SI.com Home
Get SI's Duke Championship Package Free  Subscribe to SI Give the Gift of SI
Posted: Thursday September 24, 2009 11:27AM; Updated: Friday September 25, 2009 10:16AM
Chris Ballard Chris Ballard >
ON SPORTS

Want a better life? Follow Jerry Jones's time-tested 6-point plan

Story Highlights

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been very successful. Let him show you the way

Here are some quick tips: party, micromanage, don't sleep and go big

When all else fails, go out in public and tell people how great you are

Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
T1_0925_jerryjonesap.jpg
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has built the largest, most opulent stadium in the NFL.
AP
Chris Ballard's Mailbag
Question, opinion or story idea for Chris? You can reach him through the mailbag.
Name:
Email:
Hometown:
Question:

At this very moment I am on my way to being happier, wealthier and more successful than I was at this time last week, and I have Jerry Jones to thank for it.

Allow me to explain. Last weekend I flew to Dallas to report on the first regular-season NFL game at the opulent new Cowboys Stadium. In the interest of experiential journalism, I hung with tailgaters, wedged myself into the mosh pit that passed for balcony viewing and spent far too much time in the presence of large, sweaty men in Jason Witten jerseys who possessed very strong feelings about both Tony Romo (HE SUCKS!) and beer (WE SHOULD GET SOME MORE!).

More constructively, however, I spent a chunk of last Saturday morning with Jones, whom I'd never met before. Now, no matter what you think of Jones -- and it's fair to say he inspires a wide array of feelings -- there's no denying that he is an exceptionally skilled businessman. He made his fortune finding oil where others thought there was none, has watched his investment in the Cowboys rise 856 percent in value and has now built an enormous, revenue-generating stadium in the middle of a recession. And despite all that, god bless him, he has yet to appear on Dancing with the Stars.

In addition, at 66, he's led a pretty good life. A starter for Arkansas on a Cotton Bowl team, he's been married to the same woman for more than 40 years, has tons of kids and grandkids and is sitting on a pile of money that could probably fill his cavernous new stadium. All of which got me to thinking: Considering all the success he's had, couldn't we all benefit from living our lives a little more like Jerry Jones?

Seriously, what if, when faced with a dilemma, rather than muddling through it we were to ask WWJD: What Would Jerry Do? Surely it would be but a matter of time before we were richer, more successful and suspiciously younger-looking.

So I set about putting together a list of guiding principles, based on what I knew about Jones and on my time in Arlington, and here's what I came up with. Read it, learn it, live it.

1. Get the party started

During our hour-long conversation, Jones mentioned "party" or "party atmosphere" seven times when talking about the new stadium. And what a party it was! I spent the better part of a half in the "party pass" section, where $29 got you standing-room only tickets. I have never been to a Nickelback concert, and do not plan on ever going to one voluntarily, but my guess is that this was like being at one, if your standing-room spot was so far away you couldn't see the stage and everyone had already been doing beer bongs for eight hours. Cowboys fans littered the outdoor plaza, some passed out on the grass, others swaying like shrubs in a high wind, still others propped up against concrete stanchions, most staring glassy-eyed at the omnipresent video screens. Those who weren't in Cowboys gear sported Affliction T-shirts and those not in Affliction T-shirts must have been from out of town. Men pawed at women, women ran from men, beer spilled.

Okay, so maybe this one didn't work out exactly as Jones planned -- fire marshals lost control of the crowd, and many fans were upset that they couldn't see the game. But it's the idea that we can emulate: take an ordinary experience, like watching a football game on big screens on a concrete plaza, then call it a "party" and, voila, it's worth $29!

So next time you have a mundane task and need help, spice it up with a little patented Jerry Jones spin. Right away, I put this strategy to use. I had the kids to myself the other night, so I called my friend Dan and invited him to come over for a "party" at my place.

"Cool," he said. "Who'll be there?"

"Girls! Crazy girls!" I said.

"You mean your daughters?"

"Um, yeah, them."

I could tell he was totally psyched.

2. Micromanage everything

When Jones and I met in one of the luxury suites, we were only supposed to talk for 15 minutes. Soon enough, however, he was leading me on a tour of the stadium, which wouldn't have seemed unusual were it not for the fact that Cowboys p.r. man Rich Dalrymple had already led me on an hour-long tour only moments earlier. Dalrymple, who is quite good at his job, had been thorough and informative and most of all quite concerned that he'd forget some detail that Jones would then inquire about. "If he asks you about the artwork," Dalrymple said to me more than once, referring to the 14 pieces by renowned artists that Jones commissioned for the stadium, "Just tell him I showed it to you, okay?"

This is how Jones operates, peering over shoulders and revising and, always, doing things his way. True, it may undermine the authority of those who work for him, or make for repetitive tasks, but it's clearly working. After all, have you seen his new stadium? (No, really, have you seen it? Because I don't think there's been any media coverage at all)

So, for your own good, commence micromanagement immediately. If your wife makes dinner, watch and critique at all times -- More salt! Braise longer! If your buddy brings over a six-pack, send him back out for better beer -- your drinking enjoyment is at stake!

1 2
ADVERTISEMENT
SI.com
Hot Topics: NBA Playoffs NHL Playoffs Golden State Warriors Bryce Harper Paul Pierce Masai Ujiri
TM & © 2013 Time Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved. Terms under which this service is provided to you. Read our privacy guidelines and ad choices.
SI CoverRead All ArticlesBuy Cover Reprint