I’ll Make You An Offer You Can’t Refuse (Book Review)

I'll Make You An Offer You Can't RefuseOkay, I’ll be honest with you, the title of Michael Franzese’s latest book sounds like a cliché—I’ll Make You An Offer You Can’t Refuse. Sounds like a line right out of “The Godfather” or “Goodfellas,” right? But if you’re involved in the world of business, Mr. Franzese’s book is exactly that: an offer (book) you can’t refuse. From how to craft a business plan, to picking the right people, to learning how to negotiate the best deals, Mr. Franzese uses his years of wiseguy street-smarts to give you an advantage.

From the very first page, this book engaged me because I felt like I was having a conversation with the author. His style is very relaxed, and his stories about his business successes and failures are compelling. It’s not often that a business book reads like a novel, but I’ll Make You An Offer does just that.

Throughout all of his lessons, Mr. Franzese makes the contrast between the principles spelled out in the mobster’s bible (The Prince by Machiavelli) and principles articulated in the Holy Bible (specifically the writings of Solomon). Although he learned his strategies from his years in La Cosa Nostra (“this thing of ours” or the mob life), he makes a strong case his strategies will work in the legit life. The difference is the motivation that drives the strategies: Machiavellian or biblical.

“A dictionary definition of success says it’s ‘the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors.’ … But dictionary definitions are like sausage casings. It all depends on what you stuff inside” (quote from page 144).

Whether you are just getting started in a new business venture, or whether you are not satisfied with the results of your current business venture, you will find invaluable strategies here to help you. This former mob boss truly does make you an offer you can’t refuse.

Are You Out Of Your Mind?

I love this thinking thought from James William Fulbright—

“We must dare to think ‘unthinkable’ thoughts. We must learn to explore all the options and possibilities that confront us in a complex and rapidly changing world. We must learn to welcome and not to fear the voices of dissent. We must dare to think about ‘unthinkable things’ because when things become unthinkable, thinking stops and action becomes mindless.”

After you have identified the negative thoughts and you have started thinking creatively, you have to be able to take it further. You have to be able to think unthinkable things.

Too many times we don’t let our minds begin to go into “unknown” places, so we look at everything through the lens of what we’ve experienced in the past. Our thoughts are “in our minds.” When Albert Einstein began to propose that there were more dimensions to our universe than scientists had previously thought, people had a hard time following his reasoning. Even those in the scientific community thought he was “out of his mind.”

One of Einstein’s favorite books was called Flatland. In this book, Square lives in the two-dimensional world that Sphere came to visit. Because Square’s world only has length and width (no height), he can only see the part of Sphere that was on his level. As Sphere moves through Flatland, Square can see different parts of him, but he can never see all of him at the same time. If Sphere moves above Flatland, Square can still hear his voice but cannot see his shape.

So, too, with us. Many times we only perceive what moves through the “line of sight” we have previously experienced. We are—so to speak—in our minds.

But look what God has in store for you—

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him. (1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT)

So here’s how Scripture teaches us to pray—

I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.(Ephesians 3:16-20 NLT)

God wants to do infinitely more than you can ask or think. He wants to show you new dimensions of His greatness and His love—notice that Paul goes out of his way to list four dimensions (wide, long, high, deep) even though we live in a three-dimensional world.

Here’s the question: are you OUT of your mind or IN your mind? In other words, are you only looking for things that you know can happen, or are you believing God for things that are completely OUT OF YOUR MIND?

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