George Gramlich is the editor of The Sangre De Cristo Sentinel, a newspaper in Westcliffe, Colorado. He recently reviewed Everything I Know About Business I Learned From The Godfather.
The Godfather, Business
and Manhood: Every American Male
Should Read This Book
October 24, 2019
by George Gramlich,
A Book Review
Robert Gore, ex-Los Angeles bond trader, blogger (straightlinelogic.com), author “The Golden Pinnacle”, and an avid Sentinel reader, recently sent us his latest book, “Everything I Know About Business I Learned From The Godfather”. It is outstanding.
Robert is a huge fan of Mario Puzo’s “Godfather” novel and Francis Ford Coppola’s “Godfather” movies. He’s a pretty bright guy, with an MBA (a degree he calls “useless”) and a law degree. He survived a career in the rough-and-tumble world of big-time trading in stocks, bonds, commodities, and credit default swaps for two firms in Los Angeles. After decades in the financial swamp, he quit to write full-time. He’s now also an investor and executive in a technology startup.
In his latest work, Robert takes the Mafia/Corleone family/Godfather Don Vito Corleone’s idealized value/honor system and uses it to analyze his own career. But more importantly, he shows what an honorable, honest man does in business, family, friendship, and other life situations. It is a primer on how to be a man in today’s society.
Using dozens of quotes from the book and scenes from the movies, the author writes about instances in his career (and life) where the value system used by Don Corleone to build his criminal empire is morally appropriate to ordinary, daily, business and personal decisions and actions. Robert does this is in a very engaging, often quite humorous way, which you don’t often see in writings on ethics and morality.
The opening salvo is Chapter 1, “It’s Business, Not Personal.” Robert is canned from his lucrative trader job at a Los Angeles firm due to some mistakes he has made. Here he introduces lessons learned and starts the interplay with how Don Corleone would have done it. The quotes throughout the book are simply precious. Here’s an oft-repeated one from “The Godfather” Part One after he gets the word he’s fired: “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli”. In other words, it could have been worse; unlike The Godfather character who was “fired,” he doesn’t get three shots in the back of the head.
The second chapter is about “Respect,” both within a business organization and in a personal sense. Here Robert does a great job showing how the Corleone organization was respected, emanating from the respect shown to and given by Don Vito. Some of Robert’s own quotes from this chapter: “Respect is the lifeblood of any organization,” “What lifts him [the Godfather] above the run-of-the-mill success story is his dispensation of justice,” and, “Loyalty was stringently enforced, but faithfully rewarded.” These points are woven together with vignettes from the book and movies of how the Don acted in his organization, the Corleone “family”.
Chapter 3, “You Can Act Like a Man!” should be mandatory reading for all males in America. Robert opens the can of worms in the first sentence: “The most difficult respect is self-respect.” How to get it? “The Godfather ties self-respect inextricably to a self-control that would gladden the heart of an old-fashioned Puritan.” The author does a great job of analyzing how Don Vito and his son, Don Michael, maintain their self-control and command respect. He sums it up: “How can you have a shred of self-respect if you’re unwilling to take care of yourself and demand that someone else do so?” Amen, Robert.
“The Deadliest Sin”—pride—is Chapter 4’s title. It is a very well-
written, twice citing Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Robert cleverly depicts Don Vito’s humility. I like this line: “Don’t expect humility from those who are never humbled.” Lessons to be learned here, folks.
Chapter 6, “Bonds, Not Ties” puts the pedal to the medal with regards to being a man. Let’s quote the first part of the opening paragraph: “As rich and powerful as the Godfather becomes, he never loses sight of the reciprocal strands of respect, obligation, honor and loyalty due family, friends, fellow Sicilians, and the Catholic church. These are not ties that bind. They are bonds, sources of strength, foundational stones of his life and empire.” Robert—and the Godfather’s—bottom line is, “supporting a family…makes a man a man.” He illustrates this theme with some great Godfather scenes. Well done, sir.
The next two chapters, “Hollywood” and “Women” are very well done with tons of humor. There are many takeaways. Here is one about women which is SO true: “The thing I never completely understood is how women interact with each other, especially in groups. Analyzing that is not for the squeamish.”
The rest of the book is just as good, lesson after lesson on being a man in today’s society. Robert’s writing is very clear, with concise and rewarding sentences. It is a wonderful playbook for us guys in an increasingly immoral world. Life’s lessons wrapped around Don Corleone, business and manhood, brilliantly written by a guy who has been there.
Buy this book for your family, friends and business acquaintances. It is inexpensive and worth every penny. Make sure every young man you know reads this. It will change their lives. “Everything I Know About Business I Learned From The Godfather” is available at amazon.com.