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April 13, 2007

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects: Deals on the Green

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 8:50 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Deals on the Green: Lessons on Business and Golf from America’s Top Executives by David Rynecki, Portfolio, 170 Pages, $22.95 Hardcover, April 2007, ISBN 9781591841555
Not every book that becomes a Jack Covert Selects will end up a contender for the Financial Times Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year award. Nope, sometimes we all need to lighten up a little and orient toward some of our personal interests. So, confession time: I play golf—not very well, but I really like a friendly game on a nice summer day. So when this book came across my desk, I picked it up because Deals on the Green is about golf and business, two of my favorite subjects.
The cover image of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett playing golf at Augusta National—where, by the way, they are both members—made me chuckle, but it does a great job of communicating what we all know, that the golf course is where a lot of business deals are made. The author, a former senior writer with Fortune describes why the golf course is such an effective board room of sorts:
No matter how sophisticated the tools become—the e-mails and teleconferencing, the BlackBerries and PowerPoints—golf remains the true communications hub of American Business. It is the great and peaceful forum where movers and shakers can meet, up-and-comers can impress their bosses, and major players can seal monster deals. It is the place where there is no need for a personality test because golf brings out a person’s true character.

Rynecki actually played with some serious Fortune 500 types, on some serious golf courses and share with us stories about the way they play and hustle and just generally enjoy themselves. Here are his illuminating thoughts on Gates and Buffett:
The reason I think Buffett and Gates embody what is great about golf—and the reason so many people want to play with them—is that they don’t take themselves seriously when they are on the course. They’re the best in their respective professions and yet don’t try to take that to golf. They’re happy having a good time. How many playing partners have you met who aren’t that way? I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the stories I have of Fortune 500 CEOs, iconic investment bankers, and aspiring corporate chieftains who have behaved badly. How many people have you met who demand to be treated like royalty? Pretension is a dead giveaway for insecurity, and what makes Gates and Buffett so special is that they are secure individuals. They simply don’t care if they look foolish hitting a little white ball along tightly mowed grass. That is a lesson for us all.

April is the month of the Masters and Chapter 4 will tell you how you could get to play Augusta National, one of, if not the most exclusive golf course on the planet. His tips on how to actually get to play the course are worth the price of the book squared. In the past, I have referred to books that are entertaining, fun and simple as an “airplane read