Shark Tank star and former Dancing With The Stars competitor Robert Herjavec is a nice guy. That’s his reputation and his genial demeanor makes him the odd man out sometimes on Shark Tank, where center chair man Kevin “Mr. Wonderful” O’Leary is likely to tell a wannabe entrepreneur to take her business “out in the backyard and shoot it.” The whole premise of Shark Tank is that business is tough — and there’s an aspect that dictates those who succeed must be ruthless. Herjavec disagrees, saying hard work and good execution are enough, paired with an innovative idea. You don’t have to be Napoleon. Or as Herjavec puts it in his book’s title: You Don’t Have to Be a Shark: Creating Your Own Success.
Saying sharkiness is unnecessary might seem a departure from advice Herjavec gave in his first two books, Driven: How To Succeed In Business And In Life and The Will To Win — both bestsellers. But a strong will and drive is not the same as being habitually aggressive, Herjavec’s third book says. You can be generous and kind and still succeed, he promises. But that change of attitude doesn’t make it easy. Herjavec warns that the entrepreneurial road is hard no matter which approach you take. Take his Dancing With the Stars turn: it required teamwork, letting his partner lead, and embracing new visions each week. But you still had to try to win. Business can be as much like dancing as sharking, he implies. Competition doesn’t have to be destroyed in a mean way, he assures readers, but it must be defeated nonetheless.