How to Hit a Curveball
Confront and Overcome the Unexpected in Business
"None of us knows what the future holds. But once you've learned how to confront and overcome the unexpected, this lack of knowledge will cease to make you anxious. Tomorrow will no longer be something to fear. And believe me, that's a great feeling"
As a professional, you want to be ready for anything. You'll spend hours, days, even years, perfecting your technique, studying the competition and stepping up to challenges in order to make yourself an all-star.
But at some point in your life, regardless of what you do or how far up the ladder you've climbed, you will be thrown a curveball-an unexpected challenge that comes at you quickly and without warning. The kind that forces you to rethink, well, everything.
Whether it's the loss of a job, a newly assigned responsibility at work, or a global recession that threatens your entire company or industry, an unanticipated change can knock even the most experienced among us off guard. So if you want to succeed in business-and in life-it's not enough to be the smartest in the room or even the hardest working; you have to be a great curveball hitter.
Investment banker Scott R. Singer learned this lesson the hard way. But after a series of career challenges and personal setbacks, he started to develop a new approach to dealing with unforeseen problems by adopting a new attitude toward life. He realized that curveballs are a part of the game and the greatest players know how to knock them out of the park.
Singer shares his personal story and insights as well as those of some prominent curveball hitters he interviewed, such as Leslie Moonves of CBS, Alan Schwartz of Bear Stearns, and actor Michael J. Fox. Singer's rules for surviving and thriving when faced with uncertainty include:
Step up to the plate: Accept what's happened; don't fight it. Tell others right away, and let them help.
Be the batter, not the ball: Don't let your imagination get the best of you. Be a realist, not a pessimist.
Keep your eye on the ball: Focus on what you can do instead of worrying about what might happen or what's beyond your control.
This fun yet practical book is full of valuable advice and anecdotes that can help anyone avoid striking out at work (or at home) and maybe even turn those surprising challenges into tremendous opportunities.
Praise For How to Hit a Curveball: Confront and Overcome the Unexpected in Business…
"Baseball has been used by so many motivational speakers and writers as a metaphor for life and business that one hardly expects to be impressed by a new book sporting that rhetorical device.
Surprisingly, however, strategic-change expert Scott Singer has managed to put a different spin on the baseball-to-life-and-business comparison that makes How to Hit a Curveball an entertaining and rewarding read.
The curveballs to which Singer refers are those unforeseeable and sometimes seemingly devastating occurrences that punctuate nearly everyone's life. Singer presents a process for avoiding striking out and for sometimes smacking one out of the park.
One way to do that, according to Singer, is to examine those situations from an untraditional perspective.
"The good news is that by using some creativity techniques or following creativity systems, even the most rationally thinking analytical hitter can learn to step outside the batter's box," Singer writes.
He offers that recommendation in the "Fifth Inning" of the book.
It is divided into nine innings instead of chapters, plus "Spring Training" and "Extra Innings."
Singer writes of major curveballs that came his way and the wrong and right ways he handled them, as well as many curveballs that happened to figures in business, entertainment and other walks of life.
He drew his inspiration from watching Derek Jeter get fooled by two curveballs before knocking a third one into the stands during a game in 2003."
- Nationally Syndicated Columnist Cecil Johnson
"Everyone in business, from executives in the boardroom to those on the sales floor, needs courage to face our challenging times. Knowing how to hit a curveball is one of the most valuable skills for succeeding in this environment."
-Ken Langone, founder, chairman and CEO of Invemed Associates; co-founder of Home Depot
"If it's raining, you have to learn to love the rain, because it's not going to stop just because you don't like it. Life is all about learning how to hit the curveballs we're thrown, and Scott Singer offers some great insights in how to do just that."
- Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 astronaut and author of the national bestseller Magnificent Desolation
"In this chaotic business world, the ability to hit a curveball is what separates the winners from the losers, and Scott Singer knows the game as well as anybody out there."
-Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of CBS Corporation
"Exploding the myth that a business career is built on an endless string of shining achievements, Scott Singer cleverly uses the metaphor of baseball to write a strikingly candid guide to navigating life's uncertainties and disappointments. A great-and important-read."
-Strauss Zelnick, co-founder of ZelnickMedia; chairman of Take-Two Interactive Software, ITN Networks, and Columbia Music Entertainment
"Scott Singer provides a refreshingly practical approach to confronting and overcoming unexpected obstacles on the road to success."
-Kay Koplovitz, chairman of Liz Claiborne; founder of USANetworks and Sci-Fi Channel
"No one gets out of the game of life without a curveball or two coming their way. Whether we swing at it, pull up and step away from home plate, or connect for a home run is a decision we often have to make in a split second. Scott Singer's book shares a play-by-play on how other people made the call for themselves and insights that will help others hit it out of the park."
-Pat Mitchell, president and CEO of The Paley Center for Media; former president and CEO of PBS
Portfolio Hardcover, 9781591843108, 256pp.
Publication Date: April 1, 2010