John Wasserman is currently the Division Manager of the PA/NJ Powerhouse Division, centered around the Philadelphia metro. During his illustrious 28-year career with the Cutco/Vector Marketing organization, John has become one of the highest-producing field managers of all time, with two National Championships and dozens of sales records. Even more importantly, he’s one of the company’s greatest developers of all time, having developed National Champions at every level of the business, and promoting five other Division Managers. An avid student of life and business, John has read hundreds of books on peak performance and leadership, and has written two outstanding books of his own. He lives just outside of Philadelphia with his wife, Gitana, and two teenagers.


Q: Let’s start by talking about how you got started with Cutco/ Vector.

  • I was going to school and living at my mom’s house on the couch during winter break.
  • I thought selling Cutco would only be a 3 week gig but here I am 27 years later.
  • My first year I was promoted to Assistant Manager, I was able to move out of my mom’s house, and I just kept moving up.

Q: What have been some of your most inspirational or most important experiences during your Cutco/ Vector path?

  • Winning a Silver Cup (National Championship) was one of my most important experiences but now getting to help others win Silver Cups is one of my favorite experiences.

Q: What were some of the early challenges you experienced as a rep or as a manager?

  • As a new manager the biggest challenge figuring out how to effectively help other people.
  • Finally I reached out to other people in the company who were good in the area I wanted to improve in, and fortunately we have a culture where people want to help, and eventually I was breaking records myself.
  • You can shorten the learning curve by reaching out to other people.

Q: What were some other lessons you’ve learned on your Cutco/ Vector journey?

  • Focusing on your strengths is good but digging in to areas you aren’t strong in, especially during the “off season”, is a really good idea.
  • Having staff who are really good in an area you’re not strong in can help a lot too.

Q: Who are some of the key people who have impacted you along your journey?

  • The CEOs of our company have been really great! Al DiLeonardo, Bruce Goodman, John Whelpley
  • My direct Region Managers over the years.
  • John Kane who’s the right hand to our CEO.
  • I can’t talk about key people in my life without talking about my parents. They’ve been very supportive.  In fact, there was a time in my career where I was considering other options and my dad was the one who talked some sense into me and pointed out how good Cutco/ Vector has been to me.

Q: Tell us a little more about that time in your life and what led to that conversation with your dad.

  • I was at a point in my career where I felt like my peers were passing me by. The way I got to that point was I stopped taking control of my personal growth.
  • After a few key conversations, between my dad and a few key people in the company, I was able to turn that around.

Q: What were some steps that led to you turning things around?

  • Once I made the decision I thought that I should challenge myself to read 50 books in a year.
  • From those books I learned that I had the wrong goal. My goal shouldn’t have been to change who I was but rather find out who I am and become more of who I already am.
  • Once that became my mission, that’s when I really started to grow.
  • Sharing what I read with a lot of people helped a lot too.

Q: Tell me more about this idea that you needed to learn more about who you really are vs changing who you are.

  • We all have greatness inside us.
  • I felt like I was trying as hard as I could but that just lead to more frustration and that’s what leads people to burn out.
  • Whenever I hear people say they’re burnt out I always ask them, “do you want to continue to feel that way or is there a different way you’d like to feel?
    • How do I want to feel?
    • Where do I want to be?
    • Who do I want to be?

Q: You’ve been a great developer of people. What are some of the qualities or traits you strive to instill in the people you’re working with now?

  • The biggest key is the relationship. They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.  This has to be lived out daily.
  • “A great leader knows what’s in the hearts and minds of his people.” -John Maxwell

Q: What about some of the other personal characteristics that you try to help people develop or bring out in themselves?

  • Taking time each week to analyze their business, plan, and execute. We call it A.P.E.: Analyze. Plan. Execute.
  • Most people can analyze and plan but most people need to grow the most on the execution of the plan and just making themselves do what they planned to do.

Q: Let’s talk a little bit about your latest book, “Deciding To Thrive.”  What are some of the key principles in the book that you’d like people to learn about?

  • The book is about how I was in a rut in all areas of my life and how I got out of that rut by making a decision, putting together a plan, executing that plan and goes over how you can design the life you want to have. Anyone can do it!

Q: Tell us more about what’s in the book and what people can learn from your story.

  • One fun little game I play with myself is betting myself that I can make someone smile.Usually I play this game with total strangers out in public and I just think to myself, “I bet I can make this person smile” and usually I can.
  • One of the keys to being around a long time is if people are excited to see you, you’re going to want to be around a long time and it’s just a fun way to go about life.

Q: The list of the 50 books you read during your 1 year challenge are in your book (and in the SHOW RESOURCES below), do any still stand out after all of these years?

  • The 4 Hour Work Week- tips on reading and effective delegation
  • Mindset- one of the best and most referenced books on the list
  • You already Know How To Be Great- how to coach someone.

Q: How about your first book, “No Shorts, Flip Flops, or Sunglasses”

  • It’s a great book for anyone just starting out after High School or College to teach them about starting a career.
  • “Networking is not what others can do for you, it’s what you can do for others.”
  • “What can I do to help your business grow?”

Q: As you look forward at the years ahead, how do you aspire to change people’s lives through your work or life?

  • The past is not your fault but the future is in your hands.
  • Leave it better… by your example.


  • In any moment you can make a decision to change your life for the better.
  • Take control of your personal development.
  • APE- Analyze, Plan, and Execute.
  • Execute- “What might I do to be able to help you grow your business?”
  • Leave it better everywhere you go!


  1. The Four Hour Work Week, Timothy Ferriss
  2. Love is the Killer App, Tim Sanders
  3. The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell
  4. Inside Steve’s Brain, Leander Kahney
  5. Pour Your Heart Into It, Howard Schultz
  6. Think Like a Champion, Donald Trump
  7. Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell
  8. How to Get Your Point Across in 30 Seconds or Less, Milo O. Frank
  9. The Pursuit of Wow!, Tom Peters
  10. Becoming a Person of Influence, John C. Maxwell
  11. Blink, Malcolm Gladwell
  12. Fierce Conversations, Susan Scott
  13. Crush It!, Gary Vaynerchuk
  14. What the Dog Saw, Malcolm Gladwell
  15. The Likeability Factor, Tim Sanders
  16. Mentoring 101, John C. Maxwell
  17. The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, John C. Maxwell
  18. The Pixar Touch, David A. Price
  19. The Leap, Rick Smith
  20. Outstanding, John G. Miller
  21. Drive, Daniel H. Pink
  22. How the Mighty Fall, Jim Collins
  23. The Definitive Guide to Body Language, Allan & Barbara Pease
  24. Six Pixels of Separation, Mitch Joel
  25. Self-Improvement 101, John C. Maxwell
  26. Think Better, Tim Hurson
  27. Attitude 101, John C. Maxwell
  28. Sway, Ori and Rom Brafman
  29. The Dharma of Capitalism, Nitesh Gor
  30. Leadership 101, John C. Maxwell
  31. The Book of FIVE RINGS, Miyamoto Musahshi
  32. The Greatest Salesman in the World, Og Mandino
  33. The Go-Giver, Bob Burg and John David Mann
  34. The Dream Manager, Mathew Kelly
  35. Sh** My Dad Says, Justin Halpern
  36. The Way of Zen, Alan Watts
  37. Game Warden, William Wasserman
  38. The Winner’s Brain, Jeff Brown and Mark Fenske
  39. The Total Money Makeover, Dave Ramsey
  40. The Accidental Billionaires, Ben Mezrich
  41. 8 Ways to Great, Dr. Doug Hirschhorn
  42. Delivering Happiness, Tony Hsieh
  43. Tribes, Seth Godin
  44. How Successful People Think, John C. Maxwell
  45. The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch
  46. “Little Voice” mastery, Blair Singer
  47. Switch, Chip & Dan Heath
  48. Mindset, Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.
  49. Rework, Fried & Hansson
  1. The Leader Who Had No Title, Robin Sharma
Show Notes provided by Carlo Cipollina

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