What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School - Mark H. McCormack

What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School - Mark H. McCormack

Discover in this summary the best business career insights that are not taught at the famous Harvard Business School!

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1st place on The New York Times Best Sellers List for 21 consecutive weeks, the book "What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School", written by renowned author Mark H. McCormack, promises to show you the main teachings that this great business school doesn't cover in your curriculum.

In this PocketBook, we bring the main points transmitted by the work and tips on how they can be applied in your daily life, in business and in life.

Want to know more about what Harvard Business School is unable to teach? So come on!

About the book "What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School"

The book "What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School" (1984) is a guide to tips and teachings on sales, negotiation and management that only people with a lot of market experience know.

This book has more than one million copies sold, it is distributed by the publisher Bantam Books Trade Paperback and has 255 pages divided into 3 parts.

About the author Mark H. McCormack

Born in November 1930, Mark H. McCormack graduated as a lawyer from Yale University School of Law. In addition to practicing the profession for many years, McCormack was the founder of the global sports, fashion and media business company, IMG Worldwide.

Always connected to sports, Mark was honored with inclusions in the Hall of Fame for sports such as Golf and Tennis, and came to be considered the "Most Powerful Man in Sports" by The Sporting News in 1990.

He dedicated most of his life to the company and to writing books, several of which became The New York Times' Best Sellers, such as "The Terrible Truth About Lawyers" and "What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School".

To whom is this book indicated?

The book, "What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School", is a perfect study base for all those who wish to learn more about entrepreneurship. With three major focuses: people, sales and business administration, the work brings insights to those interested in these areas.

If you study on the topic, undertake or want to start your company, assume or intend to assume an important position in one of these areas, this book is perfect for you!

Main ideas of the book "What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School"

  • The main lesson you learn at any business school is an awareness of what it cannot teach you;
  • Your greatest learnings in the business world will be obtained right there: in the business world! Only practice is able to teach you what you really need to know about building a company;
  • Your relationship with people is as important as your technical knowledge. Both customers and partners, employees and competitors. Be aware of these people;
  • The sale process is much broader and involves more details than just marketing. Every customer contact with your product is a kind of negotiation;
  • Put the customer at the center of the business, not your product. Understand what he really wants to buy and show that you can offer it to him;
  • Staying in the market is as difficult as entering it. Be prepared for the challenges and have the best team with you;
  • Never be satisfied with the performance of your business.

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[Book Summary] What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School - Mark H. McCormack

Overview: People

Reading People

According to his book, "What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School", several practical and real examples, the author Mark H. McCormack shows the importance of knowing how to interpret the surrounding people in a complete way. Interpret lines, gestures, postures and ways of expressing yourself.

To summarize his teachings, Mark lists his "Seven Step Plan" to read people. He points out, however, that there is no foolproof rule or perfect step by step, after all, if it existed, it would be a skill that could be taught in Harvard classrooms.

  • Step 1 - Listen aggressively: don't just pay attention to what the person is saying, but how they are saying it. Take breaks: silence tends to be uncomfortable and make people talk even more;
  • Step 2 - Observe aggressively: observe details, from how the person moves to how they are dressed. You do not need to read a book on body language to notice simple things as if the person seems nervous in your presence;
  • Step 3 - Talk less: ask questions and don't answer them. Listen more than you speak and you will learn, see and see more;
  • Step 4 - Don't always rely on first impressions: first impressions are often correct, but it is necessary to evaluate them very well before taking them as absolute truths;
  • Step 5 - Take time to put into practice what you have learned: before speaking to someone or giving a presentation, take a moment to remember everything you know about them and outline a strategy on how best to achieve What you want;
  • Step 6 - Be discreet: this is the most important tip for reading people. Never tell anyone all the insights you had about her. If you do, you will end your chances of using your insights effectively;
  • Step 7 - Be impartial: always take a step back and do not react with the same intensity as your interlocutor. So you will always be the person who is controlling the discussion, not the person being controlled.

Overview: Sales and Negotiation


Like most of the teachings in the book "What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School", the art of marketing cannot be learned in marketing studies and experiments, but it must be intuitive of practice.

It comes from observing customers and perceiving hidden motivation as to why they actually care or dislike your product.

If done correctly, what the author Mark H. McCormack calls "marketing", has no cost, unlike marketing and product promotion.

These last two are focused on the product and its characteristics, functions and market advantages. Marketing puts the buyer in the spotlight.

Know your product, your corporation and have the right people, who believe in the product and sell it with enthusiasm.


Most people generally underestimate the importance and power of a sales-oriented atmosphere. However, just as there is a perfect time to make a sale (timing), there is also an ideal environment. Author Mark H. McCormack points out that this environment is never the buyer's office.

Also, keep in mind the two main preconditions for a sale to take place:

  • Find out what exactly the person wants to buy. If you don't know, ask and let the person tell you. It is easier to sell what the buyer wants than to convince him to buy what you want to sell;
  • Know who will actually make the purchase. Companies have hierarchies and people who make the final decisions. Don't ignore that.

To guarantee the success of a sale, Mark suggests in his book, "What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School", several other practices, from some simple to more elaborate ones. Here are some of them:

  • Selling directly to one person is much easier than giving presentations to large groups of people. Find the key person and make the offer directly to them;
  • Always remind the client of your greatest past achievements. Great customers, prizes won, great achievements achieved. People want to do business with winners;
  • Expose your product instead of selling it. If you are really confident in your product and know that the customer will be satisfied, another effective technique is to give the product (or part of it) to the consumer. Thus, he himself will come to the conclusion that this is exactly what he needs.

Overview: Business Administration

Author Mark H. McCormack brings in this section, even more than in the rest of the book "What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School", practical examples of situations he lived through becoming an entrepreneur and throughout the life of his company.

All of his teachings are based on situations lived and observed by himself.

Building a Business

During the first years of its existence, any company will face major problems and challenges to be overcome. However, there will also be many opportunities and lucky moments.

It is essential to know how to perceive these lucky moments and, in addition to enjoying them, to be aware that they are not common and will not be repeated frequently. You can't wait for luck to make a deal work.

Analyze your successes and failures. Focus on becoming good before you want to become big. Grow slowly and consistently. Thus, your company will achieve both: a healthy growth rate and profit.

Always be aware of good opportunities and don't forget some key points:

  • Diversify your expertise. Don't focus all your efforts on just one product or service. Be ready to offer what the market is asking for;
  • Always ensure that you are hiring the best people, those who will teach you what you don't know how to do;
  • Look out for global markets. Anticipate the demands that will arise in other countries and will reach yours and, mainly, what you can offer out.

What do other authors say about it?

For John C. Maxwell, author of "Leadership Gold" the best leaders are those who know how to listen. In addition, good listeners have the ability to understand what is going on and to see other people's strengths and weaknesses better.

In the work "The 7 Pillars of Successful Sales", Rejiano Vedovatto and César Frazão make it clear that a successful salesperson not only knows that the customer buys a product, but also what value that product adds to the customer.

And yet, the concept of value can be perfectly explained with the presentation of the product's characteristics, benefits and advantages.

Finally, in Guy Kawasaki's "Enchantment", you will see how to involve people present in all areas of your life, whether they are customers, friends, family, boss or employees.

Everyone will be enchanted by you when learning the techniques that this book will teach you to be more friendly and caring with people.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

The main teaching that Mark H. McCormack brings in his work, "What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School", is that the main actions that any entrepreneur carries out on a daily basis are learned in practice.

Therefore, according to the author himself, it is not just reading this book that will make anyone a good executive. You will need to get your hands dirty and face reality to learn your own.

So be sure to:

  • Create a strong networking network and always seek to learn from people who know more than you do about a certain topic;
  • Listening more than you speak;
  • Seek to approach your customers and understand what they really have been looking for. Talk, ask;
  • Be aware of the market and not be afraid to invest in new expertise.

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