TMBA596: What’s Really Stopping You From Achieving Wealth?

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Welcome back to another episode in our long-running series The Re-Readables, where we revisit some of our favorite business books to find out if they stand the test of time.

How to Get Rich was written in 2009 by author and entrepreneur Felix Dennis.

Felix was the founder of Maxim magazine, and he aimed to create a book about getting rich from “someone who didn’t need to write it”. The result is incredibly funny, direct, and thought-provoking.

Joining us this week is our good friend Coran Woodmass of TheFBABroker.com, who has just read the book for the very first time and is eager to share his thoughts.

We’ll be discussing the nitty gritty of How to Get Rich, what we believe has aged the best and what has aged the worst, some of our favorite quotes, and much more.

See the full transcript below

Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • Some of the key concepts presented in How to Get Rich. (6:48)
  • Our favorite quotes from the book. (11:25)
  • Which aspects of the book have aged the best and which have aged the worst. (18:30)
  • How the ideas in this book clash with the principles in The 4-Hour Workweek. (28:27)
  • Which concept from the book we believe will endure in the long term. (34:18)

Mentioned in the episode:

Before the Exit – Our New Book
Partner With Us
The Dynamite Circle
Dynamite Jobs
Dynamite Deals
Tropical MBA on YouTube
Post a Remote Job
Dynamite Jobs – Remote Recruiting Sales Page
Let’s Talk High-Level Podcast Strategy for 1 Hour
How to Get Rich by Felix Dennis
TheFBABroker.com
The Sovereign Individual by James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg
The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Enjoyed this podcast? Check out these:

TMBA590: Mailbag: How Long Does it Really Take to Achieve Freedom?
TMBA591: The Surprising Habits of Wealthy People with Noah Kagan
TMBA594: Predictions About the Near Future – The Sovereign Individual

This week’s sponsor:

Today’s podcast is sponsored by Prisync.com.

Prisync is a competitor price tracking and dynamic pricing software that helps all sizes of e-commerce companies make great pricing decisions.

 In today’s ultra-competitive e-commerce environment Prisync enables businesses to monitor competitors’ prices on a single dashboard, detecting each price change and seizing every opportunity to improve profitability. You can also set up dynamic pricing rules, allowing you to automatically match or beat any competitors’ price without spending a minute thinking about it.

 Prisync is offering TMBA listeners a huge 50% discount for the first 3 months. Check them out at Prisync.com.

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Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Thursday morning 8AM EST.

Cheers,

Dan & Ian


Full Transcript

Dan: We are so happy to have you back today. We are going to talk about one of my, I’d say, top 10 favourite business books of all time, it’s called ‘How To Get Rich’, and it’s written by the legendary, and now sadly deceased, mega wealthy publisher and polymath Felix Dennis. This book is incredibly direct, it is funny, and his approach is ruthless. He talks about strategies, tactics, there’s tonnes of anecdotes. We’re going to dive into them all today. And, although some of the stories and even strategies can be difficult to relate to, if you’re just starting out, for Dennis, the path to wealth starts in your own mind.

At one point he writes, quote, ‘If you are unwilling to fail, sometimes publicly, even catastrophically, you stand very little chance of getting rich. If you care about what your neighbours think, you will never get rich. If you cannot bear the thought of causing worry to your family, spouse or lover while you plough a lonely dangerous road rather than taking the safe option of a regular job, you will never get rich’. What do you say we do this thing? It’s a great book. It’s another Re-readable episode. As always, I’ve invited a fellow traveller to join me on this Re-Readable journey.

Coran: My name Coran Woodmass. I’m the founder of the FBA Broker, we help we help founders of consumer product brands, mostly e-commerce businesses, prepare for and sell their businesses. The reason we’re different is we ‘sell side’ advisors, internally, we refer to it as ‘sell side for life’, we actually help our clients achieve the best outcome. We don’t work both sides of the market. So kind of relevant in some ways to this book.

Dan: Well, especially because your job is to help people get rich. I mean, people spend years and years building a business, they one day hope they can exit and your job is basically to help them you know, get the best outcome they can achieve or work with them in that project.

Coran: Absolutely.

Dan: We’re here to talk about Felix Dennis. So the concept of the Re-Readables Coran is that we read, in your case for the first time, in my case this is my third reading of this book, we read a book that has in some important way stood the test of time. And we review the book for the audience so they don’t have to go back and necessarily read it themselves. And we’ll review the book by going over a variety of categories, including half assed internet research, an overview of the key concepts, the best quotes, what aged the best, what’s aged the worst? And also we’ll go over some of our nitpicks with the book. Are you ready to jump into it?

Coran: Let’s do it.

Dan: ‘How To Get Rich’ was published in 2009, and currently enjoys a 4.5 rating on Amazon, and a 4.2 rating on the much more reputable community at Goodreads, although let’s be honest, they’re both owned by Amazon. Both communities are on Amazon’s platform. Also, interestingly, for a book with a gaudy gold title, it was pretty well reviewed by sort of mainstream publications at the time. I’m just gonna quote from the book description here. ‘Felix Dennis is an expert at proving people wrong starting as a college dropout with no family money’ – put little Asterix next to that one – ‘He created a publishing empire, founded Maxim magazine, made himself one of the richest people in the UK and had a blast in the process’. This particular book came from a dinner conversation with friends where he was challenged to answer the question: how might one get rich? And the concept is, well, wouldn’t it be cool if somebody who didn’t need to write a book about getting rich actually sat down and did it? That’s the overview. The first category is, what was your first impression upon reading the book?

Coran: It does what it says on the tin. It really does talk about how to get rich and doesn’t pull punches on it. I was pleasantly surprised with what I read. It’s very much a step by step playbook, basically, on how to get rich in one rich guy’s opinion, that is.

Dan: The first impression for me is like, this is a fun read. Our last redoubles episode, ‘The Sovereign Individual’, I felt guilty in the end asking co host for that one, Greg, to wade through the deep emotional waters, to read about ancient Mayan civilization, and World War Two and all this crazy stuff. But this, man, I don’t feel guilty about asking entrepreneurs to read ‘How To Get Rich’, it’s funny, it’s irreverent, it is motivating. Speaking of which, our next category is ‘reflections on the title’. Does it meet the content of the book?

Coran: It does, but I kind of hate it. I was on a plane recently. And I was reading the book and someone sat down next to me and I noticed self consciously I flipped the book over. You mentioned before, it’s kind of gaudy. But I also don’t really know how else he could have done this. Because that was the main question at the dinner, like you said. So it’s kind of cringe worthy, but it really is what it says on the tin. Unlike other books that I’ve read like this, that promise a lot and just lack in the delivery. This is written by someone who’s actually done it. So yeah, that’s my take.

Dan: Although the book does have a lot of business nuance in it, from a presentation level, the gaudiness doesn’t stop there. It’s present that sort of ‘in your face’ bold humour, that’s really the charm of the book. It’s like we’re sitting around, we’re drinking a couple of bottles of wine with Uncle Felix, and he’s gonna tell us how to get rich, and we’re gonna laugh, and it’s gonna be fun. And something more subtle or classy, I don’t think that would fit. This is what we’re gonna be about during this episode and about this book.

So Coran, before we jump into some of the next categories, I want to just do a ‘too long didn’t read’ overview of some of the key concepts in the book. So basically, this book is like a call to arms and a personal challenge, saying, getting rich is a huge sacrifice, and quit your fantasies that you’re actually going to go out and do this, you’re not going to do this, getting rich is super hard, and almost nobody is going to do it. In order to do it, you gotta cut loose from negative influences in your life, get rid of your fear of failure. He focuses a lot on the concept of ownership. It’s about owning valuable companies, hiring the best people, incentivizing them to work for it, and sacrificing basically everything else in your life in order to do this incredibly difficult task.

Coran: Also the way to really unlock wealth. And, he did this multiple times, is actually selling the assets. So building valuable assets and then selling them at a premium, which he did everything from, I think it was six or 6 million, the first exit. There was a $250 million exit of the US ‘Maxim’, and also part of the public company they founded that also was bought by a private equity firm. So as good as cash flow is, those exits really helped pad that that net worth I’m sure.

Dan: Now that we got the basic overview, by the way, let’s jump back into the categories. This is one of my favourite questions. It’s what does the book whisper to you? This is the core concept that you walk away with that the book doesn’t say, necessarily explicitly. And my favourite example of this is, you know, the ‘Four Hour Workweek’ doesn’t say, quit your job and travel the world, necessarily, basically what everybody walks with.

Coran: If I think about what I was thinking, after I shut the book from reading the first time through, I actually had a bit of a – it gave me pause, actually. Personally, I view business as a game that I want to go as big as I can, that’s my game plan. This book after reading this book, actually wondered if it’s worth it to do it at that level? Which was quickly replaced with ‘I still want to do it, but I may not follow this to the letter of the law’. So yeah, that that was my takeaway, what was yours?

Dan: It’s a little bit of a ‘come to Jesus’ moment, too, which is like, Look, nobody is going to make the most difficult wealth building decisions for you. And, if you let them, they’re not going to be good for you. So I just kind of wrote down like, ‘hire somebody, fire somebody, cut a quality business deal, get on an aeroplane and make your stated financial goals happen’. It’s a pep talk, ‘Hey, there’s a lot of hard things that you’re probably putting off right now that are a critical component of your wealth journey. And so go make those hard decisions’. In a lot of anecdotes in the book, the key deals, the key competitive manoeuvres, the key negotiations. He was making decisions that other people weren’t willing to do, because they were scared because they weren’t compulsed to grow a successful business. Because they had concerns that were other than building his own personal fortune. You kind of feel like I can, I’m capable of making difficult decisions as well.

Next category, Coran, half assed internet research. One is, you know, he really emphasises in the book, for me, that you know, he spent $100 million on partying basically. Partying is a big theme of this book, he emphasises his relationship with many rock stars and said he partied like a rock star. But you can also dig up around the web that he did some pretty sweet charity stuff too like, donated a great number of laptops to children and also basically planted an entire forest. He later became a poet and a gardener. This kind of adds a cool dynamic to this persona. He just wasn’t sort of cutting business deals the whole way to the grave kind of thing.

Coran: So a couple of things I found. In 2013, the British Media Awards presented Mr. Dennis with a Lifetime Achievement Award, citing his uncanny knack for being around at the start of every new trend in publishing. That’s pretty telling, because a lot of the book is about that.

Dan: Next category Coran – the top quotes from the book.

Coran: ‘Ownership shall be half of the law, doing an outstanding job shall be the other half’. That was my favourite.

Dan: Why was that?

Coran: We mentioned ownership before. I’ve never heard anybody talk quite as deeply about ownership and why it matters. So there’s an ownership example in the book that I found fascinating. I’ve not heard anyone talk about this before. So Felix’s top executives at his publishing company, basically, held a mutiny and threatened that they would walk out if he didn’t give them 20% ownership of the company. And, he goes through the story, but the short version is he declined. He went into work the next day, they all left, and he just hit the grindstone and he just worked longer hours without them. And it ended up being that a couple of those executives came back, ended up working for him for a long time. But the kicker was that when his company sold, that share would have been worth something around $60 to $80 million. I don’t remember the exact number. Even on the low end of that, $60 million extra in his pocket for holding strong was pretty interesting.

Dan: Absolutely. I think it’s fair to say that a big theme of this book is partnership is a sinking ship, violate this only when you’re really, really sure. One of my favourite quotes is, ‘I am convinced that fear of failing in the eyes of the world is the single biggest impediment to amassing wealth’. I love that even somebody who has been down the road for a lifetime, turns around and says like, it all starts in your head, it all starts with your inordinate sense of fear of everything. If you can manage that fear, it’s also your greatest weapon, because most people around you won’t be able to. So I find that to be a very clarifying message. And part of why I took pause to challenge myself right after reading the book, the book is essentially one big challenge saying you’re not going to do this because it’s too hard.

My second quote is very related to my first so maybe just I’ll read this one, because sort of in line with that, he writes, ‘Not everyone works to get rich. In fact, most people do not. But almost everyone wishes to be respected. With promotion comes respect. And with delegation comes promotion. If your company is young and a bit rickety’ – I’ll raise my hand there – ‘Meritocracy, delegation and promotion are the bricks and mortar that will make it stronger’. I just love this idea that having a great team and giving them a great deal of respect, treating them like adults, demanding a higher level of professionalism from them. That’s the bricks and mortar of a business. And I think it’s so very true. If you feel like your business is falling apart, it’s probably because you haven’t inspired adults to surround you.

Coran: And there are other things that talent respect other than ownership, most people don’t want to own a company, they want to clock out at the end of the day and do the best job they can in that profession. But then clock out at the end of the day and go surfing or something. For a lot of people that’s the happy place.

Dan: 100%. But even he’s even talking about the people who don’t. The people like there’s a great long discussion about staff who say don’t clock out to go surfing. And he even talks about why they don’t want to be owners and why it’s much more complicated. So, for example, they are scared of not being paid for five years. A five year period is a big period in someone’s lives, and one that many entrepreneurs, they’re happy to reverse it for whatever reason, because they’re crazy people, or they see the potential of that ownership. His point is like most people are, aren’t willing to go through that. He talks a lot about starting points in this book, basically, if you’re young, dumb and hungry, you are in a great spot to get rich relative to someone who’s successful, because they’re unwilling to face these things that you’re probably going to have to face. And so you can inspire those people too, by giving them a great paycheck, a home for their ideas, a respected position. That will get the best out of them. They’re not willing to do what you might be considering.

Dan: Do you have a second quote?

Coran: I do – ‘If you cannot treat your quest to get rich as a game, you will never be rich’. That subtle, subtle reminder that it’s all just the game. And above a certain point, the money doesn’t really matter. I think that maybe, as entrepreneurs, were maybe too tied to the outcome of something. And we forget, maybe you’ve got a target in mind of I want to make $100 million. So I want to sell my best for 100 million, but until I get the I’m not going to be happy. Well, if you sell your business for $80 million, are you going to be less happy? If you don’t sell the company, if it all falls apart, and you take away some great learnings that may have taken five to 10 years, like you mentioned, to get to that point, and then you’re starting from zero. So, if you’re not having fun along the way, and you don’t actually like the process, the chances of actually hitting a certain number is really slim. Why not have fun with it, along the way, and then the outcome is the outcome. But you’ve still had fun for those five to 10 years.

Dan: Next category, what has aged the best? This book is not that old of a book, it’s over a decade old. Of course, most of the anecdotes in the book are quite a bit older, what for you has aged the best in ‘How To Get Rich’?

Coran: You touched on it. I think that the biggest point of this book is that age and time equals wealth. So, the younger you are, potentially the longer you’re alive. And, for him, that’s more valuable. He said multiple times that he would trade everything he has, all of his money and all of the future money he would ever make, to go back and be young again simply because if you have time, you have time to do more things. And that’s the one thing you can never buy. Same with Phil Knight, he wrote ‘Shoe Dog’, the founder of Nike. There’s a spoiler here. So just skip ahead if you’ve not read, ‘Shoe Dog’, because it’s an amazing book. And there’s one line at the end of that book, Phil Knight has clawed through everything to get to the top of the pile, he’s got a public company, he’s worth about $8 billion at this point. And he wrote this note that was my biggest takeaway of the book, that he would trade everything to go back in time, and go through everything exactly as it happened again. And they went through some really tough times in the beginning. But Felix Dennis says this, Phil Knight said this, I’m sure a lot of old entrepreneurs want to just go back and start again. So wherever we’re starting from today, we’re actually richer than a lot of these guys, because we’re potentially younger, right? And even if you’re not, just take stock of that, you’re alive. And a lot of these guys are not, including Felix Dennis.

Dan: The late great Felix Dennis. I love this theme. I do think it’s aged well. This wistful nature of someone looking back on the journey. Two themes arise. The first is those rose coloured glasses about what so many of us are struggling through building our first little bit of personal wealth. Inevitably, entrepreneurs who’ve been on the journey look back to those early days with the sort of warmest memories. I think it’s because they had a high sense of self esteem about what they were doing. They were taking on a challenge. They were being brave. And they admired themselves, in retrospect, for having done that. Once you get rich, your problems are not as hard but maybe cause a lot of anxiety, regret, whatever. And then the other bit about this constant theme, he even devotes an entire chapter to it, the idea of youth being humanity’s most prized possession, in a way. And it’s interesting that he doesn’t reflect on it more, he basically says, ‘I’m not qualified to talk about this, because, you know, I haven’t treated myself great. My whole life, I spent all my time working’. But consider it and I thought that was relatively humble and cool as well.

For me, what’s aged the best, my first thing is that it’s not a guide. I like that because you can’t then poke holes in it. He’s just telling you his perspective. There’s very detailed discussions of specific stories. So, for example, he does deep dive into capital requirements and raising money and team building and negotiating stuff. It feels like you get a seat into the boardroom for some of this stuff. Both anecdotes and principles. I think very few business books do this well, and in ‘How To Get Rich’, Felix Dennis nails it. It doesn’t get to the point where there’s too much detail that you’re bored. So I thought that really aged well, that this isn’t a guide, this is actually like shadowing an entrepreneur for a day. What’s the next thing that’s aged the best for you?

Coran: Here’s a concept that was pretty fascinating. There’s a running theme in the book of having the option to sell a company, which seems kind of obvious, but he goes a step further and says even if your business, your project is a failure to you, you should at least try and sell it because you don’t know what it’s going to be worth to the other party. And I’m not saying you’re going to get an amazing outcome by doing this. But maybe you’d get something for your time, or maybe another opportunity by at least looking out there and seeing who could acquire the company. So that was something that was really impactful to me. And it’s timeless.

Dan: So now let’s put our critique hats on with a couple reflections on what has aged the worst. To me, it’s this, it’s actually related to something that’s aged the best, which is – his conclusion that having extreme wealth leads to more time. In fact, at the beginning of the book, he lays out this scene, which is very evocative. There are yachts bobbing in the harbour, he’s sitting in his writer’s retreat, he’s overlooking turquoise water, this classic kind of digital nomad scene or whatever, except he paints a few decades earlier. And you’re like, it’s not actually that expensive to have a day off and to write poetry. And so it instantly doesn’t age well to someone who has location independence. And so I thought that was a really interesting clash of the generations. And, just throughout the book in general, I think, he was just wrong about time so many times, and he more or less admits it. At one point in the book, he comes forward and says – I was really good at getting rich in this life. But if I could do it all over again, I would have gotten a little bit rich, which for him is pretty damn rich still, but I would have gotten a little bit rich, and then quit at 35. And I would have written poetry and like hung out and done more quality things with my time rather than amassing wealth.

Coran: This was actually one of mine, as well. So I looked up a couple things just out of curiosity. Apparently, the writers retreat you mentioned on the island, you can actually rent. At the time, this was in 2016. So assume it’s more now. But you could rent his villa for $40,000 a week. And that’s way less than his level of I think, was it $50 to $60 million he would want to get by the time he was 35, I think. So yeah, absolutely. And he talks about private jets, yachts and all this type of things. He does actually say to rent instead of own anything that flies or floats. So that’s interesting. But even the cost, the fractional ownership cost has gone down a tonne. on things like private jets. There’s basically Uber for jets. There’s net jets and things like this, I worked out that base level membership, just out of curiosity, it’s probably around $2-3000 an hour for the whole jet. And this is mostly if you’re doing short hops in the US. It’s not that expensive to have access to all of these things. And also owning all these homes around the world I mentioned earlier, how many of those would you actually want to own right now versus using Airbnb to find amazing villas and things like this? Maybe one personal home, if you have a family, maybe two, and then why wouldn’t you fractionally own or just rent on demand these other things.

But there is another side to this, in my opinion. Yes, I don’t think that piece has aged very well. But there’s another side to this. And this is what I see with a lot of Nomad types and location independent folks – you get comfortable at a certain level, and you don’t push yourself to go higher. Now, it’s not saying that you have to. It’s just saying, if you’re using that as an excuse to not go higher or do more, question that. Is it an excuse? So on the flip side of this, yes, it’s cheaper now. But is that just an excuse to not do something big? And big is relative. So your big might be a lot less than his big was, but at least be aware, be cognizant of the fact that you might just be using that as an excuse, because time is the thing, like we’ve talked about time already, time being the optimal, the only thing. So if you’re using your time to build a business for an exit of say, $2 million, what’s the difference of structuring it in a way following some of this advice and elsewhere, where you could maybe go bigger, go public, go to $100 million, like there is no limit. That’s the best part of entrepreneurship, there’s no ceiling and no floor.

Dan: As you were mentioning that, it was almost like another whisper of the book came out, now that we’re talking about all these concepts, and the ideas are flying. He’s saying, ‘Look, life is really short so freaking go for it, like, stop being scared, nobody cares. The only person that cares is you. And if you don’t go for your dreams, you’re going to lose self esteem, you’re going to lose a sense of wonder, a sense of fun and gamesmanship, the worst outcome is that you can kind of sit on your dreams and not explore them’. I think that’s another thing, this book whispers. That leads me to, you know, the next thing that has aged the worst, which is – he doesn’t acknowledge at all, all the special circumstances created by the web. And I actually think that’s why this is such a fun read. Because you, as a reader, bring so much to the table. ‘How To Get Rich’ comes out and says, ‘You need to spend your whole life getting a crap tonne of money or half of it so that you can buy the rest of your life back’. ‘Four Hour Work Week’ comes out and says, ‘All you need to do is do a dream line and build a clever online business and you’ll already be rich’. The truth is really somewhere in the middle. The truth is that you ought to be clever and deliberate about how you want to spend your time in regards to business. But the reality of how to get rich is that you need to be a competent, hard working, in some cases ruthless, entrepreneur to see your dreams come to reality.

Coran: The mixture of both might be interesting. I mean, there’s a whole criteria basically, of what makes a good business and the quote at the top, also from the New York Times was that where he was at the front of every trend that was on purpose. It’s not like he just magically appeared in PC magazines or whatever. So if you use ‘The Four Hour Work Week’ principles to create a leveraged automated business, but bolt that on to a growing trend. I did this by mistake, mind you, with my business, because Amazon grew at such a rapid rate. So you could leverage both and then have that infinite upside but also enjoy the freedom to live where you want, to use location arbitrage, and geo arbitrage with being more profitable, etc. There’s a lot of things you could do to enjoy your life now, still having a little bit of that edge to have a shot at creating something really big.

Dan: Anything else you want to mention in, what’s aged the worst?’

Coran: He was a little bit off on Apple. He didn’t really love Steve Jobs or Steve Jobs management style, I guess you would say. And he thought that would be the ruin of Apple. But maybe that one wasn’t quite true. Or maybe Steve read it and adjusted his ways, I don’t know.

Dan: What Felix was really trying to communicate is that, you know, I loved your take on this book, that he’s just taking every objection, you even mentioned timing and luck. He has a whole chapter about why you don’t need timing and luck. Or here’s how to deal with that objection. And one of the one of the key objections is, ‘I don’t have a good enough idea’. And this is why he brings up the Apple story. And he says, ‘Look at this guy. He’s all about ideas, and it hurts him most of the time’. Felix Dennis is very much of the belief that you don’t need that. Good ideas are everywhere. It’s the people willing to execute them that are rare. And that’s one of the key thesis of the book. Alright, moving on. The next category is nitpicks. Any small nitpicks with your experience reading the book, things maybe you’d change in a future edit of the book?

Coran: Do you want to go first?

Dan: Sure. Overall, it’s a cool story of inspiration. Here’s a gentleman who didn’t need to write this book. But it was a cool contribution. I personally think, a very cool contribution to society, you know, sat down for a couple months, and banged out this book, that’s a lot of fun. It’s inspiring to read. I think, this playboy image, and trappings of wealth, like the Rolls Royces and all this kind of stuff. It’s fun but not super relatable. I doubt that a lot of contemporaries would aspire to wealth for quite those reasons. So it’s a little bit dated, this kind of Hugh Hefner kind of character. But it’s cool, it’s fun to read about that kind of stuff. The other thing is, I think it overstates his rags to riches story a little bit. I mean, he did have some challenges in his youth. But, as far as we can tell from our research, like many of the wealth stories that we review on this podcast, he had a pretty good start, went to a good school, and lived in a good neighbourhood. Those things tend to correlate highly with the ability to pursue a trajectory to wealth.

Coran: I’m not sure if this is a nitpick, or if it’s something that I just observed. Apparently, Felix Dennis, smoked cigarettes for 50 years, and that that was his choice. That’s fine. He did die of throat cancer unfortunately, in the end. He references cigarettes, and drinking quite a bit. And there was one section where he said, basically, we know we shouldn’t smoke but we do. Or of course, you should look after yourself and he was just kind of having this conversation with himself, maybe trying to convince himself to get healthier and to look after himself. But maybe, that was who he was. So the flip side of the coin that made him fabulously wealthy was, in some areas of his life, he just couldn’t help himself, but be the Playboy up until the end. He couldn’t detach from that. That was just the section that I observed and wished he could have taken some of his own advice. Maybe that’s because I wish I could take my own advice.

Dan: He does talk about how so much of this is a compulsion, and that we get obsessed with these things. And, for him, it was amassing wealth. That’s why I think this book really does present an extreme example. And then calls out for a middle way, you know, a way that you can go after your dreams boldly and make difficult decisions and work very hard for the things that you desire in life. But also to keep in mind that it isn’t everything. So yeah, that was an interesting moment, especially with the hindsight of knowing that he’s dead, you know, maybe he would still be here had he made different decisions. It’s certainly an interesting dynamic to the book as you read it in 2021.

Coran: So maybe that’s the nitpick I was going for is that the promise of this book is so strong that you think he’s almost superhuman. Like, this guy’s got it all together, but he didn’t. And he actually references that a few times, I can just help you get rich, find someone else to help you with the other things. So yeah, that was kind of cool.

Dan: Alright, just two more categories. The idea that you’ll most likely remember in 20 years, has the potential to impact like your life or other people’s lives in the future. Here’s an enduring idea, and what ultimately feels so empowering about this book for me, is that so very little of what occupies the average person’s brain on a day to day basis is the generation of wealth. Even those things, which often pose as strategies or ideas about generating wealth, they’re actually just lame substitutions and excuses. You feel like you’re kind of an insider after having read the book, because hey, I really care about this, and other people don’t care about it, you know, no one believes in me, I believe in me. There’s kind of that. But there’s also this other side of that, which is this lonely compulsion, after you know, going after and gathering it. Honestly, that’s changing a little bit too, with internet culture, some of the things that we can freely state, with podcast listeners here, like that we desire to build more wealth, and we think we can help others do it at the same time, that it’s not a zero sum game. If you say those sorts of things in general population, it can be alienating, you know? And so, I think that I think that this idea that if you care about this stuff, and you put strong focus on it, and you work towards these ends, you are in a very rare class of people. I think that that’s true. I think it’s empowering. And I think that that’s part of why ‘How To Get Rich’ is such a motivating book.

Coran: So one section, for me, I was surprised this hasn’t come up already, is his concept of human capital. And human capital is the most important thing. Specifically, how he defines human capital is really interesting to me. He includes in this definition clients, employees, and suppliers, and warns to choose wisely. I’ve not really heard anyone talk about this in this way before. Definitely about staff, you need rock star staff to build your empire, etc. But the thought of clients and suppliers as well being in that same equation, obviously with his business in publishing supply chain was huge, so that depends on your business model. But I thought that was quite interesting. And then also clients, if you have clients in your business, how to think about those people and ruthlessly cut out people that aren’t good in your company, in your supply chain, and also your customers. Oftentimes, especially when you’re getting started, everyone just takes on as many clients as they can. And just to hell with it, we’ll figure it out. But you know, defining that is really what’s going to make, maybe even make your team stay. But having it defined like that was really quite eye opening to me.

Dan: What’s interesting about your analysis here is like with a lot of these Re-readables episodes, we’re talking about business books, the classic business book, that’s like one big idea. And then you kind of bang on about the good idea the whole time. One of the thesis is his book is that you don’t need good ideas, you need great execution and a lot of what the content in this book is, and I’m holding it right now, let me just flip, it’s, you know, close to 300 pages long. And a lot of the content is about the execution of the strategy. So he brings up this idea of human capital, but then he’ll give you instances of how to execute that. I was thinking, ‘Well, how do we bring the podcast listener, like all these ideas?’ Well, the reality is, that would be like a three, four hour podcast, because there is a lot of depth and nuance to the book. This is something I just want to flag up, if it’s not clear already – if you find this idea of human capital interesting, you won’t be disappointed cracking open this book and reading more in depth about what he’s on about there.

So finally, would this book work better in a different format – Netflix series, blog post at pick your medium? I’m tempted to say it would be great to hear Felix Dennis read it or do a multipart podcast series. That said, I’ve seen him do some public speaking and wasn’t a great self editor. So must have had a strong team around the creation of this book. So, with that in mind, from what I’ve seen in a few extensive public appearances, I think the paperback book is quite appropriate. And I’d stick with the current format.

Coran: I would have loved to hear him read it. I looked up the audio Audible version. And unfortunately, he didn’t narrate that which is impossible now. But the way he speaks, I get you on the kind of ramblings but if we could have just had him read it with his tone, with his persona behind the words. I think it would have just been phenomenal to just hear it, direct from him, because he had quite the voice and was a super animated character.

Dan: Any parting shots? I’ve read this book three times now. I personally think that this is, in the canon of, for lifestyle business, location independent entrepreneurs. If if I’m writing a blog post tomorrow about like, how to build a lifestyle business like this is going to be one of the top 10, if not five, books that you should read, because I think its contribution is that, ‘Hey, just because we’re making dream lines, and just because we’re using geo arbitrage, we’re still doing business’. And a lot of what being an entrepreneur is about is not building passive assets on the web, but about understanding the key element that psychology and entrepreneurial skill plays in, frankly, what we call it nowadays is the hustle. This book is motivating to encourage you to look in that direction for opportunities, and for those things that are holding you back in your entrepreneurial journey. Therefore, for me, ‘How To Get Rich’ has earned its place in the canon.

Coran: I think that’s the perfect way to think about it because it’s quite polarising. If you let your fear of going big hold you back you may stop or not even read this book given who wrote it. You may think, ‘Oh, I don’t want to get to 800 million in net worth. And I’m good. I’m gonna stick with my Four Hour Work Week’. And I think that would be a mistake. And as an entrepreneur you need to pull ideas and concepts from many different sources to get where you’re wanting to go. Like you said, it should be part of the canon, it’s not the whole thing, it’s not ‘burn every other book and just follow Felix to the end, with a cigarette in one hand and wine bottle in the other’.

Dan: Well Coran, thanks for joining us this week, let us know where people can find you.

Coran: Best way is The FBA Broker dot com. That’s where we put out all of our all that good stuff. I don’t really do the socials. So yeah, that’s the best way to get a hold of me.

Dan: Very cool.