Thick Face, Black Heart – The warrior philosophy for conquering the challenges of business and life
by Chin-Ning Chu
A bad habit of mine (or good, depending on your outlook) is that I don’t buy books when I’m ready to read them. I buy them (or put them on my Amazon wish list) when I find them. They then go on the “unread books” bookshelf in my office, where they will get pulled the next time I need a book, or the next time I have to fly somewhere, or go camping, etc.
So as you might expect, this is one of those books I bought on a recommendation over a year ago and am just now getting around to reading it.
Holy cow I’m ticked off at myself. Along the lines of Psychocybernetics or The Power of Focus, I CANT BELIEVE I’m just now getting around to reading Thick Face, Black Heart. Yes, its another book that Kennedy and Ken McCarthy recommended to me. The book is written by an American immigrant who grew up in China, and now acts as a consultant to businesses who want to do business in Asia, as well as to Asian businesses.
The gist of the title is this:
Thick Face is about the Asian trait of being stoic, unflappable – at least publicly and having a thick skin, although its substantially more than that. It’s about the necessity to be unconcerned about what others say, think and feel about what you do and how you do it. A better way to state this is “immune to criticism”. For example, you may use a 48 step marketing program to grow your business including mailings, phone calls, faxes, boxes of stuff, etc. Your friends, competition, employees, and spouse may think what you do is stupid, ridiculous, outrageous etc – but if it WORKS, you have to be immune to criticism.
An example that always pops up to me is Dan’s reasoning for never using evaluation forms when he speaks. His angle on it is that his level of skill and demonstrated success after 25+ years in platform speaking is that he is at the point where the only people who can offer criticism that HE CARES ABOUT are people who are at his skill level speaking-wise, so why bother passing out an eval to people who have never spoken and dont even understand why he does and says what he does and how he does it.
To put it in more basic terms, would Donald Trump ask you or I to offer criticism about his ability to invest in real estate? If we offered our opinion, would he care? No. Warren Buffett probably has the same feelings about our thoughts about his investing prowess. We simply aren’t qualified to criticize, so they don’t even seek our input.
Black Heart is about being ruthless about the pursuit of your goals. Doesnt mean running over people in the crosswalk, but simply unrelenting and unstoppable when chasing after goals, deadlines, milestones, projects, etc. If you play, play to win. The author makes several references to the Art of War and related publications, which also address this topic.
A must read. Definitely on my re-read annually list.