learn-in-business-or-law-school-but-didn’t”: if you want to be a rule maker, then you must know the rules, which include be bold, don’t sleep and be prepared to settle. It’s not always pretty and it’s certainly never fair, he says, but the sooner one accepts the reality of this cold, hard business world, the sooner the competition will seem less threatening if not entirely inconsequential. Drawing on a well-researched laundry list of business-related case studies, personality profiles and history lessons that show how-and how not-to win in the game of business, Shell makes a good case of why nice guys rarely finish first (and manages to bring in everyone and everything from Coke and Pepsi to Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, Wal-Mart, Pennzoil, Texaco and many, many others). Men and women who go to law and business school to learn how the system works so they can make the world a better place are fooling themselves and are likely not headed for super-success. Understanding how people, companies and laws really work-what Shell refers to as “sophistication in litigation”-is what separates the winners from the losers.
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