Straight to Hell: True Tales of Deviance, Debauchery, and Billion-Dollar Deals

LeFevre, John

A Felonious Mentality

He was born on third base and scored on a wild pitch, but at least he can convince his friends (and himself) that he hit a triple and stole home. The ends justify the means; that’s an important concept to understand if you want to be successful on Wall Street, and is one that boarding school taught me well.

Who you know is as important as what you do and how you are perceived is more important than any reality.

The Parental Visit

…in the universe of people who actually matter, investment bankers are still close to the bottom.

Vocabulary

  • Abetted – encourage or assist (someone) to do something wrong, in particular, to commit a crime or other offense
  • Spivs – a man, typically characterized by flashy dress, who makes a living by disreputable dealings.
  • Teetotaler – a person who never drinks alcohol.
  • Sycophantic – behaving or done in an obsequious way in order to gain advantage
  • Sanctimonious – making a show of being morally superior to other people
  • Effeminate – (of a man) having or showing characteristics regarded as typical of a woman; unmanly.
  • Reticence – the quality of being reticent; reserve

The Greatest Salesman in the World

Mandino, Og

Chapter Three

“First, you must prove to me, and more important to yourself, that you can endure the life of a salesman for it is not an easy lot you have chosen. Truly, many times have you heard me say that the rewards are great if one succeeds but the rewards are great only because so few succeed. Many succumb to despair and fail without realizing that they already possess all the tools needed to acquire great wealth. Many others face each obstacle in their path with fear and doubt and consider them as enemies when, in truth, these obstructions are friends and helpers. Obstacles are necessary for success because in selling, as in all careers of importance, victory comes only after many struggles and countless defeats. Yet each struggle, each defeat, sharpens your skills and strengths, your courage and your endurance, your ability and your confidence and thus each obstacle is a comrade-in-arms forcing you to become better … or quit. Each rebuff is an opportunity to move forward; turn away from them, avoid them, and you throw away your future.”

Never feel shame for trying and failing for he who has never failed is he who has never tried.

Chapter Seven

The bird leaped into his palm. “Thousands of your kind are outside and afraid. But you had the courage to come through the window.”

Chapter Eight

The career I have chosen is laden with opportunity yet it is fraught with heartbreak and despair and the bodies of those who have failed, were they piled one atop another, would cast a shadow down upon all the pyramids of the earth.

Failure no longer will be my payment for struggle. Just as nature made no provision for my body to tolerate pain neither has it made any provision for my life to suffer failure. Failure, like pain, is alien to my life. In the past I accepted it as I accepted pain. Now I reject it and I am prepared for wisdom and principles which will guide me out of the shadows into the sunlight of wealth, position, and happiness far beyond my most extravagant dreams until even the golden apples in the Garden of Hesperides will seem no more than my just reward.

I have lived as an onion plant. It has not pleased me.

The value of experience is overrated, usually by old men who nod wisely and speak stupidly.

Furthermore, experience is comparable to fashion; an action that proved successful today will be unworkable and impractical tomorrow.

Good habits are the key to all success. Bad habits are the unlocked door to failure. Thus, the first law I will obey, which precedeth all others is—I will form good habits and become their slave.

My actions are ruled by appetite, passion, prejudice, greed, love, fear, environment, habit, and the worst of these tyrants is habit.

Therefore, if I must be a slave to habit let me be a slave to good habits. My bad habits must be destroyed and new furrows prepared for good seed. I will form good habits and become their slave.

And what will be accomplished with this habit? Herein lies the hidden secret of all man’s accomplishments. As I repeat the words daily they will soon become a part of my active mind, but more important, they will also seep into my other mind, that mysterious source which never sleeps, which creates my dreams, and often makes me act in ways I do not comprehend. As the words of these scrolls are consumed by my mysterious mind I will begin to awake, each morning, with a vitality I have never known before. My vigor will increase, my enthusiasm will rise, my desire to meet the world will overcome every fear I once knew at sunrise, and I will be happier than I ever believed it possible to be in this world of strife and sorrow.

Chapter Nine

My reasoning they may counter; my speech they may distrust; my apparel they may disapprove; my face they may reject; and even my bargains may cause them suspicion; yet my love will melt all hearts liken to the sun whose rays soften the coldest clay.

I will greet this day with love in my heart. And how will I do this? Henceforth will I look on all things with love and I will be born again. I will love the sun for it warms my bones; yet I will love the rain for it cleanses my spirit. I will love the light for it shows me the way; yet I will love the darkness for it shows me the stars. I will welcome happiness for it enlarges my heart; yet I will endure sadness for it opens my soul. I will acknowledge rewards for they are my due; yet I will welcome obstacles for they are my challenge.

I will greet this day with love in my heart. And how will I speak? I will laud mine enemies and they will become friends; I will encourage my friends and they will become brothers. Always will I dig for reasons to applaud; never will I scratch for excuses to gossip. When I am tempted to criticize I will bite on my tongue; when I am moved to praise I will shout from the roofs.

I will greet this day with love in my heart. And how will I act? I will love all manners of men for each has qualities to be admired even though they be hidden. With love I will tear down the wall of suspicion and hate which they have built round their hearts and in its place will I build bridges so that my love may enter their souls.

I will love the ambitious for they can inspire me! I will love the failures for they can teach me. I will love the kings for they are but human; I will love the meek for they are divine. I will love the rich for they are yet lonely; I will love the poor for they are so many. I will love the young for the faith they hold; I will love the old for the wisdom they share. I will love the beautiful for their eyes of sadness; I will love the ugly for their souls of peace.

I will greet this day with love in my heart. But how will I react to the actions of others? With love. For just as love is my weapon to open the hearts of men, love is also my shield to repulse the arrows of hate and the spears of anger. Adversity and discouragement will beat against my new shield and become as the softest of rains. My shield will protect me in the market place and sustain me when I am alone. It will uplift me in moments of despair yet it will calm me in time of exultation. It will become stronger and more protective with use until one day I will cast it aside and walk unencumbered among all manners of men and, when I do, my name will be raised high on the pyramid of life.

I will greet this day with love in my heart. And how will I confront each whom I meet? In only one way. In silence and to myself I will address him and say I Love You. Though spoken in silence these words will shine in my eyes, unwrinkle my brow, bring a smile to my lips, and echo in my voice; and his heart will be opened. And who is there who will say nay to my goods when his heart feels my love?

I will greet this day with love in my heart. And most of all I will love myself. For when I do I will zealously inspect all things which enter my body, my mind, my soul, and my heart. Never will I overindulge the requests of my flesh, rather I will cherish my body with cleanliness and moderation. Never will I allow my mind to be attracted to evil and despair, rather I will uplift it with the knowledge and wisdom of the ages. Never will I allow my soul to become complacent and satisfied, rather I will feed it with meditation and prayer. Never will I allow my heart to become small and bitter, rather I will share it and it will grow and warm the earth.

I will greet this day with love in my heart. Henceforth will I love all mankind. From this moment all hate is let from my veins for I have not time to hate, only time to love. From this moment I take the first step required to become a man among men. With love I will increase my sales a hundredfold and become a great salesman. If I have no other qualities I can succeed with love alone. Without it I will fail though I possess all the knowledge and skills of the world. I will greet this day with love, and I will succeed.

Always will I take another step. If that is of no avail I will take another, and yet another.

Chapter Ten

I will persist until I succeed. I was not delivered unto this world in defeat, nor does failure course in my veins. I am not a sheep waiting to be prodded by my shepherd. I am a lion and I refuse to talk, to walk, to sleep with the sheep. I will hear not those who weep and complain, for their disease is contagious. Let them join the sheep. The slaughterhouse of failure is not my destiny.

I will never consider defeat and I will remove from my vocabulary such words and phrases as quit, cannot, unable, impossible, out of the question, improbable, failure, unworkable, hopeless, and retreat; for they are the words of fools.

Chapter Eleven

I am nature’s greatest miracle. Since the beginning of time never has there been another with my mind, my heart, my eyes, my ears, my hands, my hair, my mouth. None that came before, none that live today, and none that come tomorrow can walk and talk and move and think exactly like me. All men are my brothers yet I am different from each. I am a unique creature.

Nevermore will I be satisfied with yesterday’s accomplishments nor will I indulge, anymore, in self-praise for deeds which in reality are too small to even acknowledge.

I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand.

Chapter Twelve

Can sand flow upward in the hour glass? Will the sun rise where it sets and set where it rises? Can I relive the errors of yesterday and right them? Can I call back yesterday’s wounds and make them whole? Can I become younger than yesterday? Can I take back the evil that was spoken, the blows that were struck, the pain that was caused? No. Yesterday is buried forever and I will think of it no more.

What price dare I place on the hours ahead? I will make them priceless!

I will live this day as if it is my last. And if it is not, I shall fall to my knees and give thanks.

Chapter Thirteen

All nature is a circle of moods and I am a part of nature and so, like the tides, my moods will rise; my moods will fall.

I will learn this secret of the ages: Weak is he who permits his thoughts to control his actions; strong is he who forces his actions to control his thoughts.

Chapter Fourteen

When I am heavy with heartache I shall console myself that this too shall pass; when I am puffed with success I shall warn myself that this too shall pass. When I am strangled in poverty I shall tell myself that this too shall pass; when I am burdened with wealth I shall tell myself that this too shall pass.

Chapter Fifteen

To surpass the deeds of others is unimportant; to surpass my own deeds is all.

Chapter Seventeen

Only for guidance will I pray, that I may be shown the way to acquire these things, and my prayer will always be answered.

“And, to be honest, I don’t have a specific agenda for what I want to do all that differently, apart from what I’m already trying to do every day: Identify and destroy small-return bullshit; shut off anything that’s noisier than it is useful; make brutally fast decisions about what I don’t need to be doing; avoid anything that feels like fake sincerity (especially where it may touch money); demand personal focus on making good things; put a handful of real people near the center of everything. All I know right now is that I want to do all of it better. Everything better.”

Merlin Mann