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How to Get Rich: One of the World's Greatest Entrepreneurs Shares His Secrets Paperback – May 26, 2009
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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How to Get Rich is different from any other book on the subject because Dennis isn't selling snake oil, investment tips, or motivational claptrap. He merely wants to help people embrace entrepreneurship, and to share lessons he learned the hard way. He reveals, for example, why a regular paycheck is like crack cocaine; why great ideas are vastly overrated; and why "ownership isn't the important thing, it's the only thing."
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Here are a few things I liked about this book. He speaks clearly about fear. Come on now, that is what stops most of us from really becoming rich and successful. Its tough to leave the security of a comfortable job and give it all up for the scary roller coaster ride of entrepreneurship. I know I personally would not be comfortable without a steady flow of money coming in. Could you get through a period of months without any cash flow? That's a huge fear.
A second topic I really like is the fallacy of the great idea. You do not need some great, original idea to be successful. Really all you need to do is take an existing idea and put a new spin on it. Do it better than anyone else. Combine two existing ideas that have not been combined so far. Take a look at Mcdonalds. They do not make the best hamburger in the world. They are not even close. But they do the whole process better than anyone else. The idea is not important, the proper execution of the idea is where the money lies.
Ownership. You must own your company and never give away or sell ownership. And if you must sell some ownership, never sell controlling interest.
To really achieve a high level at this game you will probably alienate many people in your life. Long hours at work tends to stress a marriage. Its tough to see the kids play soccer when you always arrive home long after darkness has arrived. You have to change the way you think, most people are uncomfortable being surrounded by people much smarter and more qualified than they are. But if you want to be rich, you have to hire great talent. Talent, that while very qualified has not overcome the fear associated with starting their own business. Which is great for us, because we can hire them.
The problem I have with the book is that EVERY page is about his magazine company, Computer shopper, and any other publisher that was around at the time. I really don't need to hear so much about magazines. If you read the book you will have magazine stories out your ears. Perhaps that is good for a publisher, but for the general public, it is about as interesting as watching paint dry.
I find myself skimming through parts about rambling on about the magazine industry. The book is not a total waste and you will probably get some good ideas from it. It's just that you are going to really work to find the ideas in between all the magazine industry fluf. Each chapter I kept thinking, whew glad that was over. Then another chapter about the magazine industry.
My only big complaint is that I think a lot of what Felix Dennis did to get rich does not necessarily apply in businesses that require a bit more brainpower--like software or technology vs. printing words and pictures on paper and finding people to buy it. Regardless, this book is pure gold--if not a bit obvious to some of us who have been around the block but are still merely "comfortably poor."
I also wonder if Felix would change his opinion on Steve Jobs as he wrote it in this book circa 2006. Since the printing of this book, Jobs has transformed the entire mobile and consumer electronics industry with the iPhone and toppled Microsoft in market cap. Perhaps Felix's skeptical tone is different today.
Definitely give it a read!
This book might talk some out of the fantasy of riches, for those that it does not, you will certainly have a better idea of the road ahead.