Why You Should Never Wrestle With a Pig


“Common sense suits itself to the ways of the world.” – Joseph Joubert (Pensées, 1842)

I like Mark H. McCormack’s new book, “Never Wrestle with a Pig,” not only because of its intriguing title but also because he admits on Page 1 that he doesn’t have a computer and has managed to successfully run IMG, a hundred-million-dollar sports- and celebrity-management company, without one.

“The Internet is like the telephone or the automobile,” he says. “It is a fact of business life, but I don’t have to know how one works in order to use it. What I’m not willing to accept, however, is the notion that ‘the Internet changes everything’ — because some things remain unchanged, and they remain the most-important things.”

These most-important things — how to sell and how to create profits, among other topics — are what we talk about every day in Early to Rise. McCormack’s book is full of good insights about those.

He provides, for example, five sensible suggestions for “ending your day on time,” a subject we spoke about just last week in Message #715 (“How to Be Twice as Productive and Still Get Out of the Office When You Want to Get Out.”  His first suggestion is also our first recommendation: “Steal an early hour.”

McCormack also recommends that you:

* Close your door during the day to get focused work done.

* Eliminate unnecessary travel.

* Find a surrogate — someone who can do some of your important work for you.

* Spend less time doing the same job as you become more skilled.

And he recommends that you learn to accelerate doing the following tasks (among others):

* responding to requests

* returning phone calls

* shortening phone calls

* saying “no”

* apologizing

* eating lunch

* conducting meetings

* making commitments

* saying “thank you”

* writing memos

McCormack specializes in the unusual observation and the less-often-provided word of advice. It’s that orientation that made his first book, “What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School,” so popular.

Here’s a good example — one that suggested the book’s title: “I wonder how many man-hours are lost in every organization because people get innocently lured into discussions with colleagues who love to debate the undebatable and argue the inarguable. We all know such people exist. They’re adversarial, confrontational, and incredibly talkative. They have an insatiable desire to be ‘right’ all the time and are incapable of admitting they are wrong.

You can’t win a ‘wrestling match’ with these people. You can only lose time. My advice: Avoid them like the plague.”