7 Lessons from 7 Business Books That Made Me More Money
I once wrote a story about a child who was the son of a plum farmer, and how the habits his father instilled in him as a young boy eventually sculpted him into an exceptional entrepreneur.
For time’s sake, I will summarize, but the story goes like this…
One morning, a young boy’s father gave him a basket of 100 plums, “Take these down to the town square. By the end of the day, you will owe me $10 for these plums. Anything you make after that, you get to keep.”
The boy, excited to start his tiny venture, sprinted down to the town square to sell his plums. But, after being out in the hot sun for hours, he sold just 10 plums for a grand total of $5.
He walked back with his head down feeling defeated. When he stepped foot in the door, his father asked him, “How’d you do?”
The boy started to tear up as he handed his father $5 and the basket of the 90 remaining plums.
His father smiled and said, “Son, you did well, but you still owe me $5… how are you going to sell more tomorrow?”
The boy sniffled and said, “I don’t know…” To which his father quickly responded, “Sure you do, how can you make a plum tastier?”
The next morning, the boy woke early and ran to the spring fed brook behind his home. The brook was ice cold and he thought it would be a good way to add a crisp chill to his product. He soaked the 90 plums in the spring and ran back to the house to ask his father for some honey.
That day down at the town square he held up a sign — Ice Cold Plums with Honey, 2 for a $1.
By noon, the boy had sold out. He walked home with his head held high, his empty basket swinging too and fro at his wayside.
He had learned a valuable lesson…
The world is willing to pay for value.
“Money flows in the direction of value.”
A month back, I wrote an article that went viral, What Rich People Do That Poor People Don’t — where I highlighted a few patterns I had noticed in extraordinarily wealthy individuals.
The article received a substantial amount of positive feedback (and some negative feedback) — but all in all, one thing was made abundantly clear — the world was interested in reading about money and how to make more of it.
In this article, 7 Lessons From 7 Business Books That Made Me More Money, I am taking a slightly different approach.
I am not a rich man (far from it), but like most people who have some sense of reality, I realize that money is important.
It has many uses, both good and bad. Yes, it can be used for greedy selfish reasons. But, it can also be used to live a comfortable life, help those you care about live a comfortable life and if you so choose help those who are less fortunate live comfortably too.
The bottom line… money matters, and it always will.
My personal battle with money has always been lack of education around the subject. For years, I had much difficulty understanding how to make money. It wasn’t until I made the connection between money and value that I began to realize how to accumulate more of it.
Below you will find 7 lessons from 7 of my favorite business books that have taught me everything I know about money and how to make more of it.
1. You Must Think About Money to Make Money— Think & Grow Rich by Napolean Hill
“More gold had been mined from the minds of men than the earth itself.”
— Napolean Hill
The accumulation of money must begin mentally rather than physically. It isn’t something that should be chased, but rather something that should be enticed.
In Think & Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill describes how the conceptualization of money eventually leads to its manifestation. In other words, in order to physically have money, you need to be thinking about money.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to get started:
- How much money do I want?
- When do I want to have this money in my possession?
- What am I going to do to earn this money?
Write your answers to these questions in a sentence on a small piece of paper, tuck it away in your wallet and look at it every day. For example, if you were a real estate agent, your sentence would look something like —
“I want $100,000 in my possession in exactly 2 years, I will earn this money by selling 30 homes this year and selling 45 homes the following year.”
It is important that you are descriptive, precise and punctual when writing your sentence. Think of it like putting in an order for a birthday cake over the phone… if you aren’t detailed in your request, you aren’t going to get what you want.
2. You Must Be Willing to Go Where No One Has Gone Before — Zero to One by Peter Thiel
“The single most powerful pattern I have noticed is that successful people find value in unexpected places.”
— Peter Thiel
Today, everyone copies everyone. Medium is a perfect example of this. I will see a trending article on Medium, and then less than a week later, I will see a dozen more just like it.
I have been guilty of this and you reading this have probably been guilty of it too.
It takes courage to discover value in unexpected places — to not coward in the shadows of pioneers who have carved out a proven path for you.
This concept is true in both writing and business.
In Zero to One, Peter Thiel taught me that true innovation and in turn value is like searching the Earth for treasure. You must be willing to go to where no one has gone before — then and only then will you set yourself up for large amounts of success and riches.
3. You Should Always Pay Your Saving’s Account First — The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
“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 shall the tree grow. And the more faithfully you nourish and water that tree with consistent savings, the sooner may you bask in contentment beneath its shade.”
Earning more makes no difference if you aren’t saving. A rich wealthy doctor making $1 million a year, but spending $1 million a year is not rich and wealthy. In fact, he is more poor than the individual who is making $25,000 a year, but only spending $15,000.
Growing your wealth isn’t about how much money you make, but rather about how much money you save and what you do with the money that you save.
The Richest Man in Babylon will teach you the foundational elements about what it means to save, as well as some basic principles about investing.
If you don’t have time to read this book, please just remember this — you should be saving a portion of every paycheck, even if that portion is just 5%.
Always pay your saving’s account first.
4. Learn to Make Your Bad Habits Work For You — The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Charles Duhigg
When most of us think of habits, what comes to mind is smoking, nail biting, gambling and drinking. But in reality, 40% of the actions people do on a daily basis aren’t decisions, but rather habits. This means that by simply taking control of our habits, we can take control of 9 to 10 hours of our day.
Reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg changed my life by bringing to my attention all the silly shit I was doing that I didn’t even realize I was doing.
Duhigg uses the Habit Loop (featured below) to show you how to change your habits versus “quitting” them — you will essentially be hacking your habits to work for you versus against you.
One way I have used the Habit Loop to save money is by applying it to big purchases. For years when I would get a big paycheck, I would feel the need to go out and buy something big. It was my way of rewarding myself for my hard work.
The Cue was the paycheck. The Routine was the big purchase. The Reward was the dopamine I got from making the big purchase.
I was able to use the Habit Loop to build more wealth for myself by changing The Routine (something Duhigg teaches you in this book). Instead of routinely making a big purchase, I would make a big investment — investing gave me the same rush I experienced when making a big purchase — in turn allowing me to replace the habit of saving money with the habit of investing it.
5. Yes, We All Want More Money, But at What Cost — The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
“You spend two weeks negotiating your new Infiniti with the dealership and got $10,000 off? That’s great. Does your life have a purpose? Are you contributing anything useful to this world, or just shuffling papers, banging on a keyboard, and coming home to a drunken existence on the weekends?” — Tim Ferriss
Time is finite. Before reading any further, we must understand this. Making all the money the world has to offer means nothing if we are wasting time while doing so.
Would you rather make $100,000 a year working 20 hours a week for the next 50 years; or $1 million a year working 100 hours a week for the next 50 years?
If you chose option A, you would have made $5 million over the course of 50 years, but you would have been able to enjoy your life. If you chose option B, you would have made $50 million over the course of 50 years, but you would have had no time for a family, friends and all the greatness that comes along with living.
Before making money, we have to decide at what cost?
In The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris, one of the world’s greatest lifestyle entrepreneurs explains how to make more money in less time. Reading this book is what got me interested in discovering ways to generate passive income.
Today, I don’t want to be rich, I just want to live a rich life… and a rich life to me is all about having more time to do the things I want to do.
6. Do or Do Not, There is No Try — The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
“The professional has learned that success, like happiness, comes as a by-product of work. The professional concentrates on the work and allows rewards to come or not come, whatever they like.”
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield may be my favorite book of all time. It is a bit of a hidden gem, but I promise that it’s worth the read. Steven Pressfield makes no mention of money in his sacred text, but he talks a lot about the non-monetary value of work — something we all could do some reading on.
Pressfield is a warrior when it comes to writing and takes a no bullshit approach to creating valuable art — just sit down and do it. In the words of Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no try.”
If you desire to make more money, you have to put in the work. You have to read the books. You have to be prepared to fail. You have to be willing to put in a few late nights.
7. Shoot For The Stars — Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
“I would like to die on Mars, just not on impact.”
***If you aren’t exactly interested in Musk, I would highly recommend you seek out any biographies you can get your hands on. There is something so valuable about biographies — learning from other people’s mistakes and successes. Choose 5 people you want to be like, and then go out and study them — read their biographies.
Musk is the greatest entrepreneur of our generation, and one day, some might argue, the greatest of all time. Elon Musk’s Biography inspired me to think bigger — beyond the realms of email campaigns and blog posts. He is a true pioneer.
The biggest take-away from this book — find what people think is impossible, and then go make it possible. Period.
For most of my life, I have tried to play it safe. And, I think there is a good chance you have too. But, why? We only have one shot at this life, why not make it count?
Go out and build a rocket ship.
By Cole Schafer