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How to be a Billionaire: Proven Strategies from the Titans of Wealth 1st Edition

51 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0471416173
ISBN-10: 0471416177
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Editorial Reviews Review

Forget Regis Philbin's Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Martin Fridson's How to Be a Billionaire sets its sights much higher, and therefore seems an even more appropriate (if somewhat less realistic) goal for today's tycoon wannabes. There are some 200 individuals in the U.S. alone who now breathe this rarefied air, writes Merrill Lynch managing director Fridson, and no reason why those who adopt their philosophies cannot join them. To that end, he studied more than a dozen of the self-made super-rich, including Sam Walton, Bill Gates, Wayne Huizenga, and Warren Buffett. He then synthesized their techniques for success into nine strategies: take monumental risks, do business in new ways, dominate your market, consolidate an industry, buy low, thrive on deals, outmanage the competition, invest in political influence, and resist unions. Dividing profiles of these high fliers into chapters focused on their prevailing principles, he shows how each played a critical role in the growth of an empire. Walton didn't invent discounting, for example; he tweaked existing practices for the late-20th-century marketplace. Likewise, Huizenga didn't start individual companies but integrated existing competitors into powerhouse organizations. While Billionaire may not be a true self-help manual, it does offer a fascinating glimpse at tactics used by those who've played the game and won. --Howard Rothman --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Fridson (It Was a Very Good Year), managing director at Merrill Lynch and Co., presents a fascinating analysis of how well-known billionaires accumulated their wealth. He focuses on explaining the key strategies that lay listeners can use in building their own strong portfolios. Among the tycoons featured are Ross Perot, John D. Rockefeller, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Sam Walton. The chapters are organized around the different methods used, while throughout are interwoven common principles, such as hard work, thrift, doing business in a new way, dominating a market, buying low, investing in political influence, and resisting unions. While many wealth-building strategies will be recognized, other unique approaches, such as Walton's supreme devotion to copying the methods of other successful discounters, are revealed. Fridson also places the magnates within their particular industry by adding brief synopses of the business arenas and trends in which these successful entrepreneurs made their fortune. The solid narration by Johanna Ward maintains interest throughout this substantial addition to the financial literature; it stands apart in a crowded genre. Highly recommended for all public libraries.
Dale Farris, Groves, TX
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (May 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471416177
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471416173
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Harinath Thummalapalli on April 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Imagine having the courage to write a book that is aimed at budding entrepreneurs who want to be billionaires. Millionaires, sure. But billionaires? How many of us would be willing to even discuss with our friends the thought of giving it a shot by taking a systematic approach to making billions? It is fascinating that someone would seriously spend that much time researching the strategies that were purportedly used by billionaires like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Ross Perot, etc. Even more amazing that they would write a book about it. That alone convinced me to buy the book. Okay, I also got it during the after-christmas sale at for 70% off, but frugality is one of the key principles followed by the billionaires.
When you start reading the book, you realize that the author is very serious about teaching you how to be a billionaire if that is your goal. The book follows this format - the first chapter which is 28 pages long is definitely worth reading multiple times. It introduces the concept of 'Overcoming the Levelers' which in this day and age are the 'Menace of Competition' and the 'Obstacle of Social Conventions' and some ideas to overcome these. This chapter also talks about the obvious and not so obvious paths that have NOT been taken by billionaires, like 'playing the stock market' or 'salary'. The different key principles shared by the billionaires along with some of the strategies they followed are briefly described. Most importantly, this chapter provides some very deep insights into how these very successful people did it.
The rest of the book goes into the 9 different strategies that were employed by the billionaires in reaching their current position. This is a fascinating journey into the details of how they became so successful.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Ian Smith on January 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Nowadays being a millionaire is much like being well dressed at the prom: "you look good but you're not really special." Billionaires however have attained a level of wealth that truly sets them apart. "How to be a Billionaire" recognizes this and masterfully tells the story of today's most famous titans of wealth such as Bill Gates, Ross Perot and older money like H.L. Hunt and John D. Rockfeller. The Book is organized along priniciples such as "Copy don't Innovate" and utilizes the highly specific examples of wealthy industrialists like Gates to clearly explain these kernels of wisdom. Great Book. Read Think and Grow Rich if you want motivation and to feel empowered. But if you want to make "Billions" read this book.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By H. VONCARP on January 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Contrary to its title, this painstakingly researched and entertaining book does not belong to the genre of financial self-help. Rather, it chronicals the business successes (and some failures) of a group of self-made billionaires. It is not celebrity biography, either, which tends to treat these individuals as pure anomolies, as if their wealth descended from heaven on lightening bolts. Rather, Fridson explores the histories the ultra-successful as actions of extraordinary businessmen operating in the ordinary economy. This brings their achievements to human scale and provides useable lessons for would-be billionaires, even if some of the advice seems toung-in-cheek ("dominate your market" - If I knew how to do that ....) Perhaps it is self-help, after all.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Fridson has clearly dissected for us all the possible ways of achieving a net worth beyond a billion. The book is written in a clear, concise manner. It's almost like a tree diagram, if you will. Meaning the goals are like the nodes of the tree and the pathways to get to the goals are like the interconnections in a tree diagram.
He has backed up each section and node with examples of individuals who have travelled those paths such as H.L. Hunt, Ross Perot, Sam Walton, John D. Rockefeller, Bill Gates, Paul Getty, and Warren Buffet just to name a few. This book is an extremely good starting point if you would like to reach the top ranks in net worth. As the author correctly points out, we are lucky to have such a book in existence today, since even a decade ago people were not lucky enough to have a powerful source of information at their disposal.
A word of caution for the individuals in the investment field: Mr. Fridson points out and proves that to amass billions just by mere investments is not possible. He proves that to achieve billions in the investment field, one must acquire a substantial stake in a company and control the management and the direction of the company as a whole. This is precisely what Warren Buffett has accomplished (in despite of the common myth that he is just an investor).
The book is concluded in what I would say the most beautiful chapter. This is where we realize that tenacity and perseverence are traits ascribed to the great fortune builders. More than loving the money, self-made billionaires love the pursuit of money. We learn here that ordinary efforts and conventional approaches do not produce extraordinary results. One needs to do things differently and persistently to outmanage the competition.
To sum up, this is the greatest book (if not the only one) to teach us the pathways to amass billions and leaves the choices to us as to which path we like to follow to get there.
Good Luck!
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