Sunday, April 12, 2009

David Falk On the Art of Negotiation, the NBA and Much More

Super-sports agent, David Falk, is out with a new book,The Bald Truth.

Falk's clients have included Michael Jordan, the New York Knicks' Patrick Ewing, Elton Brand and Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson.

The book is solid but it is free of the abrasive nature that is, or at least was, part of Falk's personality, and it is really tough to appreciate how much of a hustler Falk really is until you have seen him in action.

I once ran into Falk at a Chicago bar. We had a drink together and he remarked about the watch I was wearing. I like nice watches and told him so. He then asked me what I thought the best watch was. I mentioned a Piaget. He proceeded to tell me that watch was "a piece of shit."

I then asked him what he thought the best watch was. "What price range," he responds "ten thousand, ten thousand to fifty thousand, fifty thousand to one hundred thousand, one hundred thousand to two hundred thousand or two hundred fifty thousand?"

Playing with him a bit, I say "two hundred thousand."

He names some watch, whose name I forgot long ago. Now really playing with him, I tell him that the next time he sees me I will be wearing that two hundred thousand dollar watch.

He immediately replies, "Hey, I can get you that watch for 165."

Now you really have to give some kind of hustler award to a guy who is representing Michael Jordan and Elton Brand (Brand was at the bar with him--Brand is a super class guy, respectful intelligent) and eventually sells his agency for $100 million that has the energy to hustle watches on the side.

That said, the book is a great insider book for anyone who, like me, is a big NBA fan. If you want to know what really went down during the negotiations with the New York Knicks and Patrick Ewing, the Bulls and Michael Jordan or the Los Angeles Clippers and Elton Brand, it's all here, in detail. Who got screwed in deals, who didn't and why.

The book is also a great book for anyone who wants to learn more about negotiating. Falk is a master and he doesn't do a "and we worked very hard to get that deal done," and leave it at that. He goes into details of the negotiations, and he goes into details of what he was thinking at the time. These are great negotiation insights from a super bright super agent. I do not hesitate to say that if you read this book you are going to get MBA class level lessons on how to negotiate.

The book is also a great book for anyone who is ready to take the next big step financially. Falk definitely thought outside of the box and manged to get huge contracts and deals for the likes of Jordan and Ewing. You might think with superstars like Jordan and Ewing it's a slam dunk to get huge contracts, but after reading this book its clear that Falk took it to entirely new levels. When it comes to getting paid what you are truly worth, there are a huge lessons from Falk in this book about thinking big.

The story of negotiations he conducted on behalf of Ewing when he was drafted by the Knicks, the Jordan-Nike deal and his take on NBA Commissioner David Stern's masterful handling of the NBA players strike, are worth the price of the book alone. But, it is really packed with much, much more. Like a true shrewd negotiator, Falk has put a lot in this book so that after reading the book you definitely know you got your moneys worth.

1 comment:

  1. Before reading your post, the chance of me buying a book by a sports agent would have been up there with me buying a $200k watch.

    But now this is going on my birthday list.