Few people pick up Robert Herjavec’s third book, You Don’t Have To Be A Shark, without some prior impression of the multimillionaire star of Shark Tank and Dancing With The Stars. Those expecting the author to expand on his persona as a successful entrepreneur and salesperson who also has a heart will be pleased with the result. The book is probably best described as a classic, mass appeal, sales text with an autobiographical flare.
The most conspicuous subject addressed in You Don’t Have To Be A Shark is sales. Herjavec lays out a basic sales philosophy that is in alignment with Daniel Pink’s To Sell Is Human and countless others which assert that essentially all of life is some version of sales. While the source (a rich TV personality) is unique, the actual substance on the topic is fairly introductory. Depending on their perspective, well read, professional salespeople will either find the author’s insights as a recap of the fundamentals or a somewhat shallow offering of common concepts. The importance of sales, listening, questioning, risk taking and self promotion are all prominently discussed ideas.
One of the more unique topics addressed in the book is the author’s view on failure and giving up. While conventional wisdom advises that one should do what they love and never give up on their dream. Herjavec challenges this view advising rather that a person focus his/her passion on something that they can realistically achieve. From personal example, he shares a story of giving up on a dream of becoming a professional soccer player to instead pursue varied other interests where he could actually succeed. He also highlights that “to everything there is a season” and that if one dreams of great physical feats late in life, the window of opportunity may have already passed. Instead of focusing only on dreams, the author recommends identifying passions, focusing on strengths and forgetting weaknesses. By doing these things, he believes that a person can significantly improve one’s odds of success.
In summary, Robert Herjavec uses his latest work to highlight his unique perspective from his work in business, on TV, as a racecar driver and as a superlative athlete. He also shares a glimpse into his soul by speaking candidly about his divorce and his deep spiritual reflections. He shares a life changing experience about his personal healing which took place at an inner city homeless shelter and opened his eyes to the troubling plight of many chronically disadvantaged people. As a result, You Don’t Have to Be Shark has a decidedly human appeal. At the same time, those seeking new understanding of sales and business are probably best served by looking elsewhere.