If you travel in Hollywood circles you know his reputation precedes him, and you know him as one of the great Producers. Among his many accolades he managed Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Led Zeppelin, and he’s the guy behind the movies Nashville, Diner, The Karate Kid, and Ocean’s 11, 12 and 13, and a lot more.
I first got to know about him through his autobiography, When I Stop Talking You’ll Know I’m Dead, with the perfect sub-title “Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man.” He’s not a perfect man by any stretch, but he embodies what I think are the the two most important characteristics in a great sales or business development person – Persistance and Empathy. He sold, and cajoled, and willed ideas into existance – but he did it with the OTHER person in mind, and he NEVER gave up. The Elvis story alone is worth the price of the book: he had a dream that he’d take Elvis on tour, he cold called his manager Colonel Tom Parker every day for a year until he said yes, he came up with a million dollar advance he didn’t have in a couple days, and wait until you hear how they used prison inmates to guarantee Elvis played to a packed house. I’m purposefully linking to the audio version, so you can hear him tell his own story in his own words.
Last year HBO made a documentary on him called His Way .