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.
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Dale Farris, Groves, TX
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.