The Godfather’s Business Rules

Ever wanted a short, sharp and shiny guide to The Godfather’s Business Rules? Look no further: I’ve done it all for you (and you can even download them free as a PDF). Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone: Silence is a virtue.
Cover image of The Godfather's Business Rules

I read The Godfather by Mario Puzo recently, because I saw it quoted in another book as ‘the best business book ever written’. (That was a business book, buggered if I can remember its title!) Having read a vast number of business books in the past five years, I thought, ‘game on’.

And what do you know, it was right.

As I read the book, I collated its key rules of business. They are below. And if you want a copy yourself, you can download it here.

Enjoy! ~ L x

The Godfather’s Business Rules

The Godfather’s business rules are in four sections: Foundations, Leadership, Operations, and Communications.

1. Foundations

  1. Friendship is everything. It’s more than money or assets. It’s almost equal to family.
  2. Show your friendship first.
  3. Go to your closest friends when they need you, even if it’s on your daughter’s wedding day.
  4. Respect everyone: Elders, those senior to you, family, peers, friends.
  5. Consider your life partner to be your own Don.
  6. Never discuss business at home… or anywhere outside the business. Silence is virtuous.

2. Leadership

  1. Keep good working habits, no matter the circumstances.
  2. Acquire knowledge, contacts, experience, before all else.
  3. Help everyone who comes to you for help.
  4. Be supremely organised.
  5. Pick up good deeds like securities.
  6. Learn from your mistakes.
  7. Count punctuality among your virtues.
  8. Run your own world better than the outside world runs itself.
  9. Always be fair, never arbitrary even in the little things.
  10. Your friends should underestimate your virtues, and your enemies should overestimate your faults.
  11. When called upon to work, go fully to the task, no matter whether it is early or late.
  12. Be, yourself, a person “of respect”. Rely on the force of your own personality.

3. Operations

  1. Run business using Simple Rules that everyone knows intimately.
  2. Carefully assess risk: To your business AND to your associates’ businesses.
  3. Have a tried and tested 2IC who can replace you immediately… any time.
  4. Set about to achieve monopoly, because monopoly is efficient.
  5. Seek to own assets you can use for work AND for leisure.
  6. Insulate yourself from any operational act, with at least 5 layers.
  7. Supreme organisation + intelligence = victory.
  8. Don’t allow witnesses to any order that you give to any of your top people.
  9. Have friends, and gain intelligence, wherever you might need them.
  10. Test your future executives, without them realising they’re being tested.
  11. Not keeping your empire in order is unforgivable. This ‘order’ includes your people’s behaviour.
  12. Watch the world and anticipate what is ahead – and prepare for it. Be alert, foresighted.
  13. Look after your people well, and their families, no matter what happens, and they will be forever loyal to you.
  14. Keep counsel with those you trust & respect. Seek their advice often, and before any major (or potentially major) decision.
  15. Ally yourself with truthful people who have long memories.

4. Communication

  1. Negotiate with reasonableness and calm.
  2. Never utter threats, even if you need to swallow others’ insults.
  3. Don’t take it personally.
  4. Be a good listener.
  5. Be softly spoken.
  6. If dealing with an angry person, identify the heart of the anger and deal with that first.
  7. You are never above apologising in areas in which you have no power or reign.
  8. Use irresistible logic.
  9. Always give people the option of saying no.
  10. Learn to say no.
  11. You can’t say No to the people that you love, not often. When you do, it has to sound like Yes, or you have to make them say no. Take the time and trouble to do so.
  12. Say only meaningful things.
  13. Make sure nobody loses.

Want your own copy of these rules? Download the PDF here for free.


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