How to Succeed in Business By Breaking All the Rules – Dan S. Kennedy [Book Summary]

by Nick

In “How to Succeed in Business By Breaking All the Rules”, millionaire Dan Kennedy debunks popular myths.

In his opinion, there is only one rule that needs to be properly understood. Namely: the rules exist in order to break them.

In his inspiring and practical book, written in an accessible language, he shares custom strategies that guarantee wealth and success.

Dan Kennedy is a well-known multi-millionaire, successful entrepreneur and role model for hundreds of thousands of businessmen. He is also a trainer, business consultant, and speaker. Talent allowed him to become the owner of an advertising agency, industrial factory, grocery factory, newspaper publisher, the creation of a cosmetic line and much more

Dan creates, sometimes buys, and then sells firms, which allows him to be one of America’s most successful entrepreneurs. He is personally acquainted with such personalities as Margaret Thatcher, Donald Trump, and other famous political and cultural figures.

Dan Kennedy is also the creator of popular advertisements and slogans for The Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan and other magazines and newspapers. In addition, he leads his weekly political column at and holds consultations at the High Point University School of Communications.

“Professor of harsh reality” – this is how Dan was christened for his eloquence, confidence in his own success and for income with seven zeros.

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“Sometimes It’s Good to Break the Rules.”

I violated not only all the rules I knew but even those whose existence I did not even suspect.

We humans always make up the rules. How useful are all these rules?

If you meet a preacher of truths on the road, press the gas pedal as hard as possible.

In the 1960s, coaches trained athletes to jump high in front of them. Logically, everything seems to be correct; Naturally, the athlete wants to see where he falls. But one guy, Dick Fosbury, thought of jumping high otherwise. Running up to the bar, he pushed off with his right foot, turned 180 degrees and flew backward through the bar. Time magazine called it “the most absurd high jump technique that has ever existed in the world.” Of course, everyone laughed. Such a jump was called the Fosbury Slap.

This is not the only time that “generally accepted wisdom” has been put to shame.

The most important cliche: “Rules exist to break them”

This book is devoted to the destruction of stereotypes. And it may very well turn out that the most important cliche — rules exist to violate them — is of paramount importance.

I have always questioned common truths.

My main business is advertising. We are bound hand and foot by countless rules dictating how to make good advertising. We are surrounded on all sides by conventional wisdom. My whole career is built on violation of such rules.

On the one hand, I like this simple approach: give me only one set of rules. On the other hand, I’m not only sure that there is no universal set of instructions for all occasions – I’m convinced that if someone used it, I would certainly violate it in half the cases.

And yet, realizing the futility of the rules, we continue to invent new ones.

Nowhere Are There So Many Rules as in the Field of Success.

Among the classical ideas and axioms of business and life success, which we turn inside out and evaluate with a critical eye, many belong to the “treasures” of the “industry of success”. Some of my colleagues may be negative about this book. But I am not complex about this. I think this: if you do not hurt someone at least once a day, then you say too little. It was impossible to resist the temptation to offend tens of thousands of people with these pages.

Forget absolutely everything you’ve ever known about positive thinking and motivation

The thought is destructive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, the thought is ruthless to privileges, authoritative organizations and familiar traditions. The thought looks into the very depths of hell and does not feel fear. The thought is great, swift and free; she is the light and the height of the triumph of mankind.

Most successful people are reluctant to admit it, but they were driven and driven by the most “base”, negative emotions. I don’t think that there was at least one author of popular books on the topic “How to succeed in life” who would touch on a similar topic. On the contrary, the majority preach the idea of ​​suppressing, eradicating all negative emotions or getting rid of them, the theory of forgiveness and focus on positive and bright thoughts.

And that seems right. But reality proves the exact opposite.

And this is just one of many examples of misinterpretation and erroneous application of the theory of “positive thinking”.

These are the main mistakes people make when they misinterpret “positive thinking.”

This is a heart-rending mad cry, trying to drown out the voice of reason. I have repeatedly watched how the lone daredevil had the courage to question the logic and vitality of some ideas, but they immediately shut up his mouth with the advice: “Don’t be so negative!”

Many lecturers often give a joke as an example of positive thinking: “One guy stumbled and fell from the roof of a thirty-story building. He flies towards certain death. From the window on the fifteenth floor, someone shouts to him: “Are you there?” – “So far so good!” ”This joke, repeated countless times, can rightfully be considered classic.

But this is NOT an example of positive thinking. This is an example of ordinary stupidity .

The idea that a lot of questions, doubts, skepticism, finding reasons why something can not come out, give in to you “negatively minded man”, a cancerous tumor that must be immediately cut out, dangerous voice that should be muted, senseless and vicious .

Cynicism is Really Unhealthy. A Positive Attitude is Really Beneficial and Desirable. But Blind, Stubborn Optimism From Scratch is Stupidity.

If you are a sales manager, then I will find for you one special non-standard advice. Instead of showing off at weekly meetings, pounding the brains of those present with “positive thinking” and condemning those who dared to succumb to a “negative mood”, get down to business and achieve concrete practical results that you can imagine in the form of marketing developments or sales plans. Then your employees will have a real reason for optimism.

I train the sales agents, managers, and all those who, by occupation, have to convince or exert influence, to “positive strength negative preparation” – to carefully identify and analyze every possible objection that may arise, every reason for refusal or mistrust, every shortage or defect in goods , services or offers. Transfer all this “negative” onto paper. And then you can competently prepare for all these obstacles. You will not be taken by surprise when these difficulties raise their ugly heads. Then you can rightfully expect a positive outcome.

Those who believe that positive thoughts are like a magical amulet around their neck, prevent problems, avoid cynical, negative-minded people. Those who use positive thinking (like children who whistle away horror and ghosts in the dark) are doomed to disappointment and depression. People who prefer to turn a blind eye to the “negative” are just as likely to fall on the railway in front of a racing train as they can lie on a bed of roses.

Who Can Say Exactly What Should Serve as Your Motive? Everything That Affects You.

There is no doubt that such strong emotions as anger, resentment, desire for revenge or fear of collapse can lead to very unpleasant side effects, ranging from the destruction of personal relationships and ending with shaky health. But the refusal to recognize the fact that such feelings triggered a huge number of achievements testifies to hypocrisy and the desire to look at the world through rose-colored glasses. The true reasons behind many success stories are far from sublime, noble and positive thoughts. And you can’t argue with that.

It is your own self-image that determines what a person can and what does not. If, for example, deep down, someone considers himself to be “sportily unprepared”, a clumsy child who will never be accepted into the team, then he can take any number of golf lessons, watch countless matches, study the technical aspects of a good hit, and that’s all equally, his real game will invariably correspond to a deeply rooted controlling image.

The Myth of a Natural Sales Agent

A little boy, showing his father a diary in which one is full of deuces, says “I wonder if this is heredity or environment?”

Is there such a thing as a “born” someone in nature?

Is it possible to say that there are “born trading agents”? Or someone who is by nature NOT given the chance to become such an agent? If you look at the information about the birth of children printed in newspapers, you will find many announcements about the birth of little boys and girls, but not a single one about the birth of small sales agents.

Many very strongly limit themselves and their capabilities, stubbornly believing that successful people in any field were “born” to do what they do, that success was given to them “in a natural way”.

Most successful people are definitely NOT born to do what they ultimately do so naturally and naturally that it seems like it comes out of their way.

Your past – old beliefs and ideas about your own abilities, the experience associated with your talents, everything that was told to you about this – will determine your future only if you allow it.

You either allow or forbid the past to control the future.

If you do not have talent in a specific field, if you lack natural abilities, you can compensate for this shortcoming, you just have to seriously tackle its eradication. If nature has given you talent in the field in which you would like to succeed, gratefully use and develop your advantage. But in

In any case, you are able to achieve a lot, you just really want to.

On the other hand, everyone is obliged to look for those areas in which he is stronger than the others.

Not everyone, for example, should be an entrepreneur. Some people consider themselves businessmen because they cannot find work anywhere else. But this does not characterize a person as an entrepreneur. As an expat – maybe. But not as an entrepreneur.

A successful businessman is distinguished by a vision of perspective, ambitiousness, thick-skinnedness, immunity to failure, the ability to live alone. These are characteristics that not everyone wants to possess. And just the fact that you have been removed from the position of middle manager and you know how to write the word “consultant” does not mean that you should be one.

Not because you cannot. You can do almost anything.

But because you should not. Based on who you are and what you want to become. In fact, the most reasonable career advice you can give is: choose the type of activity depending on the type of person that this type of activity will make you become!

“Today you can’t do without higher education”

When I was in school, all the teachers agreed that I was destined to end my life in an electric chair.

Fifteen years ago, those who graduated earned 40% more than those who graduated only from high school. Today this figure is 60%. This is a strong argument in favor of higher education. But take a closer look, and here is the picture that will open before you: if a college or university is preparing you for something, then only for work. In addition, to earn 60% more than the rest, sitting in the service.

Higher Educational Institutions Do Not Teach Students How to Become an Entrepreneur, and Even More So How to Get Rich.

The list of incredibly successful and prosperous people who dropped out of high school or college, or do not have an academic education at all, is quite long.

I have nothing against colleges.

Do not get me wrong; I have nothing against colleges, provided that a person who has a higher education understands what it gives him and what not.

For some professions – doctors, lawyers, teachers – a diploma is necessary. Are there self-taught surgeons specializing in brain surgery? But, as I already wrote, for most, education is only preparation for work and, therefore, dependence on other people. In many ways, it sets people up for an outdated but continuing career scheme: getting a good place in a solid company, going up the corporate ladder and staying there for forty years.

If you studied together with active, energetic and ambitious students, these connections can later be useful to you, for example, to get a good job or sell insurance.


As for the acquisition of the necessary knowledge, I can offer you three methods of action that any person can do.

  1. First, visit the nearest major library and make friends with librarians in the business literature department. There you will find a wealth of information on any idea, product, service, business or problem, and for free. There are departments in almost any field of knowledge, educational materials written by leading experts in all areas of human activity.

There you can conduct research on patents, trademarks, copyright, find information on manufacturers, importers, suppliers, representatives of industrial companies, distributors, wholesalers. A variety of statistics are at your service. Today, a huge number of libraries are on the Internet, so you can easily access any sources that are not in the local library.

  1. Secondly, highlight the fifty most successful and smart people working in the field that you have chosen for yourself, find them, make an appointment with them, treat them with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bombard them with questions. (Ten out of fifty agree to give you some time.) My colleague, speaker Jim Rohn, calls it “feed the millionaire lunch.” You can meet these people at professional meetings and trade shows. Prepare thoughtful questions in advance based on a thorough study of their life and work.
  2. Finally, get a job at a company working in the area you want to study. There you can learn a lot of useful things and draw invaluable experience. Do not refuse to work for free if necessary. Be like a sponge.

Soak Up Every Drop of Information. Anyone Who Pays Attention to Any Trifle in Ten Minutes Will Gain a Decade of Experience.

Modesty and humility are admirable qualities of a monk, but not of an entrepreneur

The world must be ruled by the meek and humble … but not in our time.

Shy sales agents have skinny children.

You may have grown up in a family where modesty and humility were preached as the greatest virtues. Perhaps you were taught cheating “to speak only when they turn to you”, “not to engage in self-promotion”, you were told that “modesty is a worthy quality, and boasting is a great sin”. I believe that such education limits, even harms many people when they decide to enter the world of tough, competitive business.

When you decide to accomplish something grandiose, you will certainly encounter the mass resistance of the inhabitants. Skeptics, Thomas disbelievers and critics who can be found anywhere: in your own home, at work, in a bank, in a store. You will encounter them at every turn.

After that, having successfully overcome this segment of the path, you will find yourself

in a crowded, crowded market, where satiated, picky customers insistently demand modesty and humility. To endure all this, you will need a considerable amount of self-confidence, faith in your own rightness, even when the whole world claims the opposite, and also that you have something to offer the world, even if it first met your ideas without enthusiasm.

Self-confidence is a Necessary Quality for Success.

If you are not ready to look at the interlocutor point blank, without blinking and without hesitation, to assert that you are the best in your field and know what you are saying, someone will definitely get ahead of you, and you will remain with a nose. And if you don’t want to rush in the door, scream at the top of your lungs, turn into an annoying fly and do everything else that is necessary to attract attention, the market simply will not notice you and leave it behind.

The importance and value of self-promotion I learned from my own experience. It doesn’t matter who you are: a lecturer and consultant, like me, a chiropractor, a hairdresser, an executive director of a huge corporation – people prefer to deal with VERY confident professionals who are not embarrassed to say publicly, like Muhammad Ali: “I am the best.”

I think this is pretty obvious. But here another problem arises, since a huge number of businessmen, entrepreneurs, sales agents, consultants, doctors and other professionals providing various services feel guilty for their fees, refuse to evaluate their knowledge and work at a real cost and are afraid to demand decent pay.

In business, you should do everything possible to protect your ideas, information and interests and receive the maximum compensation for your knowledge and competence.

Gained Authority is the Respect That You Demand and Which You Deserve.

Of course, you will have to go the extra mile and provide customers with more services than they expect. Naturally, you must provide your employees with all the opportunities for promotion, improvement, and reward. But this is a reasonable and thoughtful investment. This is not a gift. Do not confuse these two concepts.

You NEVER should just give your knowledge, experience and time.

Creativity is like smallpox

Ideas acquire value only in the process of development, market positioning, sales, and marketing, as well as hard and painstaking work.

Most inventors who still managed to get rich did their best to realize their ideas and build their own business on them. About a hundred people today can have the same innovative idea, and each of them will sacredly believe that he is one so smart. About ten of them are able to take a step forward and take up the defense of their invention. But only one will have the courage and determination to shoulder the tedious, long and far from creative work of finding capital, attracting sellers and creating a business that would help make money on the idea.

Ninety-nine Will Not Do This. The Only One Will Do.

I want to emphasize once again that without the application of a huge amount of very creative, but very pragmatic efforts, a new idea loses all its value and significance. In itself, creativity is useless if it is not combined with hard and painstaking work. There is a saying: “One percent inspiration, 99 percent sweat.” That’s right.

If you constantly generate brilliant revolutionary ideas, look into the eyes of reality. You will have to pull on work clothes, roll up your sleeves and do a lot of creative and not very pleasant work. Only then will your ideas benefit. If you know for sure that you are not able to come up with anything original and there are no creative genes in your DNA, console yourself with the fact that creative ideas themselves are like seedlings. What you get is much more important. Without a doubt, creativity is not a prerequisite for creating a thriving business and achieving financial success.

Not only is creativity not required – a creative approach can be an obstacle to success!

In the advertising business, creativity is too often hunted for its own sake, pushing into the background the interests of customers or the desire to get results. The servile worship of creativity blinds people and makes them look for simpler and less risky ways. Reevaluating the importance of the creative approach of many prevents them from using other opportunities.

Forget everything (or almost everything) you’ve ever heard of the perseverance

If at first, you failed, try again. Then drop it. There is no point in fighting the problem like a complete fool.

Perseverance is overestimated too much. You probably had to listen to lectures on perseverance. Try not to back down. Be persistent.

If you succumbed to this provocation, then you probably have experienced frustration and guilt more than once. Because of the deeply rooted tradition of “persevere, no matter what the cost”, those who “retreat” are considered losers and forced to torment themselves with remorse and despair.

This is a bad tradition. We got to the point that we began to glorify as a virtue the readiness to overcome unimaginable obstacles, despite the fact that there was an easy path nearby, and to do the most difficult, even if simple leads to the same goal. The American way has become the hard way.

I would like to urge you to achieve your goals in the simplest possible ways. I like to cut paths and go straight. I like when work can be done easily and quickly. If you know how to achieve the desired results, swaying in a hammock under a shady tree, drinking lemonade and giving valuable instructions on your mobile phone, while others are trying to solve the same problem rushing headlong, carry a heavy

A “diplomat”, jam-packed with papers, gets endlessly stuck in traffic jams and spent hours in reception rooms, taking off my hat.

Just don’t get me wrong. I hate laziness and idleness. And I hate those who want to get everything without investing anything. I believe in the value of labor.

I just think: in order to get additional gold stars, it’s not at all necessary to climb the mountain on your own when the ski lift is nearby.

Briefly about a few success myths shattered

Some sacred beliefs about success and failure are so easily debunked that they do not deserve a separate chapter. I will list them in order.

“What does luck have to do with this?”

You will have to bet on everything every day, otherwise you will be lucky and you won’t know.

What does luck have to do with this? Perhaps the most immediate. There is, for example, the famous story about Fred Smith from Federal Express, who had nothing to pay employees. He collected cash balances, flew to Vegas and won enough dice for the company to work further. Gamblers love this story. Most of my business success colleagues cannot stand it.

All of them categorically deny any participation of luck. They must do so. In the end, to acknowledge the existence of a “happy chance” and “bad luck”, in no way connected with personal control and self-determination, means to allow people to establish themselves in the opinion: “And why should I worry about setting goals, allocating time, mastering the necessary skills, etc. nonsense, if a fluke in one instant can lift me to the pinnacle of success? ”

I perfectly understand the desire of traders to ignore the success secrets of luck and luck. But this is a big mistake.

Such a thing as luck DOES exist.

No matter how you call it, no matter how you describe it, fate throws incredible fortunes from time to time. Say, coincidence.

“hurry – You Make People Laugh”

I know a lot of people who work better and more efficiently in conditions of severe time pressure.

I always say that I am the most hardworking couch potato on the whole planet. If mountains of work do not hang over me and deadlines do not run out for me, I will not even lift a finger. And at the same time, I can do and am doing more work in an hour than many in a week. I think a two-minute attack is for me.

Whether you like it or not, the fast pace of modern communication does not leave us the opportunity for braking, pauses and delays. Faxes, e-mail, the Internet, mobile phones, modems – all this instantly connects us with each other, multiplying the need for an IMMEDIATE RESPONSE many times!

Is it bad, is it good, but it is. So we all have to move.

“Working on the go”

There is such a marketing technique called “dry testing”, officially it is illegal. Advertising is broadcast, letters of presentation are sent when the goods are not yet released and are not ready. This is done BEFORE the product is put into production to determine whether it will be successful. And, although this is a violation of the rules of the

Federal Trade Commission, my experience suggests that every marketer from time to time resorts to such a technique. If the product is successful, it rushes into production in a hurry, and the whole process sometimes takes only a few minutes. This is just one example of how real business differs from the clean, correct, classic described in textbooks.

When working with most of my clients and their projects, we are at the same time both at the “planning” stage and at the “implementation” stage. And we often sacrifice quality, even perfect, so that only the process goes, after which we return and eliminate defects, defects, smooth out roughness and solve problems.

Success and “Fast Fever”

If you insist that “hurry up and make people laugh”, you will have to admit: everyone who achieves high results, in any case, works in an accelerated mode.

Napoleon graduated two times faster than expected.

Walt Disney often went on long working hours, interrupted by periods of complete loss of strength, and slept almost half of his life on the couch in the office, because he did not want to spend time traveling home.

At the age of nineteen, Picasso painted one painting every day. Art dealers warned that he would destroy the market with his work. (They were wrong.)

Those who are constantly trying to besiege you, slow down, relax, have no idea what excites you, which brings you a sense of fulfillment, what you need to succeed.

Despite the fact that people with fever, pay a high price, this is the secret of their amazing achievements. Moreover, a fast-paced, success-oriented pace does not necessarily lead to fuss or a decline in quality. Most people work much slower than they should.

To Make Money, You Need Money

I was the biggest double threat: without money and without experience.

I suspect that people more often abandon their entrepreneurial ideas and plans due to lack of money than for any other reason. “I do not have such capital. I do not know anyone who would have the right amount of money. I can’t get that much money. ” Complete nonsense.

Today you can hire a LOT of experts who will draw up traditional business plans for you, predict two to five years of work without profit, write a budget for a wide variety of equipment and calculate the initial capital for a billion or two dollars.

However, among millionaires, there are a lot of people who have ignored all this nonsense and started almost penniless in their pocket. And they surprisingly managed to get to the very top. In a sense, a solid initial capital is even harmful – no need to fight for survival.

I have long come to the conclusion: if you can’t make money without money, you won’t make it with impressive funds at your disposal. And if you decide to finance someone, choose an entrepreneur who has proven that he can survive without a lot of capital.

Large financial reserves can turn into a terrible curse.

Even today, when one of my partners in several mail order companies decided to establish a new business, we only loaned him a thousand or two dollars. We insisted that this should be enough to attract other finances and that the company should develop at the expense of profit, and not at the expense of cash from our pockets or income from other activities.

Could we afford a larger investment? Of course. Would the results be more impressive? Hardly. The shortage of finances makes us quickly and easily find solutions to the most difficult situations, make the most competent decisions and take every cent.

Subsequently, of course, we can safely allocate some amounts for crazy experiments, innovations. But first, we must apply all our knowledge and experience only in the most correct, safe and reliable direction, so that every dollar invested turns into three. I think this approach is always effective.

And I know for sure that, thanks to him, not one business was created.

The definitions from old marketing textbooks and the classic separation of advertising, marketing, trade, and distribution are currently more limiting than helping.

In many companies, marketing departments are bureaucratic mechanisms set in motion by dry statistics and research results. Often they can be abolished without harm to the functioning of the company.

So What is Modern Marketing?

I believe in “entrepreneurial strategies.” Even in large corporations, real professionals in this field should have some freedom and act more like businessmen than bureaucrats. If you are directly involved in the marketing of your products or services, I think you need to constantly analyze the current situation, prospects for strategies and

principles. Marketing is the search for new opportunities, improved ways to build strong and stable relationships with customers.

According to my definition, in many cases marketing is nothing more than an illusion. In fact, people do not do it!

I offer a similar strategy to many of my clients. Do not let top executives stay in the ivory tower, put them behind the counter, put them on the phone to answer calls. Let the workers engage in negotiations with customers. Shuffle all posts. Let each of the employees feel in the shoes of the other. Make people who haven’t contacted before because of the difference in status.

A Completely New Criterion for Evaluating Business Success.

American corporations, under pressure from shareholders, top management and financial institutions, are forced to disclose the amount of profit every quarter. This practice, designed for the near future, leads to many decisions leading to terrible long-term consequences. Unlike American counterparts, Japanese business

leaders look far ahead and chuckle to ourselves at our shortsightedness. But both of them evaluate business success on the basis of gross revenue, specific gravity, share of profit, increase in income.

For many years I have been promoting a different, more reliable and reasonable criterion: the duration of demand and the frequency of customer calls. When a company focuses primarily on these indicators, many other economic goals are automatically achieved.

It sounds so healthy that it’s even unpleasant. Thinking logically, is it possible to single out a better criterion for success and skill than the number of customers who become regular customers or give preference to a particular brand not just from time to time, but always or in most cases? And yet, companies generally don’t make any attempts to conduct an assessment by this criterion. ‘For some, such an idea does not even occur.

The Final Words

Between dogmas and dog poop, in fact, there are no particular differences.

Develop an extraordinary approach and an unconventional attitude to someone’s wisdom cast in cement. Challenge it. Do not be afraid to ask “stupid” questions.

Do not let authorities put pressure on you.

Scrape the dogma from the sole and arrange your life the way YOU want.

Why You Should Read “How to Succeed in Business By Breaking All the Rules “


  • To start challenging dogmas
  • To find out own unique way to success
  • To build something special and lasting in your life

This book is available as: