In the movie You’ve Got Mail, Meg Ryan asks why all men use quotes from The Godfather.  The answer is quite simple. The book and movies teach lessons of business and life, and they are easy for men to understand.  There are many good business theories and life experience lessons that came from the movie.

How to deal with business partners: “I will just make him an offer he cannot refuse.”

What to do if your business is threatened: “Go to the mattresses.”

What sometimes happens to business partners: “He sleeps with the fishes.”

How to hire and fire subordinates: “Tom, I need a war time consigliore.  You’re out”

Office politics: “Whoever comes to you with the deal is the traitor.”

Crowd control: “It is a loud gun.  The noise will keep pain in the ass bystanders away.”

Honesty in a marriage: “Michael….Did you do it???”……….. “No.”

The importance of protecting your family: “If you ever touch my sister again, I will kill you.”

How to deal with your brother: “Fredo, you are my older brother and I love you.  But don’t ever take sides against the family again. Ever.”

In regards to life, I would prefer you do not embrace the surface lessons of lawlessness, violence and moral interpertude.  I would suggest that even though you may sometimes think it is a good idea, you should never kill your brother. 

Unfortunately, one of the most profound lessons from the book did not make it into the Godfather movie. 

The Lucca Brasi Theory.  I have used this theory for many years and it always has stood me in good stead.


As you may recall from the movie, Luca Brasi was the hit man who worked for Don Corleone.  He was a bull of a man who was generally regarded as unstoppable.

In the book Michael Corleone was being groomed to take over the family from Don Corleone.  He asked his father how he got Luca to do what Luca does.

Don Corleone told Michael, “Luca does what he wants to do. He wants to do this for me and I allow him to do this for me.  Many people do not understand human nature or the nature of favors. They do not realize that when most people make an offer of service, they are doing it out of the kindness of their hearts.

If you reject the offer, you are rejecting them.  By doing this, you may take a friend and make him your enemy.  And you are keeping him from being in your debt.  You should never take a friend and turn him into your enemy unless you want to do so.

If I did not allow Luca to do this, he probably would kill me.  As it is, I allow him to do this and he is in my debt.”


Many times when people offer to do something for you, you will not want them to bother on your behalf. However, you need to think of this theory. If they are doing it out of the kindness of their hearts, you may wish to reconsider.

Allow people to do things for you. It creates a closer bond, makes them feel happy, and will also make you happier.  Be gracious and always thank them, acknowledging the extra time or work they took out of their lives. 

Appreciate their efforts.

There will also be times when people do things because they expect a quid pro quo.  This is not part of the Luca Brasi theory.

If offers are made with conditions such as, “If I do this for you, then you will do that for me,” is not done out of the kindness of the heart. These situations are not part of the theory. Learn to differentiate. Listen to what is being offered and why the offer is made.


When you make an offer out of the kindness of your heart to assist someone and you are rejected, how do you feel? Hurt? Will you want to do anything for that person again? Usually they just do not want to bother you.  Tell them of the theory and try again. Or accept the fact that you will not develop a deeper relationship with that person.  Close friends do things for each other not expecting a return favor.  That is what friendship is about.