Mackay, Harvey (B.) 1933(?)-

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MACKAY, Harvey (B.) 1933(?)-

PERSONAL: Born October 24, c. 1933; son of Jack (a journalist) Mackay; married Carol Ann (a sculptor and architect); children: David, Mimi, Joanne. Education: University of Minnesota, B.A., 1954; graduated from Stanford University Graduate School of Business executive program, 1968. Hobbies and other interests: Jogging, tennis, downhill skiing, marathon racing.

ADDRESSES: Home—Excelsior, MN. Office—Mackay Envelope Corp., 2100 Elm St., S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55414. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Writer, business consultant, businessperson, public speaker, executive, and columnist. Quality Park Envelope Co., St. Paul, MN, salesman, 1954–59; Mackay Envelope Corp., Minneapolis, MN, owner, chairman, and chief executive officer, 1959–. Founder and partner in computer software start-up in Atlanta, GA, developing and distributing business productivity software. Leader of Minnesota Businessmen's Trade Delegation to People's Republic of China, 1980. Chair of fund-raising drives for American Cancer Society (MN), 1977, and University of Minnesota Concert Band; chair of Minnesota Twins Ticket Buyout Committee of 2.4 Million, 1984. Member of board of directors of Mount Sinai Hospital, Minneapolis Downtown Council, Guthrie Theater, Junior Achievement, Hennepin Center for the Arts, Atwood Richards, Minnesota Orchestral Association, Industry Square Development Corp., University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, Kenny Rogers Roasters, and Sundance Institute; member of board of overseers of University of Minnesota School of Management; member of board of trustees of Temple Israel; cabinet director of United Way.

MEMBER: World Business Council, Envelope Manufacturers Association of America (president, 1979–81), Chief Executives Organization (member of board), Young Presidents' Organization (president of Twin Cities chapter, 1982), Minnesota Executives Organization, University of Minnesota Alumni Association (past president), Stanford Alumni Association, Greater Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce (president, 1978–79, chair of stadium task force, 1973–78), Minneapolis Club, Minneapolis Athletic Club, Lafayette Club, Oak Ridge Country Club.

AWARDS, HONORS: LL.D. from Iowa Wesleyan College, 1981; Volunteer of the Year Award from National Society of Fund-Raising Executives, 1982; Citizen of the Month Award from Governor of Minnesota, 1984; Distinguished Community Citizen Award from March of Dimes, 1985; named one of Five Outstanding Speakers of 1993, Toastmasters International; Horatio Alger Award, 2004.


Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten Alive: Outsell, Outmanage, and Outnegotiate Your Competition, Morrow (New York, NY), 1988, reprinted, HarperBusiness (New York, NY), 2005.

Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt: Do What You Love, Love What You Do, and Deliver More than You Promise, Morrow (New York, NY), 1990.

Sharkproof: Get the Job You Want, Keep the Job You Love—in Today's Frenzied Job Market, Harper-Business (New York, NY), 1993.

Dig Your Well before You're Thirsty: The Only Networking Book You'll Ever Need, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1997.

(With John W. Hartman and others) Maverick Management: An Unconventional Guide to Success, Cormorant Press (Philadelphia, PA), 1998.

Pushing the Envelope: All the Way to the Top, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 1999.

We Got Fired!—and It's the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Us, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Also author of The Harvey Mackay Rolodex Network Builder. Contributor to periodicals, including Harvard Business Review, Detroit Free Press, Denver Post, Orange County Register, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Arizona Republic, Corporate Report, Inc., Reader's Digest, and Success. Author of weekly column for United Feature Syndicate.

Author's works have been translated into more than thirty-five languages.

ADAPTATIONS: Swim with the Sharks is available on audiocassette.

SIDELIGHTS: Harvey Mackay is owner and chief executive officer of Mackay Envelope Corporation, a highly successful envelope manufacturer that employs several hundred people at facilities in Minnesota and Iowa. As a young envelope salesman in the late 1950s, Mackay bought the firm, then small and insolvent, against the advice of his lawyer, banker, and accountant. He credits much of the company's turnaround to his upbeat and outgoing sales philosophy, which stresses the need for personal contact between the sales representative and the customer. Sales personnel use a sixty-six-item questionnaire for collecting data on each client; the form inquires after both the customer's business needs and their personal interests. Noted for community activities in his home state of Minnesota, Mackay was instrumental in the development of the Twin Cities' domed stadium during the 1970s. In 1984 he helped mobilize business and community interests to keep the Minnesota Twins baseball team, which plays at the stadium, from relocating to another state.

Attending one of Mackay's numerous speaking engagements was Kenneth Blanchard, who wrote the best-selling book The One-Minute Manager. Blanchard urged Mackay to convey his business philosophy in book form, and Mackay resolved to make the effort a best-seller. Abjuring the usual practices of the publishing industry, he negotiated actively with his publisher and with booksellers to ensure that his book would have a large press run and receive favorable attention from bookstores; he also collected endorsements from dozens of national celebrities. The finished product, Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten Alive: Outsell, Outmanage, and Outnegotiate Your Competition, quickly appeared on national best-seller lists and remained there for many months, selling more than two million copies. In the work, Mackay uses humorous aphorisms and anecdotes to convey a commonsense approach to business based on his years of experience. Ruth Pollack Coughlin, writing in the Detroit News, called Swim with the Sharks "a pithy, hard-hitting tome about how to succeed in business by really trying."

Since the publication of Swim with the Sharks, Mackay's business advice has appeared in a number of successful volumes. Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt encourages people to pursue a career doing what they love. By doing something that they love, excellence will naturally follow. The book also includes tested advice on getting a job, advocating for a raise, and maneuvering through the sometimes thorny field of office politics. Dig Your Well before You're Thirsty advocates the extensive benefits of networking and maintaining a diverse group of business and professional acquaintances. He provides advice on techniques of networking and how such social and personal relationship-building can pay off years later. He also explains what networking is not, laying to rest some misconceptions. Ultimately, he advises people to forge their network before they need it the most, ensuring that it will be there when either opportunity or disaster strikes. Pushing the Envelope: All the Way to the Top delves into Mackay's philosophy that people are the most important component of a business's success, and that managing employee performance and customer challenges is actually a straightforward and common-sense process.

In We Got Fired!—and It's the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Us, Mackay approaches job loss—one of the most devastating negatives that can befall a person—and offers sage advice for turning it into a positive experience. Firings, downsizings, and other reductions in workforce are commonplace in the business world. For those who are fired, taking control of the negative emotions is paramount, as is resolving to move on, and then doing so. "In the end, it's about energy conversion," remarked Jeffrey Gitomer in the Des Moines Business Record. "Taking the negative energy of getting fired and converting it into positive energy of determination." "Career and business writer Mackay shows a remarkable ability to get highly visible people to open up and reveal their dark past," observed Booklist contributor David Siegfried. Among the twenty-eight well-known celebrities and business-people who include their stories of firings and comebacks are Bernie Marcus, who was dismissed from a home improvement center but ultimately founded Home Depot; legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, who lost his title when he became a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War; and Donald Trump, who reversed a personal debt of billions of dollars. Other notable failures-turned-successes include J. K. Rowling, Michael Bloomberg, Robert Redford, Mark Victor Hanson, and Larry King. Mackay's "big message," commented Mike Maza in the Dallas Morning News, is to "get past the negatives of job loss—the blame and anger, the feelings of rejection and grudges—and concentrate on building something wonderful."



Association Management, April, 2005, Karla Taylor, review of We Got Fired!—And It's the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Us, p. 33.

Booklist, September 15, 2004, September 15, 2004, David Siegfried, review of We Got Fired!, p. 186.

Business Record (Des Moines, IA), October 4, 2004, Jeffrey Gitomer, review of We Got Fired!, p. 27.

Dallas Morning News, October 20, 2004, Mike Maza, review of We Got Fired!

Detroit News, March 19, 1989, Ruth Pollack Coughlin, review of Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten Alive.

Law Firm Inc., December, 2004, review of We Got Fired!

Library Journal, June 1, 2004, Barbara Hoffert, review of We Got Fired!, p. 104; September 15, 2004, Susan C. Awe, review of We Got Fired!, p. 67.

Minnesota Business & Opportunities, January, 1996, Anthony F. Giombetti, interview with Mackay.

Toastmaster, December, 1993.

Tulsa World, October 15, 2004, "Motivator Harvey Mackay Inspires Tulsa, Okla., Chamber Crowd."


Harvey Mackay Home Page, (September 5, 2005).

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Mackay, Harvey (B.) 1933(?)-

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