What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School by Mark H. McCormack

Category: Influence

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Why: I want to learn crucial business know-how that will not be taught in business school.
Goal: Learn how to read people and how to influence their ‘reading’ of me.

Action: Judge People and Prepare to Be Judged.

3 Key Concepts

  1. Judge people correctly, get to know them.
  2. You will be judged too, so send out the right signal.
  3. You can also be useful by friend to friend.


How to judge people?

It is taboo to say this. Because we are usually taught to “don’t judge people.” However, Mark taught us to judge people with every signal we get and judge them with steps, hahaha.

It makes sense to me. We, humans, judge others as a natural instinct. It is what keeps us safe from harm. So he put a spotlight on “How to judge correctly.”

This book addresses the common sense that we all ignored: to become street smart.

Street Smarts – a person, who never overwhelm anyone with his intellect, owns his own company, and is now a millionaire several times over.

What is the secret?

“I have this one product that I buy for two dollars and sell for five dollars. It is amazing how much money you can make on a three per cent markup.”

How to judge others: Read People Fundamentals

  1. Listen aggressively: how he says it. Keep pausing to get them to say more.
  2. Observe aggressively: interpret gesture, and the way they are dressed.
  3. Talk less: ask questions and then don’t begin to answer them yourself.
  4. Take a second look at first impression: was it really true?
  5. Take time to use what you’ve learned: actively apply techniques.
  6. Be discreet: let people learn of your qualities and achievements from someone else.
  7. Be detached: if you don’t react, you will never over-react.

multiracial students gossiping about black man with notepad
Don’t worry, you Are being judged.

Send out the right signal: Creating Impression

The goal is to let people perceive you the way that you want to be perceived.

  1. Dress to impress.
  2. Speak to tear down barriers.
  3. Write to show your professional traits.

“People don’t do what you want them to do. But if you can control their impression of you, you can make them want to do what you want them to do.”

I-mean-business Impression

“If a woman is poorly dressed, you notice her dress, and if she’s impeccably dressed, you notice the woman.”

Coco Chanel

Best Business Favours

Be a middleman – putting two parties that would benefit from each other together. Both will remember you.

Other things that you can do are

  1. Do something for his/her kids: get on personal level.
  2. Let people off the hook: offer them trust.
  3. Let them change their mind: find the best interest for overall relationship.

To sum up, this book shows how a business person goes about day-to-day life. And what kind of skills should one get good at to achieve long-term business success. And since these are more like an art, they won’t be taught at any business school.

Goal check: I learned that it is a business skill to extract personal insights and use them to your advantage.

Wasu’s Review
( 5.0 / 5.0 )

Get this book on Amazon here!

Bonus: If you have the problem that you didn’t get the promotion you deserved, perhaps you should get better at C.A.D.I.F.: It is how your boss judges you at work.

Commitment: anything less than total commitment, you should keep secret

Attention to detail: your skill to produce quality work.

Immediate Follow-up: there is nothing that impresses so significantly.