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32 Ways to Be a Champion in Business Hardcover – November 18, 2008
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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About the Author
EARVIN “MAGIC” JOHNSON—known worldwide for his talent on the basketball court—has an equally impressive career off the court. As the chairman and chief executive officer of Magic Johnson Enterprises, he has helped launch major business initiatives focused on revitalizing ethnically diverse urban communities by bringing brand-name businesses into them. He has been voted number one among organizations and individuals in representing the urban community, and is the celebrity most able to influence minority consumer purchasing.
For speaking engagements or to book Earvin “Magic” Johnson for your next corporate engagement, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Each of us can make a difference, even if it is one street corner at a time.
My father and other entrepreneurs in my hometown, Lansing, Michigan, were my first business role models and mentors. Later, I got to know major entertainment executives such as Joe Smith of Elektra/Asylum Records and Peter Guber of Sony Pictures because they had courtside Lakers tickets. When we socialized after games, they’d ask me about basketball—and I’d pick their brains about business.
Still, it was J. Bruce Llewellyn, one of the most successful black men in America, who sent me off with a mission on my journey from basketball player to businessman. The son of Jamaican immigrants, he built an empire that includes one of the nation’s largest Coca-Cola distributorships, a cable and broadcasting company, and Essence magazine.
When we met, I got right to the point.
“I want to be a businessman after basketball,” I told him. “I want to make a lot of money like you.”
Mr. Llewellyn let me babble on like that for several minutes before he cut me off with a wave of his hand.
“No, Magic,” he said; “if money is all you want, there willnever be enough of it and you will never be happy. You’ve got to be about more than that.”
He had my attention. What did he mean?
“You have the opportunity to be a leader who can do great things and change people’s lives for the better,” he said. “You can be a businessman who is also a catalyst for change.”
This great entrepreneur offered me more than I’d bargained for. Since high school, I’d sought out advice from every successful businessperson I’d met. This was the first person who had a bigger vision for me than I had for myself.
A catalyst for change?
That was a role I’d never imagined. I thought you had to be Nelson Mandela or the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., to change the world. I learned instead that each of us can make a difference, even if it is one street corner at a time.
I still saw myself as an athlete—a player who performed well on the basketball court and hopefully excited a few fans. I figured once my NBA days were over I’d fade from the public view and focus on building wealth and a family.
God has a way of telling you what you are supposed to be doing. He gets the message out one way or another until you finally pay attention.
That meeting with J. Bruce Llewellyn was a defining moment. He changed my perspective by challenging me to expand my goals as a person and as an entrepreneur.
A few weeks after my talk with him, God sent another messenger by the name of John Mack, who led the Urban League of Los Angeles for more than thirty-five years.
Mr. Mack asked me to join the Urban League. Then he too challenged me.
“You’ve got to become a leader in this community,” he said. “You need to get involved and learn how things work.”
Bruce Llewellyn and John Mack opened my eyes and my mind to a much bigger world.
I’d thought I was living large as a member of the Lakers. Yet once I immersed myself in business and joined the Urban League, I realized that an athlete’s life offers a very limited perspective.
Over time, I came to understand the vision others had for me. I made the next big step in my manhood when I heeded the advice of those two strong and committed leaders. They refocused my vision for my life, and I resolved to first make a difference in the world and let the money take care of itself.
To accomplish that mission, I went back to school in the classroom of the real world. I was lucky. I had access to brilliant men and women of all races who gave me guidance—from Black Enterprise publisher Earl Graves to Lakers owner Jerry Buss and Hollywood superagent Michael Ovitz.
Even with those great minds to guide me, I had a lot to learn. Certainly, I made mistakes, and I will share what I learned from them in the pages that follow. To stay true to my mission, I will share the story of my journey from basketball to boardroom while also providing guidance to aspiring entrepreneurs.
Before we begin, I encourage you, just as Mr. Llewellyn and Mr. Mack encouraged me, to think of yourself and your business as catalysts for positive change in your community. Make a difference, and making money will follow.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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The best book of it's kind that I have read all year long!!
Magic was not only one of the greatest basketball players of all time, but this book shows that he is one of a kind when it comes to growing within himself and how his giving attitude has brought him wealth on so many levels.
I hope to meet him one day to just tell him myself how I admire him as a person mostly because of how he handled the down times in his life and how he wasn't afraid to admit and correct his mistakes with pride and dignity.
There is only one Earvin "Magic" Johnson and we should appreciate this gift while we have it and learn from how he does and listen to what he has to say as well. Even if you don't agree, you must respect him for saying it, whatever it may be.
To be totally honest, the writing style isn't always Pulitzer-prize worthy but for sheer content and value this has to be one of the best things that I've read in several years. Can't recommend it highly enough. Between Pagliarini and D. Allen Magic completes my biz-empowerment trifecta! This title is among the absolute best in terms of rich, detailed information, accessibility/relatable content and offers a play-by-play look (missteps, protips and all) at what it takes to build a business empire.
Magic has a true love for his community and a lifetime of knowledge to share. Both factors are abundantly clear in this very helpful guide. Bottom Line: BUY IT and get started on the path to living those business dreams that are keeping you up at night!
I read the preface in the store and vowed to pick this book up at my local library. That's my process; I read the book from the library first to decide if I want to make the purchase. I have read so many "business books" for Entrepreneurial and have been very disappointed, that was until I picked up the copy of MAGIC'S book.
His book was an easy read I read it within 2 days I started the read each night before I would turn in for bed. There are NO fillers in this book. (you know when someone starts filling the pages because they have no substance to deliver) each sentence has a relevant point from Beginning to End. It has valuable information along with working websites that were just as resourceful as the book.
I made my purchase the 3rd day from Amazon.com, for once I can breathe a breath of fresh air, the book left a good pit in my stomach and a good chill down my spine.
All I can say is Earvin Johnson thank you for sharing your passion it was felt throughout your book.
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