Book Report: Winning through Intimidation by Robert J. Ringer (1974)

Book coverThis book is a 1970s-era business book designed to help you understand the cut-throat world of business where everyone you do business with is out to get you, and how you can adopt a strong posture to defend yourself against these tactics and intimidate them into honoring their commitments. Ringer was a business real-estate salesman in the era where the Dirty Harry movies were contemporary commentaries and the apartment buildings he sold were bedecked in shag carpeting, avocado appliances, and bead curtains.

That said, it’s a worthwhile book once you re-orient the book’s focus to a more realistic worldview (where not all businesspeople are sharks). It has valuable lessons in attitude focus and sustenance (Theory of Sustenance of a Positive Attitude through the Assumption of a Negative Result) and a number of good lessons in professional image presentation and management. So you can still find something in the book worth remembering almost 30 years later. As a matter of fact, Ringer refocused and rereleased the book this century as To Be or Not To Be Intimidated.

It’s a quick enough read, engaging in prose and laden with a couple of life lessons and the philosophy interspersed with real-life stories of deals that Ringer closed and how they proved his pudding.

Additionally, he invokes Ayn Rand in the first sentence. Turns out, he’s still alive and an active advocate of laissez-faire capitalism with a very nice looking Web site and everything.

I’m glad to have read it, and I’m a bit amazed to find out how collectible this mass market paperback is.

(Oh, yeah, and I did a parallel review for IT industry folks over at QA Hates You if you’re so inclined.)

Books mentioned in this review:

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