15 Differences Between The Godfather Novel and Movie

Today it was 50 years ago that The Godfather, one of the greatest films ever made, was released in the Netherlands. It was based on the excellent novel by Mario Puzo. As often happens with a screen adaptation, a lot of stuff was either left out or changed. Below are the fifteen most important differences between Puzo’s bestselling novel and the classic movie by Francis Ford Coppola.

1. Sonny’s Cockyness
The following passage from the novel explains more about why Sonny was always the cock of the walk: Sonny Corleone was tall for a first-generation American of Italian parentage, almost six feet, and his crop of bushy, curly hair made him look even taller. He was built as powerfully as a bull, and it was common knowledge that he was so generously endowed by nature that his martyred wife feared the marriage bed as unbelievers once feared the rack. It was whispered that when as a youth he had visited houses of ill fame, even the most hardened and fearless putain, after an awed inspection of his massive organ, demended double price.

2. Another Request For the Don
All the wedding guests that ask requests of Don Corleone at his daughter’s wedding are in both the novel and the movie except one. Understandably, it was cut out because it is the least interesting. A guy needs 500 dollars to open a pizzeria. What is interesting though is his name: Anthony Coppola. The novel was released in 1969 and author Mario Puzo did not yet know that it would be adapted into a movie by a guy named Coppola. Funny he chose that name.

3. Woltz is a Real Pervert
Placing the severed racehorse head in movie producer Jack Woltz’s bed was brutal. In the film the guy is portrayed as an asshole, but not as a big enough fucker to deserve this kind of punishment. In the novel however, Hagen finds out he ‘did a number’ on a twelve year old girl during his visit to Woltz’s ranch. Later, it is explained that the 60-year old movie mogul can indeed only get it up with very young girls. So apart from the notion that hurting animals is always wrong, Woltz definitely had something bad like this coming.

4. Bonasera Gets His Vengeance
After a long conversation with the undertaker Bonasera, we see the Don give out the order to punish the two men who have hurt his daughter, but we don’t witness the actual event in the film. In the novel we learn that Paulie Gatto was in charge of this operation (the guy who gets killed after which the famous line “leave the gun, take the cannoli” – which btw is not in the novel – is uttered). He uses two professional fighters who kick the two abusers to a pulp when they leave a bar. Like ordered by Don Corleone, they survive. But their faces are unrecognizable. Bonasera is very happy indeed, until his phone rings some time later.

5. Fontane Makes a Career Switch
The singer Johnny Fontane plays a larger role in the book than in the film. We learn that the Don’s service to Fontane has paid off. He played in Woltz’s picture which earned him an Academy Award. And that is not all. Tom Hagen visits him after the picture is wrapped up and tells him that Don Corleone will bankroll him in becoming a movie producer. Soon after the Don is shot, but Fontane still gets the money to produce one movie at the time. He ends up as successful as Woltz.

6. More On Luca Brasi
In the movie, it is obvious that Luca Brasi is a dangerous killer who works exclusively for the Corleone Family. But there is nothing about his background really. In the novel, he plays a larger role. Partly because there is more story about the Don’s rise to power, which wasn’t used in The Godfather: Part II (see also 7). About Luca we learn that he is absolutely terrifying and has done some horrible deeds. Some he did in service of the Don, like butchering two hitmen Al Capone had sent to New York as a favor to Don Maranzano who was at war with the Corleone Family. But some he did for himself, like incinerating his own baby in an oven and murder his girlfriend with whom he had the child. No wonder everybody in the movie seems to be afraid of this brute.

7. The First Mob War and Sonny’s Involvement
When the Corleone Family goes to the mattresses in The Godfather, we get the faint impression that this was not the first war they were in. It is not. In the novel, Don Vito fights a bloody war in the early 1930’s with another New York boss: Don Maranzano. It was in this war that Sonny Corleone made his reputation as a brutal general. As a boy, Sonny had witnessed his father kill Don Fanucci and he confronted his father with this (that’s right, this is not in The Godfather: Part II). After that, he became involved in the family business and it turned out that he had a talent for violence and cruelty. He may have missed the strategic subtleness the Don searched for in his successor, but he surely was effective. The war against Maranzano was resolved by killing the Don while he was eating in a restaurant (similar to the real-life assassination of Don Masseria of New York).

8. Kay and Mama Corleone
After Michael had left her after killing Sollozzo and McCluskey, Kay Adams visits the Corleone estate but gets very little information from Tom Hagen. The jerk almost didn’t invite her in! Mama Corleone is not happy with this treatment and she asks inside Kay for lunch. Despite Tom’s objections, she tells Kay gently that “Mikey not gonna write you. He hide two-three years. Maybe more. You go home to your family and find a nice young fellow and get married.” After Kay leaves, she is trying to get used to the fact that the young man she had loved was a cold-blooded murderer. And that she had been told by the most unimpeachable source: his mother.

9. Michael’s Scapegoat
In the movie, it is never explained how exactly Don Corleone managed to get Michael home from Sicily. The police are after him after all, which we know in the novel because they come to Kay’s house to question her. The don did it by finding a scapegoat for the Sollozzo-McCluskey murders. This guy was part of a small Sicilian mob family, who acted as intermediaries when the bosses needed to plan safe negotiations. The man had committed a brutal murder and had been sentenced to death. Don Vito made him falsely confess to killing McCluskey and Sollozzo and he had the waiter from the restaurant provide false witness testimony. Problem solved.

10. Lucy Gets an Operation
On Connie’s wedding in The Godfather I, Sonny cheats on his wife with Lucy Mancini. In part III, she apparently had a son from Sonny called Vincent. There is nothing about her getting pregnant in the book, but there is quite a lot of stuff about their love affair, and there is a chapter on her after Sonny’s death. It is in this chapter that we learn that she has quite a big box. Apparently which is why she matched so well with Sonny (see point 1). Not sure if this is Puzo’s finest writing, but I’m just giving you the facts here. After Sonny’s death, the Corleone Family gives Lucy a job in Vegas and a nice monthly income. She meets a doctor, who she has an affair with. He fixes her ‘down there’ and later also fixes Johnny Fontane’s voice box. Great guy.

11. More On Al Neri
Michael Corleone’s enforcer Al Neri was apparently a cop before he came into Michael’s service. A brutal cop who would put the fear of God into many delinquents. One day, he kills a vile pimp who had cut up a young girl and her mother. He gets a heavy sentence, and this is when the Corleones step in. They use their political influence to set him free, and immediately offer him a job. Now Michael got his own Luca Brasi, a powerful weapon in the battles he is about to get engaged in.

12. Fabrizio Gets What’s Coming To Him
Michael’s big revenge differs quite a bit in the movie. In the novel, it doesn’t take place during the baptism. Coppola combined the happenings to make it more dramatic and Michael more diabolical. Great move. Also, Moe Greene gets killed earlier in the story. More importantly, in the novel Michael only whacks two of the four dons of the opposing families: Barzini and Tattaglia. Also, Fabrizio, the bodyguard who killed Michael’s wife in Sicily, is shot to death in a bar. “Michael Corleone sends his regards”. A scene was filmed for The Godfather: Part II, in which Fabrizio is killed by a car bomb, but it was cut from the movie.

13. Tessio Off the Hook?
After Tessio is to be killed for his betrayal, he asks Tom Hagen if he can get him off the hook. “Can’t do it, Sally”, Hagen answers. In the book, Tom had actually checked with Michael if Tessio could be saved. “Any way to get Tessio off the hook?” Michael’s answer: “No way”. At least he tried, which makes Tom a bit less cold than in the movie, although in the world of the mob, it’s not really possible to give traitors passes. The don’s position would be threatened very soon.

14. Hagen Reconciling With Kay
The Godfather famously ends with Michael’s door being closed on Kay; the moment she realizes of course that it was all true: Michael had killed Carlo and the heads of the five families. The perfect ending. In the novel, there is a scene after that realization in which Tom Hagen visits Kay and actually explains to her why Michael killed Carlo. And he makes it sound very reasonable. After that, Kay decides to give it another shot with Michael. How does she deal with Michael’s sins?

15. Kay Burning a Candle
The novel ends with Kay going to church to burn a candle for Michael Corleone’s soul. Like she had seen Mama Corleone do for her husband. So history repeats itself and Kay, despite being a real Americana, becomes a Sicilian wife for Michael. So, he made the right choice hooking up with her again after his exile on Sicily.

Read also: The Don’s Dilemma Reconsidered

The Sopranos – 100 Greatest Moments: 70-61

70. Rock Bottom

Episode: The Second Coming (SE6, EP19)
Characters: A.J. and Tony

A.J. reaches an absolute low in his depression and rather than eating a Lincoln Log Sandwich, he jumps in the swimming pool with a stone tied to his leg and a plastic bag over his head. Luckily, the rope is too long and Tony comes home to rescue him. Very affecting scene. It was time Tony did something nice for somebody again and the way he comforts A.J. is genuinely touching.

69. Father and Son

Episode: Johnny Cakes (SE6, EP8)
Characters: Tony and A.J.

A.J. attempts to kill Junior as revenge for shooting his dad. But – luckily for him – he accidentally drops his knife and is halted by security. Tony manages to get him released and gives him a good talking to. Then A.J., calls him a hypocrite because Tony named the scene in The Godfather, in which Michael Corleone kills his father’s attackers, his favourite scene of all time. His own attempt to pull a Michael Corleone failed though. He is more like Fredo who also dropped his weapon when his father was gunned down.

68. Hassidm Shakedown

Episode: Denial, Anger, Acceptance (SE1, EP3)
Characters: Tony, Silvio, Paulie, Hesh and Ariel

“Ever heard of the Masada? For two years, 900 Jews held their own against 15.000 Roman soldiers. And the Romans? Where are they now?” Tony: “You’re looking at them asshole.” Great scene in which Tony eventually manages to explain the realities to the stubborn Jew Ariel whose hotel business he wants to take over. Threatening with castration (advice from Hesh) eventually does the trick. The inventiveness of these wiseguys to get what they want is really extraordinary sometimes.

67. The Bear

Episode: Two Tonys (SE5, EP1)
Characters: A.J., Carmela and Bear

An awesome metaphor: Tony has left the premises and a replacement shows up; an extremely strong and dangerous brown bear. A.J. nearly shits his pants. This is the perfect visual representation of Tony and Carmela’s separation. Great also that this episode is called ‘Two Tonys’, as in Tony – Bear / Tony – Tony Blundetto and Old Tony – Different Tony (the one that tries to seduce Melfi).

66. Way Up

Episode: Kennedy and Heidi (SE6, EP18)
Characters: Tony and Sonya Aragon

The Sopranos go psychedelic. A great place to experience a peyote trip is a casino obviously; Tony wins every hand he bets. He must be the devil himself as indicated by the slot machine. Tony survived a gunshot wound which means his luck was way up. In his mind at least. Then his luck was down again with the gambling in ‘Chasing It’, but now that he killed Christopher, his lucky streak is back again. This is basically Tony’s disturbed mind at this point. “It’s the same principle as the solar system.”

65. High Impact Collection

Episode: Where’s Johnny? (SE5, EP3)
Characters: Paulie, Gary La Manna and Jimmie

This scene is priceless. Paulie is pissed because Feech La Manna squeezed out his mother’s gardener Sal Vitro, so he takes down Feech’ nephew Gary to settle the score. The damage Paulie does to Gary is even greater than the number Feech did on Sal Vitro. He causes him to fall out of a tree and break his legs. Then he takes his cash and lawnmower as down payment. Incredible these guys…

64. The General

Episode: All Due Respect (SE5, EP13)
Characters: Tony and Paulie

Tony visits Paulie and spots the painting on the wall that he wanted burned; the painting of him and his horse Pie-O-Mie. He takes it off the wall and throws it in a dumpster outside. Then he looks again and sees himself as a general. Now he knows what he needs to do about the Tony B dilemma (see 61). Tony is back to his decisive self again.

63. Family Guy

Episode: From Where to Eternity (SE2, EP9)
Characters: Tony, A.J. and Carmela

Tony does some truly terrific parenting here. He apologizes for hurting A.J. earlier. Then he says there is no excuse for what he did, and explains carefully why he did it. Then he says he couldn’t ask for a better son. It’s truly impressive. The only minor point of criticism is bringing pizza and a six-pack of Coke, while they both have weight issues, but who cares after this? The contrast between this scene and what comes right after, the murder of Matt Bevilaqua, makes this scene even more powerful.

62. Phil’s Heritage

Episode: Stage 5 (SE6, EP14)
Characters: Phil, Butch, Patty Leotardo and kids

Phil is complaining again at his dead brother’s birthday party. He is not happy about his name, since a Leotardo is a ballet costume. He is also telling Butchie that he regrets having spent 20 years in jail for people who don’t stick to the rules any more. Then we get a look at the portraits of fallen comrades behind the bar; Carmine Lupertazzi, Billy Leotardo and Johnny Sack. Great way to end an episode that is about making choices and leaving behind something meaningful. Phil would like to do it over again, but he can’t. Now he has to decide what to do with his remaining time and by the looks of it he aint gonna do the right thing. “No more, Butchie. No more of this.”

61. Glad Tidings from New York

Episode: All Due Respect (SE5, EP13)
Characters: Tony and Tony B.

Tony shoots his own cousin Tony Blundetto in the face to make things right with New York. It would be enough to give a normal person nightmares, but not Tony Soprano. The make-up job on Tony B’s corpse is pretty gruesome.

De filosofie van Breaking Bad

Let op: bevat spoilers over het einde

Zoals ik gedacht en gehoopt had, was het einde van Breaking Bad spectaculair. De ongelofelijke saga van Walter White eindigt bevredigender dan ik me zelfs maar voor mogelijk had gehouden. De makers hebben hun publiek precies de adrenaline shot gegeven, die nodig was om deze trip af te sluiten.

In deze blog wil ik terugkijken op de serie met als focus de filosofische grondslagen van Breaking Bad, een serie die laat zien hoe een goede, of in ieder geval fatsoenlijke man, verandert in een ware slechterik. Walter begon als nerdy scheikundeleraar in het eerste seizoen. En vijf seizoenen verder is hij veranderd in de meedogenloze drugsbaron Heisenberg. Breaking Bad toont ons hoe één enkele beslissing – genomen door een man die aan de rand van de afgrond staat – iemand kan transformeren tot gruwelijk slecht mens in staat tot de meest verwerpelijke daden.

In het begin van de serie vertelt Walter zijn leerlingen dat scheikunde de studie van materie is, maar eigenlijk nog meer de studie van verandering. Dit is een prachtige metafoor voor Walter’s eigen verandering – molecuul voor molecuul – tot monster van duivelse proporties. Nadat hij te horen heeft gekregen dat hij longkanker heeft, besluit Walter – vanuit de veronderstelling dat hij niet lang meer te leven heeft, en hij zijn familie wat geld wil nalaten (zijn vrouw Skyler is net zwanger van hun tweede kind), zijn opmerkelijke scheikundige kennis in te zetten om crystal meth te gaan produceren. De rest van Breaking Bad laat de gevolgen zien van deze ene beslissing. En die gevolgen zijn verschrikkelijker dan iedereen, zeker inclusief Walter, voor mogelijk kon houden.

Wat dat betreft blijft Breaking Bad trouw aan zijn scheikundige basis; elke actie heeft een gevolg, soms klein en soms – onverwachts – gigantisch groot. In de befaamde introscènes ontmoeten we vaak karakters die we niet kennen, die een gruwelijk lot moeten ondergaan vanwege een beslissing die Walter ergens heeft genomen. Uiteindelijk is Walter direct of indirect verantwoordelijk voor de dood van wel honderden mensen. Doordat hij Jane laat sterven in seizoen 2, raakt haar vader, een luchtverkeersleider, zo in de war dat hij per ongeluk twee vliegtuigen op elkaar laat botsen boven de stad Albuquerque. De ravage die dit veroorzaakt is een mooie visuele metafoor voor de puinhoop die Walter aanricht in de levens om zich heen.

Bryan Cranston/Walter White - a.k.a. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Illustratie gevonden op http://redeyerogue.com/walter-white-the-supervillain

Bryan Cranston/Walter White – a.k.a. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
Illustratie gevonden op http://redeyerogue.com/walter-white-the-supervillain

Zo zijn er de onzichtbare gebruikers van meth die hun levens verwoest zien. Maar deze junkies zijn gemakkelijk te rationaliseren voor Walter – ze zouden het toch wel gebruiken, ook zonder Heisenberg’s productie. En Walter’s eerste moorden zijn ook op deze manier te beredeneren. De methwereld is een gewelddadige, dus voor wie zich daarin begeeft is het doden of gedood worden. De dood van Jane is een keerpunt wat dat betreft. Dat Walter toestaat dat zij in haar eigen braaksel stikt heeft niets te maken met zelfverdediging, maar puur met Walter die zijn egoïstische koers wil voortzetten. Hij heeft Jesse nodig als partner en Jane leidt hem af van zijn werk.

Walter’s initiële beslissing is gedreven door de nobele (en volledig begrijpelijke) wens om zijn familie te helpen. Maar volgens filosoof Kierkegaard zijn het vaak juist goede bedoelingen die situaties verergeren, zoals irrigatie mensen water verschaft voor landbouw, maar ook vreselijke ziektes kan veroorzaken. Al snel wordt Walter niet langer gedreven door goede bedoelingen, maar door trots – de gevaarlijkste zonde die er bestaat. Zijn voormalige studievrienden, die een succesvol farmaceutisch bedrijf hebben opgericht, bieden aan voor zijn behandeling te betalen – maar Walter weigert. Hij krijgt vervolgens nog verschillende kansen om de meth business achter zich te laten (zijn kanker gaat zelfs in remissie), maar hij zet zijn slechte daden voort met alle vreselijke gevolgen van dien. Het is zijn egogedreven trots die de katalysator vormt naar al zijn andere zonden.

Zoals de kanker langzaam zijn lichaam verwoest, vreet de morele erosie langzaam Walter’s ziel weg. Tegen het einde van seizoen 4 is hij in staat een klein jongetje te vergiftigen, om hem te helpen zijn doelen te verwezenlijken. Dit zou in het begin ondenkbaar zijn geweest, maar het proces van slecht worden gaat geleidelijk. Walt’s onverschilligheid naar zijn meth slachtoffers, en zijn eerste moorden gepleegd uit zelfbehoud, maken zijn latere grote slechte daden mogelijk. In termen van zijn uiteindelijke bestemming, zijn al zijn eerdere, schijnbaar kleine, beslissingen net zo schadelijk gebleken als zijn grote. Het toegeven aan corruptie, in welke mate dan ook, veroorzaakt uiteindelijk groot lijden. Dat is de echte boodschap van Breaking Bad. Tegen het einde van het eerste deel van seizoen 5 is Heisenberg veranderd in een echte meth koning. De simultaan gepleegde moordaanslagen op acht gevangenen, laat dan ook een parallel zien met het einde van The Godfather, waarin Michael Corleone de hoofden van de vijf families laat vermoorden, en de macht overneemt.

Maar het is maar zeer de vraag of Walter echt slecht is geworden gedurende de serie, of dat de situatie slechts iets ontwaakt heeft dat er al zat. Maker van de serie Vince Gilligan bevestigt dit in een interview in Rolling Stone. ‘Walter’s kanker zorgt dat hij wakker wordt. Hij heeft geslaapwandeld door de eerste vijf decennia van zijn leven, en zijn plotselinge gebrek aan beperkingen en belemmeringen, staan hem toe de persoon te worden die hij eigenlijk is. En die persoon is verre van alleen maar goed.’

Natuurlijk is Breaking Bad ook een morele aanval op het publiek. Hoe walgelijk Walter ook is, toch blijf je aan zijn kant staan wanneer hij het bijvoorbeeld opneemt tegen Gus Fring. Het bekende christelijke gezegde ‘haat de zonde, maar houd van de zondaar’, is hier van toepassing. We hopen dat hij een lesje krijgt, maar willen niet dat hij krijgt wat hij eigenlijk verdient. Uiteindelijk geeft Gilligan het publiek precies dat. Nadat Walter zijn voormalige partner heeft uitgeleverd aan Jack’s bende, één van zijn walgelijkste daden, besluit hij aan het einde Jesse te bevrijden en de slechteriken om zeep te helpen. Ook geeft hij aan zijn vrouw toe dat hij het eigenlijk niet allemaal voor zijn familie heeft gedaan, maar voor zichzelf. In isolatie in New Hampshire, heeft Walter toch een moment van inzicht gekregen.

Met zijn laatste daden, krijgt Walter voor zijn onvermijdelijke dood toch wat verlossing. En wij – het publiek ook – voor het aan Walter’s kant staan. Bedankt daarvoor Vince Gilligan, alsook voor het meesterwerk dat je ons gegeven hebt. Je serie is niet alleen Breaking Bad, maar ook Breaking Best geworden. Het zou wel eens lang kunnen duren, voordat er weer een serie van dit kaliber verschijnt.

Icon 10 - Chemistry

10 Management Lessons From Highly Successful Gangsters

By Jeppe Kleijngeld

Running a large company or criminal empire, what’s the difference? The demands for its managers and leaders are very similar for sure. As a leader, your vision needs to inspire others and your actions need to have significant impact. You also need to be able to effectively solve problems and prevent painful blunders. Taking a close look at 10 highly successful gangsters from popular movies and television series can be inspirational. Eventually most of them went down, but they all had impressive careers as criminal CEO’s. What can business leaders learn from their successful approaches and significant failures?

1. Plan all your actions carefully
Neil McCauley
The Gangster: Neil McCauley, Heat

The Lesson: In the spectacular opening scene of Michael Mann’s Heat, criminal chief Neil McCauley and his team of robbers manage to take down a huge score. The key to their success? Planning, planning, planning. McCauley is a perfectionist; every detail needs to be scrupulously prepared, nothing can be left to coincidence. It there is even a slight chance that something is wrong; he will walk away from a job no matter how much money is at stake. Off course, there is a slight bump in the road for McCauley and his team later on, but that is only because pulling armed robberies is a highly volatile business. But even with a terrific investigation team on their tail lead by a fanatical Al Pacino, they manage to take down another – even larger – score later on in the movie.

2. Build a team you can rely on
Joe Cabot
The Gangster: Joe Cabot, Reservoir Dogs

The Lesson: ‘I should have my head examined for going with someone I wasn’t a 100 percent on…’ Yeah, you should have Joe. As a manager, your most important task is to choose the right people around you and make them perform optimally. When you have a crucial project to realise – a diamond heist in Joe Cabot’s case – you don’t want to take any chances on whom you hire for the job. Joe’s negligence at this point, allowed a special LAPD-agent to infiltrate his crew, leading to a disastrous outcome for the project and all those involved.

3. Always look out for opportunities and know when to strike
Henry Hill
The Gangster: Henry Hill, GoodFellas

The Lesson: In Wiseguy, the novel on which the classic mob movie GoodFellas is based, protagonist Henry Hill describes his bewonderment at how lazy many people are. Great entrepreneurs like him are always looking for new ways to make money. Once in a while, a golden opportunity arises and a highly successful business manager will recognize this once in a lifetime chance and grab it. In Henry Hill’s case, this was the Air France heist in 1967. He walked away with 420.000 US dollars from the Air France cargo terminal at JFK International Airport without using a gun; the largest cash robbery that had taken place at the time. This was Hill’s ticket to long term success within the Mafia.

4. Analyse, decide and execute with conviction
Michael Corleone
The Gangster: Michael Corleone, The Godfather

The Lesson: Your success as executive depends for a great deal on the way you make decisions and follow them through. When his father, family patriarch Don Vito Corleone, is shot by Virgil ‘The Turk’ Sollozzo, Michael Corleone knows the threat of his father’s killing will not be over until Sollozo is dead. That is his analysis. Then, without any hesitation, he decides to kill Sollozo despite the hard consequences that he knows will follow. The third part – the execution – he performs flawlessly, killing Sollozo and his bodyguard Police Captain McCluskey in a restaurant. Michael later in the film again proves to be an extremely decisive leader when he has the heads of the five families killed when they conspire against the Corleone family.

5. Support the local community
Young Vito Corleone
The Gangster: Young Vito Corleone, The Godfather Part II

The Lesson: For long term success, you need more than just great products (in the mob’s case: protection, gambling and theft). You will need commitment from all your stakeholders and especially goodwill from the communities you operate in. Young Vito Corleone sees that gangster boss Fanucci is squeezing out everybody in the neighbourhood he lives in. Nobody is happy with him. So he murders Fanucci and takes over as neighbourhood chieftain. Rather than squeezing out people, he starts helping them. Every favour he does for somebody, earns him a favour in return. Those are a lot of favours and a lot of people who think he deserves his success and wealth. They are willing to give everything for their Don.

6. Don’t be afraid to use your subconscious
Tony Soprano
The Gangster: Tony Soprano, The Sopranos

The Lesson: As a leader, you want to base your decisions on hard facts as much as possible, but sometimes your intuition is much more powerful than the greatest performance dashboard in the world. In the first season of HBO’s monumental Mafia series The Sopranos, family patriarch Tony Soprano’s own mother tries to have him whacked. He had revealing dreams about this before it happened, but refused to look at the painful true meaning of these dreams. Through therapy, he learned to use his subconscious like a true expert, so when his friend Big Pussy Bonpensiero starts ratting for the FBI in season 2, he knows something is wrong. In a fever dream, Big Pussy (as a fish), reveals the hard truth to Tony. When he wakes up, he knows exactly what to do. Big Pussy must sleep with the fishes. Tony’s new ability to listen to his subconscious makes him a much more effective leader.

7. Think and act faster
Nucky Thompson
The Gangster: Nucky Thompson, Boardwalk Empire

The Lesson: After a botched assassination attempt on bootlegger and crooked politician Nucky Thompson, his enemies are left numb and indecisive of what to do next. Nucky – on the other hand – immediately makes a counter move. He goes to see his enemies and tells them the attempt on his life changed his perspective on things. He will abandon the bootlegging business and politics, so his enemies can take over. In secret however, Nucky books a trip to Ireland the next day, where he purchases a huge amount of cheap and highly qualitative Irish whiskey. His enemies underestimated him. By thinking and acting faster than his opponents, Nucky manages to surprise them and outperform them in business.

8. Take compliance seriously
Al Capone
The Gangster: Al Capone, The Untouchables

The Lesson: He was the king of his trade; the bootlegging business in Chicago. He made millions importing booze and selling it to bars and clubs. The thing that brought him down was income tax evasion. Managers can learn a simple truth from this mistake; compliance is your license to operate. Off course in Capone’s case this was a little different because he did not have any legal income to begin with, but many CEO’s of businesses have fallen into the same compliance trap. Sure, sometimes it is cheaper to pay a fine than to spend a fortune on meeting some obsolete policy, but you should never fail to answer to the most important rules and regulations. So even when it is sometimes tempting to bend the rules, in the end: being non-compliant is always more costly than being compliant.

9. Ride the Industry Waves
Tony Montana
The Gangster: Tony Montana, Scarface

The Lesson: Every industry has its waves, and a great CEO knows how to ride these waves. Take the drug business in the 1980’s. Cocaine was coming up big time in Florida. After Montana gets rid of his weak boss Frank, he sets up a massive cocaine trade in Miami and surroundings. His supply chain is very efficient. He imports the stuff straight from the source in Bolivia. Nobody can compete with that. It isn’t before long that Montana is Florida’s one and only cocaine king.

10. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer
Don Vito Corleone
The Gangster: Don Vito Corleone, The Godfather

The Lesson: You want to know what your competitors are up to? Invite them over for dinner and a meeting. Don Vito Corleone does it all the time. When he invites the heads of the five families for a sit down, in this powerful scene in The Godfather, he learns a great deal. It is not Tattaglia he should worry about, but that treacherous Barzini. Now that he understands the conspiracy against the Corleone family, he can help his son Michael take the necessary precautions.