Jump to content

How to Get Rich - Felix Dennis


Liberty
 Share

Recommended Posts

[amazonsearch]How To Get Rich[/amazonsearch]

 

This one is more of a motivational/inspirational book. There's lots of advice and wisdom in it, but I think the main benefit I'm getting out of it is psychic rather than tactical or strategical.

 

Dennis is a publishing magnate and certainly has a big ego, but he's also often self-deprecating and has a way with words, so it's a pleasant read if you aren't looking for something that the book isn't (if that makes sense).

 

I'm about halfway through, and the central message seems to be that getting really rich is really hard, and you won't succeed if you don't really want it and aren't ready to disregard advice from well-meaning people around you who want to steer you to the 'normal' path of least resistance (get a job, stop obsessing about this thing, give up when things are bad, etc) and persevere through a lot of crap and bad times. A lot is about steeling yourself for the marathon and picking the right goals (if you want to be rich -- if you have other goals, that's fine, but being rich rarely happens by accident so if it's not your explicit goal, it probably won't happen).

 

Anyway, I woulnd't necessarily call it a 'must-read' for investors here (at least not yet -- maybe the second half is amazing), but if like me you like to alternate between more technical readings and more 'meta' inspirational/biographical stuff, this might be one worth putting on the list.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Liberty:

 

His message kind of aligns with what I've been thinking about lately as well.  It's not only going to be hard (including hard work), but you're going to need to have the talent for whatever it is that could make you rich, and some luck/providence as well, and even at that it's not guaranteed ...

 

From my own perspective, I've always thought I could focus on one thing in life to be exceptional (presuming I had the talent for that one thing), two things to do very well at it, but after that I'd start to yield performance for balance (e.g. work/life/fun).  That said, focusing on that one thing might still not yield the result.  I've had time/opportunity to train for a few marathons the past couple of years, and have done (very) well in several ... and yet despite being in way better shape for another, with anticipation/focus of achieving even better performance, flamed out because of the heat (at this year's Boston Marathon).

 

Sounds kind of like investing ... you'll never do spectacularly by diversifying, but the balance has it's own rewards. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest deepValue

As with investing, getting rich is simple but it's not easy. All you have to do to get rich is devote yourself to making money. It's not hard to make money if all you want to do is make money, but a lot of people get distracted by other things like friends, family, vacations, etc. A lot of people are afraid of temporary failure and the attendant scorn from family/friends. Others fail because they care how they make their money (e.g., investing/hedge fund manager). You have to go where the moneymaking is easy; the more options you dismiss, the longer your odds of getting rich.

 

But if you are absolutely determined to get rich, more likely than not you will get rich. At least that's the message I took from Dennis' book and also Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill (which I highly recommend).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...

Finished it, and on the whole, it was better than I expected. More for entrepreneurs than investors, but a lot still applies, or at least is interesting to read about if you like that sort of thing.

 

As I just wrote about on my blog, I think the book is also extremely applicable for financial independence (getting comfotably poor) as well as getting actually rich. I wonder what you think, as someone who as actually followed that path, more or less, for much longer than I have?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Finished it, and on the whole, it was better than I expected. More for entrepreneurs than investors, but a lot still applies, or at least is interesting to read about if you like that sort of thing.

 

As I just wrote about on my blog, I think the book is also extremely applicable for financial independence (getting comfotably poor) as well as getting actually rich. I wonder what you think, as someone who as actually followed that path, more or less, for much longer than I have?

 

Hmm, not sure what I think of it a few years later (I don't mean this negatively -- I have a general positive memory of it, the details are just more fuzzy).

 

I think the main takeaway for me was probably reinforcing the idea (which it central to old classics like Your Money or Your life) that one of the things you can buy with money is freedom and time, and that it's important to figure out what makes you happy and what you like doing in life, because just getting rich isn't enough, it won't make you happy on its own (as many people find out). This sounds super obvious, but I wouldn't be surprised that the majority of people who don't have to work for a living (either through regular retirement or other ways to get to "don't have to go to the office") aren't very good at filling their time with things that bring deep satisfaction.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This sounds super obvious, but I wouldn't be surprised that the majority of people who don't have to work for a living (either through regular retirement or other ways to get to "don't have to go to the office") aren't very good at filling their time with things that bring deep satisfaction.

 

Most of the people who have to go to office aren't very good at filling their time with things that bring deep satisfaction either.

 

Stopping for a moment to consider the meaning (or meaninglessness) of your life might be harder and quite uncomfortable compared to just chugging along to the office ... or to a golf course. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This sounds super obvious, but I wouldn't be surprised that the majority of people who don't have to work for a living (either through regular retirement or other ways to get to "don't have to go to the office") aren't very good at filling their time with things that bring deep satisfaction.

 

Most of the people who have to go to office aren't very good at filling their time with things that bring deep satisfaction either.

 

Stopping for a moment to consider the meaning (or meaninglessness) of your life might be harder and quite uncomfortable compared to just chugging along to the office ... or to a golf course. ;)

 

That's true. But most of these people use that as an excuse; "if only I didn't have to work all the time and come home tired and have just enough time to cook food and put the kids to bed, I'd be so happy and doing so many great things!"

 

But in reality, it's just a way to avoid living in the present, and to creates external excuses for lack of agency.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have not read the book. I might though.

 

I found innerscorecard's review to be too abstract. innerscorecard talks about tradeoffs but does not get into details: which tradeoffs were mentioned and whether they seemed real, worth taking, etc. I guess loneliness was the one mentioned, but even that I found abstract: why is it unavoidable? At which wealth levels? I believe that you can have stealth wealth for quite high wealth (up to $100M at least?) and very few of us will be more wealthy than that.

 

Anyway, not a critique of innerscorecard. It's hard to write good reviews especially for people who have not read the book. :)

 

Peace.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have not read the book. I might though.

 

I found innerscorecard's review to be too abstract. innerscorecard talks about tradeoffs but does not get into details: which tradeoffs were mentioned and whether they seemed real, worth taking, etc. I guess loneliness was the one mentioned, but even that I found abstract: why is it unavoidable? At which wealth levels? I believe that you can have stealth wealth for quite high wealth (up to $100M at least?) and very few of us will be more wealthy than that.

 

Anyway, not a critique of innerscorecard. It's hard to write good reviews especially for people who have not read the book. :)

 

Peace.

 

A friend sent me the book a year or two ago, it's a great read.  I'd highly recommend it, very easy and quick to read.

 

Dennis is great, in many ways he says what other wealthy people might not.  The trade-off in a sense is that going after wealth means you end up giving up something else.  Maybe it's family, or friends, or something.  He had a few hundred million I believe.  He notes at one point he wishes he would have stopped at $10m or $20m and enjoyed life.

 

I found some wisdom in the book in the sense that he gets to the top and has the introspection to realize it isn't as great as everyone thinks it is.  That the ideal we think of isn't true. I don't know if this is something a lot of other wealthy people realize and keep inside, or if some never realize it.  I don't know.

 

The perspective is refreshing.  There are a lot of tips on how to run a business or negotiate.

 

Dennis had a period where he was heavily into drinking and drugs.  He spoke of it some and I'm not sure what his view on it was.  My sense was that money gives you access to things that might not necessarily be good for you.  If you're making $100k a year you don't have to worry about supporting a half dozen mistresses and blowing millions on drugs.

 

To innerscorecard.  After reading your post I'd say maybe it's worth introspecting for a weekend or two on your life goals.  If your goal is to be wealthy you'll never reach it and never be satisfied.  Wealth is a moving target.  You'll always be just a bit shy of what you want and where you want to be.  Like something in your field of vision but just out of reach.

 

A good friend point out to me years ago that contentment is a secret to life.  If you are content with a little you can be content with a lot.  But if you're never content and always want something different no matter what you have will never be enough.

 

Maybe a different way to phrase the goal (if this is truly your goal) is to not have to work for someone else.  Or have enough saved you can pay yourself for a few years.  Or have a flexible schedule.

 

For myself I found that all thoughts of financial freedom or being rich went away when two things happened. 

1) I learned to be content

2) I was able to get a flexible schedule.

 

The flexible schedule is key.  When in a cube farm I'd yearn to be outside.  Now I can just take a walk anytime.  I don't have to be rich to do that, and I enjoy my work more.  While I walk I think about work sometimes.  Flexibility and contentment solve a lot.  Would I love a few hundred million...sure, but I'm not sure my life would be different.  I'd probably have more stuff, but stuff is just that, stuff.  More money couldn't cure the stomach bug my boys had last night etc.

 

The Dennis book hits on some of this in a roundabout way.  I believe he had a realization about contentment much later in life and wishes he would have had it earlier.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Appreciate everyone's thoughts. I suppose my posts may be too self-referential and vague, because I don't define terms I use which can have multiple meanings. By financial independence I precisely mean what you say about not needing to work to survive. Not wealth or being rich as it is commonly known, especially because my expenses are extremely low due to living an efficient life where I currently save a very high proportion of income. The goal is simply to have non-working-for-others income exceed these already low living costs. The simplest way to do this is to have a big pile (well, for me, it doesn't need to be so high given my very low expenses) of money enough to generate a "safe withdrawal rate," but that's just one way to do it.

 

And getting part of the way there has made me a lot happier and freer than I was a few years ago. It'a nice knowing I could quit work today or get fired and still be able to cover all expenses for a few years. It makes me better and more confident at work to have this liberty, in fact.

 

But of course it is only a fraction of my life goals, albeit one of the most important right now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I have not read the book. I might though.

 

I found innerscorecard's review to be too abstract. innerscorecard talks about tradeoffs but does not get into details: which tradeoffs were mentioned and whether they seemed real, worth taking, etc. I guess loneliness was the one mentioned, but even that I found abstract: why is it unavoidable? At which wealth levels? I believe that you can have stealth wealth for quite high wealth (up to $100M at least?) and very few of us will be more wealthy than that.

 

Anyway, not a critique of innerscorecard. It's hard to write good reviews especially for people who have not read the book. :)

 

Peace.

 

A friend sent me the book a year or two ago, it's a great read.  I'd highly recommend it, very easy and quick to read.

 

Dennis is great, in many ways he says what other wealthy people might not.  The trade-off in a sense is that going after wealth means you end up giving up something else.  Maybe it's family, or friends, or something.  He had a few hundred million I believe.  He notes at one point he wishes he would have stopped at $10m or $20m and enjoyed life.

 

I found some wisdom in the book in the sense that he gets to the top and has the introspection to realize it isn't as great as everyone thinks it is.  That the ideal we think of isn't true. I don't know if this is something a lot of other wealthy people realize and keep inside, or if some never realize it.  I don't know.

 

The perspective is refreshing.  There are a lot of tips on how to run a business or negotiate.

 

Dennis had a period where he was heavily into drinking and drugs.  He spoke of it some and I'm not sure what his view on it was.  My sense was that money gives you access to things that might not necessarily be good for you.  If you're making $100k a year you don't have to worry about supporting a half dozen mistresses and blowing millions on drugs.

 

To innerscorecard.  After reading your post I'd say maybe it's worth introspecting for a weekend or two on your life goals.  If your goal is to be wealthy you'll never reach it and never be satisfied.  Wealth is a moving target.  You'll always be just a bit shy of what you want and where you want to be.  Like something in your field of vision but just out of reach.

 

A good friend point out to me years ago that contentment is a secret to life.  If you are content with a little you can be content with a lot.  But if you're never content and always want something different no matter what you have will never be enough.

 

Maybe a different way to phrase the goal (if this is truly your goal) is to not have to work for someone else.  Or have enough saved you can pay yourself for a few years.  Or have a flexible schedule.

 

For myself I found that all thoughts of financial freedom or being rich went away when two things happened. 

1) I learned to be content

2) I was able to get a flexible schedule.

 

The flexible schedule is key.  When in a cube farm I'd yearn to be outside.  Now I can just take a walk anytime.  I don't have to be rich to do that, and I enjoy my work more.  While I walk I think about work sometimes.  Flexibility and contentment solve a lot.  Would I love a few hundred million...sure, but I'm not sure my life would be different.  I'd probably have more stuff, but stuff is just that, stuff.  More money couldn't cure the stomach bug my boys had last night etc.

 

The Dennis book hits on some of this in a roundabout way.  I believe he had a realization about contentment much later in life and wishes he would have had it earlier.

 

I thought about what you said a little, randomly, and I really do think it's the daily grind of work that motivates my thoughts of financial freedom so much. Obviously it's a chicken-and-the-egg issue, as to not thinking about financial freedom so much I would have to actually be financially free.

 

I currently couldn't quit if I wanted to because I won't receive my yearly bonus, which is significant in relation to my total yearly salary, if I were on my notice period. That feeling of being tied down due to what is in the end not that much money, is the opposite of feeling financially free or rich.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 years later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Awesome book , think I read it a decade ago. Having read hundreds of books on getting rich, like many of you, I believe this one is the most relevant to entrepreneurs. If you aren't willing to do what Felix is, you'll lose to his type of character, most of the time.

 

Perhaps I'm projecting but almost everyone I know who is rich, is of Felix's character. Excluding those who made decent money and invested regularly at moderate index like rates of returns over decades.

 

One of the few books with getting rich in the title that's not bull shit (coming from someone who studied the art of bull shit for a long time).

 

Read it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I have not read the book. I might though.

 

I found innerscorecard's review to be too abstract. innerscorecard talks about tradeoffs but does not get into details: which tradeoffs were mentioned and whether they seemed real, worth taking, etc. I guess loneliness was the one mentioned, but even that I found abstract: why is it unavoidable? At which wealth levels? I believe that you can have stealth wealth for quite high wealth (up to $100M at least?) and very few of us will be more wealthy than that.

 

Anyway, not a critique of innerscorecard. It's hard to write good reviews especially for people who have not read the book. :)

 

Peace.

 

I haven't read the book, so also not certain what level his comments about were loneliness were either, but I can attest that it can occur at levels of wealth significantly below that.

 

It's probably not simply a function of wealth - i.e. loneliness of having no friends who can afford to do the same things as you (which is something I'm newly starting to experience at levels significantly less than $1). You can also get intellectual loneliness from not having like minded peers to discuss opportunities/investments/businesses etc. with.

 

Hardly any of my friends care about entrepreneurship, running their own businesses, investing, etc. They all think about the world differently and think a lot of what I do is absolutely nuts to them. It actually gets really frustrating sometimes to attempt to discuss these things because it's almost as if we're speaking two different languages - they don't get me and I don't get them.

 

I have about 4 friends that have similar levels of interest in wealth/investing/entrepreneurship/etc. It took me 10+ years to accumulate that many and none are local. Maybe that says something about my networking skills - but, I certainly understand the loneliness trade off from the intellectual capacity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have not read the book. I might though.

 

I found innerscorecard's review to be too abstract. innerscorecard talks about tradeoffs but does not get into details: which tradeoffs were mentioned and whether they seemed real, worth taking, etc. I guess loneliness was the one mentioned, but even that I found abstract: why is it unavoidable? At which wealth levels? I believe that you can have stealth wealth for quite high wealth (up to $100M at least?) and very few of us will be more wealthy than that.

 

Anyway, not a critique of innerscorecard. It's hard to write good reviews especially for people who have not read the book. :)

 

Peace.

 

I haven't read the book, so also not certain what level his comments about were loneliness were either, but I can attest that it can occur at levels of wealth significantly below that.

 

It's probably not simply a function of wealth - i.e. loneliness of having no friends who can afford to do the same things as you (which is something I'm newly starting to experience at levels significantly less than $1). You can also get intellectual loneliness from not having like minded peers to discuss opportunities/investments/businesses etc. with.

 

Hardly any of my friends care about entrepreneurship, running their own businesses, investing, etc. They all think about the world differently and think a lot of what I do is absolutely nuts to them. It actually gets really frustrating sometimes to attempt to discuss these things because it's almost as if we're speaking two different languages - they don't get me and I don't get them.

 

I have about 4 friends that have similar levels of interest in wealth/investing/entrepreneurship/etc. It took me 10+ years to accumulate that many and none are local. Maybe that says something about my networking skills - but, I certainly understand the loneliness trade off from the intellectual capacity.

 

(I have since read the book and the loneliness is barely mentioned there, so I think loneliness discussion should perhaps be moved to a separate thread if it continues).

 

Ah, but what you describe is not a function of wealth. It's a function of ... not being mainstream, perhaps. Plus perhaps being introverted and/or having not great networking skills and/or being busy and/or having family and/or other factors. I can't really say what factors are biggest contributors for you.

 

I agree that finding "true friends" is very hard. Maybe it's not hard for some people, but it is for me. If I guess that you're "not mainstream", then I think I'm probably 4x less mainstream. 8) And I have perhaps 2.5 true friends, one of whom is my wife and another one is non-local which completely sucks.

 

This is not to say that I can only talk to 2.5 people. I can talk to a lot of people. And with some of them I possibly could talk hours and possibly even become closer/truer friends. It's just that somehow that does not happen much/often/enough.

 

And yeah there are also tons of people with whom discussions are mostly boring or not matching my views/interests/etc. And sometimes I think the same way you do "almost as if we're speaking two different languages". I mostly don't try to talk to them about things that they are not interested in or have a strong but possibly completely messed up point of view about. So we end up talking movies at best and weather at worst.

 

Anyway, for me none of the above is caused by my wealth or the wealth of people I talk to. For me the loneliness factor is mostly being non-mainstream (with a lot of interests that separately may not be super rare, but in conjunction end up being quite a tough match against what other people are interested in), being not American (cultural milieu matters a lot IMO), being somewhat introverted (depends on situation), being somewhat stuck up with my opinions/viewpoints, being somewhat antisocial (which is different from being introverted IMO - social/antisocial is more about going way out to set up opportunities to socialize with whatever social circle you socialize with), being busy, being not knowledgeable enough in some topics and not interested in deeper knowledge in other topics. Not wealth at all.

 

Maybe you feel differently and you think that wealth is a factor of loneliness for you.

 

BTW, from the book Felix seemed to have had at least 4+ friends, so ... par for the course?  8)

 

Take care  8)

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...