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How to Get Rich: The Felix Dennis Way

Updated on December 28, 2015

Who wants to be rich?

Everyone wants to be rich. So why do only a select few attain a high net worth? Is it luck? Superior intelligence? Great ideas? According to Felix Dennis, it is none of these. In fact, he contended that the tools for acquiring great wealth are available to all of us and, if you put your mind to it, you too can become as wealthy as he was. I know that sounds like the foundation of every get rich quick scam, but How to Get Rich is no weekend seminar in a hotel conference center. How to Get Rich is simply an entertaining, informative manual on what it takes to become rich.

Felix Dennis was the owner of a very successful publishing company. One of his magazine titles was Maxim. Dennis died of throat cancer in 2014 at the age of 67. He died an extremely wealthy man with an estimated net worth in the hundreds of millions. In How To Get Rich, Dennis gives you his general framework for making lots of money in any field.

What is Rich?

"Rich" is a relative term. Dennis's definition of "rich" is having enough money to do what you want when you want and not have to worry about the cash needed to do it. With that definition, Dennis thought you needed at least $30 million to qualify as a member of the "lesser rich." $150 million was his threshold for "rich." So with the goal articulated, how do you achieve it?

Wealth according to Felix Dennis

Net worth
$2-$4 million
The comfortably poor
$4-$10 million
The comfortably off
$10 million-$30 million
The comfortably wealthy
$30 million-$80 million
The lesser rich
$80 million-$150 million
The comfortably rich
$150 million-$200 million
The rich
$200 million-$400 million
The seriously rich
$400 million-$800 million
The truly rich
$800 million-1,998 million
The filthy rich
Over 1,998 million
The super rich

You probably won't become rich, but not for the reasons you think

The odds of you personally becoming rich are not good. Dennis estimated that 0.000016 percent of British citizens are rich.

Dennis's estimate of the number of rich British citizens would suggest your odds of becoming rich there are about 16 in one million. However, he believed that your odds of becoming rich were actually much greater than that if you were willing to give an honest effort. What will stop you from becoming rich will not be the lack of a great business idea or starting capital. It will be your inability or unwillingness to adopt the work ethic and focus required to build valuable assets. He points out that some people are actually incapable of pursuing riches due to health issues and other handicaps beyond their control. Of those left who have the potential to become rich, most are not willing to do what it takes to achieve the goal. The work required is hard. Your personal relationships and health will probably suffer.

According to Dennis, If you are willing to accept all of the "hardships" that come with the pursuit of wealth, your chances of success are about 1 in a thousand. Not great, but much better than the 16 in a million odds if you include everyone as a potential competitor.

Owners, not employees, become rich

Not all work is equal when it comes to acquiring wealth. Dennis's central thesis in How to Get Rich is ownership is the only way to become truly rich. Owners keep the net profits produced by their assets and, most important for becoming rich, they receive all of the proceeds from the sale of their assets.

Dennis viewed a comfortable employee salary as an impediment to the accumulation of wealth. Why? It makes the worker fearful. The worker with a regular salary fears losing what he has no matter how meager. After all, he has a mortgage, car payment, kids, and all of the other trappings of middle class life. If the average employee gives up the 9-5 job to start a business and it fails, what then? How will he be able to cover all of his liabilities? According to Dennis, the fear of failure is the main reason why the majority of people will not even try to become rich.

The Eight Secrets to Getting Rich

The tl; dr summary of How to Get Rich is found in Chapter 19 of the book. Dennis gives the reader his Eight Secrets to Getting Rich:

1) Analyze your need. Desire is insufficient. Compulsion is mandatory.

2) Cut loose from negative influences. Never give in. Stay the course.

3) Ignore great ideas. Concentrate on great execution.

4) Focus. Keep your eye on the ball marked "The Money is Here."

5) Hire talent smarter than you. Delegate. Share the annual pie.

6) Ownership is the real "secret." Hold on to every percentage point you can.

7) Sell before you need to, or when bored. Empty your mind when negotiating.

8) Fear nothing and no one. Get rich. Remember to give it all away.

You will definitely want to read the entire book for more details. Dennis goes in depth into how each of these secrets will play an integral role in you becoming rich.

Even if you don't want to be rich, read this book!

Honestly, I do not want to be Felix Dennis rich. The beauty of How to Get Rich is it deals with themes that are applicable to the pursuit of excellence in many endeavors. Of the Eight Secrets of Getting Rich, six of them (1-5; 8) apply to any goal you may decide to pursue in your life.

Dennis reiterates throughout the book that money will not make you happy. He is right. Happiness comes from building quality assets. Those assets can be things you can sell later for large sums of money. Think businesses and works of art. However, you may choose to invest in other types of assets. Think personal relationships, children, and social causes. Either way, the work will be hard, but the rewards will be worth it and you will be rich.

Video Tribute to Felix Dennis

What is rich?

What net worth do you consider "rich"

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