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The Truth About Getting the Best from People, Second Edition by Martha I. Finney

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Truth 32. Ask for cheese—you might get the moon

In 1933, John Jay Whitney was strolling through his 600-acre Long Island estate one day when an amusing notion crossed his mind. So he turned to his groundskeeper and said, “Wouldn’t it be great to be able to play polo right here?” Then he went on vacation.

When he returned, he came back to discover a lovely, leveled polo field where the gentle, natural swells of Long Island seacoast landscape used to be.

Oops.

Most of us don’t think, operate, or make mistakes on the scale of a John Jay Whitney (one of the country’s wealthiest men in those times, who started the first venture capital firm, financed Minute Maid orange juice, and Gone with the Wind and served as ambassador to Great Britain during ...

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