Mob Rules 3rd Installment

By JJ Simon
Published on Nov 1st, 2012

Last year I heard a National Public Radio interview with Louis Ferrante. His story interested me so much I had to buy his book and learn more about his life and point of view.

Ferrante, a former mob associate, wrote a book after retiring from the life. He took what he learned about business in the street and applied it to making a legitimate living.

He outlines specific principles of behavior for Soldiers, Capos, and Dons -- or Employees, Middle Management, and Bosses. The lessons are short, smart, and often illustrated with a factual story from Mob history.

This final installment will finish my review of Mob Rules: What the Mafia can Teach the Legitimate Businessman by Louis Ferrante. The two prior articles described how the book is arranged in three sections each with advice for people involved in business. The first article. Mob Rules: An Overview, was for employees who are described as Soldiers in the book.

The second article, Mob Rules: Installment 2, was for middle managers or Capo's. The final section, the topic of this article, and largest part of the book is the segment for Don's or Bosses.

Ferrante emphasizes that each player in the Mob hierarchy is just as important as the next, their status as soldiers, capos, or bosses, is secondary to all working together for the shared cause. The value of maintaining good working relationships is emphasized again and again throughout the book.

These examples from the final section are excellent lessons on winning friends and influencing people.

Lesson 71: Tip The Coat Check: Charity.

Ferrante relates a story about a man named Joe Watts who was considered the most generous man in the Mob. He would tip bartenders generously for water. He personally put an attorney on retainer for Ferrante when there was no way this action could profit him. Watts's did it just for the pleasure. The virtue of Charity is considered by society one of the most valuable human behaviors. People rarely forget the kindness of friend but how about the kindness of a stranger? As we know each experience is the effect of a cause. I know the bartenders at a few of the local bars and they know I own a business.

I make sure they have a good opinion of me by tipping them well even if I'm drinking water. This was my habit before reading about Mr. Watts’ example. One may be generous without the concern of a reward. However, the world of business is about the reward of profit. Remember be generous and the reward, or profit, will show up.

Another story emphasizing the importance of generosity is illustrated in the very next lesson.

Lesson 72: Eat, Drink, and Be Productive: The Only Bribe I'll Advise You to Make.

A good business party always serves food and drink. Businesses have lunch rooms and smart small business men will buy lunch for their crews from time to time.

When my employees do a good job or go above and beyond their job description I like to buy them lunch. A “free lunch” is an amazing morale booster. Customers also respond favorably to a free meal. Christmas parties, New Year’s parties, Grand Openings, Inventory sales would be a lot lonelier without free food and drink. Ferrante makes clear that this is the easiest and cheapest way to bring customers through the door and keep the help happy.

In “Be a Pizza Eggroll”, the title of the book’s epilogue, Ferrante states in his final paragraph, "I advise you to read Machiavelli's The Prince for an understanding of how low your competitors may stoop, and then, rise above the muck and follow the path of Confucius. Be a Pizza egg roll. Have true goals, Treat people with dignity; strive to make our world a better place. I assure you; you can do this and get rich in the process, for wealth, without wisdom, is wasted."

This book was easy to read and an enjoyable reminder of some of the lessons I had already internalized before I had read it. I learned a few new things and gained perspective but I was ahead of the game, my values were already clear.

Virtue's a thing that none can take away, but money changes owners all day. --Plutarch, Life of Solon.

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Author Bio :: JJ Simon

JJ Simon has studied the Martial Arts for over a decade. In October of 2010, he tested for, and earned, his black belt at TheMALC's annual Residential . Mr. Simon has studied meditation since 1990 and has completed a number of Meditation retreats from 3 to 30 days under such noted teachers as Lama Surya Das, and in the Shambhala training tradition created by Chogyam

JJ has acted as a meditation coach for friends and martial arts associates since 1992. Mr. Simon is a tattoo artist of some renown with some 20 years of experience in the field. He owns Explosive Tattoo South in Salisbury, MD. JJ is also a painter, knife maker, and the Artistic Director for The Martial Arts Learning Community, Inc.

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