To say that Rules of the Hunt: Real World Advice for Entrepreneurial and Business Success  is one of the most unusual business books I’ve ever read or reviewed would be an understatement. The whole experience of getting this book and reviewing it was rather serendipitous.
As is the usual case, I received an email from a publicist who asked if I’d be interested in reviewing the book. Of course, I said “Yes.” The book arrived and I opened the envelope and just put it on the pile – you know the pile I’m talking about – it’s the one my husband just went bananas over this morning – yeah – that one!
But then I got a call from Michael Dalton Johnson (@RulesoftheHunt ). At first I thought he was talking about the book – but it turned out to be about a completely unrelated reason. As we were ending the conversation he said that the book had an unusual format – but he wouldn’t say more. Well, you know what happened next. I went home, routed through the pile until I found the book, and promptly took it upstairs to read that evening.
Rules of the Hunt Looks Like a Book and Reads Like a Blog
When you get your copy of Rules of the Hunt you’re going to think you got a book. It looks like a book at first. In fact, it looks like any other business book you’ve ever seen; it has a businessy title and subtitle, acknowledgements, a forward by famous sales guru, Jeffery Gitomer and even a disclaimer. Then you get to the table of contents and you see that there are, what look like ten chapters. The introduction subtly lets me know that I don’t have to read the book cover to cover. OK. A lot of books say that, so I’m not surprised.
It isn’t until I turn to page two that I notice the difference – when Michael Johnson said “Rules” – he was being literal. This was a book of RULES ; paragraphs and sections of things that Michael Johnson has learned over the length of his more than 30 years of attending the school of entrepreneurial hard knocks.
Let me give you an example. I’m going to select just a couple of short “rules” so that you can get a flavor for what I mean:
“With money or time, new customers are bought. The question is how much will new customers cost you? There are many inexpensive ways to acquire customers – word of mouth being the cheapest of them all. Clever advertising, publicity, and promotion are also very effective. You must determine, with a fair degree of accuracy what your acquisition costs are.”
OK. So what, you might say. But then there are wonderful, golden nuggets of just plain raw and honest business wisdom like this one:
“The immutable law of business gift giving. Women like chocolates and flowers, men like food, gadgets and toys. Quality trumps quantity. A small box of exquisite chocolate truffles is remembered long after a two-pound of so-so candy. That’s all you need to know.”
Here’s another one I really liked:
“Hire traits, not degrees. The fact that a job applicant has a degree doesn’t reveal much about the candidate’s capabilities. Many people with advanced degrees lack common sense. The Wizard of Oz couldn’t give the Scarecrow brains, but he could give him a diploma. Lots of incompetents have diplomas. Don’t be too impressed by these. Honesty, loyalty, initiative and dedication can’t be taught. The real world of business requires trats and abilities that are not attained by simply having a degree.”
How Michael Dalton Johnson Can Pull off a Book Like Rules of the Hunt
Not everyone can write a book like this. It takes someone who has lived it and learned from his mistakes to write a book like this and have you actually believe it. Michael Dalton Johnson certainly fits this description.
At the age of 15, Johnson dropped out of high school to take a full-time job. He joined the army at age 17. Then, after serving in the military, he worked as a ranch hand, factory worker and construction laborer before venturing into the business world. He’s never taken a business course and it seems like he’s proud of it.
Now, let me tell you about what he’s accomplished inside the world of business. Johnson is an award-winning trade book and magazine publisher. He’s been an entrepreneur for over 30 years and is the founder of SalesDog.com. He hasn’t lived an obscure entrepreneurial life, rather, he’s been on more than 200 radio shows and been featured in U.S. News and World Report, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal and many, many more publications that are too numerous to mention here.
I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Michael a few weeks ago and I can tell you that the creative marketing and sales secrets he shared with me can ONLY come from someone who has gotten his PhD from the real world of work and not a classroom.
Rules of the Hunt is a Mentoring Textbook
With so many young people graduating from college and looking to contribute and get to work – this book would be a fantastic graduation present. It’s easy to read and will give them just the right amount of insight to think about – but leave them the freedom to see how they would put it to work.
If you’ve been running a business, but not getting as far ahead in the process as you’d like – you might find some clues as to what’s been missing in your strategy.
Overall, this is a great general read for anyone who love reading business books. You don’t have to read it cover to cover. You can simply keep it at your desk and open to a random page to see what pops up for you.
I really enjoyed Rules of the Hunt and I think you will too.