Chapter 7Case Study: The Airport Deal

This is the story of a pitch so massive and so high stakes that in order to tell it properly, I’ll need to tell you what happened in the months leading up to the day of the pitch. There is perhaps no other single deal I’ve ever been involved with that better demonstrates the ideas at the core of my method and why it works. If you find that the story borders on the cinematic at times, well, that’s what it was like to be there, and that’s what it’s like when you’re playing with hundreds of millions and there’s so much at stake. Let’s begin.

I was 100 miles away from Los Angeles and in no hurry to return to the city. I had a very good reason, too: Business was dead. The collapse of the U.S. economy had seized ...

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