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on 20 April 2007
Felix Dennis is someone who doesn't need to write a book like this for the money. He already has plenty. So; he's not looking to set up a franchise by selling sugar coated advice to dreamers in the hope they'll keep coming back for more.

If anything; as Felix says; this is an anti self help book as it describes in real detail how much committment you will need to make it happen. But anyone can make it happen;- the man says so. Its just going to take a lot of guts, courage and drive along the way. To highlight this he uses frequent examples of others who trod a similar path.

For anyone thinking of going into business; the section on never giving up is worth the price alone. He's fond of quoting from literature and advises us to read Vincent Van Gogh's 'Letters to my Brother' describing the heartbreaking struggle that the artist endured in his lifetime. Felix tells us of his own struggle, how he was reduced to putting old furniture on the fire in winter to keep warm and despite being under great pressure from his (soon to be gone) girlfriend to get a 'regular' job, he too never gave up. He tells us that we must be the same; that starting any business is tough as you must ask and pester for capital or sales. He says its humiliating and soul destroying - because it always is. But you must never give up.

I found this useful as starting a business can be a tiring and lonely road. I think that this book and others like it make you realise that its the same for everyone. There are no magic bullets or routes to easy street. Your going to have to do a lot of asking and face a lot of rejection along the way whether your the author of this book or anyone else for that matter. But, it is an optimistic book and you will understand what to expect if you go it alone.

The book is written in a breazy, informal style. Yes, it does have some poetry in it but don't let that put you off if poetry is not your thing. Mostly, it serves to highlight a point that he's making.

Do read this. Its entertaining and full of honest advice.
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on 25 August 2006
I read this book this week, and can't work out whether I loved it or hated it.

To put things in perspective, I've had reasonable financial success, I was able to retire in my 30s (the first time round), but then got very bored, so went back into forming several companies.

On the love side, it was absolutely intriguing. I have had reasonable financial success, but nothing like that of Mr. Dennis, and every few pages I hit something that made me think hard about how I've run my businesses over the last 10 years.

On the hate side, the Times described him as "an engaging monster", and I can pretty much go along with that. I suspect that I'd enjoy his company (even if I just met him in a pub and didn't know he was richer than Croesus), even while I was outraged with him.

Which takes me to the central "problem" with this book. You most definitely WILL learn from it - I have... but you may well come away deciding that actually you don't want to be rich. As Mr. Dennis himself says, there are rather more worthwhile things to do in life, and rather more enjoyable ones.

Whether I end up deciding the book was hideous, or whether I end up deciding it was stunning, then I'm certainly glad that I bought it and read it.
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on 5 September 2006
This is not the book to buy if you are expecting a step by step guide to making money. Felix Dennis has undoubtedly amassed a fortune in a somewhat unconventional manner and shares a number of his somewhat unique tactics in a very readable and interesting book. It will probably not appeal to those who haven't already got a business background as some of the references assume familiarity with finance, corporate share dealing, boardroom behaviour and negotiating tactics. In places it also has a distinctly American feel to it and the mixing of transatlantic terminology sometimes confuses.
Dennis, like all self made men is extremely single minded, in his case to the point of paranoia about never diluting his share ownership of any business and an obsession with wealth.
What also comes across is a man who has a chequered background and has indulged in binge spending on drink, drugs and women. In his defence he does acknowledge this openly and regret these errors. On the other hand he makes no apology for not giving a damn about what other people think. He is insistent that you can't become rich if you seek popularity and praise.
He is highly critical of the tax system operating in the country which he sees as far too complicated and and indicator of the perverse nature of the type of capitalism practised in the UK. "Foolish, self-defeating and cowardly" is his description of our tax laws, descriptions that could never be applied to the author.
A fascinating read but more for an insight into one of our entrepreneurs than a blueprint for others to follow.
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on 4 June 2008
I have just finished a very interesting book by Felix Dennis, called "How to get rich". He calls it, and I agree with him, an anti-self help book. It's a book about what its really like to get rich and how to do it.

I don't agree with everything Felix says, especially in my field of work in IT, about how to grow and build a business to make real wealth - mainly the part where he insists you own 100% of your business. In my case this is a practical impossibility unless you are very rich to start out, as you need large amounts of money to build a world class IT business. In order to raise money you usually need to trade equity for capital.

However, in most of the rest of his assertions which are pretty focused on his area of expertise in publishing and mail order I would agree with him.

The core things I learned from this (or he reminded me what I already knew) where that to succeed in any endeavour to an extreme (i.e. to get really rich) you need to be an extremist. You need an internal drive that will never be diminished. Desire is not an option.

In order to actually make it past the point of good or great, to insanely successful you must have the patience and perseverance well beyond a normal person. In being extraordinary you need to insulate yourself from negative people that will try and slow you down. Remember - who you spend time with is who you become!

Great ideas are `ten a penny' - In order to make any money of an idea you need world class execution from a team of talented and focused people.

Keep bringing yourself back to your core goals (yes write them down and visualise them) and remember why you do what you do. If that's making money then kill the dead projects, invest in those that are likely to win big.

Get the best team, motivate them and fire them with your passion then give them the power. When they succeed reward them very well indeed from the profits.

Own as much of the equity, preferably all of it, that you can of your business. I agree to a degree with this if you can build a massive business without giving away equity. If you can't I believe you should use equity and not debt to build your business in the early stages.

Maximise the value of your company by selling near the top, but leaving room for the new owner to grow and build the business further.

Remember we are all `people' in the end, no-one is better than you and nor are you better than anyone else. In the end we are all souls that will die and we cant take any of the wealth or power with us, so fear no one and get rich!

When you are rich, spread it around as you see fit and try not to spend the rest of your life in fear you will lose it.

In summary his 8 secrets are:

Analyse your need. Desire is insufficient. Compulsion is mandatory.
Cut loose from negative influences. Never give in. Stay the course.
Ignore `great ideas'. Concentrate on great execution.
Focus. Keep your eye on the ball marked `the money is here'
Hire talent smarter than you. Delegate. Share the annual pie.
Ownership is the real secret. Hold on to every % point you can.
Sell before you need too, or when bored. Empty your mind when negotiating.
Fear nothing and no-one. Get rich. Remember to give it all away.
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on 17 December 2006
Really good book, whether you read it for entertainment or looking for advice. The grandiose title means the author must really deliver and does so in spades. I bought the book at the 99% stage of beginning my own business venture and it proved exactly what I needed in terms of understanding the harsh realities of making your fortune.

The tone of this book is suited to those who value a blunt, forthright view of the business world and have a zero tolerance for b*llsh1t!. This guy has done it and deserves his money (both for his business empire and the royalties of this book)

I have had the book for about a month, finished reading it in 2 days, now dip into chapters to reinforce the knowledge it provides.

Buy the book if only for one reason - it will teach you about sentimentality in business and why millions of people are poor because of it.

When I make my fortune I will send the author a bottle of Petrus as a Thank you.
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on 22 August 2006
I wish I'd read this book when I was eighteen, but even those of advancing years will find sound advice and inspiration from the experiences of Felix Dennis.

As an avid reader of business books I find that most authors' only experience comes from interviewing business leaders or investigating successful businesses. In this book the advice is first hand, backed up with real stories from straight from the coalface and Dennis is not afraid to describe his past mistakes and pass on the hard learnt lessons for his readers' benefit.

Wereas many business books run out of steam long before the end, I found this book a real page-turner, and I just couldn't put it down. The writing style is easy, fun and self-deprecating - and even those who don't want to get rich (yes they do exist !) will enjoy reading it.

This is a real feet-on-the-ground book for entrepreneurs, Dennis is probably a lot smarter than he would have us believe, but he points out that you don't have to be clever to be rich and explains the qualities that you will need to nuture if you really have the unshakeable desire to be rich. To those that fit this description; this book will be worth millions.

Felix - thanks for a great book !
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on 25 November 2007
i, like i assume everybody, have always thought the idea of being wealthy a very attractive prospect indeed, i read this book with great joy as felix, wether knowingly or not, poured his soul and character into the pages of this book. i got the chance to see through his eyes and travel with him through many of the experiances of his life that have moulded him into the man he is today. amazingly this book has changed my life in a way i never thought possible, through reading a book entitled "how to get rich" i no longer desire to go down the road of aquiring great personal wealth, i realise for the first time in my life i already have wealth beyond compare, im a healthy young person with people around me who i love and who love me, being set free from the desire of aquiring wealth has set me free to enjoy the short time we are gifted on this lonely rock drifting through space. now dont get me wrong, if you DO want to get rich, this book really does give you all the pointers needed to reach your goals, i recommend that EVERYBODY reads this book!! and as for you felix, your a man im never going to meet but will always consider a true friend! im never going to have a million pounds in the bank and i thank you for that! i thank you for realeasing me from wasting years of my life chasing money and instead investing my time happily with the ones i love, and once again my friend i thank you! x
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on 21 August 2007
This is a great read, even if a little discouraging. I much prefer those books which teach you the magic incantations, which lead you to wake up one morning, to find large boxes of cash neatly stacked in the hall. This is different. Dennis (the Saxondale of self-made men), tells the ugly truth about what it really takes to get seriously rich and does it in a very pleasing style, which seems to ooze wisdom, honesty and passionate personal opinion. Quite easily the best book I have read of its type.

I would recommend this book to anyone, even if it just serves as a reminder, of why you don't really want to be rich afterall.
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on 16 August 2007
If I wore a hat I would take it off to Felix Dennis. This book isn't some dry textbook on acquiring wealth. Felix Dennis is completely without pretensions of any kind. This is a great book to read. Felix has not only immense wealth but also immense charm. His greatest asset is perhaps his depth of understanding of the human condition and what drives people and how some can and will obtain great wealth and most will not. Felix does not deceive his readership. He tells it how it is. His depth understanding of the mechanics of business is humbling - you know when someone knows what they're talking about - no wonder then that he's a multi-millionaire. So, I'm a fan. Will Felix make me rich? I don't know. Time will tell. But buy this book. A more enjoyable read will be hard to come by. And though I'm not a connoisseur, his poetry is good too. Thank you Felix.
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on 29 January 2013
Let's start with the good:

Felix Dennis is a rich man who made his millions from nothing. His accounts of the early days, with their endless toil, strained relationships and always-impending financial doom, rang true with my own situation and were the highlights of the book.

As Dennis points out often, it is not a self-help book. There are no buzzwords, high-fives, management mantras or shortcuts. He doesn't sugar-coat anything: getting rich is a long, lonely road; the journey, and the eventual riches, will leave you cynical, unhappy and loveless.

He is frank, too, about just how unpleasant you must be to get as rich as him. Which leads us to...

The bad:

Dennis is, by his own admission, a disagreeable character. And this radiates through his writing.

Not just in his accounts of blowing millions on crack cocaine, prostitutes and high living. But also in his patronising tone and thinly veiled disdain for the reader.

Before each chapter - and shoehorned into most sentences - is a poem (sometimes his own), a philosophical quote or a classical reference. All are related to business or money, but are so trite and obvious that they add nothing.

All they do is bloat the book and disrupt the flow of the text. It seems they are only there to say: "I'm cultured, well-read and enlightened. You're not."

Removing the quotes and pretentious waffle (of which there is a staggering amount) would reduce the length of the book by at least 30%. And it would make for a brisker, much more enjoyable read. Dennis could learn a lot from writers like Drayton Bird, who tackle similar subjects with far less guff and infinitely more charm and self-deprecation.

The book is also full of irrelevant anecdotes. Tales of selling already-successful businesses for millions, or wining, dining and negotiating with mega-rich investors have their place. But they are of little interest to cash-strapped sole traders and struggling company owners. Again, they only appear to serve as ego massage aids.

I was expecting a practical, no-nonsense guide with a heavy dose of realism. What I got was a puffed-up collection of poems and recycled wisdom, and a nasty feeling of being talked down to for hundreds of pages.

This book was a great idea but Dennis has executed it poorly - an irony that won't be lost on anyone who reads it all the way through.
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