Remote, no office required – Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson

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The future, quite literally, belongs to those who get it.  Do you think today’s teenagers, raised on Facebook and texting, will be sentimental about the old days of all-hands-on-deck Monday meetings?

The big transition with a distributed workforce is going from synchronous collaboration to asynchronous collaboration.  Not only do we not have to be in the same spot to work together, we also don’t have to work at the same time to work together.

The city is the original talent hub. Traditionally, those who ran the engines of capitalism thought: “Let’s gather a large number of people in a small geographical area where they must live on top of each other in tight quarters, and we will be able to find plenty of able bodies to man our factories”.

The new luxury is to shed the shackles of deferred living, to pursue your passions NOW, while you are still living.  What’s the point in wasting time daydreaming about how great it will be when you finally quit?

If you are struggling with trust issues, it means we made a poor hiring decision.  If a team member is non producing good results or can’t manage their own schedule and workload, we aren’t going to continue with that person, as simple as that.  We employ team members who are skilled professionals, capable of managing their own schedules and making a valuable contribution to the organization.  We have no desire to be babysitters during the day.

Most people WANT to work, as long as it is stimulating and fulfilling. And if you are stuck in a dead-end-job that has no prospects of being either, then you don’t just need the remote position, you need a new job.

American Fidelity Assurance (AFA) cited the ability to continue helping customers even during disasters as a key reason they are sticking with remote work.  When they needed to close their headquarters in Oklahoma City for inclement weather, their remote workers all worked from  home and customers never knew the difference.

Meetings are major distractions. They require multiple people to drop whatever it is they are doing and instead do something else.  If you are calling a meeting, you better be sure pulling seven people away from their work for an hour is worth seven hours of lost productivity.

How often can you say that a given meeting was worth it ? Remember, there is no such thing as a one hour meeting.  If you are in a room with five people for an hour, it’s a five-hour meeting.

Meeting prospective hires in person:  We usually let the candidate go out for lunch with their potential team coworkers instead of their manager.  The prospective hire is going to be working with their teammates a lot more than their manager, so it is important that the team get a good feel for this person.

We have created a number of ways to eradicate roadblocks. First, everyone gets a company credit card and is told to “spend wisely”. There is no begging to spend money on needed equipment to get work done, and there are no expense reports to fill out ( just forward the receipts to an internal email address in case of an audit).

Second, workers don’t need to ask permission to go on vacation or specify how much time they will take. We tell them: just be reasonable, put it on the calendar and coordinate with your coworkers. If you let them, humans have an amazing power to live up to your high expectations of reasonableness and responsibility.

They gray line between work and play can be hard to see on the best of days, but almost impossible when you use the same computer for both.  Sure, you could quit your programs for chat and email when you are off the clock, but you won’t do it.  That sort of discipline is not for mere mortals.

A more plausible, human strategy is to separate the two completely by using different devices: simple reserve one computer for work and another for fun.

“In thirty years time, as technology moves forward even further, people are going to look back and wonder why offices ever existed” – Richard Branson


Miracles Happen – Mary Kay Ash

Miracles Happen - Mary Kay Ash

Sadly, most people live and die with their music still unplayed. They never dare to try. Why? Because the lack of self confidence.  Women, specially, have so much potential they never tap.

I have found that successful people are never afraid to try, because they are never afraid to try.  One of my favorite expressions is “we fail forward to success”.

I believe you can have anything you want in this world, but yes, you do have to pay a price.

Recognition was as vital to me as money. I believed that even if they would not work that hard for money, there were women who would work very hard for recognition.  Because I wanted a company that utilized the best elements of competition, I carefully avoided contests in which there could be only one, two, or three winners. I am convinced that competition is more productive when you are competing with yourself. So at Mary Kay cosmetics, everyone can be a winner!

Symbols should be both pretty and useful.

We use the “Go-Give”principle when we teach our consultants the art of customer relations. We constantly stress that a Consultant must never have dollar signs in her eyes or think “How much can I sell these people today?” Instead she must think “What can I do today so these women will leave feeling better about themselves ? How can I help each woman develop a more positive self image?” We know that if a woman feels pretty on the inside, she becomes prettier on the inside, too. In addition she goes to become a better member of her family and of her community.

Another problem I intended to avoid is when people buy their products but only receive them 2-3 weeks after the purchase.  When I want something I want it now!

Many excellent sales representatives are lost, not because they are dishonest but because they are poor money managers.  May answer was to deal in cash.

We were ready for business, if we didn’t succeed, I knew I would be back working for someone for the rest of my life.

I stress that no matter how successful you are in your career, if you lose your family in the process of attaining that success, then you have failed.  Money is not worth sacrificing your family.

Early risings make an extra day a week. Then I realized that if I got up early six times a week, I’d have a nine day week!

If you are going to waste a day, just waste the living daylights out of it.  But if you are going to work, then work!  One intense hour of work is worth a dreamy day.

The world is full of people that are very quick to dream, but very slow to act.

No matter what you do, or how restricted your time is, you should always make the effort to look  your best. After all, you only get one chance to make a good first impression.

If you give somebody a forty cent item in a $1 box with $100 worth of recognition, that is a thousand times more effective than giving a $100 item in the same box with forty cents of recognition!

No matter how much profit a company makes, if it doesn’t enrich the lives of its people, that company has failed.

Firsts Steps to Wealth – Dani Johnson

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Whatever wealth you think you want or need, getting it requires something I call TEEM: Time, Energy, Effort, and Money.

I somehow felt compelled to reach out to this woman. I wanted to know why she was working at McDonald’s. Initially I imagined it was because she wanted to work, or maybe she was bored in her retirement age and wanted something to get her out of the house. But when I saw her resting after wiping each table, I quickly tossed out those assumptions and decided to start up a conversation. I went over, sat next to her, and said in a soft voice, “Hi.” She smiled at me and said, “Well, hello there, honey.” Her sweet smile and gentle-yet-raspy voice touched my heart. After a few minutes of chitchat, I had to ask a question. “How long have you worked here?” “Oh, for a little while,” she said. “Do you like what you do?” “Well, honey, I am just glad to have a job.” “Really? Why is that?” “Social Security and my husband’s pension just is not enough to live on, so I have to work.” “What? Are you kidding me?” “No, sweetheart. I wish I was.” “If you don’t mind, can I ask you a personal question?” “Sure.” “How old are you?” She sighed and chuckled before saying, “I am eighty-nine and will be ninety next month.” Tears welled up my eyes as I heard this. I was so upset at this injustice! I wanted to tell her to quit her job right then and there so I could support her and her husband financially.

Then the reality set in. I could barely take care of myself, let alone this sweet, elderly couple. Where were their kids and grand kids? Who was letting her work like that? What kind of a family did they have? There I was, twenty years old and looking at my possible future.

Now, back to that shocking information that I had learned briefly before meeting the McDonald’s lady. It was a statistic that 98 percent of the population will end up dead or dead broke by age sixty-five. Let me repeat that: 98 percent of the population will end up dead or dead broke by age sixty-five. Only 2 percent of the population will succeed financially.

As I have travelled around the world I have encountered scenarios similar to the McDonald’s lady’s time and again – people living life by default instead of by design, and working breathlessly hard throughout their lives only to end up broke at the end of their race.

Ninety-eight percent of the people I come across are miserable. They put on a game face to convince themselves and others that everything is okay, but it is not. They are working too hard, they are maxed out on credit cards, their marriages are unhappy, and they do not know how to handle their children. They are filled with regret and confusion and do not know how to fix the situation. They have no clue what the end of their path even looks like, let alone how to get there.

Number one, he said, “If you give me one excuse, I will not work with you.” Since that time – in the twenty-two years of being in business and working with tens of thousands of people from all over the world – I have found that people spend more time creating excuses than they do creating results. They spend more time justifying their failures and mediocrity than they do creating results. It takes so little time to create results, but most people spend more time coming up with excuses instead of creating results. Let me give you the definition of an excuse: a well-planned lie. 

At one point I was in a meeting with a man who was making $500,000 a month. It was a private board meeting with several men who were all making a lot of money, and they were sharing ideas. I thought it was an invitation to share ideas, so I piped up and said, “Hey, listen, I have an idea.” He slammed his hand on the table and said, “You are so stupid.” My blood started to boil, but I kept quiet. “How much money do you make?” he asked. “I am just getting started, sir,” I said. “How much money do I make?” “Half a million dollars a month.” “That is what’s wrong with you 98 Percenters,” he said. “You are so busy trying to size yourself up to my success that you’re missing the opportunity to learn from me. If I pay attention to your ideas, I am going to go broke just like you. If you pay attention to my ideas, you have a chance of making half a million dollars a month.”

How do you want to live? It’s up to you. Do not live your life by default – live it by design.

The media sold us the fantasy that buying is the way to be successful and wealthy. The part they did not tell us, though, was the pain, stress, and emptiness “stuff” brings. Or the money and time it takes to maintain and clean the five-bedroom house with six bathrooms. They didn’t tell us about the burden of debt and the stress it causes on a marriage. There is a lot of pressure that goes along with keeping up with “the Joneses.”

Here is a real easy rule of thumb for success and creating wealth. Find out what everyone else is doing and do the exact opposite. The masses historically are wrong, so go in the other direction.

I have a holistic approach to wealth. True wealth to me is accumulating money without sacrificing your marriage, kids, health, or fun.

I have discovered three things you need to know about money: • How to make it and more of it • How to keep it • How to turn it into your slave.

Money is always looking for a place to go. If you do not direct it, your money will get sucked into department stores, grocery stores, and the Internet. It will be sucked into those companies’ bank accounts instead of remaining in your bank account.

Will you be part of the 98 percent who are dead or broke at age sixty-five? Or part of the 2 percent who are living a wealthy, successful, favored life?

So what is your specialty? Is it gossip? Do you specialize in excuses? Sports stats, collecting fashion magazines, junk food, watching TV, Tweeting? Your specialty is where you spend your time. Unfortunately, 98 percent of the population spends its time specializing in things that don’t lead to wealth or happiness.

When you are an entrepreneur, you get paid for results. You do not get paid for time wasted with unproductive feelings.

Desire always reveals design and destiny. An eagle was designed to soar, and it has the desire to soar. The eagle was perfectly designed for it to soar. It was not designed like a chicken. It doesn’t have the desire to cluck around on the ground with a destiny of being deep-fried. Its destiny is soaring. Is the baby eagle designed with a skill to soar? Absolutely not. The baby eagle has to get on the momma eagle’s back and the momma eagle takes the baby soaring. Then the momma eagle tilts her wings and drops the baby off her back. That baby eagle flutters and, I am sure, has a heart that pumps incredibly fast. It works hard, yet it does not soar. It sinks fast in the air. But have no fear. Momma eagle swoops down, lifts the baby onto her back, and then soars up. She tilts her wings and lets the baby off her back again. She does this repeatedly, day after day, until the baby has the skill to fly.

Ego Keeps You Broke, Ego will render you broke for the rest of your life. Ego says, “That is not me” or “Gosh, I would never do a business like that” or “What would my friends think if I was doing something like that?” Ego says it is everybody else’s fault and takes no responsibility. Ego focuses on everybody else’s failures and not your own. Ego wants somebody else to pay for how you feel and somebody else to admit they were wrong.

Make a commitment to stop hurting people and to be someone who is building people up and creating good relationships. Be a source to other people. Be part of a rare breed of people who is achieving success and wealth while honoring others.

Why is it impossible to succeed without the Law of Forgiveness? Because there is one guarantee in life: We are going to face troubles with other human beings. So to succeed in life, in relationships, or in business, you have to know how to deal with people.

I had that sick feeling that I was supposed to do something I did not want to do. I knew it was the thing I was supposed to do, but I did not like the answer. I had to weigh my ego against my bank account. Desperation was not going to afford me the luxury of spending a year looking for the right business. I wanted desperately to be no longer homeless or a failure. I needed to change my life.

If I had ignored that weight-loss box in the back seat of my car and searched for something else to do, I do not know where I would be today. I am so glad that I was desperate and did not have time to be picky or to “find” my passion. I did what was in front of me, working with excellence and diligence. It was clearly worth it!

Then I had heard a voice say, “If you can be faithful with what I have given to you – Hans and the kids – then I will multiply your efforts.”

I have a question for you. Where is your focus today? When you are sitting at your place of work, whether you own the place or you work for someone else, where is your focus when you are at work? Are you answering personal phone calls? Are you texting? Are you Facebooking? Tweeting? Are you searching the Internet? Are you IM-ing – sending instant messages to – friends and forwarding joke e-mails to your office and personal friends? If you are doing any of those things, your focus is split in many different directions and you are not using the Law of Focus to your benefit. You would be amazed at how much more you can get done in your life when you focus.

The Law of Promotion is not just associated with influence and money, but it does correlate with time. If you waste time, you lose it forever. Time is something you never get back again, and it is more valuable than money. If you’re not faithful with your time, your life spins out of control. Your life gets sucked into destruction. Your life gets trapped in an unproductive cycle that destroys your confidence and eventually leads to depression. However, if you are faithful with your time and if you focus, you will be given more.

It is not always the products and services that make people happy. It is the relationship you have with them that makes them happy about being your client. How they feel about it is more important than the product itself. People are not loyal to the products, they are loyal to the people. If they like you, they will do business with you. If they do not like you, they will do business with somebody else.

If you want to be wealthy, you have to know how to sell. But selling is not about trying to get people to like you or buy your products; it is about building relationships and growing your influence. It is about honoring people around you. It is about making people feel valued. Influence is where sales take place.

It is so easy to influence people. It boils down to this simple thing: Give people what they want. What do people want? Everybody wants to feel special. Every human we pass by every single day wants to feel valued. They want to know they matter to somebody. It is easy to gain influence in another person’s life simply by valuing him or her.

Treat everyone like he or she is a friend. This is a very powerful concept. You are happy to see friends and happy to be with them. So if you treat all people with that same sense that you are happy to see them and you like being around them, the same energy is produced as with being with a friend. That is how you should communicate with every person you encounter. Your attitude toward people makes a huge difference. If you are flying on a plane, your feelings toward the airline will be very different if a flight attendant treats you courteously instead of rudely. We have all been talked to in a way that provokes us to give that bossy broad a dirty look and keep our cell phones on. We have also experienced the ones who are sweet and speak to us in a friendly manner, which makes us want to turn off our cell phones. The “Friends First” concept is simple. Talk to every stranger the way you talk to your friends. Be friendly, warm, and inviting. Use the same tone of voice and make them feel comfortable. This disarms strangers and helps them relax and become interested in you.

You can do this by asking questions using something I call FORM. “F” stands for family. “O” stands for occupation. “R” stands for recreation. And “M” stands for message. Asking people about their family, occupation, and recreation is a way to find out what people are interested in and to show interest in them. So get people talking about those three simple things.

When you are FORMing people, you are specifically looking for their SIGN. It’s not their horoscope – it stands for Strengths, Interests, Goals, and Needs.

You should honor, value, and recognize the people all around you, and act in your job as if you own the place and want the people to stay there. It is a natural progression that they will pick you when a management position opens because you are fair and good. You will have gained the people’s favor.

You cannot influence people or get to high levels of influence if your heart is not in the right place. Eventually, the truth comes out about exactly who you are. You will make decisions that will expose who you are, and what you build will not last. Your business will be shaky. You will not sleep well at night knowing you have manipulated people. You will develop a reputation as being untrustworthy and you will have to bribe people – with gifts or money – to be your friends. If you are going to be wealthy, be a wealthy person with an outrageous reputation for treating everyone well, not just the rich and famous or the important people. Be trustworthy in everything you do.

Instead of trying to get something from someone in return, have the larger view of trying to make a difference in the world and in your community. You will be amazed at the outcome and where it will take you.

I expanded my mindset to influence people not for selfish reasons but because I want them to have a better life.

If you have an appointment with a Sapphire, do not expect him or her to be on time. When you get upset with a Sapphire who is late, it is your fault for getting upset. That’s the way they are wired – love them for their strengths. Tell them thirty minutes earlier than you need them and bring your computer so you can get some work done while you wait. You will wait.

Emeralds can be more productive if they remember it is not about perfection, it is about getting the job done with results and testing the results. Why try to learn everything in advance when you may already have a baseline of skill and things you did not have to learn? You wasted time learning some things you did not need to, but if you test the results, you will see the areas where you need to focus.

Rubies always have to have the next step, a goal, or a challenge in front of them. They constantly have to be moving in a forward direction because that is what they were born to do.

The Law of Promotion means to prosper where you are planted. If you show you can be trusted with what’s in front of you, you will be made ruler of much. A lot of people think they will treat people a certain way when they are successful, or they will give to charity when they are wealthy. But you have to treat people that way now, and you have to give to others now. Invest in your job like it is your own company, and that’s how you will get promoted. Turn where you work into something better than it is. Ninety-eight percent of the population thinks they deserve a raise just for showing up. A raise means an increase – and you get an increase by increasing. You have to get better than when you got there, and you have to make it better. You have to make a difference instead of just sucking up oxygen and expecting a paycheck. Ninety-eight percent of the population wants to find a job that they love, but that is not how it works. If you find a way to love your job now, you will be given more. If you cannot manage your current job, how can you manage a bigger one? If you cannot manage your employees now, how can you manage them if your business grows? One of the basic steps to wealth is to take care of what you already have.

That same message has hit me in many areas of my life, from my marriage to my business: If you cannot respect and honor what you have now, and you do not take care of it, you will never graduate to the next place.

You have the ability to change your environment without changing your physical location. Your environment is in your head. It exudes out of your being. Hating your job never opens the vault to blessing, but it will decrease your production. It will open the door for you to gossip about your boss, to going on Facebook, to e-mailing friends, and to forwarding jokes while you are supposed to be working. Hating your job will cause you to avoid your boss and to avoid the people who are at the top and who need to see your good attitude, your good work, your excellence, and your diligence. Hating your job will never help you to become diligent or proficient or to find shortcuts that will help you raise the company’s revenue or to make you more valuable in the workplace.

Ask yourself every day, “How can I increase my value at the job?” This will happen with communication – communication with the boss and communication with other people. Build a foundation of making yourself incredibly valuable to your job, to the boss, to the company, and to clients. Is your boss frustrated with you, or does your boss feel as though he or she could not live without you? You become valuable to your boss if you get the job done and relieve stress for him or her. But it is more than just getting the job done – it is the working relationship. Do not think of your work as just a job, something you have to do. You are a partner on a team, and you want that team to be successful. When the time is right, sit down with your boss and have a frank conversation. First, thank your boss. Second, practice the Law of Value. Ask your boss: Show me, tell me, and coach me on what I can do better on the job to help this company succeed.

Thank-You Notes: When was the last time you wrote your boss a thank-you card? Learn your boss’s personality so you know how to communicate to your boss.

Many employees are trying to focus on twelve things at the same time: answering text messages, checking their personal e-mail, instant messaging their friends, forwarding e-mail jokes to a couple of co-workers and friends, listening to the news, and checking their Facebook page – all while trying to work. When you have your focus divided in all of these directions, you are totally unproductive.

To get a raise you have to raise your value to the company. There is always a way to make yourself more valuable so your boss wants to pay you more for doing the same thing.

I taught you to honor people by FORMing them – asking about their family, occupation, recreation, and message – as well as asking about their signs – strengths, interests, goals, and needs.

The most common question I get is, “Dani, how did you do it? How did you go from homeless to making millions?” My answer is always the same. I decided never to return to being broke again. I decided not to end up like those who had raised me. I decided not to be the failure everyone said I would be. I decided no longer to be the failure I had become.

When you make a solid decision it is always followed by action, and action leads to success.

If I were a chiropractor, I would say to every potential client, “There are a lot of people who are in pain yet not deadly serious about their health. I am just interviewing for a couple of clients who are truly serious about attaining good, solid health to make sure they are going to go the distance with me. How serious are you about getting your back straightened and living a pain-free, healthy life? I am after your long-term health. I want to get you well so we don’t have to see each other very much.” That is turning the tables on the prospect. They are expecting you to sell to them, so don’t. Make them want you instead. I was no longer selling. I was interviewing, and that’s how you have to think if you are marketing something. You have to interview instead of sell. Selling causes people to guard their wallets. Interviewing causes them to impress you and tell you why they need you, versus your having to tell them why they need you.

There is a philosophy out there of finding something that’s within you, what you would like to do. If I had followed that line of thinking, I would still be homeless. Did I like sales? Heck no. Was I good at it? No. Was it one of my natural-born talents? Oh, my gosh, no! What were my natural-born talents? I didn’t have any!

You do not have to love what you do. Start where you are.

Do something that makes a profit. Or find somebody else’s profitable idea and do that. For example, housekeepers are a dime a dozen. What could you add to make your service a little different from every other service in the area?

Some people go in and out of being teachable. Most people start off unteachable. They say, “I’ve got it all figured out.” But it takes failure to bring people to a place of being teachable. And usually then they only stay teachable until they have a little bit of success. Once they have that little bit of success, they figure they have the rest dialed – until they fail again. So they go on this rollercoaster – and some never get off the rollercoaster to be teachable.

Entrepreneurship is people and finance.

Financial pressure is not a great way to start a business for most people. Some of us can do it. Sometimes it is the financial pressure and the squeezing out on all sides that makes you desperate enough to drop your ego and do whatever it takes to be able to make money. But if you are spending eight thousand dollars a month, you are not there yet because you will start a company and spend the same way you do now.”

This process is the pathway to bigger profits. It has three simple steps: increase exposure, increase conversion, and increase scalability.

Testimonials need to be short, quick, and to the point. They need to be about the results of the product/service and the problem that has been solved for your clients who use it.

You cannot have the attitude that just paying them is enough because people care more about recognition and approval than money. Edifying them makes them feel special and important, and that means more to them than the actual paycheck they receive.

As an employer and would-be employee-preneur, it is also important for you to have systems in place that reward others for their efforts. You want to be able to pay your people well and to have a bonus structure in place that will help motivate your internal team.

I had a massive awakening. My things had consumed my life and I hadn’t even realized it. I saw that I was crippled by greed. I was a slave to money and a slave to recognition. I had grown up in poverty and although I had made millions of dollars, I still had the poverty mentality, which spends everything that is made – and for what?

Wealth is accumulated and then passed down for generations to grow the wealth even bigger. I was accumulating stuff instead of wealth. You kick poverty when you are able to keep the money. It has nothing to do with how much you make. It has everything to do with how much you spend.

Do not pass down debt to your children who will pass it down to their children. Instead, choose to pass down wealth, which is what I believe you were designed to do. Choose to give them the gift of wisdom of accumulating wealth and understanding how money works and the freedom that it brings.

You were designed with wealth in mind. We know that to be true because the Law of Desire states that if you have the desire for wealth, it is because you were given the design to have wealth. You bought this book, First Steps to Wealth, because you have a desire to become wealthy. When the Great Designer put you together, he did so with all that I showed you in Chapter 1. The desire is not for stuff; it is for freedom.

Your monthly income is supposed to grow something, just like a seed, but most people live from paycheck to paycheck, which means they are eating all of their seed. They have nothing to plant and grow. Your seed is supposed to reproduce itself. It is not supposed to be all eaten. But instead, people spend their money on cell phones, televisions, food that goes to waste, and clothes they do not wear left hanging in their closets with tags still on them.

Another question, how did we ever get suckered into financing a depreciating liability?

Ninety-eight percent of the population has lived under a false sense of wealth because we can afford to waste money.

Only 2 percent truly understands wealth. Ninety-eight percent of the population will eat all of their seeds. Money is seed. It is supposed to multiply, and it cannot multiply if you are consuming all of it. You have to stop being a consuming human being and start being an income-producing human being.

Do you know what happened to the money you made in the past five years? Two percent of the population knows exactly where the money goes. Ninety-eight percent of the population doesn’t have a clue.

You have been allotted a certain amount of money every single month. You exchange your skill for that money. This money is the financial territory you are in charge of governing. Let’s say your allotment is two thousand dollars a month. If you are faithful with that two thousand dollars a month, then it is going to good use and you are multiplying the money. When you are multiplying the money, you will be given more financial territory to govern. But if you spend all you make every month, you will not be given more territory. You have to be faithful with the two thousand dollars a month to get four thousand dollars, to get six thousand dollars, to get ten thousand dollars, and to get a hundred thousand dollars a month. Once you realize that this is the financial law and you start playing by the rules, you will start gaining more financial territory and accumulate wealth.

Two percent of the population knows exactly where the money goes. The other 98 percent hasn’t a clue.

The 98 Percenters use credit cards to buy stuff, whereas the 2 Percenters use credit to build wealth.

If you are financially independent, you can have the big house or five Lamborghinis if you want. Live the life you want to live. But if you are in debt, you do not have the right to be shopping at the mall every week.

Your debt-free lifestyle is in your pantry, closet, and garage. You have the money for a dream vacation, but it is wasted in small things.

All debt is based on greed. Your mortgage is also a type of debt. As I said in the last chapter, your mortgage is making the bankers rich, while you are enslaved in debt, paying interest.

Give a dollar for every ten dollars you make, and your needs will always be met. The wealthy use this principle.

Debt is evil. When you have debt, you become a slave to money.

The impoverished spend their money on stuff. Middle-class people spend their money on what they think are assets, but it is really just stuff. The wealthy invest their money on income-producing assets.

Invest in what you know. Investing is all about risk; it is all about calculating and running your numbers. It is about learning new skills.

Do not buy according to ego, but according to what is wise. Buy below your means, not above. Buy an older, small two- or three-bedroom house and rent it for almost double of what your mortgage will be.

I only possess the skills I have because He wrote how to get them. Everything I have talked about in this book came from the Bible.

When I finally came to God, I realized I had been practicing a lot of His principles already, and I did not have to be a pastor to do God’s work. I decided to read the Bible and seek the answers myself. I learned that Abraham was a wealthy businessman, not a pastor or an evangelist. Isaac was also a wealthy businessman, and Moses was a politician and judge. He was not a pastor as we see pastors today. He looked and dressed like an Egyptian and I believe he had tattoos. He would be harshly judged today by many churches in the world that care more about their rules of how to dress and how to look like a “good Christian” than they do about what the Bible really says. Joseph, a former slave, learned how to become an architect and business manager. He managed laborers and did engineering. He was an excellent administrator and had some incredible accounting skills. He was not a pastor. He too looked like an Egyptian with tattoos, short skirts, a wig, and eyeliner. He looked so much like an Egyptian that when his brothers saw him after being separated for many years, they did not recognize him. They thought he was the Egyptian ruler, and in reality he was. These famous men who have been talked about for thousands of years were not the heads of a modern church -those structured buildings and organizations did not exist then. God used everyday average people with professions in the marketplace to develop a people, and He raised up an army that would impact people’s lives for the better. David – the apple of God’s eye, the one God promised that He would establish His kingdom forever – was a political leader, singer, songwriter, military leader, and businessman.

It is almost like your timeline gets synced with God’s. It is the right whisper in your heart at the right time. It is the right voice in your head that gives you the exact answer you were looking for. That voice speaks to you when you train yourself to listen to it and obey. That voice wants to bless you so much that you fall to your knees and thank Him for everything He has done.

Your business and work are also ways to impact people’s lives. What kinds of seeds are you planting there? What will people be saying about you fifty years after you are gone? Will they even know who you are?

Although Hans and I make money in our businesses, our business model has always been about helping other people. We are making a difference not only with our staff and our employees and their families, but also with our clients.

You will never be able to convince your family that your crazy ideas or your new mindset is the way they should be thinking. It is like a crab that is trying to get out of a bucket, and the rest of the crabs try to pull him back down. Some are jealous; some are scared for you – they are overprotective because they do not want you to fail; and some maybe have an inkling that you might succeed and your success will make them look bad. Whatever their motives are, none of that really matters. What matters is this: The only thing that determines success is results. So do not try to convince your friends and family to dig into all of this information and to buy investments or start a business. Get results – they speak louder than anything you can say. When your friends and family see your results, they will be begging for you to show them how. That is how you will get their attention.


Summary: Rich dad, poor dad – Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter

Summary, Rich dad, poor dad - Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter


Most people fall into the trap of building liabilities without realizing that’s what they are doing, they are financially illiterate, and fail to understand the difference between an income statement and a balance sheet, and the relationship between the two.

Having a good career only helps a person become more financially secure if they invest the additional money generated in the purchase of income generating assets. What constitutes an asset? An asset is anything that: Has value. Produces income. Appreciates in value and has a ready market for resale.

An important distinction is that rich people buy luxuries last, while the poor and middle class tend to buy luxuries first.

Specialization is a trap that should be avoided. It’s more beneficial to know a little about a lot of business subjects than to know everything there is to know everything about just one area. By having a broad business background, you have more options available to you.

‘‘Do what you feel in your heart to be right — for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.’’

The rich look at a loss as a temporary setback. The poor look at a loss as a permanent state of affairs.  “I always try and turn every disaster into an opportunity.’’ –John D. Rockefeller

As a general rule, successful friends will enjoy talking about money — it will be a subject they’re interested in and well read on. By contrast, unsuccessful friends will often avoid the subject like the plague –you’ll learn by observing what they do than you will by discussing things with them.

 Make your investments freehold. Whenever you make an investment, your first goal (naturally) is to buy something that will increase in value. As that occurs, liquidate part of your position until your original capital has been repaid. You can now stop worrying about market fluctuations, because your capital has been returned. At this happy point, your asset is now completely freehold. Any further gains are the icing on the cake, or if the asset starts to lose value, it really won’t impact on your financial health — it will just delay the accomplishment of financial wealth.


Summary: The Richest Man in Babylon

The Richest Man in Babylon - George Clason
The basic principles of effective money management are: Save at least 10-percent of all that you earn for an investment fund for the future. Learn to live on 90-percent or less of your income. Invest your accumulated capital into projects that will provide a safe, steady income, taking full advantage of compounding of the interest received. Invest only in areas in which you have expertise or with people who are experienced. Buy the house in which you live so you don’t waste any money on rent. Have a realistic insurance program Always keep working at various ways and means of increasing your income.

Anyone who is struggling under the burden of debt lacks any ability to think rationally, and to accumulate wealth. It is much more productive to take positive action and get out of debt before embarking on any program to accumulate wealth.

People create their own luck by the level of work and commitment they put into a project.

Money represents success only through its ability to provide freedom to do things. It is not an end in and of itself – only a means to an end. The possession of sufficient amounts of capital makes possible the enjoyment of the very best services and goods the world has to offer.

‘‘A man’s wealth is not in the purse he carries. A fat purse quickly empties if there be no golden stream to refill it. Arkad has an income that constantly keeps his purse full, no matter how liberally he spends.’’ –Kobbi

The key principle at the very foundation of any program designed to generate wealth is at least one-tenth of all that a person earns is theirs to keep.

Anyone with a desire to accumulate wealth and put it to good use requires two things:

– Time. All men actually have this in abundance, but only a few put it to use making themselves wealthy. Instead of looking for constructive, useful ways to apply the resource of time, many people fill their lives with diverse activities which simply help them to pass the time.

– Study. There are two kinds of learning that are useful to anyone seeking to generate wealth – learning about specific subjects and learning how to find out what is not commonly known about any topic. Both kinds of learning are useful and valuable.


There are several basic principles which apply to the acquisition of wealth:

  • Live on less than you earn.
  • Seek advice from those who are competent to give it through their own experiences.
  • The accumulation of wealth moves forward much quicker when a person allows the effect of compound interest to work in their favour. Instead of frittering away the interest received on capital accumulated, put that interest out to work in other projects which have the potential to earn additional income.
  • The accumulation of wealth should be an exciting and adventurous project rather than a source of misery. Make the journey into an adventure and start enjoying that now,
  • Life is full of many good things which are worthwhile and good value for money. Don’t become so focused on saving that you miss out on all the good things there are to enjoy along the way.

‘‘Wealth, like a tree, grows from a tiny seed. The first copper you save is the seed from which your tree of wealth shall grow. The sooner you plant that seed, the sooner the tree shall grow. And the more faithfully you nourish and water that tree with consistent savings, the sooner you may bask in contentment beneath its shade.’’


  1. Start thy purse to fattening
  2. Control thy expenditure
  3. Make thy gold multiply
  4. Guard thy treasures from loss
  5. Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment
  6. Insure a future income
  7. Increase thy ability to earn

While it is highly satisfying to have a regular savings program, this is just the start of a wealth accumulation program. The trick is to put that gold out to work in other projects which will generate additional earnings. A key to any man’s wealth is the establishment of an ongoing income stream which can generate wealth irrespective of any other factors. In this regard, capital reserves accumulated through savings should be applied to other profitable projects.

The ideal characteristics of an investment are that the principal is safe, it can be reclaimed whenever required and it earns a fair rental.

THE FIVE LAWS OF GOLD The five laws of gold are the secrets of success which separate wealth builders from all others.

  1. Gold comes greadily in increasing amounts to any person who will save not less than one-tenth of their earnings to create an estate for the future well being of their family.
  2. Gold labours diligently for the person who wisely selects a profitable way to apply it.
  3. Gold clings to the possession of the cautious investor who seeks the advice of people with investment experience.
  4. Gold slips away from the person who invests in business fields which are unfamiliar or which are not used by those without experience in investments.
  5. Gold flees the person who forces it to try and generate impossible earnings or who follows the advice of tricksters or confidence men, or who trusts it to his own inexperience and romantic desires in investment.

THE GOLD LENDER OF BABYLON In the field of investment, it is far better to have a little prudent caution than to end up with nothing but regrets. Whenever a person starts to accumulate wealth, they will be beseiged by people who are anxious to use that money in their own endeavours. Out of the proverbial woodwork will come numerous projects and proposals, all with the common aim of separating the possessor from their capital. There are several things to avoid when considering any business proposals: Some of the most persistent people seeking funding usually are close family members. Most of these projects will turn out to have only a marginal chance of succeeding at best, and more likely most projects will have virtually no likelihood of success at all. Even worse, if you invest in a family member’s project that does not succeed, the borrower will resent you even more. It’s a no-win situation that should be avoided at all costs. The safest loans are made to people who have possessions far outweighing the value of the loan required. In this situation, the lender can act secure in the knowledge that other assets can be sold to repay the loan if required. People in the throes of great emotional upheavals rarely make good investment decisions. Avoid them. People who borrow for successful business projects tend to be absolutely prompt in their repayments. People who borrow to repay money lost through their indiscretions rarely make a habit of promptly making repayments. Merchants who have knowledge and experience in their field of trade make excellent credit risks. By financing the business activities of these merchants, wealth is generated for the entire city. Capital reserves have a way of slipping away from anyone unskilled in applying it wisely. Therefore, first seek security of the principal when evaluating any investment proposition. Next look for safe, dependable and steady ways to make the capital increase.

The person who spends freely and lives beyond his means sows the winds of needless self-indulgence from which he is sure to reap trouble and humiliation.

Anyone who is struggling under the burden of debt lacks any ability to think rationally, and to accumulate wealth. It is much more productive to take positive action and get out of debt before embarking on any program to accumulate wealth.

‘‘That man who keepeth in his purse both gold and silver that he need not spend is good to his family and loyal to his king. The man who hath but a few coppers in his purse is indifferent to his family and indifferent to his king. But the man who hath naught in his purse is unkind to his family and is disloyal to his king, for his own heart is bitter. Therefore, the man who wisheth to achieve must have coin that he may keep to jingle in his purse, that he have in his heart love for his family and loyalty to his king.’’ –Mathon

People who work hard tend to attract the company of other people who are also industrious. This, in turn, leads to other associations and creates other opportunities and business arrangements.




The Top 10 Distinctions Between Entrepreneurs and Employees – Keith Cameron Smith

The Top 10 Distinctions Between Entrepreneurs and Employees


A true entrepreneur adds value to the world and in doing so creates a successful business.

I believe that if you want to impress someone you tell them of your successes, but if you want to impact someone you tell them of your failures.

10:  Entrepreneurs educate themselves more than they entertain themselves.  Employees entertain themselves more than they educate themselves.

Why so many young men and women in the traditional school system have an idea of what they want to be when they are young, but they don’t know ten years later?  I believe the answer is that they have been conditioned to follow orders.  After years of being told what to do, they are asked what they would like to do and they just don’t know.  And you can’t blame them.  Since many of them are not clear on what they want to do, they go to college. They invest years of their time and a lot of money then end up not using their college education and end up in a field that has nothing to do with their schooling. Some may even say they have wasted a lot of time and money by going to college.

Limit your entertainment.  Most of the entertainment in our world is foolishness.  While some can be fun and a momentary release from the pressures of life, much of the entertainment people watch and listen to can cause some of the stress they are experiencing.  Whatever you are consistently putting into your mind is conditioning you for the future you will live.

One of the skills of great entrepreneurs is the ability to network and build relationships… Who do you want to connect with?  How much do you know about their interests?  Educating yourself about the interests of someone you want to build a relationship with is critical.  If there is no common ground, then chances are you won’t build a relationship.

Leadership is influence.  Successful Entrepreneurs are those who have learned how to influence others… You must study and practice the principles of leadership if you want to become a successful entrepreneur.

Inspiration:  True leadership starts with self-leadership.  If you can’t keep yourself inspired, then you can’t inspire others very well.  

Encouragement:  Inspiration usually helps people get started, whereas encouragement usually helps people keep going.

Being discouraged simply means you have lost your focus or changed your focus from what is truly important to you.


9:  Entrepreneurs have en empowering perspective of failure.  Employees see failure as bad.

Never take failure personally… Failure is a verb, not a noun.  Failure is just something you do, it is not something you are.


8:  Entrepreneurs are solution finders.  Employees are problem solvers.

Employees tend to be problem solvers.  When a problem arises that was not covered in their training, they don’t believe it’s their responsibility to fix it.  Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, know that when a problem arises it’s their responsibility to find a solution so they don’t have to waste time and money with it in the future.

Unsuccessful employees will use the excuse that it’s “not my problem” when they don’t know how to solve it, or maybe they are just unwilling to put forth the effort necessary to find a solution.  Successful entrepreneurs operate from a mindset that says “Even though I don’t know how to solve this problem right now, I can figure it out, and I will find a solution no matter how long it takes or how hard it is”.

Success and failure in almost any endeavour can be tracked back to your daily routine.  Most people think that habits are only about what they do, but the things you don’t do are just as important.  In fact a very simple formula for success is to do more of the things that get you closer to your goals and less of the things that keep you from them.

Most professional problems are the result of system failure not people failure.  SYSTEM:  Save Yourself Stress Time Energy and Money.  To find solutions for problems that keep coming over and over you must create systems.
7:  Entrepreneurs know a little about a lot.  Employees know a lot about a little.

6: Entrepreneurs give and receive praise and correction.  Employees don’t praise and try to avoid correction.

5:  Entrepreneurs say “The buck stops here”.  Employees say “It’s not my fault”.

4:  Entrepreneurs build wealth.   Employees make money.

Time is the most valuable asset you have, it is irreplaceable.  With that knowledge, consider for a moment how much time you exchange for money.  Are you exchanging it wisely?  We all have heard “ time is money “, a deeper revelation is that time is life, and when we waste time we waste our lives.

Because of the relationship between time and life it is important to value money.  Make it a priority to learn to manage your money, because your money represents a portion of your life.  When you spend your money on junk, you are, in a very real sense wasting part of your life.

If you don’t value money then you are not likely to have any.  We don’t accumulate things we don’t value. What if I told my wife she is not important to me?  What if I told my kids they are not important to me?  Would they continue to hang around me? Of course not.  Well, the same is true about your money.

“Son, if you want to be great then you must walk side by side and hand in hand with great people.  If you want to be happy, then be around happy people.  If you want to be a drunk, then hang around drunks.  If you want to be rich, then find out what the poor people do and don’t do that”.

3:  Entrepreneurs fly with eagles.   Employees peck around with chickens.

2:  Entrepreneurs look into the future.  Employees look into the past.

Few people understand the power of vision, and that is why most people are employees, not entrepreneurs.  Very little of value happens without vision.  A good marriage doesn’t just happen without a vision to make it happen.  Good heath doesn’t just happen without a vision to make it happen.  Financial freedom doesn’t just happen without a vision to make it happen.  Vision make things happen.  All great entrepreneurs have vision.  Vision is power, it attracts wisdom.

Life is too short to work on a job you hate.

The surest way to waste your life is to live without a vision.  The surest way to enjoy your life is to create a vision that inspires you, stay focused on it, and run with it.  Chose where you want to go, take consistent steps in that direction, and work towards it relentlessly.  Your future can be something you create or something you hate.  Look to the future through the eyes of faith and see where you want to be five, ten, twenty, forty years from now.

1:  Entrepreneurs take risks because of faith.  Employees play it safe because of fear.

FEAR:  False Evidence Appearing Real.

In my Wisdom Creates Freedom workshop, I teach participants to use a powerful question do deal with fear.  When faced with one of your fears ask yourself “ What do I believe to be true that is not true? ”.  As simple as it may sound it works.

A simple way to increase your faith:  Celebrate your successes.  We have all had successes, and if you look, you will find them throughout your life.  Think back to times where you were successful and celebrate them.



Early Retirement Extreme – Jacob Lund Fisker

Early Retirement Extreme - Jacob Lund Fisker


In real life, the prisoners of Plato’s Cave are those who are prisoners or slaves to their wages and their culture.  A wage slave is a wage earner who is entirely dependent on their wages.  While the wage slave is free to leave the current job, he is not free to leave the job market altogether and he can likely not imagine the possibility of doing so.  He is still entirely focused on the wall.

The wall shows other people not as who they are, but as what they own.  There goes a man in his new sports car, what is not seen is that the car is bought on credit and the man is stressed because he is having trouble making the payments.

Wage slaves have jobs where they can go and spend their most productive hours writing high powered memos so they can be more productive, while other people spend their time ignoring memos so they can be more productive too… … This endless working and playing is called “making a living”, yet people are so busy “making a living” that they have no time for living.  A wage slave is a person who is not only economically bound by mortgages, loans, and other obligations, but is also mentally bound by an inability to perceive that there are other options available. Like the prisoners in Plato’s cave.  Their chains are not physicals; the chains are mental, which in some sense makes them worse because it turns the prisoners into their own prison wardens.

Is spending the most productive years of your life chained to the job market to collect a lot of rarely used stuff that gathers dust in the closet or takes up space in junkyards a wise choice?  Were you really born just to die, leaving a large pile of discarded consumer goods? I realize that not wanting a house full of things makes me look weird and even “unpatriotic”.  After all, more is better and who does not want to be better?   But perhaps conformity is not the only way to live.  In fact, by taking the other end of the bargain, saving as much as other people are spending on wants, it is possible to retire and lice on invested savings after just 5 years of full time work.  Rather than increasing the amount of work to acquire more stuff, reducing this superficial need reduces the amount of necessary work.  It is possible to reduce the amount of work all the way down to zero: financial independence.  Indeed, playing the shadow game for five years provides a permanent way out of the cave!  Alternatively it is also possible to return to the cave for a few months every year to earn money for the next adventure out of the cave.

The resulting freedom could be used on personal projects such as reading books, visiting places, entertaining, exploring, cooking, learning, and experiencing.  It can also be used to start businesses, engage in a second career, etc without worrying about having to support oneself.

We have come to a point where spending money is one of the few recognizable signs of success.  For instance, spending half an hour in a traffic jam getting from A to B in an expensive car is considered more successful than spending half an hour in a traffic jam getting from A to B in a cheap car.  I am not sure why that is.  Even more puzzling, both of these are considered more successful than spending 25 minutes getting from A to B on a train, or spending 20 minutes on a bicycle from A to B while passing cars.

Similarly, it is considered more successful to sit on a couch in your home, if there is an additional unused couch in an additional unused room, compared to a house with no unused couches and no unused rooms. In the real estate market, a house with a greater potential for unused rooms generally commands a higher price than a house with fewer but constantly used rooms.  Perhaps there is personal fulfillment to be had in cleaning and maintaining a larger home? Or perhaps the fulfilment comes from paying someone else to do it?

Recently much attention has been paid to great kitchens and great kitchen appliances, while less attention is paid to great cooking and great cooks (except those on TV).  Why boil eggs in a pot when there are 350 varieties of electric egg boilers available?  A common misconception is that money is better or more successfully spent on granite countertops and restaurant strength food processor and burners than on cooking classes and practice.  Who has the time anyway?

This behaviour is pervasive.  People with more money than time buy $3.000 road racing bicycles with ultra light carbon frames to shave 2 pounds of the bike, regardless of the fact that they themselves are probably 10 pounds overweight, and only take a slow ride once a week.  Compare this to the amateur enthusiast with more time than money, who rides every day and thus has the power to ride his much less expensive bike much faster.  Who enjoys more?

For recreation, many believe that saving for a year to drop a large sum on a hectic one-week vacation in an exotic locale is more recreational than staying closer to home and taking a month off to relax.  A hectic tourist experience is considered very successful.

All debt comes with a contractual obligation of repayment, which is usually structured to last 30 years to minimize individual monthly payments, but definitely not to minimize the total number of payments which is maximized by increasing the maturity of the loan as much as possible.  If the maturity is extended in perpetuity, the interest payments become similar to rent (this is rent for loaned money you will have to return anyways).  If the only means of repayment is a job, this means that working must also last 30 years.  This way a single decision just after leaving school turns out into a lifelong commitment that is very hard to escape, given that the borrowed money has been spent into increasing consumption rather than into increasing production.

Salary men have options, but they do not create options. This linearization makes them predictable and subject to indirect control.  This control is exerted by providing a choice within a narrow range.  “You can choose between the following three models of cookie-cutter homes.  You should not modify them or your resale value will be impaired”, “You can chose  between the following two political candidates, you should not vote for others or your vote will be wasted”, “ You can chose between the following 25 heavily advertised breakfast cereals, but don’t think of starting your day with anything but breakfast cereal”, “ Chose the size and type of your TV and the number of channels, but don’t consider not watching TV, or you might miss out”. This gives the illusion of freedom while retaining control.  Wage slavers can choose to change their job, but they are not free to quit their job.

Few people pay cash anymore and “financial success” depends on being good at managing debt.

While the lack of a steady pay check might seem risky, it is actually safer as the working man has been conditioned to the situation of having to find new jobs he actually thinks of them as clients rather than employers, and thus considers it normal. A salary man is rarely without a job, but when he is, it is a high stress event, almost like a death in the family.

Many people spend more time maintaining their homes or their car than the time they spend maintaining their health.  Too many forget that they live in their body first and in their home second.  After all, where else are you going to live? Hence, taking care of the body should be the priority before taking care of the rest of the world.

Financial skills are important.  In particular, they become increasingly important for anyone who accumulates more and more assets.  It’s strange how specialists gladly spend a great deal of time perfecting their skills to pursue a five percent raise, while at the same time there is a fatalistic tendency to accept whatever investment strategies are currently fashionable on Wall Street when it comes to generating passive income.

Focusing on utility rather than consumer products or instructions is a key tactic.  Success is then redefined from accumulating and consuming the maximum number of products or the most expensive products to deriving the maximum utility.

You must be willing to change your frame of mind and conquer old habits.  In particular you must be willing to do things that 95% of the population won’t be able to understand and 99% won’t be willing to do.   Freedom is attained by creating a large gap between production ( revenue ) and consumption ( expenses ). This can be done in two ways: earning more or spending less. Nothing new there.

Giving up wants can be as though or easy as going on a diet, giving up smoking, or changing other habits dependent on strength of character.  However, doing without is often thought of as a sacrifice, especially when strongly attached to material comforts.  It is quickly realized ( about a month ) that happiness does not stem from being surrounded by possessions, but that being surrounded by them is the result of an addictive habit.  Thus, it can be tremendously liberating to not “need” something to be happy.

Notice how possessions tend to increase and expand to cover all possible closet and storage space.  Sooner or later the house will feel cramped with clutter.  This happens when storage becomes inefficient and more and more effort has to be put into playing Tetris with your stuff.  At this point consumers start talking about the “need” for more bedrooms.  These bedrooms are costly.  Not only are bigger houses more expensive; they also come with higher property taxes.  Its traditional to heat the entire house to 19 C, in other words, money is paid and gas is burned to make the possessions as comfortable temperature wise as the inhabitants.  Interestingly, storage costs are related to volume and not the price of what you are storing, transportation ( and often environmental ) costs are typically related to weight. As consequence, I consider not only the price, but also the volume and mass when I buy something.  The costs manifest mainly as real estate costs, that is, paying to put your stuff somewhere, and if you put it in your main residence and subscribe to central heating, the cost of keeping it at a comfortable temperature.  Stuff is also hard to transport, so having a large amount of stuff makes it difficult to move ant therefore it acts as an anchor on your mobility.

I don’t own anything tangible that would be heartbreaking to lose or which has substantial replacement costs.  The sum total of my possessions, including my residence, would cost less than 10% of my net worth.

Price might be higher if it leads to a lower ownership costs.  Ex 30 dollars shoes that last a year, VS 100 dollar shoes that lasts 5 years, VS 50 dollar used shoes that lasts 3 years.  Annual cost= ( your costs – used costs ) / Years in service. ( to lower the annual cost the item might be sold at the end, that is why we have “used costs” in the equation ).

The idea is therefore to seriously consider whether your current living arrangements are optimally aligned with your liberty and pursuit of happiness.  Is your money best spent on an extra bedroom or five years of freedom?.

Children naturally try to emulate their parents, at least in the early years, and for the most part a child’s values are a direct reflection of his parent’s, either conformingly aligned or diametrically opposed.  Traditionally parents have played a large role in their children’s upbringing.  Through watching and emulating, children learn life skills such as respect for others, the virtue of doing chores or performing a day’s work for a day’s pay, balancing a check book or keeping track of money, how to judge value, how to get good deals, eat inexpensively, cook a meal and do dishes, bake bread, clean, de clutter, ride a bicycle, tend a garden, hang up a shelf, or fix a plugged drain.  However, as people have increased their expenses, households now require two incomes, and thus, as it so often goes in out rime, parents have outsourced their children’s upbringing, and possibly taking a lesson from their own situation as wage slaves, they now act as managers of their children’s lives and careers rather than as role models, signing them up for extracurricular activities that are so very important for their resume to get into their dream college.

If new loans are the only way to raise cash, because all existing income goes towards bills and cost of living, and new loans are not available because credit has been maxed out, then a sudden need for cash ( for instance to fix a leaky roof, or any other emergency ) is a serious problem.

As our productivity has gone up, we have increased the size of our homes and filled unused rooms with unused purchases, which just wait to be thrown out or given away.  We are surrounded by the inedible landscapes of lawns and asphalt.  We have moved away from work and the market so we can waste time driving there, and money on maintaining our multiple cars.  In our spare time we waste time watching TV, waste our bodies eating junk food, then waste money treating the results of those habits.  These behaviours make no one better off, except those who sell the enabling products, who, as mentioned above, are often ourselves.

Think of health as wealth, the wealth that matters the most, and being wealth, its usefulness lies in its ability to serve as an asset in our lives.  The healthier the life, the better the life.

There is an absolute standard of fitness. To be fit is to be able to drag or carry an unconscious adult out of a burning house on one, maybe two gulps of air.  To be fit is to be able to fight and defeat anyone who can outrun you and outrun anyone you can’t defeat.

The staples are: ammonia, baking soda, borax, chlorine, soap and vinegar.  Just remember to never combine chlorine and ammonia.

On a parallel note, the US used to be known for its auto companies.  Today, some of the biggest industrial companies are in the business of selling junk food and cholesterol lowering drugs.  Food for thought?

Voluntarily stepping out of the consumer cycle and saving enough to replace one’s job with investment income instead of working is not “normal”.  The great majority of people do neither, and those who do one almost never do the other.  Anyone not consuming as much as possible tends to do so out of external necessity and thus does not have savings to invest.  Anyone investing for income tends to have plenty of money and thus consumes at an average if not above average level.  There are a few doing both, most do neither.

On the other hand, it is possible to find other people pursuing frugality as well as people interested in investing.  If you prefer to avoid confrontation, keep allow profile with it comes to this area of your life.  Don’t mention that you also happen to manage a six figure portfolio to your “voluntary simplicity” friends and don’t mention that you only have one bedroom to your investment friends unless you are prepared for the resulting discussion.

The golden rule of volunteering is that the volunteer gets to do it his way.  If you want to eat better for less, volunteer to cook.  If you want to save money on cleaning supplies, start making them yourself.  This takes leadership abilities, but if not you, then who?

An investor is a person who lives from his assets.  For an investor, the start of financial independence includes a strong vision of one day creating a metaphorical forest and living harmoniously with the forest.  It starts by planting seeds.  These seeds grow into saplings and the mind starts connecting the vision to the upcoming reality of a mature forest.

P=401p  ( using a conservative rate of return of 3% ) This means that each $1 dollar a month not spent is equivalent to reducing the required fund size by $401.  For example, the cost of a $20 cell monthly payment might seem inexpensive to someone earning $15/hour, but with an asset based income, it actually represents $20 * 401 =$8020, which represents over 4 months of work at the given hourly rate.  P =(aprox) 12 ( because is a monthly exp ) *p / interest ( interest 0 – 1 )

Los Secretos del Hombre mas Rico del Mundo, Carlos Slim

Los Secretos del Hombre mas Rico del Mundo, Carlos Slim

Los Secretos del Hombre mas Rico del Mundo, Carlos Slim

Creo que la pobreza no se puede enfrentar a través de dádivas No puedes luchar contra este flagelo mediante donaciones deducibles de impuestos o con programas sociales. La pobreza la enfrentas solo con buena educación y con puestos de trabajo.

Como regalo de bodas Slim recibió un millón de pesos de parte de su mama, patrimonio con el cual compro un terreno en Polanco. Según la costumbre libanesa era para construir la casa de la nueva familia. Pero la nueva pareja concibió una variante de esa tradición: construyeron un edificio donde ocuparon un piso y rentaron los otros departamentos.

*** El secreto de este moderno rey Midas para hacerse multimillonario surgió de su admiración por la filosofía de algunos grandes financieros como Jean Paul Getty, Benjamin Graham y Warren Buffet.

Slim asimilo las enseñanzas de Benjamin Graham quien sostenía los siguientes principios:

El inversionista debe ponerse alguna clase de limite en el precio que paga.
Mucho mas importante que saber cuando comprar o cuando vender es saber cuando NO comprar.
Nadie le pregunta a un experto como conducir los negocios y su vida… menos la bolsa.

Existen tres ámbitos donde una persona educada debe conducirse como un descerebrado: la religión, la bolsa y las matemáticas En los tres casos no solo “queda bien” considerarse un perfecto ignorante, sino que incluso es de mala educación discutir.

En pocas palabras: El empresario solo es un administrador temporal de la riqueza.

La ocupación desplaza a la preocupación y los problemas al enfrentarlos desaparecen.

“La riqueza es como un huerto. Tienes que compartir el fruto, no los arboles”.

Slim fue de compras en medio de una de las mas severas crisis económicas de la historia moderna mexicana. Esto es, mientras los inversionistas extranjeros y locales intentaban deshacerse de sus activos a cualquier precio, Slim hizo lo contrario: compro empresas de minería, tiendas minoristas, fabricas de cable y mucho mas. Precisamente durante la crisis, construyo el mayor conglomerado económico del país: el Grupo Carso.

“Los malos tiempos son buenos, si sabes que hacer con ellos:  Era el mejor momento, nadie quería comprar y todos querían vender”.

Bajo la óptica de Slim los negocios son simples:

  1. Cuida a tus clientes.
  2. Invierte mucho.
  3. Controla tus costos y tus gastos.

Los diez principios básicos de su imperio, fueron tomados de las enseñanzas de su padre, Julián Slim Haddad:

  1. Estructuras simples, organizaciones con mínimos niveles jerárquicos, desarrollo humano y formación interna de las funciones ejecutivas. Flexibilidad y rapidez en las decisiones. Operar con las ventajas de la empresa pequeña, que son las que hacen grandes a las grandes empresas.
  2. Mantener la austeridad en tiempos de vacas gordas fortalece, capitaliza, y acelera el desarrollo de la empresa, asimismo, evita los amargos ajustes drásticos en las épocas de crisis.
  3. Siempre activos en la modernización, crecimiento, capacitación, calidad, simplificación, y mejora incansable de los procesos productivos. Incrementar la productividad, competitividad, reducir gastos y costos, guiados siempre por las mas altas referencias mundiales.
  4. La empresa nunca debe limitarse a la medida del propietario o administrador. No sentirnos grandes en nuestros pequeños coralitos Mínima inversión en activos no productivos.
  5. No hay reto que no podamos alcanzar trabajando unidos, con claridad de los objetivos y conociendo los instrumentos.
  6. El dinero que sale de la empresa se evapora. Por eso re-invertimos las utilidades.
  7. La creatividad empresarial no solo es aplicable a los negocios, sino también a la solución de muchos de los problemas de nuestros países Lo hacemos a través de las Fundaciones del Grupo.
  8. El optimismo firme y paciente siempre rinde frutos.
  9. Todos los tiempos son buenos para quienes saben trabajar y tienen con que hacerlo.
  10. Nuestra premisa es y siempre ha sido tener muy presente que nos vamos sin nada; que solo podemos hacer las cosas en vida y que el empresario es un creador de riqueza que la administra temporalmente.

*** Me recomendó dos libros, How to be rich de Paul Getty, y Supermoney de Adam Smith.

Todos los que suenan con el éxito quisieran que Carlos Slim les confiara como hizo su fortuna hasta llegar a la cima. Ante esto Slim responde que no hay nada oculto, que su secreto consiste en trabajar, ahorrar e invertir.

Cuando Slim es interrogado acerca de que se siente ser el hombre mas rico del mundo, Slim ha respondido “se trata de un asunto que no tiene relevancia por que no es una competencia, no estoy jugando fútbol Al fin al cabo nadie se lleva nada de este mundo al morir. Sin embargo la riqueza debe ser administrada con eficiencia, probidad, eficacia y sobriedad.

…en ese entorno se destaca la escultura “Los últimos días de Napoleón”, acerca de la cual Slim ha dicho a sus amigos que “esta ahí para que no se olvide tener los pies en la tierra”.

Para los autores de “The Millionaire Next Door” cerca del 80% de los estadounidenses que han logrado riqueza ha sido a través de la acumulación de un dólar a la vez, trazando y siguiendo un plan para volverse millonarios, con mucha autodisciplina, habilidades y sin perder el enfoque de sus objetivos. Lo importante es dar el primer paso, pues el primer millón de dolares es el mas difícil de conseguir.

En todo caso, cual seria su legado?
– “Mi principal legado serán mis hijos. Muchos piensan dejar un mejor país para sus hijos, yo pienso dejar mejores hijos para mi país”.

El investigador, seguramente, querría enlistar los secretos de este guru financiero que lo llevaron a ser el hombre mas rico del mundo, pero encontraría solo uno: negociar de manera inflexible hasta el ultimo centavo.

“Mi padre, me inculco principios morales y de responsabilidad social muy claros. Actuar con la mas estricta moralidad y honradez.”

A finales de 1952, cuando yo tenia 12 anos, y con el fin de administrar nuestros ingresos y egresos, mi papa nos estableció la obligación de llevar una librea de ahorros, que revisaba con nosotros cada semana.

“Si mis hijos hubieran querido ser boxeadores o atletas tendrían que haber competido entre ellos. Pero en la vida real para conseguir tu felicidad no necesitas competir contra nadie?

Killing Sacred Cows – Garrett Gunderson

Killing Sacred Cows – Garrett Gunderson



Killing Sacred Cows – Garret Gunderson

If I have a book, and you have $20, and we mutually decide to exchange my book for your $20, what was the book worth to you? What was the book worth to me? Most people answer that the book was worth $20 for both you and me. This is wrong, we only give up something in an exchange when we value what we are receiving more than we value what we are giving up. The book was worth more than $20 to you, and the book was worth less than $20 to me.

There are finite dollars, yet infinite value can be exchanged with that finite currency. One dollar can become millions, if I buy something from you for a dollar, you can take that dollar and buy something from someone else, who can then use it to buy something else and so on…

Exchange can only occur in an atmosphere of disagreement. In a free marked, the final sale price of any object is always an amount that the seller and the buyer both disagree that the object is worth. This principle is vital to overcoming the myth of scarcity, because one way we create infinite value is through the process of exchange. Just as we can exchange the same dollars an infinite number of times so we can exchange any and every form of material wealth. The value is not in things, it is in the minds of people XXX

Ideas are not and will never be scarce, and ideas lead to innovation, which leads to increased efficiency and the ability to use resources in ways that were previously unimaginable, as well as the creation of new and better resources. Human ingenuity is like a piano: although there are a finite number of keys on a piano, there are infinite ways to combine the notes they play to create music.

If we want to prosper, we must learn that happiness does not come from material things. We must become aware that happiness comes from the inside.

James Allen wrote “Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are”.

Utilization means we stop waiting for financial freedom to come to us and instead become proactive in creating it ourselves, right now.

The fear the accumulation theory perpetuates keeps us from putting our own resources to use and keeps us chained to financial institutions.

Robert Castiglione, the founder of LEAP system of financial engineering teaches that financial institutions operate under four rules:

  1. Financial institutions want our money.
  2. They want it on a regular, systematic basis, preferably through automatic withdrawal.
  3. Once they have our money, they want to hold on to it for as long as possible, hence the withdrawal restrictions.
  4. If they have to give it back, they want to give back as little as possible.

Accumulation puts too much emphasis on cutting expenses to build our nest egg as opposed to increasing productivity and creating value in the present for ourselves and others, yet the way to to provide for security is to cultivate the ability to produce value in the world under any set of circumstances. The way for you get what you want is to give others what they want; to make yourself valuable to others.

Most people who place money in the stock market have no idea what their money is doing. The way most people “invest” is like someone who after playing craps at a casino, makes bets based on how he has seen other players win. Yet the financial pundits continue to refer to these people as “investors” and the “investors” continue to feel good because they are doing what everyone else is doing and don’t have to think much about it. Anything that involves that amount of risk and uncertainty is nothing more than gambling. I define investing as anything we do that we can control, of which will safely yield a profit.

The way to overcome the accumulation myth and start utilizing our assets to their fullest advantage is to understand the following:

  • How to seek value creation rather than practice frugality
  • The difference between producing in the present and deferring life to the future
  • The velocity of money
  • Cash flow versus net worth.

In a world of cause and effect, value creation is a cause, and money is an effect. Money is not power, it is merely a representation of value. Money is never manifested and exchanged until value is created, and thus is an expression of value creation.

Focusing on accumulating money is like wanting to harvest the fruits of a tree while ignoring the roots.

A more productive way of thinking begins by asking the questions “what can I do today, right now, to increase my productivity?” “How can I immediately be the most productive with my current resources?” “where is there discontentment in the world that I have the ability to alleviate in this moment?” “How can I be a steward of my money instead of turning it over to someone else and abdicating my stewardship?” “How can I use my assets to live my Soul Purpose and increase my human life value?”

There are two ways in which the velocity of money can increase:

  • The more exchanges made with the same dollars, the more wealth is created. ( pricing a book 19 instead of 100 )
  • The more simultaneous uses we find for each individual dollar, the wealthier we become. ( Real estate, asset, rent, tax deductions, home for my business, appreciates, etc )

One of the most destructive lies that we can fall prey to is thinking that having more money will change us. Many people fear wealth because they think that it will change them for worse, and still others invite wealth because they think that it will make them happy. The amount of currency available to you does not nothing but make you more of what you already are. If you are naturally generous, increased wealth will simply give you greater opportunity to be generous. If you are greedy, wealth will do nothing but manifest your greed even more clearly. If you are not happy without money, you will never be happy with it. Money is important and useful, but if you think that money will fix your problems, that thought is the problem.

If all of use were to wait around for the government to take care of us, who would be left to actually do the care taking? Any time we depend on the government to solve our problems, we are actually expecting our neighbors to solve them.

Capitalistic owners think they can do whatever they want with their property, extreme environmentalists think that we should use the earth as little as possible. The balance between those two extremes is Stewardship. Stewards understand that material resources can be used for their benefit and that of others, without exploitation, and in safe sustainable and balanced ways. They take care of the earth ant their material resources in the same way that we drive cars that are not ours, with care not to damage them. Stewards are the types who plant two trees every time they cut one down. They leave everything better than how they found it.

Stewardship: the responsibility to take care of our resources to ensure that they are sustainably managed for current and future generations.

Owners will often say thinks like “this is my house” or “this is my business, I built it and I will do whatever I want with it”. Stewards on the other hand, learn to submit to a higher rule, and with that submission comes increased responsibility for how they use their resources.

We must take action on what we have learned, putting our lessons into practice and changing our habits to constantly improve ourselves What we know and do not act on cannot help us.

Soul Purpose is the answer to the question “what would you do all day long whether or not you got paid to do it? Finding that answer could be a lifelong journey for some.

Producers are responsible, innovative and creative people who create all of the products and services that we buy and use. They are more concerned with giving than with receiving. They practice enlightened self interest, the belief that the way to bring ourselves the most happiness is to serve others. They are happy, wealthy and successful or they are on their way to becoming so. Producers lift, bless, serve and contribute to everything good in the world. Producers always leave things better than they found them, even if they were not responsible for the destruction they fix.

Producers apply their minds and education to learn which financial tools and resources will help them create maximum value in the world even if they are sick, disabled or dead.

While a major concern for consumers is to reduce expenses at all costs, the primary concern for producers is to create maximum value.

We see so many political policies designed to help people, when in fact they don’t do much that perpetuate poverty. Its easy to hand people money, but more difficult and much more charitable to reach into their lives, their minds, and their hearts to give them value that will actually help them to transcend their limitations and circumstances. We can teach them a skill, provide them with good books or other educational opportunities, give them responsibilities and guidance on how to fulfill them or connect them with other people who may be able to help them.

Money is simple a means of exchange, a representation of value, it is not intrinsically valuable. Money does not control our lives or dictate who we are.

Money is the byproduct of value creation, representing the exchange of value between people. In its most basic form, money is currency, a way to represent value that aids in economic transactions.

Currency is the paper and metal we use to exchange for goods and services. People created currency to aid the efficiency of economic transactions. It is not the value itself, it represents value. Its like a language. Language is nothing but sounds that we use as symbols for the purpose of communicating concepts deeper than the symbols we use. For example the word “tree” in English refers to a tree, but in Mexico “arbol” refers to the exact same thing. The important thing is not the symbol, but what the symbol represents. The value is not in the symbol but what the symbol represents.

A million green paper rectangles cant create lasting change in a persons life any more than a language can. Its how we use the symbols that makes all the difference. And we use currency as a global symbol to represent value. 

The value is in the minds of people, not the currency. Nobody wants currency; they want the things that can be bought with currency. 

When people or institutions claim that they need more money in order to be more effective and productive, more often than not what they actually need is better management rather than more money.

*** John Stossel, ABC News Jan 13 2006 entitled “Stupid America”

We earn money in one of three ways: deception, coercion, or value creation. The mansion is a cause, its the effect of one of these three things. And until we know the person intimately, and know what was done to earn the mansion, we have no right or ability to judge the cause of a person’s wealth or judge what he should do with it once he has earned. it.

We find ourselves judging the rich for being wealthy, and judging the poor for being poor, and all based on their material possessions that we see with our eyes. But without actually knowing a person intimately, understanding his intentions, purposes, mission and mindset, we have no way of accurately judging his life.

Having more money does not change our fundamental nature. If we are naturally greedy, more money will allow us to be more greedy. If we are charitable by nature, more money will give us more opportunities to be more charitable. The point is that we must become our ideal selves in the present moment, regardless of the amount of money that we have. Money can neither save us nor damn us, that choice is up to us as individuals.

My belief is that if people are truly spiritual and want to help others, they should do all in their power to become as wealthy as possible; the wealthier they become, the more people they can help.

If you want to prosper, you must stop thinking about money and instead start thinking of ways that you can create maximum value for as many people as possible.

John D Rockefeller: “ God gave me money. I believe the power to make money is a gift from God to be developed an used to the best of our ability for the good of mankind. Having been endowed with the gift I possess, I believe it is my duty to make money and still more money and to use the money I make for the good of my fellow man according to the dictates of my conscience ”

Financial institutions have reduced financial success to a matter of gambling, pure and simple. Why do they want us to believe this? What is in it for them? And why do we swallow the bait and take on their risks, especially when the wealthy do the exact opposite of this? What is the truth of the matter? How can we get safe, sustainable, and high rates of return without high risk?

Create a daily routine to increase your knowledge. Experience new things. Find a mentor or pay an expert to shadow you and critique your habits and techniques. Whatever you do, always remember that the gap between your ears is the most important place on which to focus your time and effort.

Financial institutions examine, scrutinize, and analyze every investment decision they make to ascertain that they will profit. They never blindly throw money at opportunities and just hope that, because its risky, they might make a lot of money. They know exactly how they are going to make money, and usually they know within a very close range how much money they will make.

(Compare for instance all the measures the bank takes when you apply for a mortgage – credit score, secure investment with collateral, require down payment, interest rate, payment, time period, penalties, verify work history and income, exit strategy in almost any scenario possible, transfer the risk to you in any way possible – with your measures when you invest in mutual funds – you are gambling, and the bank still makes money if you lose!)

Kiyosaki teaches that the poor say “I cant afford it” while the rich say “How can I afford this?”

We vote with our money; every dollar we spend is a vote for the kind of world that we want to live in.

The human mind is incredibly powerful, yet it must be consistently trained and guided if we are to truly tap its limitless capacity. An excellent way to facilitate this mental discipline is to consistently ask ourselves the right questions. Our brains are designed to answer the questions we pose them. The types of questions we ask determine the answers we receive. By learning to consistently ask the right questions we can access power we never knew we had.

Franklin Jones: “A bargain is something you cannot use at a price you cannot resist”

“How many of you would pay more than a hundred dollars for a hundred dollar bill?” We do this every day of our lives by purchasing on credit!. ( There are times when it is more productive for us to pay interest for the privilege of being able to purchase it immediately, for ex, real estate )

We don’t live by design, we live by default, and that is a life where unconscious exploitation is the rule. Like sheep, we graze in stifling pastures surrounded by sacred cows instead of breaking through the limiting fences built with myths to create freedom in our lives.

Marcel Proust: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes”.