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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An insightful and humorous read about building wealth
This is a fun, breezy read, as investment advisor and long-time Forbes columnist Ken Fisher has written a serious, but humorous book about how to build wealth. And at 216 pages a quick read.

Fisher's last book, "The Only Three Questions that Count", was superb. This latest book is very different from "The Only Three Questions...", which is all about personal...
Published on November 1, 2008 by T. Faranda

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Straight scoop, not a quick path to wealth, includes political viewpoints and explanation of services being sold
I was skeptical because I've received junk mail from the author's investment firm. This mail is geared toward getting those with funds invested in stocks through his firm. Fisher was pretty main-stream in his views on how people tend to get wealthy. Interestingly, he wouldn't want to manage a publicly traded company given all the red tape and bureaucracy, while he...
Published on July 31, 2011 by Citizen John


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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An insightful and humorous read about building wealth, November 1, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a fun, breezy read, as investment advisor and long-time Forbes columnist Ken Fisher has written a serious, but humorous book about how to build wealth. And at 216 pages a quick read.

Fisher's last book, "The Only Three Questions that Count", was superb. This latest book is very different from "The Only Three Questions...", which is all about personal investing but which also has application to other areas of a person's life.

"The Ten Roads to Riches" is about the varied ways a person can build personal wealth. Fisher draws from his own experience of meeting many successful people, as he charts the paths. The chapters are insightful and written in a tongue-in-cheek style with ideas that can be easily visualized.

Some examples: The first chapter "The Richest Road", which is founding your own business and building it into the next Microsoft, Nike, or Charles Schwab. The third chapter, about the "Ride-alongs", people who hitch theirselves to the Bill Gates's or Warren Buffett's of the world and rise as they and their firm rise. If you are Warren Buffett's longtime sidekick, there's got to be wealth in that, right? (Yup. Charlie Munger is his name and his net worth is $2 billion.)

Chapter four is "Rich ... and Famous". Some tips: compose songs, don't sing them, and star high school baseball players have slightly better odds of making the big leagues then star football players.

Chapter five is "Marry Well, Really Well", which is very amusing, but also serious. Hey, if you want to get married, hang around with rich people and fall in love with one of them! Plenty of examples including John Kerry (twice) and John McCain.

Chapter six is "Steal It - Like a Pirate, But Legally", making a career as a plaintiff's lawyer and suing companies. Enough said.... And chapter nine is "Trumping the Land Barons" - all about real estate.

The last chapter is "The Road Most Travelled", about doing it the old-fashioned way - get a good job, work hard, save and invest wisely.

Each chapter is a survey, giving multiple examples of people who took the particular road, and offering ideas, but no detailed plan. At the end of each are brief reviews of suggested additional readings for anyone who might be inclined to follow that particular path. I was surprised that there are actually serious books about how to "Marry Well", but maybe I shouldn't have been?

An enjoyable, quick read about one aspect of the business of life.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book Review from the Aleph Blog, January 23, 2010
By 
David Merkel "Aleph Blog" (Ellicott City, MD United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Many dream of riches. Few achieve them. Why? It usually involves self-denial and hard work. It's not that anyone can't achieve riches, if they start young enough, but they won't make the sacrifices to do so. A strong education helps, but is not absolutely required. As my old boss Eric Hovde said to his staff repeatedly, the biggest difference in success comes from the degree of effort put forth. I would only add that working smart amplifies the effort of working hard.

Ken Fisher the billionaire asset manager, identifies the ten ways he has seen to become wealthy. They are:

1) Build a significant business.

2) Manage a significant business.

3) Be the right hand man of a wealthy person.

4) Be a star athlete, entertainer, or one who significantly facilitates star athletes and entertainers.

5) Marry a wealthy person.

6) Be a lawyer that helps clients sue for major amounts of money on a contingency fee basis.

7) Manage a lot of Other People's Money.

8 ) Be an inventor of something popular, a popular writer, a prominent politician, or invent an organization that a lot of people want to give money to.

9) Borrow a lot of money and speculate on property appreciation.

10) Work hard, save a lot, and invest wisely.

I think he has nailed it. My way of summarizing it is that you have to do something that makes a lot of people happy, or at least has the potential to make a lot of people happy. Or, make one wealthy person very happy or unhappy. Three groups -- how do they work out?

A) Those who do something that makes a lot of people happy can earn a lot:

* Successful business founders, CEOs, right hand men, inventors
* Stars and their significant enablers
* Good asset managers
* Good writers
* Successful real estate developers

B) But even those that promise to do something to make people happy and fail at it can earn a lot:

* Any CEO of a big enterprise can earn a lot -- at one investment firm, we used to joke that you got paid $50 million to destroy a company -- it is what they had to pay to get rid of you. Their right hand men will still prosper too, just not as much. In the current financial crisis, that is what gores many about the large surviving firms that were bailed out. The executives are still prospering after previous dumb decisions. Easy to complain about it, but it is nice work if you can get it. (Note: this is why they should not have been bailed out, especially not at the holding company level. Government officials lie when they say they could not have done it differently. I for one suggested alternatives ahead of time.)
* The same applies to CEOs that tweak the company's earnings while they are there, but leave their successor in the hole.
* Many still follow stars as their stars fade; they may not make as much, but it is still a lot. Same for writers that lose their knack.
* Many asset managers have an early period where they don't have much in the way of assets, and their track record is great; their ideas for excess return are executable with the current assets under management [AUM]. That leads to growth in assets, until they are too big for the asset class in which they have expertise. They become index-like, or they venture outside their circle of competence, and their track record suffers. But AUM is high, and the fees can provide a nice income. Assets are sticky if you don't do too badly, and are a good salesman/storyteller.
* Politicians can make a lot of money off of contacts or giving speeches once out of office, even if they were on net harmful to the nation while in office.
* Some charities (or nonprofits like mutual insurers or credit unions) can be less than scrupulous about what managers get paid.
* The real estate speculator, the CEO, and certain investment managers can have a "Heads-I-win, Tails-you-lose" attitude. America gives people a lot of second chances before you are permanently branded as a fraud. It only takes one big win to make a lot for yourself, even if you destroy the well-being of others in the process.

C) Then there are those that only have to serve a few:

* The spouse of a wealthy person.
* The right hand man of a wealthy person, and
* The Trial Lawyer going after a big tort
* Serve yourself, as an ordinary person working at a job.

No one begrudges the wealth of those in group A -- they have served society well. Many begrudge the wealth of those in group B -- they have not served society well. Group C? It depends on motives. More later on this.

One thing is certain, though. There aren't many seats in each of the "roads to riches," except for the last ordinary one, #10. Few are founders of massive enterprises, or CEOs, or stars, or investors of must-have products or processes. Few can serve in high office, or write best-sellers, or be able to source a lot of assets to manage. Few can get the capital markets or banks to loan them millions, even billions. Few get to try a lawsuit where a huge award is won. Few get to marry rich. Also, most succeeding have to hit their right path while young, to allow enough time for compounding their success.

It takes a lot of effort and good breaks in order to be at the top of any economic situation where there is a lot of wealth. Even road #10, doing well at your job, saving a lot and investing wisely is tough. Few get to become "The Millionaire Next Door," but more achieve reasonable wealth that way than all of the rest combined.

Ken Fisher writes about all of these areas in an entertaining way, and gives practical advice on how to follow each road, including additional books to read, and techniques for getting started. It is an ambitious and compact book weighing in at around 230 pages of text including the preface. It is an easy, breezy read. As a bonus, in road 10, Ken Fisher shares basic investment advice for the retail investor.

More than Quibbles:

I owe a lot to Ken Fisher for advice that he gave me in Winter 2000, and though I enjoyed the book, I can't endorse it wholeheartedly. He is out to tell you how to do it, even in cases where there might be significant moral compromise. He acknowledges that, but says it is a part of the game.

To me, the key question is what your motives are. It's one thing to enter into a risky business, offer full disclosure to all stakeholders in advance, make a best effort, and fail. It is quite another to trick/cajole people into backing you without full knowledge, and fail.

It is one thing to try a legal case where the damages are proportionate to the harm caused, and another thing to help create disproportionate judgments. It is one thing to serve a wealthy person who asks you to do things that are ethical, and another thing to serve in things that are unethical. Once you have fans, a privileged job, or "sticky assets," do you start giving less than your best? I write this as one that is himself prone to laziness when things go well. It is a common sin that one has to fight.

Are you looking out for the best interests of those you serve, and society more broadly? A tough question for any of us, but society itself does not do well when a dominant proportion of it does not serve for good motives. If it gets bad enough, the society will lose legitimacy and vitality.

Finally, it is one thing to marry because you love the person, and want to give your all to your future spouse. It is quite another thing to enter in with crossed fingers, and say, "Maybe this will work, maybe it won't. I will be careful to protect myself, because the odds of failure are significant. But economically, it will work out for me either way. I'm wealthy if we marry, whether it works or not, because the prenup will leave me well off."

Here's the common vow: I, (Bride/Groom), take you (Groom/Bride), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part. Maybe promises don't mean much any more, but I can't see how one marrying for money can say that with a clear conscience.

Before my wife and I married, but after we were engaged, we were at a bookstore together, and we were looking over some marriage books to find one our pastor recommended. She found a book entitled, "Marry Rich." She said to me, "This is a joke book, right?" I said, "Uh, you would be surprised at the motives some have in marriage." She began leafing through it, amazed at the level of greed involved. She married her poor graduate student boyfriend anyway. 23 years later things are still working out well for her (and me).

One final note, not from the book: greed wears people out. It is one thing to do what you love so long as money is not the sole purpose. But those that are greedy for gain at all costs destroy themselves, and those around them. It is not a good trade.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Straight scoop, not a quick path to wealth, includes political viewpoints and explanation of services being sold, July 31, 2011
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This review is from: The Ten Roads to Riches: The Way the Wealthy Got There (And How You Can Too!) (Audio CD)
I was skeptical because I've received junk mail from the author's investment firm. This mail is geared toward getting those with funds invested in stocks through his firm. Fisher was pretty main-stream in his views on how people tend to get wealthy. Interestingly, he wouldn't want to manage a publicly traded company given all the red tape and bureaucracy, while he strongly believes in the stock market.

Mine is the book on CD. It was easy to listen and absorb the material on the first hearing. The facts are straight-forward, yet this is a subject that can get cloudy due to emotions. My impression is that most of us will not always appreciate how much time, hard work and sacrifice was usually required for somebody to get rich. Suddenly such people are celebrated in the media and we can tend to think of them as a special breed.

There is value in this book, not just for informing on the actual ways that people tend to become wealthy over time. The reader/listener is encouraged to select the paths that best correspond to their own situation. The main pros and cons for each path are listed, putting the paths themselves into perspective. Each path, other than marrying into wealth for example, does not resemble a short cut. One is encouraged to select a path while they're still young.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Outstanding Work, November 28, 2009
By 
Maxim Masiutin (Chisinau, Republic of Moldova) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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I'm a fan of Ken Fisher's books. While he's other books are mostly about capital markets, but this one is a completely different book. It is based on Ken Fisher's experience in observing Forbes 400 list and managing wealthy people's money as a CEO of Fisher Investments. Based on these observations, the author have identified ten most usual patterns on becoming rich. The book isn't about getting rich quick. It's about getting mega-rich in ways that work over time.
What is the difference between this book and the author's other books about capital markets? The books on capital markets will teach how to invest wisely, but they don't teach how to become a billionaire, they just assume you already have enough investable money to have interest in capital markets and how they work.
To have enough investable money, it's better to be rich. And this is what this book about. While books like "Millionaire Next Door" in a plenitude, they teach you to save, to live beyond your means, to have compounding interest work for you as a way to get rich. But a majority of billionaires, like Bill Gates, never saved a penny. They have just created their wealth, rather than accumulated it by saving.
If you liked the chapter "Managing other people's money", I can also recommend the author's subsequent book "How to smell a rat", that augments and expands the topic of this chapter.
Pros
- Lots of statistical figures to proof the author's assertions
- Lots of useful tips throughout the book
- Lots of myths demystified about different professions, commonly believed to bring megawealth, e.g. sports players, actors, musicians, lawyers, etc.
- Each chapter has valuable references to further reading
Cons
- Minor factual errors: for example, the author wrote that Warren Buffett bought a "tiny" company Berkshire Hathaway. In fact, in 1955 the company had 15 plants employing over 12,000 workers.
- An audio version on CD (released by HarperAudio on November 4, 2008) has a foreword read by Ken Fisher with very awful quality, the sound seems to be distorted by excessive compression, voice sounds like "electronic" and is hard to tolerate. The rest of the book, read by J.s. Gilbert, is OK.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ten Paths to Financial Wealth, December 20, 2008
Billionaire and author Ken Fisher offers ten pathways to wealth:

1. Start your own business
2. Become a CEO
3. Become a "ride-along" to a successful CEO
4. Become rich and famous
5. Marry into wealth
6. Become a plaintiff attorney
7. Use other people's money
8. Invent something
9. Real estate
10. Save and live frugally

Fisher's book is entertaining and will likely never leave you bored. His tone is at times facetious but he offers a "macro" view of major pathways for those who want to achieve financial independence and security.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for all young people!, November 22, 2008
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I wish I had read this book in high school; it honestly would have made a great impact on my life going forward and the choices I made in college regarding my career. Fisher doesn't pull any punches here. He lays out the pro's and con's for 10 wealth building occupations in an easy to read manner. Highly recommended.

One caveat is that I wish Fisher had written more on the pro's and con's of the professions (doctor, lawyer, investment banker) instead of lumping them in to the final road to wealth ("the road more traveled").
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, February 7, 2009
This is not your typical financial self-help read. It is an intriguing and fascinating introduction to various ways that others have accumulated wealth and you can too! I higly suggest this book if you're thinking of starting a business or are unsure of what you would like to do with your future. The author also offers suggestions on other books for each topic should you choose to do further research on one of the 10 roads. This was an easy and provocative read making it very hard to put down!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Straight Forward and Simple..., May 23, 2009
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Great new book Ken - By far, your best yet. Essential and frank details on
exactly How to really make it. The simple (but not quick or easy) steps to
financial and personal success are clear, with your very valuable insights
for each different type of person and personality... Excellent.

Bill G. /Eastern Research & Trading Group
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Almost an autobiography, February 26, 2014
By 
The Ten Roads to Riches KEN FISHER

In this tale we have 10 life long plans to get rich. Fisher includes enough personal material in the book that it approaches being an autobiography. Most readers will find the tenth plan most likely to work, so check it out first.

1) The greatest riches are in found in starting your own firm, like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett. This of course takes very special ability. Competition is extremely high as you begin to be successful. He suggests meeting and working with customers.

2) Be a CEO, not visionary, but a leader like Jack Welch of GE. These leaders take lots of well-justified shots from society because of executives’ high pay and seeming ability to get away with almost anything. Fisher’s dad was bright with Asperger’s Syndrome, and not much fun to live with day by day. He apparently was a good role model since Ken has been very successful in the same business. Ken likes the idea of leading from the front, being part of the frontline of the business. Focus on people, show up, care, be the first to arrive and the last to leave. There are lots of chances to help people with their careers and the pay is excellent.

3) Be the trusted right-hand, always getting the details right and the onerous tasks done. Less money and less pressure like Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s partner. Fisher likes people who will always get the problem solved.

4) To become rich and famous means having some outstanding abilities such as professional athletes, actors, people who like the limelight and with their managers find ways to stay popular. It is difficult to live the lifestyle and accumulate wealth.

5) Marrying well was done several generations ago by Fishers’ great grandfather introducing a family member to a rich and successful marriage. The fruits of this marriage provided generous help to many Fishers by providing very good educations, and improved chances at success.

A more recent example was a very attractive female dentist, who spent several nights a week talking herself into attending presentations given by investor groups to very rich guys. Fisher’s group met her when she crashed one of their seminars. She would scout out which group was younger, then proceed to talk her way in with her dentist credentials. Once in, she approached attractive guys and interviewed them about their attitude about children, and other important topics. She then offered prime candidates a free dental exam. When they called she would suggest drinks on the weekend. She dates every weekend, had gotten a number of proposals, but was still looking.

6) Plaintiff’s lawyers make out like bandits, their suits cost over $250 billion a year, with only 22 % going to victims. The law firm Milberg and Lerach had many individuals buy small positions in thousands of stocks. When a company stock went down they were ready to use this individual to launch a lawsuit. This person then gets a % of the settlement and the lawyers pick up big fees. This process is quite illegal.

7) Managing other people’s money is the route Fisher took very successfully with his company. He is on the Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans. His main advice is to learn to sell, virtually anything, for experience and to learn as early as possible. He also believes that success is half picking a successful portfolio for each individual investor customized to their needs. The other half is custom-made service for those that want a call everyday or only once a year.

8) Inventors, writers, and composers, do best with a chance to license their work –smaller versions of Star Wars and Harry Potter. To do this you have to protect your work with patent or copyright. You also have to sell your product and to some degree yourself-think author book selling tours. You also have to be constantly on guard not to lose this income. Come to think about it, we all have to be constantly on guard.

9) Purchasing underused commercial real estate, upgrading, filling with higher paying tenants, then getting a loan on the building and continue the process with this extra cash. Buying a home can be profitable, but most home-owners overestimate their profit. Take a home bought for $300K and sold 10 years later for $750K, this $450K looks like a lot of profit. Subtract the $60K for down payment, another $60K for paid in principle, $247K interest paid, then upkeep, property taxes, home improvements, and you wind up with a cumulative 59% (3% annual) profit according to Fisher. This is quite different than the over 800% profit on the price difference. It is also incomplete. In early 2014 monthly home, and monthly rental payments were analogous for comparable properties in southern California. If real estate grows similarly to the above, the homeowner pockets the $450K appreciation, and at the same time has probably paid less net per month since the $247K interest paid and property taxes are tax deductions, which offsets some of the cost of home ownership. The profit is not $450K, but it is a great deal more than 59%.

10) Most of us can become multi millionaires by getting a good job, and putting away the maximum in all 403b, IRA and Roth IRA plans, plus a bit of personal savings. Fisher believes that it is important to find something you love as a career and it can help your savings if it pays really well.

From his firms experience with over 25,000 clients, he suggests that it is quite possible to save $6 million from fairly normal job, giving much more attention to saving, and use the future value equation to calculate how much you need to save each year to get to this goal. (The future value equation is available in Excel and online.) You can’t just save to get $6 million. You have to use the long term compounding effect of wise investment. To reach the goal well diversified index funds and stocks are the best vehicles. His firm finds that the less trading the better. One of the reasons that trading often doesn’t pay is that it is quite difficult to tell the difference between short-term corrections and real bear markets.

The Ten Roads to Riches by Ken Fisher is an interesting book with some practical suggestions and amusing anecdotes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly Original, Frank, and Thought-Provoking, January 5, 2011
By 
DrDeb (South Florida) - See all my reviews
"The Ten Roads to Riches" reminded me a little of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" in its clear and unapologetic message that individuals (and perhaps all of society collectively) would be better off if each person strove to become rich. Not just financially comfortable, but *rich.*

You can probably guess some of the ten roads to riches, such as the road of the frugal saver, the road of the successful business founder, the road of the CEO, and the road of the famous actor/musician/athlete. But you might be surprised to see that marrying into wealth is one of the ten roads, as well as "legal piracy" by becoming a plaintiff's lawyer. Overall, Fisher's style is unabashedly candid and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. Here are some examples of his writing:

* "The Crocs cofounders didn't invest boating shoes - they made them insanely ugly and inexplicably popular. With a market cap over $1.5 billion, the Crocs founders are laughing all the way to the bank (wearing ugly shoes.)" - p. 5

* "If you crave CEO bucks, don't be a big jerk." - p. 33

* "When Jack Welch said, `Bob...I really need you in water now, particularly emerging markets purification plants. You'll be stationed in Djibouti City. Okey dokey?' Bob doesn't say, `Ok, Jack, I can do that.' Bob knows nothing about water purification and couldn't find Djibouti with both hands and an army-issued GPS. But Bob happily says, `Great, Jack. Yes, I will do that.'" - pp. 54-55

* "One day, like Brad Pitt, you can be picky. But at first, if someone offers you seven bucks an hour to wear a chicken suit and dance, start dancing." - p. 63

* [The author's advice for a plaintiff's lawyer is] "Get a dog. Being a pirate can be lonely. Some people may dislike you. You will make enemies. A big dog provides protection and love." - p. 116

* "So if you want to invent income while contributing to the world, invent a new vaccine for a disease, a new marketing phenomenon, or even write songs or books for movies. If you just want to suck the public trough, politics is always waiting for you." - p. 156

* "I know a guy whose son told me he gets all his job-seeking tips from chat rooms. I haven't figured a graceful way yet to tell the father his son is an idiot." - p. 179

* "Maybe you're one of those nut jobs who believe 'everything's different now' and the world's worse, and capitalism is horrible, and stocks are done. Forever! Nothing I can do for you but recommend you find a good therapist." - p. 197

If one of the ten roads resonates with you, Fisher offers recommended resources at the end of every chapter to help you advance down that road. If none of the roads resonate with you, the book is still likely to stimulate new ideas and possibly new discussions as you make or refine your career development plans.
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