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Marty Fridson details the tactics of self-made billionaires with great intelligence and insight. I wish this book had been available when I was starting my career. Chairman, Athlon Publications. He serves on the board of the Association for Investment Management and Research.

How to Be a Billionaire Free Summary by Martin S. Fridson

Permissions Request permission to reuse content from this site. How Important Is Choosing an Industry? Take Monumental Risks. Do Business in a New Way. Dominate Your Market. Consolidate an Industry. Buy Low. Thrive on Deals. Outmanage the Competition. Invest in Political Influence. Thriving in the high-stakes environment he relishes requires a strong stomach for fluctuations in fortune. In his first go-around with MGM alone, Kerkorian came close to being wiped out on three separate occasions. If weaker people got into the kind of situation Kirk got into they'd blow their brains out or just fall to pieces.

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Kirk goes right back in there and says, "Well, what can we do here? Let's start working on it. Every time he thought he had reached an agreement, Icahn would come back to the negotiating table with a new wrinkle or a revised number that altered the terms radically in his favor. He delighted in extracting one wage concession after another.

When a transportation officer admitted he did not know the whereabouts of a customer's overdue shipment, Moyers snarled, "Well, you'd better know tomorrow or you won't have a job. The meeting was over. The transaction created the nation's largest railroad and left Phil Anschutz as its largest shareholder. Now it was time for him to go into high gear by applying the billionaires' principle "Keep on Growing.

How to Be a Billionaire

While cashing in his railroad investment, he held on to a fiber-optics operation he had constructed along the Southern Pacific's rights-of-way. The company, Qwest Communications International, went public less than a year after the Union Pacific-Southern Pacific merger cleared its last regulatory hurdle.

Within six months, the stock had risen by about percent. Phil is very astute in analyzing what it is that is going to be the next most important business or marketplace. He takes advantage of his assets in ways most other people don't. Like most successful deal makers, Anschutz showed a keen eye for value from his earliest days. The railroad had originally commissioned the paintings as models for travel posters.

Managing to gain an interview with the company's chairman, Anschutz offered to catalog the largely forgotten works in exchange for the right to purchase a few. The 85 paintings that he bought for a song a few days later were eventually valued at several million dollars. He lays down his stipulations and then won't budge. He's a smart guy out to make a buck. The amount he's already made doesn't matter. It would be inaccurate to characterize the subjects of How to Be a Billionaire as hands-on managers.

Getting bogged down in operational details would have diverted their attention from the more essential task of amassing personal wealth. Instead, they have focused on three essential aspects of management: organization, recruitment, and motivation. Group-thinkers have not cracked the Forbes in significant numbers for one simple reason: Doing the same thing in the same way as everyone else is decidedly not the way to overcome the leveling effects of competition. Outorganizing the competition, in contrast, is one proven method of breaking away from the pack.

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The opportunity arises precisely because of certain maladies that give the word "organization" a negative connotation. What makes the self-made billionaires' knack for building effective companies distinctive has little to do with the formal elements, such as organizational charts and performance measurement.

How to be a Billionaire - by Martin Fridson

It is more a matter of giving their organizations the stamp of their invariably strong personalities. Most self-made billionaires have preferred to focus on more lucrative activities. By swinging more deals and overcoming the leveling effect of competition, they have become far wealthier than managers who were much more adept at handling the details. John D. Rockefeller Sr. He recognized talent even in opponents.

Perot put extraordinary effort into evaluating new hires. He devised a page application that asked candidates, among other questions, what they considered the greatest accomplishments of their lives. He met with the wives of the candidates, exploring whether they would tolerate the demands that EDS would put on their husbands. In the early days, a candidate did not get hired before interviewing with every single existing EDS employee. While Microsoft has attracted aggressively intellectual types characterized as clones of Bill Gates, Sam Walton's top aides were typically ambitious small-town men like himself.

Wayne Huizenga's senior managers have tended to be former football players with middle-class, Midwestern backgrounds. Ross Perot created EDS in his own image by hiring hard chargers with military backgrounds. In recruiting people who shared their views of the world, however, the billionaires did not seek yes-men. Confident enough not to feel threatenedby strong subordinates, they generally valued aides who were willing to defend opposing points of view. Gates estimates that he devotes 70 percent of his time to review meetings with small product development teams. The main reason for taking Perot Systems public in , he says, was to motivate employees.

Nothing motivates a team like having them have stock. Branson motivates employees to excel by putting them into slightly higher positions than they expect. Like Kirk Kerkorian, Branson has no difficulty delegating day-to-day operations, much preferring to spend his time on new ventures. As long as a business is doing well, he does not bother to meet with management, while making himself available for crises.


You will have to supplement your native talent with acquired skills. To become an outstanding builder of organizations, Wayne Huizenga had to correct an early tendency to be curt toward people who did not grasp points he considered self-evident. Intimidated by this reaction, employees would sometimes fail to pass along important information. Ross Perot and Sam Walton had to revise their original inclination to reward only senior managers generously, which caused lower-level employees to feel like second-class citizens.

This sort of adaptability is one of the most important traits that you should strive to stamp on your organization. April 15, Instant classic! This is a book you must reread! This book set me down the right path! Please enter your name here You have entered an incorrect email address! Please enter your email address here.

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