In this book summary of Call Me Ted by Ted Turner, you’ll find my notes, high-level ideas, valuable lessons, and important action steps.
Call Me Ted Summary
Learning the value of hard work at an early age, and any age, will always pay off down the road. Hard work separates the best from the rest.
You can take on a ton of responsibility and be a serial entrepreneur if you hustle and commit to making your companies work. For example, Ted Turner owned a successful billboard company, then added radio stations, television stations, and competitive sailing to his plate, without skipping a beat.
If you want to create gigantic wealth, you’re going to have to take on huge risks and sometimes millions of dollars of debt.
It’s all about how well the people you know respect and like you. Ted was offered to buy the Atlanta Braves because of his past business relationship with the former owner of the Braves.
Ted defined the phrase “age is just a number” by winning the America’s Cup as a 39-year-old sailor.
To accomplish great feats, you need a high-caliber team behind you. Ted Turner always prioritized skilled talent beside him in anything he did from business to sailing to his philanthropy.
When times get tough, never panic and always stay focused and in control. You’ll come out on top and alive if you don’t give up or let go of your focus.
An effective tactic to build rapport when meeting your enemy is to discuss things you have in common. While this isn’t a new thought, many people forget about it in the moment.
Traveling and meeting new people will change your thoughts about international people. You’ll realize you have more in common with them than you first thought.
“I also keep my sights set on the future and don’t spend much time dwelling on the past.” This is a must if you want to win in your career!
Sometimes the things that take the most patience are the most satisfying in the end. It took Turner 20 years as owner of the Atlanta Braves to get his first World Championship.
For entrepreneurs, ownership of the company and shares is (essentially) everything. Don’t give up stock lightly or you could get kicked to the curb by your own company.
The economy is always charging forward, presenting new ways to do business and make money. If your business isn’t up to date, your business is going to eventually die off.
“Of all my accomplishments, I’m most proud of my children.” This goes to show that you can accomplish as much as you want, but at the end of the day it’s all about family. Keep your family close.
Being successful takes a ton of different elements: taking risks, leadership, toughness, networking, dedication, business skills, and working your butt off.
You may need to have your back against the wall and choose to go against the toughest competition to get the hardest work and best performance out of you. When the bar is set tall, some people do their best.
Life is going to present you with plenty of celebrating victories and crushing defeats, your job is to keep moving forward through it all. Be optimistic about life and you’ll get more out of it.
Three Favorite Quotes
“Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell, and advertise.”
“Looking back, one of the lessons I learned from all of this is that when you start out on a new entrepreneurial venture, you might think you know what the roadblocks will be but you don’t really have any idea until you get started. As an entrepreneur, you’re like a running back in a football game. He knows what hole he’s trying to run through, but once he’s through he’s in the open field and now he has to improvise.”
“I was undeterred. It was okay for people to write negative things about me just as long as they spelled my name right…”
Action Steps For You
One of the reasons Ted Turner had the drive to own the Atlanta Braves and Hawks, create CNN, and become a legendary mogul is he believes in setting the bar so high for his life that he’d never be able to achieve it before he dies. That way he never faces the feeling of having nothing else to live for.
I’m also a 100% big believer in shooting for the moon so you can reach the stars.
So your first action step is to think of what you want to accomplish, and then double or triple the size of that accomplishment.
For example, don’t have a goal of becoming a professional actor or to win an Oscar. Push it higher to win 10 Oscar Awards. That’s something you’ll spend your whole life trying to accomplish.
Don’t set out to create a profitable business. Set out to create a Fortune 500, billion dollar, international conglomerate.
Are you nervous and scared about how hard it will be? Don’t be. The good news is you don’t need to know everything at the start. You can be like the running back in the open field who improvises down the field to score.
Just work extremely hard, I’m talking 15 to 18 hour days for decades, and you’ll guarantee your own success.
That’s the roadmap if you want a life like Ted Turner. Many people don’t, but if you do then these are your action steps.
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