Felix Dennis was a poet and philanthropist, but more importantly — for this book at least — he was also the founder of Dennis Publishing, which grew from a single title into a behemoth that gave him an estimated net worth in the hundreds of millions.
There’s plenty of advice in this book, but unlike many of the other self-help books (that Dennis lambastes) it is also interspersed with stories from his own career and passing remarks about those of people he knows. This isn’t a sunny tale filled with triumph though, he readily explains his mistakes (as well as those of others) and is happy to bang-on about how many people — including some of his employees — are smarter than he is.
The book is a biography as much as a business advice manual, but it’s certainly not a hard set of rules that he guarantees will make you successful. It’s merely a rich man trying to distill what he believes are the reasons for his success.
As such, there’s very little empirical evidence and many of the conclusions are backed up by random anecdotes. That said, the author is obviously very well read (judging by the number of quotes and poems sprinkled throughout the book) and accustomed to self-reflection. It’s hard to argue with a man that has his track record.
Although the title is direct and much of the writing focuses on ‘getting rich’ (sometimes by any means, though always legally), he is also keen to point out that it’s not the way to happiness or the only way to live a great life.
While aimed at a specific audience, it provides an interesting look into a storied life, so it’s worth a read even if you have no interest in business.