Michael Franzese is a former mob boss with an amazing story to tell. Franzese found redemption, left his old life behind, and now shares his insights through books and live events. His new book, I’ll Make You An Offer You Can’t Refuse, juxtaposes the leadership styles of King Solomon and Machiavelli–an important distinction for any leader to understand. Franzese was kind enough to answer a few of my questions as part of his new book tour:
COLLIDE: Who would you want to play you in the movie of your life?
MICHAEL FRANZESE: Leonardo DiCaprio. Who else? He just happens to be Italian and he would certainly make me look alot better then I am. Besides, my daughters would love to meet him.
COLLIDE: What is your impression of a show like The Sopranos? Was it too glorified and sensationalized? Did it do a good job of showing the depravity and hollowness of that world?
FRANZESE: First of all, if a mob boss was ever really visiting a psychiatrist, he would end up in the trunk of a car by the end of the week. It didn’t appear to glorify the mob to me. The guys families were dysfunctional and their business interests were a far cry from some of the lucrative enterprises the mob ran and the industries it controlled in my day. The show did accurately portray the depravity of the life in some respects. The life should not be glorified. It is certainly destructive and absolutely wrong.
COLLIDE: COLLIDE readers are predominantly church leaders — what’s an example of something a church leader could learn from your book, I’ll Make You an Offer You Can’t Refuse?
FRANZESE: A church leader will learn the difference between the 2 philosophies that exist in which a business operates and a leader leads. Either that of King Solomon or of Machiavelli, the 16th century Italian statesman. There is a very distinct difference and business people and leaders operate under one or the other whether they realize it or not. One has integrity while the other only pretends to.
COLLIDE: Why is it important to you to tell your personal story through books and live events?
FRANZESE: Experience in many aspects of life and in business is certainly a valuable teacher. I have had many unique experiences in both and I wish to share them for the benefit of others. Unless a person has taken a blood oath to join the mob, has been on trial 5 times in their lives, spent 7 years in prison, survived a mob death sentence and ran business enterprises that grossed over $8 million a week, they will not have the information I wish to share. But most of all, I have experienced the transforming power of God’s grace and that is a story of encouragement that needs to be told.