Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The road to fabulous riches, according to Felix Dennis

How To Get Rich, One of the World's Greatest Entrepreneurs Shares His Secrets

by Felix Dennis
Published by Portfolio, Penguin Group, 2008

If you are an entrepreneur or a business person of any stripe, you could do worse than to take advice from U.K. publishing mogul, Felix Dennis.

In his book, “How To Get Rich," Dennis dispenses a great deal of advice that should be required reading for anyone who either wants to get rich or to improve his/her fortunes as an entrepreneur. One assumes that he knows something about this subject, having amassed a personal fortune worth, by his estimate, between $400 and $900 million U.S.

How did he do it? The old-fashioned, hardscrabble way: with blood, sweat and tears. As a scruffy youth in London, England, Dennis started publishing a hippy magazine in 1967. He made quick and easy money with that venture, which led to a mail order business, and a publishing juggernaut that has continued rolling along for the past 40 years. His stable of 50-plus publications include: Maxim, Mental FlossStuff, Computer Shopper and The Week.

In “How To Get Rich,” Dennis outlines the many skills required to making boatloads of money. He constantly challenges readers to examine their true motivations, the sacrifices that need to be made and the huge risks that need to be taken. He pulls no punches: He writes: “If you truly believe that your race, sex or upbringing can keep you from becoming rich, then you had best give up here…you will never get rich.”

Dennis proceeds to poke holes in much of the conventional wisdom about getting rich and pooh-poohs the slew of books on the subject penned by authors who have never made millions themselves. He is equally dismissive of self-improvement books, which are filled with false promises and empty platitudes.

He has some refreshing insight to share with readers about the importance of listening. “Listening is the most powerful weapon after self-belief and persistence you can bring into play as an entrepreneur,” he writes.

“How To Get Rich” is chock full of wit, humour, anecdotes, advice, opinions and honesty. Here, you’ll learn all about the right decisions Dennis has made in his career, as well as his admitted missteps. At one point in the late 1980s, he came close to losing his fortune (and his life) by over-indulging in booze, drugs and debauchery. But he caught himself in time and now leads a more balanced life.

The tone of the book is informal and assured; but beneath the strong opinions and bravado is the heart of a beast that has fought and clawed its way to the highest echelons of wealth and power.

One of my favourite quotes has to do with seizing the moment. Dennis writes: “Whatever your inclinations, your aptitude, your abilities or your preferences, never shrink when opportunities arrive. If you have weighed the odds and find yourself convinced, ignore the protestations of sensible people and their conventional caution.”

“How To Get Rich” is a practical business book about what it takes to acquire tremendous wealth. For those who are committed to applying the techniques that Dennis lays out, and learning from his mistakes, this could very well be a life-changing book.