Max Siegel has built a career as a ground-breaking marketing exec and attorney unafraid of the challenge of conquering unfamiliar territory. From talent agent representing the likes of superstar athletes Tony Gwynn and the late Reggie White, to music executive ushering gospel talents such as Kirk Franklin and Fred Hammond into the Pop/R&B mainstream, to the highest ranking black executive in NASCAR as Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s president of global operations, Siegel has built an astonishing track record of succeeding as an outsider and transforming would-be adversaries into partners. Now CEO of sports and media firm Max Siegel Inc. and head of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity initiative, Siegel (along with co-author G.F. Lichtenberg) shares his formula for success in his book Know What Makes Them Tick: How To Successfully Negotiate Almost Any Situation.
Sharing life experiences beginning with a challenging childhood—marked by the death of his father, a neglectful and hostile stepmother, and a difficult reconciliation with his birth mother—Siegel explains how he survived and ultimately thrived (along the way earning undergraduate and law degrees at Notre Dame) by learning to build alliances with subordinates, peers, supervisors and competitors. In doing so, he developed mastery for successful negotiation with people for whom mutual interest was initially hardly conceivable. Know What Makes Them Tick is Siegel’s effort to break down the lessons of his experiences into principles that anyone can apply to their own personal and professional lives.
My verdict: Siegel hits the mark. In a time of increasing cultural diversity, a rapidly evolving global job market and potentially overwhelming entrepreneurial challenges and opportunities—not to mention constantly shifting personal relationships—Know What Makes Them Tick is a valuable guide to navigating an often confusing 21st century landscape marked by both peril and possibility. The chapters “See Where You Want To Be, Not Where You Are” and “Use Your Outsider Advantage” alone are more than worth the price of the book and the time invested in reading it. And as a person who’s met Siegel (as you might guess, he’s been featured a few times in Black Enterprise magazine), I can vouch for the authenticity of the book’s voice. Never preachy, authoritative, yet respectful, down-to-earth and refreshingly, even surprisingly modest given his accomplishments, it’s all Max, all the time.
Whether you are a professional navigating the ever-shifting terrain of your career, or an entrepreneur trying to establish a profitable, productive and ultimately satisfying approach to competition and cooperation in the marketplace, I highly recommend Siegel’s book. Take my advice: Now read this.