Over the holiday break I purchased the ebook: How to Win at the Sport of Business by Mark Cuban.
The book is only available in digital format and I paid $2.99 to read it on my new Kindle Fire. I recommend the book to college business majors and other folks who are in the verge of a business career or ready to launch a business.
One thing I like about Cuban's advice on how to win in business is his emphasis on the importance of reading. When he was starting one of his technology companies, Cuban would bring software and hardware manuals home after work and read them. He learned everything there was to know about software such as Peactree Accounting, Wordstar (once a popular word processing program), Lotus 123 (which was the popular spreadsheet software before MS Excel). He also read many magazines and books to search for new ideas. So much of this information today is free on the internet. So much knowledge is readily available to students and yet so many don't take advantage of the information. Each day while school is insession, I see stacks of free newspapers such as the USA Today, NY Times, and Boston Globe - that so many students walk by and never pick up. So many of my students don't buy the required textbooks and many who do buy them do not read them cover to cover. Take it from Mark Cuban, knowledge is power and you can get a great deal of it from reading.
Cuban is the founder of HDNet, Broadcast.com and MicroSolutions. He has also been an investor in startups, including Mahalo, JungleCents.com, motionloft.com, Filesanywhere.com, Naked Pizza and 140Fire.com. Mark is also known as the owner of the Dallas Mavericks. He also co-owns the Landmark Theater chain, Magnolia Pictures and Magnolia Home Video.
Mark Cuban also gives some terrific advice about focus while in school. He says that being focused at age 21 is "overrated." He continues..." now is the time to screw up, to try as many things as you can and just maybe figure things out." I especially like his advice on learning. He says: " The thing you need to do is learn. Learn accounting. Learn finance. Learn statistics. Learn as much as you can about business. Read biographies about business people." The lesson is to learn what you can so that you can create a base of knowledge that you can draw upon for the time in your life when you will be ready to focus.
Cuban emphasizes that if you can sell, you can always get a job. Selling skills are very valuable in all jobs. Even a CPA must sell additional services (tax planning, management consulting, personal financial planning) to grow the revenue.
Finally, for so many college students who aspire to go into the business of sports, Cuban has some very valuable advice. It is quite congruent with so many students that I have spoken with over the last 5 or 6 years who want to work in the field of professional sports. Cuban says "don't major in Sports Marketing." He says that if you want to work for a sports organization, get a broad based business education. He recommends majoring in anyone of the functional business areas - accounting, finance, sales, management etc. We (UMASS Dartmouth/CCB) have had students intern for the Boston Bruins, Gillette Stadium, Pawsox, and P-Bruins and I tell these students that it is a tough field to break into so make sure you have a very solid base with a traditional business major.
Mr. Cuban recently emailed me and asked that I share any feedback with him. Let me know if you read the book and what you think! Cuban told Fortune magazine that he wrote this book from content derived from 7 years of blogging and that the economics of the digital delivery (ebook format) and the effectiveness of social network marketing make this an interesting venture.