I actually started reading this book in Feb-2014 as Harry and I flew into India. I was due to be interviewed for The Apprentice and thought I needed to do a little research.
Whilst I don’t agree with all of Lord Sugar’s opinions I enjoyed his book. He is definitely very switched on and the book was 100% authentic. It stays true to the persona that he portrays. I personally don’t find him to be “mean” on The Apprentice, he is realistic. He doesn’t pussyfoot around and he doesn’t like nonsense. I am very much like that too.
Lord Sugar isn’t afraid to offend people. If he doesn’t like you, you will know about it. There’s no pretense with him; very few would dare to describe someone as “That nasally congested hag Janet Street-Porter”.
Some Amazon reviews I read prior to this purchase thought he sounded misogynistic, I beg to differ. If you’re a small business the points he raised about maternity leave etc. were very valid. Employees just don’t see things the same way because they have a limited idea of how money is earned. Their concept of credit risk, exposure and the costs of hiring and training is very limited; importantly, even if you understand that stuff in principle you can never fully understand the pain until you are actually running a business.
In the book, Lord Sugar goes through many of his thoughts including:
- What he thinks should be done about petty crime and various state benefits
- TV programs that he likes to watch, e.g. Have I Got News For You and Question Time – I don’t watch either
- In his youth, when he was on a job he thought: “I realized this life wasn’t for me. I looked around at some of the people there, particularly the older ones, and realized that I didn’t want to end up like these robots, pushing a load of boring paper around.” – this very much mirrors my own experience with the type of people in banking.
- I loved his dad’s reaction when he wanted to strike it out on his own: “My father looked at me as if I were mad. ‘What do you mean, you’re going to work for yourself? Who is going to pay you on Friday?’” lol
- He doesn’t understand why pharmaceuticals can’t advertise in certain ways, which is crazy to me; he doesn’t want to understand it because that piece of regulation prevented him from monetizing an opportunity he saw. I totally agree that pharma needs strong regulation because there is such a thin boundary between developing products to help people and manipulating those same people to make extra money.
- He finds it hard to lounge around and has a certain admiration for those who can sit around and do nothing guilt free. I feel the same although I know I wouldn’t really want to be one of those people except for one day every week. The guilt he feels from lounging around and I do too is very real. Even when I know I deserve a rest I can’t because somewhere in my subconscious something says, you didn’t work that hard, really, not as hard as many peasants in the developing world – keep working!
Some of his pearls of wisdom include:
- “You should expect to get success by drawing on a wealth of experience”
- "Experience, consistency and hard work pay off”
- “Entrepreneurial spirit does lie buried in the subconscious of many people, and it takes day-to-day opportunities and experience in business for it to actually flourish”
- “First of all, you need to spot an opportunity and turn it to your advantage”
- “You mustn’t be complacent”
- “You need to learn to recognize the dodgy people out there who don’t have the same principles as you in life or in business’
- “You have to master the art of presentation and salesmanship”
- “Do what you’re best at”
- “You have to have some kind of daily discipline in your work life.”
- “The same stuff at the same price but presented in another way can suddenly start selling.”
- “If you have partners, they have to bring something to the party”
- “Keep control of your costs and know exactly where you are going and how you are doing.”
- “I set myself targets”
- “The principle of regularly checking how you’re doing is an important one”
- “Unless you face up to the fact that you’ve got to have something special, you are going to fail and be bitterly disappointed in the marketplace.”
- “Be prepared to put in a lot of hard work, and show a dogged determination not to give up if things aren’t going well.”
- “Always assume that every motorist on the road is a lunatic.” – I love this because when my dad was teaching me how to drive he pointed to an “L” plate on a car and said, “Heather, what does that mean?” I said, “Learner”; he said, “No, it means Lunatic, when you see one of those stay away!”
- “It’s the simple principle that, if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.”
- “I conclude by saying again that it is you and only you – no one else. You know what to do, otherwise you should not be in business. It’s just down to hard work, discipline and determination, combined with your knowledge and experience of your sector.”
"Beauty" includes a WIDE range of products from the not so obvious non-perishable foods and crafts to the more obvious hair, makeup, fashion, health & fitness.
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