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Over the course of a forty-year career in the worlds of law, sports, business, and politics, Ron Shapiro has worked with and advised an incredible variety of people. What he’s found is that the secret ingredient for getting into the winner’s circle is simply the discipline of methodical preparation: that old-school, step-by-step way of having all your ducks in a row, whether you are an executive getting ready to do a deal or make a speech; a pitcher studying the traits of opposing hitters and keeping a meticulous notebook of their strengths and weaknesses; an international trade negotiator who knows all about the issues and the people on the other side before sitting down at the table; or a surgeon who rehearses like a classical musician.

Deep down, you know you should do it. But how often do you wing it and fly by the seat of your pants because “Gosh, I don’t have time . . . I’ve done this before . . . I know what I’m doing”? It is obvious that you have to get ready for whatever game you’re playing, but all too frequently methodical preparation is the missing ingredient in today’s world of instant analysis, easy access to information, and glibness that sounds good at first but is unconnected with the reality at hand.

In Dare to Prepare, successful people such as wine guru Robert Parker, investment legend Bill Miller, pianist Leon Fleisher, Goldman Sachs partner Lisa Fontenelli, broadcaster Bob Costas, firefighter Ann Marie Tierney, New York Mets manager Willie Randolph, and many others share the way they apply discipline in preparing for career-changing games, deals, meetings, and interviews. Cal Ripken Jr. played thousands of games in the major leagues but prepared for each like it was his first. NPR host Liane Hansen has interviewed countless people but approaches each interview with the same meticulous research time and time again.

Make sure there are no slips “twixt cup and lip” as you get ready for your next personal or professional challenge by daring to prepare.

From the Hardcover edition.

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