Note: While reading a book whenever I come across something interesting, I highlight it on my Kindle. Later I turn those highlights into a blogpost. It is not a complete summary of the book. These are my notes which I intend to go back to later. Let’s start!

  • I began this book with a poem to demonstrate that becoming rich has given me the most precious thing in life. And just what is the most precious thing in life that riches can supply? Easy For me, it’s Time. Time. Time to read and write poetry if I want to. Or to write a book if it takes my fancy. Time to travel on the slightest whim, to walk in the woods, to think, to commission art, to read, to drink, to hang out with friends and loved ones … to do just about anything really, as long as it does not involve day after grinding day making money in an office or a factory for somebody else.

  • For the Slightly Better Off and On The Way Up, now is the time to consider whether or not you intend to continue making me (and people like me) even richer, or whether you wish to become rich yourself. You have little time left in which to make up your mind. Your youth and stamina is ebbing away. You are getting too comfortable. It is not a courselor everyone. But I think you can guess what my advice to you would be. What the hell. Go for it!

  • If I had my time again, knowing what I know today, 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.  
  • It’s no excuse, but making money is a drug. Not the money itself. The making of the money. This sounds like so much hooplah, but it’s true, all the same. Nobody believed that exercise could prove addictive until science stepped in and discovered ‘endorphins’ or whatever the damn things are called. And making money, I assure you, is a hell of a lot more of a rush than jogging. Up to just seven years ago I was still working twelve to sixteen hours a day making money. With hundreds of millions of dollars in assets I just could not let go. Like I said, it was pathetic. Because whoever dies with the most toys doesn’t win. Real winners are people who know their limits and respect them. Eventually I found a way out. I handed over day-to-day control of my businesses to younger and mostly smarter boys and girls. I cleaned up my personal life. I began doing what I wanted to do - not what I felt I had to do. After all, what did I have to prove? Except, perhaps, to myself.

  • ‘A committee is a group of the unwilling, chosen from the unfit to do the unnecessary.’ Just so. And they do it so brilliantly well. Whether in a college dorm, or in the walnut-panelled boardroom of an international conglomerate, or around your own kitchen table. Of course, there is nothing wrong with robust debate, either with others or with oneself. What is undesirable, however, is the pretence that any such debate can resolve the risks involved in advance. It cannot. All debate can do is clarify, support or contest the next step. The risks remain, however much talking is done. It is for this reason that committees are discouraged on the battlefield. A commander may be proved wrong. He may be proved right. But prompt decisions and orders, right or wrong, are far healthier than endless debate and prevarication. This applies equally to a debate within one’s own mind. Fretting is counter-productive at any level.

  • And so is lack of action. Knowing that fear of failure is holding you back is a step in the right direction. But it isn’t enough, because knowing isn’t doing,

  • Doing isn ‘t knowing; Nothing but the knowing and the doing gets it done.

  • If you wish to be rich, you must grow a carapace. A mental armour. 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. But thick enough to shrug off the inevitable sniggering and malicious mockery that will follow your inevitable failures. Not to mention the poorly hidden envy that will accompany your eventual success. Few things in life are certain except death and being taxed. But sniggering and mockery prior to any attempt to better yourself financially, followed by envy later, or gloating during your initial failures - these are three certainties in life. It hurts. It’s mindless. And it doesn’t mean anything. But it will happen. Be prepared to shrug it off.   
  • The truth is that getting rich means sacrifice. And the worst of it is, it isn’t always you that’s doing the sacrificing. You must get used to that, or give up the quest. This is not a calling for the faint-hearted. There is no shame in turning away. After all, if everyone was prepared to make the necessary sacrifices, who would be left to work for my own companies? Quite apart from sacrifice, there is a last brutal truth to be confronted. If the fear of failure is holding you back - and it almost certainly is - then what strategies can be devised to set you free? No book, including mine, can do it for you. All I can do is alert you to the problem and suggest a course of action.

  • If you feel absolutely moved towards a particular vocation, then that’s exactly where you should head. But be aware that if you want to make huge sums of money, then earning a living by slowly swarming up the greasy pole is rarely the way to do it. For a start, the salary begins to have an attraction and addictiveness all of its own. A regular paycheck and crack cocaine have that in common. In addition, and more to the point, working too long for other people can blunt your desire to take risks. This last factor is crucial, because the ability to live with and embrace risk is what sets apart the financial winners and losers in the world. If you want to be rich, you are not looking for a ‘career’, except as a launch pad or as a chance to infiltrate and understand a particular industry. A job for the rich-in-training is merely something to keep you ticking over, to put food on your plate and wine in your glass. Additionally, it will provide excellent training in man-management and negotiation skills; it will supply inside market information; above all, it will act as a salutary reminder of what happens to 99.99 per cent of your colleagues - the ones who buy lottery tickets and dream of becoming rich but who haven’t a hope in hell of achieving any such thing.

  • Working for others is a reconnaissance expedition; a means and not an end in itself. It is an apprenticeship and not a goal. You should have no long-term, or even medium-term, requirements of the first two or three companies you work for. Promotion is always welcome and brings with it the opportunity to learn more, but you are there to ensure that you take every opportunity to suck out the marrow of what you need to know, to understand it and place it within a greater context for a future purpose. The purpose of getting rich. Team spirit is for losers, financially speaking. It’s the glue that binds the losers together. It’s the methodology employers use to shackle useful employees to their desk without having to pay them too much. While lives may depend on it in a few professions, like soldiering or fire-fighting, in commerce it acts as a subtle handicap and a brake to ambitious individuals. Which, in a way, is what it’s designed to do.

  • When it comes right down to it, ‘team spirit’ and not letting your colleagues down is a feeble reason for procrastination when opportunity comes knocking. Nearly always, it is an excuse to avoid the possibility of humiliating failure. If one of the team you work with inherited ten million quid tomorrow, do you really believe they would be checking in to keep up morale? Of course not. Neither would you, or anyone in their right mind. Which leads us to a note of caution. Those who can never be rich may not want you to become rich. That’s an ugly thing to say, but unless you realise and accept that you cannot be ‘one of the boys’, that your bosses and you are not ‘in this thing together’, that only those who refuse to be conned by the idea of ‘team spirit’ in the workplace can succeed - unless you come to fully comprehend and understand all this, then you will only make other people rich. You will receive their heartfelt thanks and maybe a gold watch when you retire. But you will not get the money!   
  • It’s the same with close friends and family members. Consciously and outwardly they may want you to succeed beyond your wildest dreams. But subconsciously, often without being aware of it themselves, they might be far happier if you failed or only succeeded to a limited degree. It’s a selfish world out there. But, hey! when you’ve piled up your first few million in the bank, you can salve your conscience by giving generously to your relatives. Or by promoting young managers and waffling on to them about ‘team spirit’ in your own business. Not that the brightest of them will believe you for a moment. (They’re the ones you promote fastest, by the way.)   
  • Growing industries with relatively low start-up costs offer more opportunities for those who want to get rich than declining industries, or those that require huge start-up investment.  
  • More important than any particular industry are the sectors within each industry. A sizeable fish in a growing sector, however small, is more attractive to prospective purchasers and investors than the same size fish in a diminishing or static pond.   
  • 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. Remember, too, that in both private and public companies, not all shares are necessarily equal, either in voting power or financial value. Choosing a growing industry, or growing sector of a static industry, can free you from such financial control freaks.   
  • How to choose the arena in which you intend to carve yourself a fortune? There are usually three factors involved in the Search; inclination, aptitude and fate. We all have inclinations of one sort or another. To me, spending an afternoon inside the bonnet of a classic car with an oily rag for company is my idea of hell. Yet a retired friend of mine works on the two classic Rolls Royces I own whenever he gets the chance - and enjoys it so much he refuses to accept payment. On the other hand, how many other people would consider working eighteen hours straight on a complicated poem as a way to ‘enjoy’ themselves?   
  • If you love art, but cannot paint or sculpt to save your life, then perhaps you can still make your millions in the art world - providing you possess not only a natural affinity and sense of aesthetic, but the wit to spot and winkle out talent in young artists. Plus the ability to sell, which is usually nothing more than a talent for hype and keeping a straight face as you demand a fifty times mark-up from potential buyers who wouldn’t know a Damien Hirst from a pickled sardine. An understanding and passionate affinity with any subject, in combination with effective management, sales and marketing techniques, could well provide a tailor-made solution to the Search. Cherish your inclinations and affinities. Though not infallible, they may well lead you in the right direction. But do not fall into the error of making a fetish of your passion. You’re reading this book to get rich. Not to confirm your own prejudices regarding those talents or inclinations you may have. Because aptitude is a very different kettle of fish. Few of us are lucky enough to be born with a talent so obvious that the Search is never an obstacle to progress. Yet even here, inclination may prove a stumbling block to real wealth. One of the best sales people I ever employed, and one who was so conscious of her ability that I was forced to pay her nearly twice the salary and bonus of her immediate boss, now lives in Cornwall and paints watercolours.   
  • So how do you judge your own aptitudes? Trial and error is the only way I ever heard of. The problem is that we create an image of ourselves in our childhood and youth (often at the urging of parents, siblings or friends), and subsequently attempt to graft reality onto this image. More often than not, the graft doesn’t take and the result is bewilderment and disappointment. Far better to ruthlessly analyse what your particular aptitudes are and act upon them rather than attempt to graft an oak tree onto a dandelion.   
  • Luck? Fate? Chance? Although I am reluctant to even write these words, without them, it appears, nothing can be done.    
  • Fortune favours not just the brave but the bold. Boldness has a kind of genius in it, as Goethe pointed out. It can lead to complete failure and defeat, because conventional wisdom often proves to be at least wisdom of a kind. But should boldness succeed, should the chance be seized and sufficiently well executed, then success will surely lead to glory.   
  • The lesson is clear. Despite the words of the old rock ‘n’ roll song, the original is not the greatest. Not always. If you want to be rich, then watch your rivals closely and never be ashamed to emulate a winning strategy. They may josh you a little for doing it, but that’s a price well worth paying. The problem with the great idea is that it concentrates the mind on the idea itself. This is fine as far as it goes. But unless the idea is executed efficiently and with panache and originality, then it doesn’t matter how great the idea is, the enterprise will fail. Ideas are certainly of immense importance, but I have seen so many people attempting to create a start-up company who have become obsessed with proving that their idea was ‘right’ rather than obsessed with making money. And I have watched them wasting years doing it.   
  • 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. Seek them out and make them work. They do not have to be your ideas. Execution is all in this regard. If, on the other hand, you spend your days thinking up and developing in your mind this great idea or that, you are unlikely to get rich. Although you are likely to make many others rich. That is usually the way of it. Ideas don’t make you rich. The correct execution of ideas does.   
  • I never knew a worse few months than when I was bashing my head against a brick wall attempting to start my own outfit in the early 1970s. The whole process was pure misery. Looking back through the prismed eyes of a champagne flute, I suppose I could argue that perhaps it was my finest moment. Not that it felt like it at the time. To be honest, it nearly broke me. But I would not give in. That was the secret ingredient. I would not be a wage slave, I would not take ‘no’ for an answer. I would not give in. I was going to be rich. Some how. Some way. Some day soon. And I would not retreat to the safety of a decent job until I was starved out of house and home.   
  • 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. There is no escape, although each of us believes we can be the exception that proves the rule. Is this a price you are prepared to pay? And there is worse yet. Such an attempt, without the conviction to sustain it, can bring the worst of all worlds, for if a person does achieve wealth, at great personal sacrifice, they will have at least acquired a vast fortune in assets or in cash. But to make the attempt without sufficient passion and commitment, knowing in your heart of hearts that you lack the conviction to succeed, risks the suffering of a self-inflicted plague without even the consolations the loot may bring. Do not mistake desire for compulsion. Only you can know the song of your inner demons. Only yon can know if you are willing to tread the narrow, lonely road to riches. No one else can know. No one else can tell you either to do it or to refrain from the attempt. When the going gets tough, when all seems lost, when partners and luck desert you, when bankruptcy and failure are staring you in the face, all that can sustain you is a fierce compulsion to succeed at any price. Somewhere in the invisible heart of all self-made wealthy men and women is a sliver of razored ice. The love of another, or of family (or of their God, if they have one), can help to contain it. Seeking great wealth will release that sliver to grow. It is in the nature of the beast. If you do not wish it to grow, then quit any dreams of becoming wealthy now.   
  • 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 for no other reason than that of your original sin, your overoptimism concerning the venture’s cash flow in the first place. All new ventures (and established ones, too, come to that) require positive cash flow if they are to grow and to succeed. This is an elementary point, which would scarcely need reiterating if it were not for the number of times I have seen a promising venture snatched away from its founder when cash Sow faltered. Cash is a serious matter. Its management is utterly vital in any enterprise. If, like me, you have no head for figures whatever, then this is no cause for concern. You simply employ somebody who does and listen to them carefully. Lord knows, there are enough qualified bean-counters in the world and forecasting cash flow is hardly rocket science.   
  • You can delegate many tasks when creating a new business, but monitoring and forecasting cash flow is not one of them. It’s your responsibility and your task. Nobody else’s.    
  • The corollary of thinking big is to act small. Just because you have a success or two under your belt doesn’t mean you have it made. ‘Success is never permanent; failure is never fatal. The only thing that really counts is to never, never, never give up.’ That’s that old windbag Winston Churchill again. But he was bang on the money there.   
  • Once you begin to believe that you are infallible, that success will automatically lead to more success, and that you have ‘got it made’, reality will be sure to give you a rude wake-up call. Believing your own bullshit is always a perilous activity, but never more fatal than for the owner of a start-up venture.   
  • By acting small, I mean remaining in touch. Remaining flexible. Constantly examining how your company could do better. Keeping a sense of proportion and humility. Not throwing your weight around playing the great ‘I Am’. Remembering that much of your success so far has been achieved by dumb luck. Acting small in the early days of your business sets an example to those around you. If staff see you indulging in long lunch hours and purchasing yourself a fancy company car, then they are either going to resent it or they are going to emulate you. This is not a good thing. You can do all that stuff later, when you’ve made your first fifty million. Most of the worst errors I have made in my life came from forgetting to act small. It’s hard to do when you’re rolling around in coin and everything is going your way. But acting big leads to complacency, and complacency is the reason that many successful start-ups falter. Every day you have to hit the ground running, putting in more hours than even your most dedicated member of staff. You have to stay flexible. You have to be willing to listen and to learn and to emulate success elsewhere. If you don’t, if you think you have already made the cut, if you’re thinking ‘game over: time to party’, then bad stuff begins to happen very quickly.   
  • Think big, act small. It’s a recipe that never goes out of style. While especially important for start-ups, it will serve you faithfully long after you have established yourself as a serious player. A successful and naturally modest entrepreneur is an object of reverence and respect in the business world. Even if such a fabulous beast is rarer than hens’ teeth.   
  • Any company managed and run by plodders and jobsworths will be lucky to survive, let atone prosper. Talent is the key to sustained growth, and growth is the key to early wealth. You have to identify and hire talent. You can’t skimp on it. Sometimes, to ensure that a talented individual will work for you, or will stay working with you, you need to be flexible. Money is not always the great motivator here. Talented people want a good salary, of course, but surprisingly often they are more attracted to new opportunities and challenges.   
  • 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. It is possible that I would have succeeded in rebuilding Dennis in America without Steve’s help. But I doubt that it would have been as much fun. And I doubt, too, that we would have succeeded to the degree we did. Talent is usually conscious of its own value. But the currency of that value is not necessarily a million-dollar salary. The opportunity to prove themselves, and sometimes the chance to run the show on a day-to-day basis, will often do the trick just as well. This holds true even if talent is placed in the driver’s seat of a small division within an existing operation. What talent seeks, as often as not, is the chance to prove itself and the opportunity to excel.   
  • You must identify talent. Then you must move heaven and earth to hire it. You must nurture it, reward it property and protect it from being poached. If necessary, dream up a new project. Better still, get the talent to dream it up.   
  • Youth is a further factor. By the time talent is in its mid-to-late forties or early fifties, it will have become very, very expensive. Young talent can be found and underpaid for a short while, providing the work is challenging enough. Then it will be paid at the market rate. Finally, it will reach a stage where it is being paid based on past reputation alone. That is when you must part company with it.   
  • Anybody wishing to become rich cannot do so without talent. Either their own, or far more likely, on the back of the talent of others. Talent is indispensable, although it is always replaceable. Just remember the simple rules concerning talent: identify it, hire it, nurture it, reward it, protect it. And, when the time comes, fire it.   
  • If you can do all these things with talent in the context of building your own company, I would be truly astonished if you did not become rich. Because the truth is, talent does most of the work for you. Just as it has done since the beginning of recorded history. After all, who built the pyramids? The pharaohs or the engineers? Think about it. Then go hire some talent - just like they did.   
  • Stubbornness is not persistence. Stubbornness implies you intend to persist despite plentiful evidence that you should not. A stubborn person fears to be shown he or she is wrong. A persistent person is convinced that he or she has been right all along, and that the proof lies just around the corner. That with just a little further effort, the veil of failure will be torn away to reveal success.   
  • Quitting is not dishonourable. Quitting when you believe you can still succeed is. You must keep the faith. Belief in yourself and faith in your project can move mountains. But not if you insist on trying to scale the mountain by an impossible route which has already failed.   
  • Ignore his politics, and even his principles, by all means. But to read Winston Churchill’s speeches today, and, better still, to hear his recordings of them, is to understand the astonishing power and mesmeric quality of self-belief. Younger men and women may mock all they wish but the iron determination and self-belief of this one old man, this old man with a BBC microphone, meant more to Britain at that moment than all the kings and queens in her long history. For just one moment, a democratic people were saved from fear of failure, and from the fear of fear itself; from the shame of capitulation to evil by what? By one old man’s belief in his own destiny, by his insane, unprincipled self-belief, and the belief in the destiny of his country and of freedom in Western Europe. I am not asking you to be Winston Churchill. None of us could be, or would necessarily want to be. He was a child of his time. But I do ask that you begin, right now, right at this very moment, to ask yourself whether you believe in yourself. Truly. Do you believe in yourself? Do you? If you do not, and, worse still, if you believe you never can believe, then by all means go on reading this book. But take it from me, your only chance of getting rich will come from the lottery or inheritance. If you will not believe in yourself, then why should anyone else? Without self-belief nothing can be accomplished. With it, nothing is impossible. It is as brutal and as black and white as that. If you take no other memory from this book, then take that single thought. It was worth a damn sight more than the price you paid for it, I assure you.

  • 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. Doubts can and should be confronted, as should fear. This is best done in daylight, under rigorous examination. (Three o’clock in the morning is a difficult time to confront any such messengers.) Write down your doubts and fears. Examine them. Hold them up to the light. Suck the wisdom out of them and discard their husks in the trash.   
  • If you will only believe that you can do it and give it your best shot, then whether or not you succeed, you will perhaps dislodge a pebble that will ricochet down the very small mountain of your life, creating an avalanche that other fools will stand in awe of. You will not find me among them clapping, but you will certainly find enough applause to repay you for the effort. You may even grow to enjoy the process. If you want to be rich you must work for it. But you must believe in it, too. You must believe in yourself, if only to armour yourself against the laughter of the gods in your quest. Your mad quest to be rich.

  • 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. You cannot do this in a deliberate, considered manner. You can’t get rich painting by numbers. You can only do it by becoming a predator, by waiting patiently, by remaining alert and constantly sniffing the air and by bringing massive, murderous force to bear upon your prey when you pounce. You can share the kill later, by all means. But if you want to get rich, trust your own judgement when it calls - and leave those whose job it is to manage your business to pick up the pieces. They can have the scraggy bits. But the heart and liver are yours.

  • I am one of the richest self-made men in Britain for two reasons. I own my company outright, and I began to make more baskets the minute the first had a few eggs in

  • How many baskets should you go for? As many as make sense. In the beginning, it would be best, if you can, to keep them related to your core business. Just like Richard did. He started off importing ‘grey’ record albums from the USA - they were the illegal downloads of their time, except they weren’t tree. Richard followed up with record stores and then a record company. Or was it the other way around? No matter. Different apples. But basically all from the same orchard. You will not have to be as exceptional as Richard Branson to get rich. But his policy is a good one. No, a great one. I’ve failed the basket test a few times, and perhaps I should confess to one or two of them.  
  • During the start-up, you concentrate on that one basket as if your life (and the life of your first-born) depends upon it. But once you have something that’s working and making some money, start looking around quickly for another opportunity. The more baskets the better.   
  • Diversifying not only ensured that I had more chances to lay eggs and somewhere to incubate them, it also gave me the confidence to concentrate on any one egg at any one time. When one of my projects was in trouble and needed more work, or needed rethinking, the fact that I had other eggs in other baskets gave me the confidence to do what was right. Like re-engineering or folding it.

  • Managers rarely become rich. Most managers are lieutenants. You, on the other hand, have to keep you eye on another ball - several other balls, in fact. You may well have to masquerade as a manager (for a short while) on the way to becoming rich, and you should strive to be a good manager while the role is forced upon you. But even if you discover that you truly have a talent for the minutiae that management: demands, it’s best to abandon the role just as soon as you can afford to hire appropriate personnel. You just will not have the time to choose who gets to work in which office, where the Christmas party should be held or what company policy should be regarding the provision of in-house tea and coffee facilities. If, as the owner, you do find you have the time to involve yourself in such deci sions, then I have news for you. Your organisation is in deep trouble. Personally, I don’t think I was a very good managing director or CEO of any of my companies, so my advice concerning your choice of middle management is limited to the following: the world is full of aspiring lieutenants. Most people seek job security, job satisfaction and power over others far more than they seek wealth. And thank goodness for that. If all the great managers in the world were dead set on becoming rich, and willing to take the necessary risks to do so, there would be little hope for the likes of you and me.

  • 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 recognising the idiocy of your behaviour, to own and retain control of as near to 100 per cent of any company as you can.

  • To become rich, every single percentage point of anything you own is crucial. It is worth fighting for, tooth and claw. It is worth suing for. It is worth shouting and banging on the table for. It is worth begging for and grovelling for. It is worth lying and cheating for. In extremis, it is even worth negotiating for. Never, never, never, never hand over a single share of anything you have acquired or created if you can help it. Nothing. Not one share. To no one. No matter what the reason - unless you genuinely have to.

  • Say you have a brother and you want to start a business together. You should begin with the proposition that you will own the business and he will work for it. Fight for this tenaciously. Begin by assuming it. If that won’t fly, then absolutely insist that you own 75 per cent of the shares. The reasons are immaterial. Make a spurious list of them and wave it about. Say you won’t go into business unless you own the majority share. Have a temper tantrum. Shout. Scream. Wave the bloody bit of paper about again. Say you’ll work longer hours. Say you will find more capital than he will. Say anything. But GET A BIGGER SHARE OF THE COMPANY FOR YOURSELF. Then, and only then, should you return to being a reasonable human being. You can now afford to be reasonable. You are going to be richer than your brother. Perhaps a lot richer. It is as simple and as vile and as nasty as that. Would I do it to my brother, Julian, whom I love very much? Yes. In a heartbeat, if I had to. Would I give my brother all the money I ever made if he needed it? Yes, I would. But I WILL NOT GIVE HIM A SHARE IN MY COMPANY! Because ownership isn’t the important thing. If you want to be rich, it’s the only thing.  
  • A partnership is not a marriage. In a marriage, you should be willing to die for your partner. To share everything. To kill for them, if you have to. But in a partnership, the making of money comes first. Friendship and affection comes later - if you’re lucky, as I have been.

  • Why else is ownership so vital to anyone who wants to get rich? Ownership buys you the luxury of time. Not only the luxury of occasionally considering a partnership or an investment elsewhere. Ownership means never having to waste time saying sorry that a business didn’t work out. It means not having to spend weeks and weeks trying to persuade your partners that a certain course of action is necessary. It means that, for better or worse, you can concentrate on building the business and making money. Or losing it without the added burden of guilt.

  • Unless you already own a successful business outright, then I do not recommend you enter into a partnership of any kind if you can avoid it. It’s time-consuming and distracting. If you have any choice whatever in the matter, walk your narrow, lonely road to riches all on your little ownsome. As I mentioned before, it’s a nasty, lonely business getting rich.

  • The exercise of delegation, used responsibly, allows you to bring out the best in others and to make yourself rich in the process. It is the nearest thing to a ‘virtuous circle’ imaginable. Just imagine getting rich while you’re helping others to help you get richer and prove their worth in the process. Magic!

  • If you own a company and that company’s purpose is to make you wealthy, you will be content, delighted even, for any amount of glory to go to anyone who works there, providing you get the money. It is in your best interests to delegate whenever it makes sense in such circumstances. If you do not own the company, or a part of it, then it is possible you are only a senior manager because you like power. It is not true of everyone, of course. But often enough. You like bossing people about. You enjoy telling them what to do. If that is the case, then you might be  
  • Understandably reluctant to delegate real power or opportunity, in case the person you delegate to proceeds to excel. This, in turn, may well demonstarte to the rest of the company what a no-hum manager you really are. This is a warped way of thinking. But I am convinced it lies behind much of the reluctance to delegate I have encountered in my business life. I used to be surprised at the reluctance of others, both in and out of my own companies, to delegate. Now I’m not.

  • 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, meritocracy, delegation and promotion are the bricks and mortar that will make it stronger. Do not seek a replica of yourself to delegate to, or to promote. Watch out for this, it is a common error with people setting out to build a company. You have strengths and you have weaknesses in your own character. It makes no sense to increase those strengths your organisation already possesses and not address the weaknesses.

  • By making myself the chairman of all my companies, I can choose to attend or not attend senior management or board meetings as it suits me. On average, I will attend four to six such meetings a year for each company. The chair is usually taken in my absence by the MD, the president or the CEO, Verbatim minutes are taken. (I do read all the minutes of these meetings very carefully, and I can get a mite cross if diey are not produced promptly and accurately. For me, they are not a memorandum of past events. They are a tool to understanding current positions.) I also have Ian Leggett, my personal financial manager as well as my group CFO, placed on all these boards. If I am not present, you can be sure he is. My vetoes are carefully explained and very well known to all of my executives, who agree to abide by them before they join the board. It’s a short list, but has worked well for many years. Without my express permission: 1.They may not vote anyone on or off the board. 2.They may not physically move the headquarters of the company. 3.They may not dispose of, or shut down, any substantial asset. 4.They may not purchase, or launch, any substantial new product or business. 5.They may not award themselves bonuses or salary increases. That’s it. No more vetoes. Within those guidelines, the managers of my companies are free to get on with their jobs, grow the business and reach the margin return agreed upon at the beginning of the year. A margin that they will have arrived at among themselves by consensus. With Tan’s beady eye on them while they do it!  
  • Make annual bonuses generous. If you want your managers to concentrate on improving margin and profitability while growing the business, then they have to feel the light is worth the candle. Pay them well for performing well. (They will have many excuses to make to their lovers or spouses for working late to achieve the goals you set them.)

  • ‘Ring fence’ investment costs from ‘ongoing’ business. You want the business to grow but you also want to make profits. Balance is the key. By ‘ring fencing’ all investment money for new projects and growth in your annual accounts, you can encourage managers to work on margin and profit from their ‘ongoing’ parts of the business while offering them the chance to grow and take some risk. This equation requires patience and goodwill on all sides. But it can be done, and it works,

  • Keep costs down. Always. ‘Overhead walks on two legs’ and will eat you out of house and home. No company, new or old, can avoid ‘Stealth’ growth in overhead. It occurs, as it were, by osmosis. Prune overhead regularly. Stop only when the pips squeak.

  • At senior level, insist on collective responsibility for bonuses. Part of the annual incentive bonus for senior managers should result from their combined efforts to bring home the bacon. One cannot make a senior manager’s whole bonus rest on this edifice. But peer pressure is a powerful force. If senior managers sense one of their number is slacking and fear they may all suffer for his or her transgressions, they are likely to let their feelings be known. Forcefully.

  • Praise excellent work. But do not waste your praise on ho-hum performances as a sop. Employees respect a boss who knows the difference between the mundane and the exceptional. Remember that not all employees respond well to incentive bonuses or a dangled carrot of any kind. They seek recognition, not bribery.

  • Fire malingerers, incompetents, toads and glory hounds mercilessly. Not only does firing them make you feel better and contribute to a more pleasant working atmosphere, it cheers up the whole staff.

  • Turn a cold eye on company ‘perks’. These can add up to huge sums. While I am considered terribly old-fashioned on this subject, I am still uneasy about company-issued credit cards; company-issued mobile telephones; travel and entertainment of any stripe at the company’s expense; company air travel in any class but economy.

  • Avoid all ‘jollies’, the generic British term for flying the sales team to Florida in winter to ‘boost morale’ and issue tub-thumping speeches, all of which are forgotten the second the crew hit the beach. You can’t afford ‘jollies’. Ignore protestations from sales managers to the contrary. A day set aside in a quiet environment, prepared for carefully, to assist sales teams improve their presentations to clients, is sensible. As is sales training from reputable training agencies.

  • Offer legal perks that you have paid for yourself to employees. This sounds crazy, but it works. I allow my employees, for example, the use of my Rolls-Royces or Bentleys for their weddings. I permit them to stay at my homes around the world if they have performed well. I send every child born to an employee (well, I used to in the early days - there are too many of them now) a massive soft toy. Such perks are legal because I paid for them myself from after-tax dollars or pounds.

  • Set an example. If, as an owner, yon want fancy furniture in your office or works of art or Persian rugs, then bloody well pay for them yourself. How can you expect frugality when a junior manager, who works in a cubicle, comes to visit you, knowing that the company paid for those accessories? There is nothing wrong with them being there. It’s who paid for them that counts.

  • Encourage senior managers to go over annual results with you one-on-one. You will learn more from off-the-cuff remarks and opinions expressed at one-on-one meetings while looking over financial results than you will in a dozen board meetings. This tactic never fails to produce food for thought, often on both sides.

  • Back up your managers. With delegation comes responsibility. Back up your managers, in public, whenever and wherever you have to. If they do not perform, speak seriously in private to them. If they still do not perform, fire them. But do not undercut them or engage in meetings that appear to undercut them. Reprimand other managers who bad-mouth their peers. Nearly everyone’s ego and self-confidence is more fragile than the outside world believes.

  • Search out and promote talent. Talent comes in all shapes and sizes and is often inarticulate and shy. Talent isn’t necessarily the woman in the Calvin Klein suit who talks-the-talk and bamboozles meetings with stunning graphics on her PowerPoint presentation. Talent is often to be found dressed in T-shirts down in the lower reaches of your organisation. Set a bounty on talent among managers. When you find it, test it. Groom it. Work it until it’s ready to drop. Load it with more work and responsibilities. Praise it. Reward it. It will make you loads-a-money.

  • Interview your rivals’ talent. I have never known a single person in a rival organisation, however well paid or cosseted, who has refused to meet me for a quiet drink after work. I have discovered more about what my rivals are up to in this manner than any other. In addition, I have often been so impressed with the people I met in this way that I poached them later. No intelligence-gathering exercise is ever entirely wasted in business. There is only so much pie. Talent bakes that pie. 16. Discourage secrecy. The more you take middle and senior managers into your confidence, the more they will respect you and the harder they will work for you. Many managers disagree with this policy. They love the feeling of power that comes from knowing what others do not know. I don’t care about power, I care about getting rich.

  • Save a little bit of pie for suppliers. Save a little of the annual pie to wine and dine key suppliers. Or let them wine and dine you. If you like them enough, invite them to your home. We all remember to call often upon our major customers. But it is worth remembering suppliers. And they often have important market information. 18. Never bad-mouth rivals. It’s a sign of stupidity and weakness. I try to go out of my way to praise my rivals when I can. Often enough they deserve praise and they’re sure to learn about my comments sooner or Later. Why go out of your way to antagonise them? (Secretly feeling sorry for them, because they do not own as much of their own company as you do, is definitely permitted.)

  • Sell early. Real money rarely come from horsing around running an asset-laden business if you are an entrepreneur. You are not a manager, remember? You are trying to get rich. Whenever the chance comes to sell an asset at the top of its value, do so. Things do not keep increasing in value for ever. Get out while the going is good and move on to the next venture. More money is usually lost holding onto an asset than is made waiting for the zenith of its value. I should know - it’s my own biggest defect.

  • Enjoy the business of making money. The loot is only a marker. Time cannot be recaptured. There is no amount of pie in the world worth being miserable for, day after day. If you find you dislike what you are doing, then sell up and change your life. Self-imposed misery is a kind of madness. The cure is to get out.

  • Why am I a magazine publisher? Is it because I love magazines? No. It’s because I had a tiny success back in 1967 selling a hippy magazine on London’s Fashionable King’s Road. That’s right. I discovered that at two shillings and sixpence a time (half for me, half for the owner, Richard Neville), I could earn more money than I could as an R&B drummer or a high-streetstore window dresser. I even learned that by dressing up one or two girlfriends in the shortest skirts they owned and instructing them to approach every guy under thirty with a big smile and the following words: ‘Hi! Have you got your copy of OZ this month yet?’ I could, triple my earnings. (Some wits might say that having created the world’s biggest men’s lifestyle magazine, Maxim, I’m still at the same old game. Well, let ‘em say it.) It was nothing unusual for me to return to Richard Neville’s basement flat in the King’s Road days to divvy up the loot and discover a hundred pounds in my satchel. A hundred pounds! In those days, nobody I knew had ever earned a hundred pounds in a fortnight. I could earn it in a day or so. And so I became a magazine publisher. That was OK, but I forgot to keep my eye on the ball. The ball was to get rich. Instead, I decided to become one of the world’s best magazine publishers. Not smart. Why wasn’t it smart? It took me way too long, for one thing, and it cut me off from more lucrative endeavours for another. I became a multimillionaire in 1982. By then I was thirty-five years old. Barmy! By thirtyfive I was already half dead. With my talents I could have been a multi-millionaire by the time I was twenty-five or twenty-eight. All that was stopping me was my conviction that I was a born magazine publisher. How stupid, I wasted eight or nine years when I could have been drinking Petrus, swilling down Retsina and lager instead. The truth is I led myself to believe I had fallen in love with publishing. That wasn’t a tragedy in itself, but I allowed my liking for the magazine publishing business to bunker me from so many other avenues where I could have coined cash. If you have entrepreneurial flair, then you can go into just about any business and make money. But instead of rushing to where the money was, I kept on digging in the relatively poor pit of ink-on-paper until the money, reluctantly, came to me. This is so important, gentle reader. It pains me to think about it. 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! That is where you should focus your efforts. On the ball marked ‘The Money is Here.’

  • Here are a few discoveries I have made over the years about staying focused when choosing employees or suppliers: Never choose an important employee or a key supplier alone. Get others to interview them or talk to them as well, either with you or separately. We are all far too fond of choosing those we instinctively like, those we respect or believe are similar to ourselves. This is not a good thing. You need the input of others to choose the right candidate, although the final choice, in the early days, must be yours and yours alone. Go further than reading a person’s references. It’s such a fag, such a bloody nuisance, such a pain in the neck, to go well beyond the references and CV you’ve received, isn’t it? And yet it pays. Make an appointment with a potential employee’s last company or with a supplier’s other customers. Go and see someone there. Make nicey-nicey. Listen hard. You will discover more about your potential employee or supplier in a few minutes in this way than in hours of conversation with them. You can even tell the prospective employee or supplier you have done so if you wish. It cuts bullshit down to a minimum. And it shows, at the same time, that you cared enough to go beyond a CV and the usual references. Make notes. Speak little. I’m terrible at this. Absolutely terrible. But I’ve learned to try harder as the years have gone by. Your notes need not refer in any way to what the potential employee or supplier is saying. It can be gibberish. Or it can, more usefully, be your impressions of the person and their responses. Have a series of questions handy to shoot out when they grind to a halt. Then focus like mad on what your instinct and your intuition is telling you - as well as your ears. As to speaking little yourself, remember you are being interviewed, too. It is impossible for the other side to tell that you are not as clever as they are if you keep your mouth shut. ‘Better to have the world suspect you a fool than to open your mouth and put the matter beyond doubt,’ as the old saying has it. It may appear rude to have initiated a conversation, as you have, and not to make small-talk to fill in embarrassing silences. But you are not conducting the conversation to be polite. You are conducting the conversation to get rich. Good suppliers respect attention to detail. Don’t hesitate to challenge quotes or invoices - after you have done your homework. At the beginning of a relationship, everything will usually be hunky-dory. Later, hidden or unacceptable costs may creep in. Challenge them. Constantly request quotes from your supplier’s rivals. Demand refunds if a supplier screws up, based not on the cost of the goods or services, but the financial consequences of the screw-up. (I’ve read acres of New Age rubbish about ‘partnerships’ between suppliers and customers. That’s what it is: rubbish. If I could only get rich by bankrupting every supplier I ever dealt with, then I would do it in a heartbeat. I wouldn’t feel good about doing it, but I’d do it. Getting rich isn’t about vendor-customer ‘partnerships’. And anyway, I have found that good suppliers respect a hard-nosed attitude providing it’s logical and providing you pay on time.) Pay employees well. Bonus better. Even young children know what you get when you pay peanuts. Monkeys! Your company’s salaries must be competitive. Bonuses should be more than competitive, they should be tempting, generous and based ruthlessly on meritocracy and delivery. That’s the way to get employees to really focus. You don’t want people to apply to work for you because of the salaries on offer - they should be driven by other desires. But if a salary isn’t commensurate with the market, potential winners will not be able to afford to work for you. I made that error for some years before changing my ways. Be alert for ‘cross overs’. Many times I have been interviewing someone for a job and realised that they are not suitable for the job in question. However, the candidate would be perfect in another position in my company. Never mind that that position is currently filled. (All positions in your company, except your own, are temporary.) These ‘cross overs’ occur often. Be alert for them. Nothing pleases a candidate who has failed to get a particular job more than being contacted some time later and offered a job out of the blue. It is like a vindication and they will almost certainly say ‘yes’ if the job title and money matches or exceeds their current position. Only hire winners. There may or may not be such a thing as bad luck. But whether it exists or not, it is certainly contagious! Hire winners or people you believe will become winners. Fire whiners and moaners swiftly. That’s contagious, too. You are trying to create an environment where making money is on everyone’s mind most of the time. Losers and whiners usually have other priorities. Ignore your prejudices, likes and dislikes. Easy to say and hard to do. Legally, you may not permit certain prejudices to colour your choice regarding any candidate. This is not only good law, it’s good sense. Some of the most successful colleagues and employees who have worked with me and for me over the years were not my personal cup of tea at the beginning. Likes and dislikes should not come into it. Loyalty, effectiveness, honesty, integrity and stamina are crucial. Cleverness and cunning can be useful. Professionalism is vital. A desire to shine in the world is worth more than a university degree. All of this is important. Who you like and don’t like is irrelevant. If an employee makes money for you, you’ll get to like them later, I promise. Promote from within when you can. I recently had to hire a new CEO for one of my companies. An old friend, an ex-CEO and chairman of one of my rivals, Robin Miller, gave me a great piece of advice. He suggested that an external candidate, a candidate from outside the company looking for a senior position, had better be at least 30 per cent better than any internal candidates to get the job. Why? Because, he reminded me, you know all the faults of an internal candidate - they may have worked for you for years. But external candidates come to you free from errors made in the past. All you are faced with is an impression at the meeting and a list of their achievements. Failures are not a part of anyone’s CV. It was good advice from Robin, and just tipped the balance in my mind when I made my own final decision. Don’t leave senior employees in any job too long. If this happens, as it has in my companies occasionally, it means you are not focusing on that business. You will get the most out of any senior employee in their first year or two in a new position. After that, they enter a ‘comfort zone’. Do you really want them to be comfortable? If a man or woman heads up one of your companies and has been there too long, consider asking them to create a new division or company for you. But do not leave them to quietly go to seed - they will get bored and resign anyway, if they’re any good.

  • Ownership Shall Re Half of the Law; Doing an Outstanding Job Shall Be The Other Half. There is no point in owning 100 per cent of a rubbish company. Whatever it is you intend to do to get rich, get good at it. Hire people who are better than you at it. Listen and learn and get better still at it. Even if you produce garbage for morons to watch on television, make it the most entertaining garbage out there. Even if you are nothing but a scumsucking, ambulance-chasing tort lawyer - the lowest form of pond-life that walks on its hind legs - be the best scum-sucking ambulance-chaser in town.

  • Take the story of Ray Kroc, founder of the McDonald’s fast-food chain. He bought McDonald’s, an uninspiring, no-hum burger business, because he realised, in a flash of astonishing intuition, that what Americans on the road needed was not fine cuisine or the best burger money could buy. What Americans wanted, as they travelled vast distances across interstate highways, was consistency, cleanliness and fast service. They didn’t care if the burger was a mediocre burger. All they cared about was being certain they would be served the same burger they consumed in the last McDonald’s they visited, perhaps hundreds of miles away. Swift service, a clean environment and consistency. That was the secret of one of the most astonishing business success stories in American history. Kroc was viewing an existing product in a different light. Kroc did not invent the hamburger. He saw that hamburger outlets could become a different beast from other fast-food outlets at the time. McDonald’s is only called McDonald’s today by an accident. It would not really have mattered which burger business Kroc had decided to purchase. His genius lay not in producing a burger, but in allaying Americans’ fears that the next place they stopped at for fast food might poison them, or charge exorbitant prices, or make them wait an instant longer than was necessary. (This tale is simplified. The business of creating franchises also had a great deal to do with Kroc’s success. But the analogy holds true.)

  • Seeking substantial wealth is almost always a fool’s game. The statistics show that very few people ever succeed. Most of them should never have made the attempt in the first place. They aren’t suited to it. And if that sounds defeatist, then consider the fact that the search will take up a great deal of your waking life for many, many years. You cannot get rich without ‘wasting’ that time. Not unless you were born lucky - so lucky that luck would have squatted on your shoulder virtually from birth. You would not need to get rich, then. You would already be rich, in one way or another. Time is finite. Which is a fancy way of saying that you only have so much of it - then it will run out. When you are young, time seems to stretch into the distance for so far that surely it will always be on your side? When the young catch the old unawares, they may sometimes glimpse a look of naked envy, which is then instantly disguised. And the old have reason to be envious. Truly, truly, they do. Ask me what I will give you if you could wave a magic wand and give me my youth back. The answer would be everything I own and everything I will ever own.

  • Money is never owned. It is only in your custody for a while. Time is always running on, and the young have more of it in their pocket than the richest man or woman alive.

  • No luxury of choices for rich little you. You will be too busy keeping the sea from washing away the sand you have spent so long collecting at such terrible cost to your health and your sanity and your relationships with others. It is always thus. There is no escape. You believe (I know you do) that it will be different for you. But it won’t be. It never is. Happiness? Do not make me laugh. The rich are not happy. I have yet to meet a single really rich happy man or woman - and I have met many rich people. The demands from others to share their wealth become so tiresome, and so insistent, they nearly always decide they must insulate themselves. Insulation breeds paranoia and arrogance. And loneliness. And rage that you have only so many years left to enjoy rolling in the sand you have piled up. The only people the self-made rich can trust are those who knew them before they became wealthy. For many newly rich people, the world becomes a smaller, less generous and darker place. It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Ridiculous and gloomy. But then, you are to consider that I have been very poor and I am now very rich. I am an optimist by nature. And I have the ability to write poetry and create the forest I am busy planting. Am I happy? No. Or, at least, only occasionally, when I am walking in the woods alone, or deeply ensconced in composing a difficult piece of verse, or sitting quietly with old friends over a bottle of wine. Or feeding a stray cat. I could do all those things without wealth. So why do I not give it all away? Because I worked too hard for it. Because I am tainted by it. Because I am afraid to. All those reasons and more. Perhaps, if l am lucky enough to become old, I will accumulate something else: the courage to give it all away before I die. That would be a good thing, I think.

  • You have to cut loose to get rich. There isn’t any other way. Firstly, of course, you must break loose from your parents and family home. It’s possible to get rich from your bedroom while your mother is ironing your shirt or blouse downstairs, I suppose. But it’s unlikely.

  • Now you must cut yourself loose from naysayers and negative influences: the Jeremiahs. These wretches cover the face of the earth. They will tell you, if you listen, about the impossibility (not the foolishness) of trying to make yourself wealthy. In doing so, they drain confidence and optimism from you. Such people often include your parents, your lover, your husband or your wife, and your ‘friends’. Which is not surprising. It’s not that they do not care about you. They may well do so, in their own way. But two cardinal fears rule their concern. Firstly, they fear that you are placing yourself in harm’s way — and, to them, that cannot be a good thing. Secondly, they fear that if you should succeed, you will expose their own timidity to the light of day. The order in the ‘pack’ from which you spring, the family grouping, will be shattered. Should you become rich you will become the number-one dog in the pack, and their own order will slip accordingly. Above all, they do not wish to be faced with the mess and chaos that accompanies strenuous effort. They want the familiarity and sense of false security that comes with things staying as they are. Do not despise these people. Seek to calm them. Or hide from them what you are about for as long as you can. If that will not work, ignore them and move on. That is a hard thing to say and a harder thing to do, but it is necessary. You cannot spend your life assuaging the fear of failure (and success) that is the common lot of the risk averse.

  • Focus, determination and relentless drive are wearing in themselves both to you and those around you. Any distraction whatever can cost you a chance that may not come again. And, for the purposes of this book, family, lovers and friends are distractions, plain and simple. There are exceptions, of course, and perhaps you will be one of them. But don’t count on it. Chances are that you will have to cut loose from your old life in more ways than you imagine and that the breach will never really be healed. Lasdy, it goes without saying that you must cut loose from working for other people. If you have been gainfully employed since you left school or college, this is an oddly difficult thing to do. It is dunned into our head that we should work. Western civilisation is based upon a work ethic that has propelled it into the front rank of the tribes and cultures we share this planet with. If you have ever stood, early in the morning, on a weekday in New York City and watched the countless tens of thousands of workers hurrying to their steel and glass towers, you can catch a scent of this ethic. It is frightening, but exhilarating, too. The air itself reeks of drive, and determination and focus. It is like a drug. And it has served America and her people well - at least in the sense of material wealth. Now you must leave the safety of the ant colony and the hive. You are to become a loner, an outcast, cut off from the very thing that defines what many of us believe we are. What is the first question usually asked by strangers of each other? Right, it’s ‘What do you do?’ In some cultures, the way of answering may be different; but it nearly always relates to work in the West: ‘I’m a teacher; I’m in banking; I’m a dairy farmer; I’m an HR administrator; I’m a sound engineer.’ Our job defines us. But it cannot define you. Not any more. You are a wild pig rooting for truffles. You are a weasel about to rip the throat out of a rabbit. You are an entrepreneur. You are going to be rich, and you don’t much care, within the law, how you are going to do it. I recently attended a funeral. These days, I attend too many of them. The elderly mother of one of my girlfriends at school was there. Truth to tell, I had forgotten of her existence. I only dated her daughter once or twice. The old lady looked me up and down in a disquieting way and I had a vision of a much younger woman cutting me a slice of cake and pouring me a cup of tea. ‘So you did it,’ she said, her thin lips half smiling, but compressed in a disapproving line. ‘Uh-huh,’ I replied, not knowing what the hell she was talking about. ‘I hope it was worth it?’ ‘What was worth what, ma’am?7 ‘You used to frighten me, did you know that? Oh, I was frightened you would marry Sally. But I was frightened of you. I was a mother and thirty years older than you. But you scared the hell out of me. I told Sally to stay away from you.’ ‘Yes, I remember. Why?’ ‘Because when you first began coming around after Sally, I asked you what you were going to do when you left school. You looked me in the eye. Your eyes weren’t like any teenager I ever knew. They were fierce, like a tiger’s. You were insolent and arrogant and frightening. I told my husband so.’ ‘I’m sorry for that.’ ‘You told me you were going to get rich. Not that you were going to university or were after this or that job. Just that you were going to be rich. I never forgot it.’ I made some inane reply and tried to jolly her along. But she wasn’t having any. The one advantage about being old is that you can say whatever the damn hell you please and younger people have to listen to it. She’d said her piece. She had no more to say. I left the funeral with a double burden. Not just the death of an old friend, but the knowledge that I had frightened a woman who had tried to be kind to me when I was a boy. Not exactly an epitaph to be proud of, is it? But she was right. I was like that. And so will you be. You will do anything it takes, short of larceny, fraud, blackmail and murder. You will cut yourself loose, but the tiger chained to your ankle will come right along with you. He will always be with you, until the day you turn him loose by an effort of will. By cutting loose, you will be free to make a whopping great fortune while your tiger scares the hell out of little old ladies. And old gentlemen for that matter. And if you do not have a tiger handy, I suggest you acquire one quickly if you wish to amass serious wealth. No matter. We are not here to discuss the rag-and-bone shop of your heart or make metaphors about tigers. Cut loose, my friend. Cut loose and get rich.

  • Fear nothing. Another easy-to-say and impossible piece of advice. Tough luck, chum. Life’s a bitch and then you die. Get used to it. It isn’t going to change any time soon. What is there to fear? Everything and nothing. Try looking at it through my eyes. I am an insignificant little worm on an insignificant planet which circles an insignificant star in a big (presumably) bad universe. A universe I will never comprehend, nor can ever hope to comprehend. Just like everything that walks, breathes, grows, flies, crawls or swims, I am going to die. One day, my planet will die. Long, long after, the sun it still circles as a dead rock will die. Then there will be darkness on the face of the earth. That is, there would be darkness if there was any creature alive to view it. Armies and governments fear men or women who know they are going to die soon; and they have good reason to. Such people have nothing to lose. They will commit any atrocity and take as many others with them as they can, if they are driven to it. You must now become that doomed man or woman. Yon are going to die. Nothing can alter the fact. It is immutable. Incomprehensible. Unfair. All those things. But it sets you free, don’t you see? It sets you free. What does anything matter if you are going to die? Nothing matters. Nothing at all. Get that through your terrified mind and you will wake up in the morning ready to rip the throat out of the first gazelle unfortunate enough to cross your path. Why would you rip its throat out? Because you can. Not for breakfast. Not for the ‘thrill of the chase’. But because you can. If you want to be rich you must make a pact with yourself about fear of anything. You cannot banish fear, but you can face it down, stomp on it, crush it, bury it, padlock it into the deepest recesses of your heart and soul and leave it there to rot. 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. Go on. I dare you. If you can do it, this will transform your life. Not for the better. I didn’t promise you that. But you will instantly perceive (among many other tilings) just how much money there is in the world and how pitifully easy it is to obtain it. Money that already has your name on it. All that is stopping you is fear. I do not know of what kind. It may even be fear of succeeding. But if you want to be rich, gentle reader, and if you can read these words, then all that is stopping you is fear of one kind or another. You have no one to blame but yourself. The world is full of gazelles with diamonds in their guts.

  • To be rich, if that is still your desire, you must somehow learn to harness fear to your own advantage. Is that what I have done in my own life? Was all that rage and fierceness and drive and stamina rooted in my own fear? Have I used fear as a fuel in the getting of money? Perhaps I have, although I never thought of it that way before. In any case, I’m not certain I want to know, I have never trusted armchair psychiatry. But I do know that you must make an accommodation with your fears if you are to succeed. At least, I know that to be true in my own case. As to how such a trick is to be accomplished, I cannot help you. We each, in turn, must face down our secret demons, if we can, whether we wish to be rich or not. To succeed in the game of piling up material wealth, it becomes a necessity.

  • If you loan money to a friend, you will lose your friend as well as your money. Give them whatever you feel like giving. Then forget it. Ditto with relatives. If you diligently follow this one piece of advice, you wilt be saved a sackful of misery. Trust me. Broadcast your policy loudly. This will spare you from many embarrassing demands that will otherwise vex you.  
  • When you are worth several hundred or a thousand times what a member of your staff is worth financially (do the math), then trying to be friends with them or encouraging them to be friends with you is silly. They know it’s phony and you know it’s phony, and they know that you know. Not being friends comes with the territory. Being fair and friendly is always cool. Trying to be ‘one of the boys’ is pathetic.

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