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The Intended Goal is to Make Money, but in an Honest Manner

Updated: Jul 23, 2023

Book Corner: I'll Make You An Offer You Can't Refuse, written by Michael Franzese

Who says gangsters have marketable skills? Michael Franzese says so. Brooklyn-born Franzese, a former caporegime (which is a mobster who is second in line under a Mafia capo) and made-man in New York’s Colombo crime family, went legit following a religious awakening during an early ‘90s prison stretch. Franzese left behind a life of crime and became a motivational speaker, Mafia analyst for the media, writer, commentator, and even actor.

In this book – one out of seven that he’s written – Franzese argues that despite the criminality that he now abhors, gangsters have skills in running businesses that if copied, can put the average business or corporation ahead of the pack. I’ll Make You an Offer You Can’t Refuse is divided into eleven standalone sections, or rather lessons. In contrast to his former life, Franzese discusses running your business with honesty, transparency, and integrity.

He stresses the importance of choosing a good crew and surrounding yourself with capable people, starting your day as early as possible, proper planning, eliminating clutter, seeking counsel only from the wise, customer service, listening more than talking, learning from failures, etc. For example, one interesting section deals with the importance of effective negotiations – the famed “sit-down” as known to anyone who has seen The Sopranos and most other gangster portrayals in TV shows and movies.

Franzese informs us that unlike the sensationalist portrayal of crowded rooms, and long meetings with tempers flaring, sit-downs are short, sober, curt meetings attended by very few where the intended goal is to reach a mutually-acceptable compromise as soon as possible. After all, time wasted in long meetings is time better served making money, right?

At 160 pages, this book is relatively compact, nor does the author re-invent the wheel. Franzese’s skill is not only taking material that might be part of stuffy business textbooks and delivering it to the readers as filtered by his experience, but peppering the book with illustrative examples that keep them within a known cultural framework. As a result, the book comes out easy to digest.

Overall, we may not agree with how Franzese gained his business knowledge, but the lessons in I'll Make You an Offer You Can’t Refuse are valid. His former crew would probably agree.


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