Honest thoughts on what it takes to become filthy rich. Fantastic writing and to-the-point advice. Reading this won't make you rich but it just might help set your mind straight if you want to be rich.
My experience has been that money is colour-blind, race-blind, sex-blind, degree-blind and couldn't care less who brought you up or in what circumstances. Money is one of the most neutral substances on earth. If you truly believe that your race, sex or upbringing can keep you from becoming rich, then you had best give up here.
Never trust the vast mountain of conventional wisdom. It contains great nuggets of wisdom. But they lie alongside rivers of fool's gold.
The advantages of being young:
If I had my time again, I would dedicate myself to making just enough to live comfortably (say £30 or £40 million), as quickly as I could - hopefully by the time I was thirty-five years old. I would then cash out immediately and retire to write poetry and plant trees.
If the odds of getting rich put you off, then you deserve to stay poor.
'Once begun - the job's half done.' Because taking that first, irrevocable step has proved to be the most difficult part of nearly every venture I have been involved in.
Everywhere you look, you will find men and women who appear to take perverse pleasure in pointing out the shriekingly obvious: that if a new venture does not succeed, it may result in failure.
“A committee is a group of the unwilling, chosen from the unfit to do the unnecessary.” Prompt decisions and orders, right or wrong, are far healthier than endless debate and prevarication.
You must grow a carapace. Not so thick as to blind you to well-constructed criticism and advice, especially from those you trust. Nor so thick as to cut you off from friends and family. Thick enough to shrug off the inevitable sniggering and mockery that will follow your inevitable failures.
Working for others is a reconnaissance expedition; a means and not an end in itself. It is an apprenticeship and not a goal.
Whoever controls a business can force its sale. Whoever controls a business can implement a merger. Whoever controls a business can fire you. Whoever controls a business, even by a pitiful 1 per cent, is likely to take a great deal more money out of it than the minority shareholders
The more bold you are, the better chance you have of getting in on the ground floor and confounding the odds.
Seize Lady Luck by the forelock and hang on for your life. More men and women have become rich by this single tactic than all 'the best-laid plans of mice and men' guided by plodding strategy
It is not true that there is a large sign on Steve Jobs' desk at Apple which reads, 'My Way or the Highway' - but the fact that so many people believe there is such a sign tells its own story
“If a man write a better book, preach a belter sermon, or make a better mouse-trap than his neighbour, tho' he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.” (Notice the words “Write”¸ “Preach”, and “Make”, they never once mention ‘think up’ or ‘dream up’ or ‘conceive’)
If you never have a single great idea in your life, but become skilled in executing the great ideas of others, you can succeed beyond your wildest dreams.
There are only six ways of obtaining capital. You can be given or inherit it; you can steal it; you can win it; you can marry it; you can earn it; you can borrow it. Only the last two are applicable for us.
Venture capitalists will do anything to protect and maximize short-term returns. They aren't so much sharks as dolphins - a nickname deriving from their frantic desire to 'flip' every deal as quickly as possible. Venture capital money, dolphin money, is not for the faint-hearted. Too often, it is only for the desperate - unless building a business for a quick(ish) return and a small piece of the action is your goal.
Vincent van Gogh never truly gave in. It shamed him deeply to ask his brother for the most basic of painting supplies, which neither of them could truly afford. But he would not give in. He would die first. He would kill himself first. And that's what he did. To our eternal shame, he did just that. And he died having written: 'I cannot help it that my pictures do not sell. Nevertheless, the time will come when people will see that they are worth more than the price of the paint.'
It is my hope that this book will cause you to consider very carefully whether you are truly driven by inner demons to be rich. If you are not, then my earnest and heartfelt advice to you is: do not on any account make the attempt.
Never yet have I met a self-made rich man or woman whose family or personal relationships were not plagued by the burden of creating a fortune, even a small fortune. A rocky marriage; lack of time spent with their children; the substitution of expensive gifts to repress guilt created by their frequent absences from home; the concern that their children have grown used to privilege and are consequently slacking in their education or lacking in ambition - all of these come as part and parcel of self-made wealth.
Lose control of a business by running out of cash and you are relegated to the status of minority investor or salaried employee. Once you lose control of a business, then no bank, white knight, investor or new owner is likely to permit you to gain control again.
If cash flow is good, then no matter how badly run or poorly managed a company is, there is always a decent chance of turning its fortunes around.
We know that success has a thousand fathers while failure is famously always an orphan. Not to mention a bastard.
Believing your own bullshit is always a perilous activity, but never more fatal than for the owner of a start-up venture.
Most of the worst errors I have made in my life came from forgetting to act small.
A successful and naturally modest entrepreneur is an object of reverence and respect in the business world.
If you are determined to be rich, there is only one talent you require. You need the talent to identify, hire and nurture others with talent. Talent is the key to sustained growth, and growth is the key to early wealth.
When you come across real talent, it is sometimes worth allowing them to create the structure in which they choose to labour. In nine cases out of ten, by inviting them to take responsibility and control for a new venture, you will motivate them to do great things. What talent seeks, as often as not, is the chance to prove itself and the opportunity to excel.
After all, who built the pyramids? The pharaohs or the engineers?
It is doubt multiplied by the fear of failure, unconfronted, which leads to the creation of a vicious cycle where self-belief is eroded and nothing is achieved.
Trust your instincts. Do not be a slave to them, but when your instincts are screaming, Go! Go! Go! then it's time for you to decide whether you really want to be rich or not.
Eggs being what they are and the world being what it is, they will sometimes break.
Build more baskets just as quickly as you can: Richard Branson with Virgin. Some are not as strong as others, but that's not the point. Western capitalism will have to sink into an ocean of darkness before all of Richard's Virgin businesses go broke. Richard has perfected one cardinal rule: he owns or part-owns more baskets than almost anyone alive. It's certainly one way to become a billionaire
It becomes your 'baby', if you're not careful. This is dangerous and counter-productive. You are not in the egg-laying and basket-weaving or baby business. You are in the business of getting rich.
If you have experience, a little investment cash and will make the time, then the world will bring to your door an amazing collection of visionaries, con artists, madmen and budding entrepreneurs.
"If only…" are the two saddest words in the English language.
Uncontested markets are usually uncontested for a reason. Nature abhors a vacuum and if no one else is contesting a market, it may well be that no such market exists. Very few visionaries get rich, begging the lads at Google's pardon.
“The fortress that parlays is already half taken” – Russian Proverb
If you can laugh in the midst of early poverty and in the face of real adversity, and if you can still laugh when you're coining it in, then you will almost certainly continue to coin it in.
To become rich you must be an owner. And you must try to own it all. You must strive with every fibre of your being, while recognizing the idiocy of your behavior, to own and retain control of as near to 100 per cent of any company as you can. If that is not possible, in a public company, for example, then you must be prepared to make yourself hated by those around you who are also trying to be rich.
To become rich, every single percentage point of anything you own is crucial. It is worth fighting for, tooth and claw.
If your company is young and a bit rickety, meritocracy, delegation and promotion are the bricks and mortar that will make it stronger.
The work undertaken by your colleagues and employees is more important than your work. Your job is merely to lead, perhaps just to point in the right direction.
Take unscheduled absences to stress-test the business; to ensure that life will go on without your immediate, direct input. Your presence should act as a multiplication factor, not a 24/7-present influence
Hard work never bothers the young. They think they are built of steel. But you don't have to go about starting up a business like that.
If you go on holiday or a business trip and keep obsessively in touch via a mobile phone or Blackberry with the office, what does that say about your management style? About the trust you have in your colleagues 'minding the ranch'
But when it comes to a sale, when you cash in your asset for big bucks, then I dispute the necessity (or even the fairness, not that life is fair) of handing over substantial chunks of the big bucks to people who did not risk their cash or livelihoods to create the business.
If you wish to become rich, look carefully about you at the prevailing industries where wealth appears to be gravitating. THEN GO TO WHERE THE MONEY IS!
You cannot get rich all on your own. No one can. You have to create, or work within, the right environment. By focusing hard on obtaining that human capital you will vastly increase your chances of becoming rich
A dose of panic in a private place, with a bottle of malt whisky on one hand and a bean-counter on the other, can be a very motivational experience.
Do your damnedest to see that the little people get paid, if you can.
The more honest you are about your misfortune with those affected by it, the easier the comeback will be.
Pay the least tax that is lawful. But pay it.
Armies and governments fear men or women who know they are going to die soon; and they have good reason to.
Just try. Try for just a single day, a whole day when you refuse to acknowledge fear of failure, fear of making yourself look like an idiot, fear of losing your lover, fear of losing your job, fear of your boss, fear of anything and of any kind. Fear will creep back, usually at three in the morning. Laugh at it and tell it to take a hike. Smash it in the teeth. Spit on it. Put your arms round it and make nicey-nicey. Then slip a sharp blade into its stinking throat just as you're French-kissing it.
The only three valid reasons for not attempting to become rich are: 'I do not wish to be rich.' Or, 'I wish to be rich but I have other priorities.' Or, 'I am too stupid to try to get rich.