Before picking up this book, I had never heard of Jon Huntsman (or his son Governor Jon Jr.). Unbeknownst to me, many well known plastic products are produced by his company. However, his book doesn’t really focus on his business conquests. Instead, it focuses on one man’s value system and how he applies those values in the business world.
This book isn’t necessarily anything new. Most of the guidance is common knowledge, the author even says so himself. What is incredible about this book is hearing the stories of how one man applied those values in a big way. One example is how Jon concluded a merger with another company. In this merger, the Charles Miller Smith, the other company’s CEO, was distraught after his wife’s passing. Instead of continuing to negotiate, Jon signed the deal knowing he could have gotten a better price, to the tune of $200 million less. Continuing to negotiate would have taken advantage of Charles Miller Smith. The deal may not have been great, but it was good enough and in the process Jon gained a lifelong friend. In Jon’s words,
Make it a point to never misrepresent or take unfair advantage. That way you can count on second and third deals with companies after successfully completing the first one. Have as a goal both sides feeling they acheived their respective objectives.
There are many more examples but I can’t do them justice. Winners Never Cheat is an inspiring, quick read that I definitely recommend.