Why I’m not and will never be rich: I’m not ruthless

Why I’m not and will never be rich: I’m not ruthless

Great public radio interview this week with Felix Dennis.

Some choice quotes:

One of the sacrifices that anybody makes who is determined to have more money than their neighbor is time…. And it’s not only them that’s doing the sacrificing…. Your spouse is going to sacrifice, your children are going to sacrifice, and so are your friends. That’s one of the downsides of this insane quest.

I don’t know anybody that’s made a hell of a lot of money from a standing start that doesn’t go through this madness [of spending too much money on unwise purchases].

If you want to be rich, you absolutely cannot do it unless you’re a jerk…. You really have to be pretty unpleasant.

I can show you how to get rich … but I can’t show you how to be happy…. I know a hell of a lot of people who are insanely rich, and I don’t know one of them who hasn’t had problems with their family…. They spend so much of their time making money, and it becomes a drug. It isn’t the money that’s the drug. It’s the making of the money.

There’s only so much pie to go around. There can only be so many rich people in any community of humans. If there’s only so much pie to go around and you’re going to take a lot more of it than anyone else, then you’re going to have to take that pie away from people. That’s effectively what you’re doing. You never read this in any of these new-age self-improvement books. They don’t want to mess with these kind of topics. But the truth is that you’re taking it away from someone else. It’s all right going on about how you’re manufacturing wealth — well in a way, you are. But you’re also stealing it from other people. To be like that, that means you have to be a pretty selfish person. You have to be driven…. Just a desire to be rich … is useless…. It has to be absolute compulsion…. If you’re a driven person, you’re often not very nice to be around.

Team spirit is the glue that binds losers together.

Admittedly, Dennis defines “rich” as having a net worth of over $30 million. He does allow that it’s possible “to end up with a few million bucks and still be a decent human being.” But the idea of an inverse relationship between net worth and niceness rings true to me.

Toward the end of the interview, Rosabeth Moss Kanter presents a somewhat more optimistic counterpoint, and she and Dennis engage in a rather heated debate.

If you have any thoughts of becoming a gazillionaire, you must give this a listen.



Posted in All, Business on Jun 26th, 2008, 8:42 am by David Schrag   

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