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Things Harvard Doesn’t Teach You! Guessing People

Things Harvard Doesn’t Teach You

Chapter 2. Guessing People

The man who does more than he is paid for will soon be paid

for more than he does. ― Napoleon Hill

I will tell you two stories about a future president

and a wealthy professional golfer.

Although these two events happened nearly a decade apart,

they are closely related to me.

In 1963, in Paris, during the golf world tournament,

I happened to meet President Richard Nixon twice:

first at the golf club

when he came to my table to talk to golfer Gary Player;

the second time,

just a few days later,

at the Tour d’Argent,

when I was having dinner with Arnold Palmer

and Jack Nicklaus and he came to see them.

Nixon behaved quite cordially and cheerfully.

However, in both meetings,

he repeated a few familiar sentences.

He seemed to be speaking to dummies and not to real people,

perhaps he had prepared sayings for each type of person.

The second story is about Doug Sanders,

a flamboyant golfer.

Many people think that we made a mistake

when accepting to represent Doug.

Doug has the blood of Las Vegas

– America’s most popular city,

participating in illegal racing,

involved in scandals and gambling.

Some people thought that he would bring scandal to us

and wondered how I could trust such a person.

Honestly, I trust Doug Sanders more than those guys.

Because I found him trustworthy.

Once Doug was invited to compete in Canada.

I don’t know anything about this

because he arranged everything himself

and his partner paid him in cash.

But about a week later,

we received a letter from Doug.

Inside is the commission for the representative!

I tell these two stories

so that you can see the importance of knowing people.

Everything people say and do,

even the smallest details,

can say a lot about who they really are.

The chance encounters with Nixon gave me the impression of hypocrisy.

Ten years later,

he was forced to resign as President.

Perhaps partly because of his involvement in the Watergate affair,

partly because of his hypocrisy.

No one loves and trusts liars,

so they certainly wouldn’t want such a person to hold the nation’s destiny.

As for the case of Doug Sanders,

the commission we received was not large and worthy of concern,

but I always imagined Doug coming back from the game,

counting the money and putting the commission in the room package

and send it to us immediately.

That speaks volumes for Doug Sanders’ personality.

People often assume that

the future president of the United States must be someone with exemplary qualities,

and the golfer is just a con man.

But with these two cases,

that is not the case.

So what does this have to do with business?

Of course there is

and is even related to many aspects of this field.

In the business world,

depending on the situation,

entrepreneurs dress up in a different personality.

They treat their subordinates one way,

that way with their superiors,

and another completely different way with people outside the company.

But no matter what,

their true selves can’t always “change color” quickly to match their surroundings.

In the process of trading,

whether unconsciously or consciously,

at some point, you will realize their true self.

We always want to know other people’s true thoughts, not lies.

We want to be able to guess the personality of others

by their actions and gestures.

Whether buying or selling,

renting or being hired,

negotiating a contract,

or having to meet other people’s requests,

I want to know my partner’s background and true nature.

After all,

business relationships are also people-to-person relationships.

The more you know and realize the nature of your partner early,

the more effective the work will be.




Your big opportunity may be right where you are now. ― Napoleon Hill

People often have the habit of judging others,

even without contact,

based on what they have heard

or known about the person’s company.

It drives you do some things wrong.

Please don’t do it,

you should see good in all situations

They even ignore what they witnessed with their own eyes

to confirm the available conclusions.

When working at IMG (International Management Group

‒ International Management Group),

we often meet people who have prejudices about the company.

Many newspapers and television programs paint

and portray IMG as a powerful corporation in the sports industry

with ruthless negotiators.

Unexpectedly, most of it worked to our benefit.

People expect us to put out huge numbers,

and that expectation makes it even easier for us to achieve our goals.

When they saw that we were kind

and cooperative people,

they were completely captivated.

However, there are many people

who cling to their prejudices so firmly that even though

they are dealing with us,

they still do not fully understand our company’s operations and employees.

He was always prepared to react to any move on our part;

so even if we say

“Pleased to meet you!”

He also considers it a disguised threat.


it was his own prejudices

that prevented him from understanding our true nature.

Guessing the other person means opening up all the senses to

what’s going on and turning observations into concrete evidence for effective use.

You will not have a successful life surrounded by negative people. – Grant Cardone



It takes half your life before you discover life is a do-it-yourself project. ― Napoleon Hill

Dave Marr,

former champion golfer of the Professional Golf Association (PGA),

came up with a rule of betting in this sport:

“Never bet on the person standing on the first hole

if he has a sunburnt skin,

a very small golf club in his pocket,

and crossed eyes.”

Observation makes it easy to make subtle observations about others.

But in most transactions,

there is more to consider than the naked eye can see,

which is the inner world hidden behind their appearance.

Most transactions themselves provide sufficient evidence

that allows you to see through what is hidden beneath the surface.

Sometimes there are things people unconsciously say or do,

like looking away when a partner asks a question.

However, there are behaviors that are not simple and not entirely unconscious,

such as choosing sentences to express specific ideas.

Anyone can guess the personality of another person,

it is important to catch the signs that show through their actions.

It’s amazing how many leaders aren’t aware of it.

They have absolutely no idea what is going on around them.

They only care about themselves and ignore others,

or just take care of their own company

without knowing what others are doing.

We cannot be productive without being sensitive to others,

especially in business.

All in all, every aspect of this process involves people

who manages them,

sells them,

works with them or simply motivates them to work.

If you are not sensitive,

you cannot be smart.

Sensitivity enables you to have foresight,


as well as success and wealth.

It will help you predict the future.

One’s true nature cannot be changed by circumstances.

The more you get to know a person,

the more you can discover about the inner world behind the surface

and predict how they will react in all transactions.

This understanding is priceless!

This is also the “how to do business” of professional fortune-tellers.

For centuries,

they used these tricks to predict the future.

They often probe customers

by observing how these people behave,

look like,

dress like and ask a few silly questions.

From these data,

fortune-tellers can “see the future”,

but in fact,

with what they have learned,

they only say what customers want to hear.

Based on the smallest information,

a good fortune-teller can make predictions that are so accurate

that people are surprised.

With such abilities,

if they run the company,

some fortune-tellers will become excellent directors.

But the reality is that many directors are just bad fortune tellers.

Sensitivity requires you to expand your senses,

talk less and listen more.

Shut up, watch and listen,

and you’ll know most of what you need to know,

more than others want you to know.



Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk. ― Doug Larson

In business,

the ability to listen is far more effective than simply judging people’s personalities.

As I prepared to write this book,

I consulted with friends in the business world about what constitutes success.

Most give advice:

“Be a good listener!”

Emphasizing the important role of this factor,

the director of a famous sales organization offers the principle:

“Always pay attention to your listening-to-speaking ratio!”

And a Pepsi-Cola executive told me a memorable story of the company.

If he knew how to listen,

perhaps he and the company would have saved a lot of time.

Pepsi always tries to do long-term cooperation

with the Burger King chain of hamburger restaurants.

They believed that Burger King would never think of giving up Coke,

so Pepsi always focused on giving customers an option.

In fact, Burger King still encourages choice (“Eat it your way”) but,

as they have repeatedly told Pepsi,

the issue lies within a broader philosophy of quality limited menu,

including one cola (1 soft drink).

In the end,

Pepsi understood this suggestion

and shifted the focus to emphasize Pepsi

and Burger King as best friends,

one by one side of the other.

Because they share a strategy aimed at “high product quality”,

is it reasonable to give up Coke to buy Pepsi?

“Do you know?”

“We’ve been trying to tell you guys about this for months,

and I’m glad someone finally listens,”

said a Burger King man.

Listen always be better in all situations. – Cherry Nguyen



Think twice before you speak,

because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success

or failure in the mind of another. ― Napoleon Hill

Although I can talk about most things over the phone,

I’m still open to meeting in person cooperation

if it is an important matter or a long-term business relationship.

Because I’d rather have an impression based on what I’ve seen than heard.

Anyway, the impression when meeting face to face

is also very different from when talking on the phone.

Observation is a positive action.

People often show themselves in many ways,

so you won’t notice if you don’t take the initiative and really care.

Words and actions are both conscious and unconscious signals.

Body language is also an important factor,

but it is only a small part of the many unconscious signals.

Most of what we observe are conscious and purposeful actions,

such as the way we dress,


and make an impression.

However, they are only useful

when you know how to take advantage of them.

Active observation means looking at the big picture,

noting all conscious and unconscious cues,

weighing them up and converting them into usable observations.

When faced with a person,

what I most want to establish is a safe zone

or what can be called a “frame”

the areas that I need to observe,

based on what I hear and see,

what I see and what I see.

This will help me best deal with them.

Active observation does not mean hasty observation

drawing conclusions too quickly,

relying entirely on classical explanations,

or ascribing things to things that have no meaning.

For example, at work, some people are so focused on their work that they act out of extreme stress,

while others have a very relaxed posture.

If we rush to judge these two cases,

we can draw erroneous conclusions.

Most observations need to be viewed in a broader context

in conjunction with what you hear.

Or the same sitting posture,

one can draw conclusions with two different meanings.

For example, people with the style of sitting in a chair are considered

to have no authority,

but can also be understood in the opposite sense.

Or with the “polite”,

often sitting on the edge of the chair,

slightly forward,

listening to every word you say

but doing nothing,

there will be two possibilities.

One is that they belong to the “classical school”,

preferring to emphasize formality

with statements like “I am so glad to hear that!”

Second, they may be enthusiastic young employees who believe

that appearance,

not what they say or do,

is the determining factor in their position.

However, people who are overly serious

and attentive make me feel uncomfortable.

In addition, there is another reason why posture becomes a factor of concern.

When observing a person’s posture,

you can make a relatively accurate judgment about that person

because usually content and form always agree with each other.

However, it is also important to distinguish

between posture and posture,

which are two completely different concepts.

I am very annoyed with people who often fix their posture,

take care of their appearance too much,

like trying to push their chest or pull their stomach in.

Their arrangement and decoration of offices

and houses also shows that.

Entering their room,

you will see a lot of degrees,

certificates of merit on the wall

or decorated in some impressive fashion.

Those are the most concrete evidence that speaks to that person’s character.

You need to be careful when working with them.

Surely they will be more interested in appearance than work,

appearance rather than actual results.

Of course, the eyes are still the most vivid,

consistent and expressive signal.

The eyes will tell you what people are really thinking,

even if the rest of the signals are pointing the other way.

In business,

in situations where words cannot be used,

people can communicate with each other by eye contact.

Observe your partner’s eyes during the meeting.

This will help you determine what they’re really thinking,

and reveal to you who among them has the most authority,

and whether you’re boring them, and so on.



You are your greatest asset in the business of your life. ― Matshona Dhliwayo

Personality makes the difference

the difference between theory and practice,

between fantasy and reality,

between how things happen and what you want,

between what they teach you

and can’t teach you at the School of Business.

Harvard business.

A company of 2,500 people will have 2,500 different personalities,

each with their own view of reality.

Personality explains the origin of all things.

A person’s character,

even arrogance,

can be their own best ally.

Many successful deals are negotiated

because of the personality of the negotiator,

who always thinks that if they participate,

they will have to do it.

If you can study and understand the influence of personality on business,

as well as control personality by stimulating,

promoting or inhibiting it,

you will achieve effective sales.

Based on the extent to which each person’s ego shows,

we can easily make comments about that person.

Most successful entrepreneurs have big egos.

(However, that is not true of the egos of businesswomen,

whose egos are difficult to predict.

he bound himself to work as much as men.)

However, having a large ego does not mean having a strong personality,

and vice versa.

Trying to assert one’s ego only shows low self-esteem.

Many successful entrepreneurs are still very calm.

In business,

most people enjoy working with strong personalities.

They are the managers who are willing to take risks,

think logically,

and get the job done the fastest.

In contrast, people with a soft personality are more unpredictable and,

therefore, difficult to determine the course of action.

Such people often have low self-esteem,

so working with them will take longer and be less effective.

Once you’ve identified a person’s personality,

you can answer questions like:

How straightforward is he?

How quickly will he decide and when he does, will he change?

Is he a consistent person?

Is he bold or shy?

Is he an acceptor of reality or wants to change reality?

And most importantly, how safe is he?

“Safety” directly affects business behavior. Is he unruly or sensible?

Is he a formalist?

At work, does he appear conceited?

Does he keep his promise?

Is his action decent,

transparent or hidden?

Instead of constantly challenging and confronting someone else’s personality,

you should acknowledge and understand its impact on your work.

This will make it easier for you to connect

and be more effective in your relationships with people.

The last issue that needs to be considered is your own personality.

Nothing interferes with understanding others more than your own personality.

Need to know your own strengths and weaknesses,

they can distort your reaction and judgment towards others.

It is incorrect to draw conclusions about someone else’s actions based on your personality,

not on that person’s personality.

The most important thing in communication is win other heart. -Cherry Nguyen



Take care of yourself,

you are your most valuable asset. ― Matshona Dhliway

Sometimes I get into situations where things don’t go as planned in the end,

but still, a good impression of a partner, like manners,

still makes me want to continue working with them.

This often leads to more profitable business opportunities

that make up for the initial setbacks.

In 1975, we started looking for ways to convince tennis player Chris Evert.

At first, she was determined,

and just wanted to work independently.

But after the meetings,

she left such a good impression on me about her frankness

and manners that I believe there is a “destiny” between us.

So I kept persuading and 5 years later she became our customer.

However, there are also situations where I feel lucky when I get out.

In any case,

I’ve never unilaterally made the decision not to work with someone,

so if this were to happen it would have to be a very special case.

When I was young,

I was easily influenced by external factors – money,

power and glamor.

But as I grow older,

I become more mature,

appreciate business style and inner qualities,

and realize that superficial things like fame,

status or appearance are meaningless.

In business relationships,

those affected by vanity are often easily deceived.

However, also watch out for people who refer to a “very close friend”

(usually an impressive name or some of your associates)!

If you know about the “friend” in question,

find out what that person has to say about their relationship.

If in fact they’ve only met a few times,

check out all the offers your partner has to offer.

Someone’s co-workers can also provide you with useful facts about them.

For example, an impression of a secretary can help you get an outline of her manager.

Similarly, when working with a senior manager of a famous sports equipment company,

I found him to be a capable person,

but he did not dare to decide on anything,

even the most important things very petty.


when I met his boss,

the chairman,

I anticipated his character

an autocratic,

authoritarian leader.

Employees in the company often tend to imitate the personality traits of their superiors.

So you can guess the personality of employees

by seeing how they are influenced by their superiors,

both in terms of strengths and weaknesses.

Several years ago,

I had lunch with the director of one of Australia’s major television stations.

He is a celebrity himself,

but his boss

– the general manager of the International Media Group

– is one of Australia’s most powerful figures,

even more famous.

I have had lunch with this general manager several times.

He never signed the payment receipt.

After eating, he just got up and left.

That shows snobbery

It’s also quite impressive

because maybe he has accounts at every restaurant in Australia,

or simply his habit is so famous

that every restaurant he goes to knows to send a bill payment to the company.

And then the director of the television station also imitated this particular habit of his boss.

After I finished eating,

I was about to call the waiter to pay,

but he said not to worry about it.

With a polite look,

he got up and left the restaurant.

But the trouble was that he wasn’t as famous as his boss,

so the restaurant manager thought he was a jerk and chased him,

much to his embarrassment.

Obviously, there are no fixed rules that will help you guess people

or uncover the personality behind an entrepreneur’s exterior.

But if there is any data or basis for comparison,

use it and test it as a piece of evidence to help you speculate.

You should be who you want become in all situation to attract success. – Cherry Nguyen



Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune,

or temporary defeat. ― Napoleon Hill

During a game of tennis with the president

and his wife of a Fortune 500 company,

I noticed that throughout the game,

he was always criticizing and blaming his wife every time they lost points.

Certainly his wife is not the number one tennis player in the world like Martina Narvatilova,

he is not tennis player Bjorn Borg and even,

he lost as many points as his wife.

But because he refused to admit the blame,

the wife was the most convenient object of blame.

If he misses and loses points,

he will blame her for distracting him or nag why she didn’t catch the ball.

This gave me a partial sense of what to expect when doing business with him.

It is easy for people to reveal their ego in very casual situations.

The way a person treats a waiter

or a flight attendant can reveal hidden secrets behind his or her appearance.

Observing how they get impatient

or resentful over a small mistake can have invaluable value later on.

Recently, I was negotiating with the head of the management department

of an important international sports competition.

Before that, I had many occasions to observe that he was a man

who could not keep his composure.

When angry, he will become irritable,

annoyed and want to end things quickly.

Therefore, I knew that if we continued to delay,

he would get annoyed and quickly end the negotiations.

And so he did.

In fact, the only way to operate in business is to stay alert and exploit the loopholes of others.

Usually, the more intimate a meeting is, the less alert people are.

You will be surprised how much you can learn from a business dinner.

Therefore, I strongly approve of meetings that combine meals.

If it is a new business,

I will not only be interested in the content of the discussion,

but also keep an eye on the partner.

Once, I went to lunch with someone

I had only talked to on the phone before.

When the waiter brought the menu,

he said he was on a diet and only drank coffee.

It’s a rather large restaurant

and I find it interesting that he doesn’t order anything fancy.

Still, I politely asked the guest if he wanted a salad.

He replied, “All right!” and added:

“Whatever you eat, I’ll eat it too”.

This makes me even more interesting

because if he changes his mind so easily,

it shows that when negotiating,

I can easily convince him.

This is not entirely true, of course,

but I can be sure that I have some useful observations for future negotiations with him.

Contacts, meetings and exchanges with people

who are not in the same industry or expertise also help us learn a lot.

Therefore, I regularly organize meetings between my friends,

clients and associates.

It is helpful to see how athletes deal with business people.

It also helped me partly in deciding

what level of competition to allow clients

(the athletes we represent)

to meet with clients and people who are allowed to compete before committing.

Famous tennis players such as Arnold Palmer, Gary Player,

John Newcombe or racer Jackie Stewart

and skier Jean-Claude Killy can attend every meeting

and their personalities play a key role in the efforts our sales force.



Tell me how you use your spare time,

and how you spend your money,

and I will tell you where

and what you will be in ten years from now. ― Napoleon Hill

In business, formal meetings,

high-level meetings,

negotiation sessions or some other form of business transaction also reveal little truth to us

because in these circumstances people often just “play” with each other.

Therefore, keep an eye out for those marginal times.

The times when people start,


or take a break are the times when people are least alert.

For example,

in a two-hour meeting,

the first few minutes

before talking about business

and the last few minutes

before everyone leaves can tell you about the puzzle.

I interact more than what happens during the meeting period.

However, this is also the time

when you are most likely to let your guard down.

So stay alert at all times.

Also, keep an eye on people during breaks,

unusual conversations,

or anything that suddenly comes in

when formal discussions are going smoothly.

In almost every business meeting,

the participants always play a certain role,

so when someone disrupts the order,

there is bound to be some rift.

Just by paying attention to who is doing this

and how people react with their eyes and words,

you will learn a lot.

A scene from the movie The Godfather illustrates this very well:

The Godfather had just flatly turned down an offer

to join the Mafia boss’s drug trade when Sonny,

the hot-tempered eldest son,

blurted out things.

The lawsuit they brought was an insult to his family.

This, of course,

led to the murder of the Godfather.

Other tycoons noticed Sonny’s “fence-breaking” expression

because when he objected to their conditions,

he revealed his intention to be more willing

to consider this deal than his father.

Although this is a fictional story,

the psychological development of the characters in The Godfather is very real.



Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow.

Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead.

Walk beside me and be my friend. — Albert Camus

I love playing golf.

I spend a lot of time in this sport and often wonder

why it is so tempting to make a tiny golf ball fall into a small hole.

But I know the reason why a game of golf brings us all kinds of emotions

and it also reveals many personality traits of the player.

In business, it helps me predict a partner’s reaction more effectively

than hundreds of hours of meetings.

Maybe it’s because it has a more direct psychological impact

than other games and situations.

Or maybe because the playground with its green lawns

and rolling hills makes people feel relaxed and caught off guard.

Here are some common cases:

Test shot

A test shot is a shot at close range,

with the permission of the opponent,

to help the player estimate the level,

direction and way of hitting to put the ball into the hole.

Observe the player’s movements

and you will notice interesting things surrounding the test shot.

In the first case,

some people refuse to try,

they want to calculate the exact path of the ball themselves.

Business Tip:

You can hardly do favors with this type of person.

In the second case,

some people automatically tried to play even

though they were standing up to 2m from the hole.

This is usually the conservative type.

However, if they know how to stop and calculate,

they can hit the ball into the hole themselves.

Business Tip:

Some people don’t ask for favors,

they take it for granted.

In addition,

there is another type of behavior

that is also quite interesting,

which is the “half-try” type.

They hit the ball, if it’s in the hole it’s good;

If not, it is considered a test shot. Business Tip:

This type of person is difficult to do business with.

They are always self-deception,

like to show off, exaggerate

and always want a perfect result.

“What did you hit?”

I used to play golf with the CEO of a large company.

When he played poorly,

he always said, “I got 79 points”.

Of course, these 79 points include some test shots and a few miscounts.

What’s interesting is that he actually believes he got 79 points.

This type of person usually makes me feel annoyed.

They always fool themselves with unreal things.

“What are your weaknesses?”

Most people know their weaknesses quite accurately.

However, some people exaggerate it.

These are people who want to take advantage of you,

they are not interested in participating

unless they get your money.

Maybe that’s their way of doing business.

On the contrary,

some people hide their weaknesses.

These are people who want to deceive the world about their true abilities.

They tend to dismiss poor achievements:

“Today, I am unlucky!”

How many times have you heard that phrase in business?

Most opportunities are disguised as problems. – Grant Cardone




Obviously, there are no rules for predicting a person,

whether it’s 7, 70 or 700 steps.

If really guessing people is so simple,

anyone can learn.

But anyway,

it also includes some basic steps:

Step 1:

Listen attentively

Listen to both what people say and how they say it.

People tend to talk more than they want to.

Take a break from talking

a slightly uncomfortable silence will make them talk more.

Step 2:

Positive observation

Have you ever watched a talk show or TV interview and said,

“Wow, this person is so nervous!”

or “Ah ha, that question confused him!”?


you don’t have to read books on body language

to understand certain gestures or movements,

or to “hear” a statement one might say by the way you dress.

Step 3:

Speak less

By doing so,

you will naturally know more,

hear more,

see more,

and make fewer mistakes.

Everyone can talk less and almost everyone should

less than.


ask questions!

Step 4:

Review first impressions

I usually trust first impressions,

but on condition of careful consideration.

There must be a process of reflection

or consideration from the moment the first impression appears

until you accept it as a principle of the relationship.

Step 5:

Spend time making use of what you already know

If you’re about to meet or call someone,

take a few minutes to reflect on what you know

and what reactions you’d expect from them.

Based on what you already know about that person,

will you choose how to say or act to get the reaction you want?

Step 6:

Think wisely

To get to know people better,

you need to think wisely.

To make good use of what you already know,

you shouldn’t tell them you think they’re easy to beat,

or point out things you feel they’ll do wrong.

If you let them know what you know,

you will miss the opportunity to make good use of your comments.

You don’t need to change your comments about the person

to get theirs about you.

Remember, you can only use what you know about others

if they know less about you.

Telling others everything you know will definitely give them the opportunity

to compromise your own safety.

Let them learn about your personality and achievements from others.

Step 7:


In any business situation,

if you can stay objective,

especially when things are getting tough,

your ability to observe will naturally increase.

When a person starts to get angry,

that is when he is most vulnerable.

If you respond with an equally heated response,

not only will you reduce your ability to observe,

you will also expose yourself to a loophole.

I always emphasize the importance of being proactive rather

than reactive in business situations.

Instead of being reactive,

being proactive will help you make the right use of what you know,

turning your perceptions into control.

If you continue to put yourself in a passive position,

you have thrown away this advantage of yours.

If you don’t react,

you’ll never overreact.

Instead of being controlled,

you will be in control.

One of the greatest gifts you can give to anyone is the gift of attention. – Jim Rohn

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