As a small business owner, curve balls are thrown my way on a regular basis. I have had my own business now for 18 years, and to me, my biggest hit was in 2008/09, when I nearly had to downsize half of my staff. I was so depressed and couldn’t understand why this was happening, even though I knew everyone else was going through the same thing.
How to Hit a Curveball, by Scott R. Singer with Mark Levine, is a well-written book about how to confront and overcome the unexpected in business.
I love the metaphor that Scott Singer uses to compare business to baseball. Since curve balls don’t follow previous patterns, he talks about how Derek Jeter anticipates and acknowledges every curve ball thrown his way during a game and adjusts his swing accordingly.
Using each inning as a chapter is very creative. He starts off the book with spring training: "The Secret to Making the Majors." He then follows suit by "The First Inning: Step up to the Plate," and more.
Each inning, I mean chapter, has valuable information to offer the readers. In the first inning, I could totally relate by reading the subchapters on who’s to blame and feeling the same anger and fear. When things go wrong, you just want to hide and not deal with it. But in 2008/09, we all had to deal with it. Our country was going through one of the worst economies in more than 70 years!
As a result, I walked away with the knowledge to reinvent myself, my business, and take every day as it came. And that’s exactly what Scott Singer reiterates.
Each chapter has something worthwhile to add. He provides concrete examples and tips and strategies on self-motivation and awareness of the obstacles that can take place around us.
As entrepreneurs, we don’t want people telling us what to do. But, Scott Singer suggests having a coach because he/she will see things from a different perspective and help guide us in the right direction.
The other important takeaway I got from How to Hit a Curveball was to wait before you react. Think about your options and then proceed with them.
For example, I know too many people who are upset about something and instead of talking about it, they write a nasty email or leave a nasty voice mail message. Then when you call them, they are as sweet as pie. So what’s that about? It seems to me that if they took the time out to evaluate the situation, they would not have written the email or sent the voice mail message.
Curve balls don’t only happen in business. They also happen in life as well and Scott Singer talks about it in the 9th inning.
Interestingly, I was reading this book while in Florida on a vacation visiting my parents. As we were about to go to a family dinner, my mother, who is already disabled, fell and broke her leg. This curve ball upset the entire family and the rest of the vacation was spent in the emergency room and hospital in Florida. But, by taking Scott Singer’s advice to “roll with the punches,” I was able to get myself focused and then tried to get my parents focused on what needed to be done to get my mother better.
All in all, I liked the flow of the book. It kept my interest and was a fast read, which is important to me when reading business books.