Library / Personal Development | Human Psychology

Date of review: March 2021
Book author: Felix Dennis
Вook published: 2006

How to Get Rich by Felix Dennis (2006)

While a book that promises you a secret of becoming rich deserves lots of suspicion, this book is definitely an exception.

Fear or Failure

The biggest takeaway from reading the book is not a detailed step-by-step instruction but rather a message that getting rich may actually not be worth it. What really matters in life is happiness which you do not automatically earn with money. The important point here is that this message comes not from your parents or grandparents, but from a person who became very rich (with a net worth close to $1bn) and declared that youth is priceless because you cannot buy time. At the end of his journey, the author sadly admits that he might feel happy during quick moments when he was petting his cat, sips a glass of wine and thinks about his poems. All of the things that he could have been doing with only modest sums of money.

You may wonder why I read this book or mentioned it on a website about investments. My answer is that being emotionally stable and having a positive mindset is crucial for making rational decisions. There are plenty of examples when big investment mistakes were made by people going through various problems in their individual lives.

Of course, the idea that money does not make you happy is not new. Interestingly enough, Buffett said a few times during the Q&A sessions at his shareholder meetings that if you are not happy with $50k, you would not be happy with $50mn (I may have misquoted the numbers).

As for this book, the author puts straight from the beginning: the chances of you succeeding are very low, so there is almost no need trying. Moreover, there is a warning made by Dennis that the amount of time you need to put in and sacrifices to be made are so huge that you should think long before making any commitment.

The biggest stumbling block to becoming rich is the FEAR OF FAILURE. Getting rich comes from an attitude of your mind. 'Let loose…Cut loose from employer'.

The book ha la usual pieces of advice about the importance of focus and relentless drive, 'cut loose from negative influences, never give in and stay your course no matter what'. Sadly, 'family can be a distraction', according to Dennis, 'although there are few exceptions'. Worth noting that Dennis did not have children.

He also made an interesting point about children (for parents who are concerned their limited wealth could make their children less happy, pushing those parents to overspend on presents). Dennis notes that children don't care if their parents are rich or poor, as long as they have shelter. They care only about conditionless love.

Another point I wrote down while listening to the book was this: 'Fear nothing. Use every opportunity even slightly. No reasons why you shouldn't get rich, they are excuses. If you need to cancel the family holiday when there is a small chance - cancel it'.

I provide the list of other notes taken while listening to the book

  • On how to choose the industry. Think about the mountain you are going to climb - old mines don't have lots of gold, look for new mines (new angles for the same product/service). You should like it, not like you feel you have to do it. Go for what attracts you, exploits your natural talent.

  • Start now, don't waste time, need to try.

  • Don't try to be friends with your subordinates - being friendly is always cool.

  • Talent is very important - make most of it among your personnel. Hire talent smarter than you, delegate.

  • No deal is better than an average deal.

  • Stay as healthy as you can.

  • If you are bored, sell your business.

  • Sell before you have to, before the business peaks.

  • Ignore great ideas, concentrate on great execution.

  • Ownership is the real source of wealth.
PS: I have written this review after listening to the audio version, so I did not manage to use many direct quotes, which made this review less lively. I apologise for that, but I still hope that I have managed to convey key messages, especially about the lack of correlation between money and happiness (and yes, this point does not come from your parents).

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