Book Review: Use What You Have to Get What You Want by Jack Nadel

One hundred elemental ideas have been gathered from Nadel’s 65 years of experience as a self-made entrepreneur and TV host.

by / July 6, 2011

Achieving success requires mastering the basics, and getting what you want is a matter of rethinking your skill set, said Jack Nadel, author of Use What You Have to Get What You Want — a self-help book containing 100 basic ideas for individuals to lead successful business lives.

The 100 elemental ideas have been gathered from Nadel’s 65 years of experience as a self-made entrepreneur and TV host of Out of the Box With Jack Nadel, which featured inspirational interviews of daring business people. Nadel is also the founder of Jack Nadel International, a worldwide brand-management company with tech clients including Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Adobe.

“Read it. Don’t overthink it. Assume it will work,” said Nadel about the book.

For skeptical, headstrong readers, however, Nadel encouraged them to have an open mind, change of attitude and freedom to process the book’s content. His suggestion is to closely examine and apply the ideas that resonate with you. They aren’t just theory — they work.

The following are a few of the book’s takeaways that may resonate with public-sector officials and examples of how they can be applied.

Understand your strengths and weaknesses. If personal inventory is taken, strengths and weaknesses can be better identified. If leaders conduct a skills assessment of their employees, they can match the right talent to the applicable task so project goals are successfully attained.

Don’t fall in love with your idea. An original idea is usually born with many imperfections, Nadel says, so it might be hard to let it die if you’re in love with it. Instead, put in the required work to ensure your idea prospers, but if it’s not working, cut your losses — don’t allow your love to blind your business acumen.

Invest in haste and lose your money in leisure. IT officials can’t make snap decisions when negotiating contracts or procurement, etc., so details must be meticulously combed through to avoid costly or detrimental mistakes.

Leave something on the table. Everyone wants to win when negotiating contracts and providing services, so make deals that guarantee vendors, IT officials and stakeholders leave the table satisfied. Find ways to agree early during negotiations, which lets the other party know you are reasonable and sympathetic.

Other pointers include adapting to your environment and creating agendas for meetings to best use the time spent. Most importantly, Nadel echoed a common phrase: Share your knowledge — it gives more meaning to your life while enhancing someone else’s. “If I give you a dollar, and you give me a dollar, we each have a dollar,” Nadel wrote, but, “If I give you an idea, and you give me an idea, we each have two ideas.”

If these ideas seem too basic, then the subtitle is accurate. But it’s never too late to go back to the basics — after all, you do mean business.

Karen Stewartson Managing Editor