Education of Millionaires

by Michael Ellsberg

    • The Lie: if you study hard in school, get good grades, get into a good college, and get a degree, then your success in life is guaranteed.  True 50 years ago, not today.
    • Success depend not only on learning, also on skills, capabilities, and mind-sets.
    • I don’t want to apply for jobs.  I want to post them.
    • “Practical Intelligence,” a.k.a Street Smarts, are paramount.  Use them in conjunction with marketing, sales, management, leadership, accounting, and finance.
    • “There is literally no job too shitty or low-paying for which you won’t get a river of BAs desperately asking you for the work.” p.5
    • Do you want to chase degrees or success?
    • Sir Ken Robinson is the man.  Buy his book- The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything.  I want this one- Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative
  • High IQ does not translate to success.  EX: Chris Langan v. Robert Oppenheimer
  • After a certain IQ threshold, creativity, innovative thinking, practical, and social intelligence are much more important attributes for success.
  • Mark Twain: “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
  • Success depends on: “your drive, your initiative, your persistence, your ability to make a contribution to other people’s lives, your ability to come up with good ideas and pitch them effectively, your charisma, your ability to navigate gracefully through social and business networks (practical intelligence), and a total, unwavering belief in your own eventual triumph, throughout all the ups and downs, not matter what the naysayers tell you.”
  • Books of the New Rich:
    The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded and Updated: Expanded and Updated, With Over 100 New Pages of Cutting-Edge Content.

    Escape From Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur

    Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love
  • In his book Free Agent Nation: The Future of Working for Yourself author Daniel Pinksays: “In an age of inexpensive computers, wireless handheld devices, and ubiquitous low-cost connections to a global network, workers can now own the means to production.”  Digital Marxism.
  • College education is “Abstract, focused on your achievement in the course, evaluated by bystanders with nothing at stake, and bound by four months.”  Real world education is “Practical, focused on your achievement in your life, evaluated by people in the real world, bound by the cradle and the grave.”
  • “In the context of a lifetime, four-month courses are to real world learning as Big Macs wolfed in the car between appointments are to fine dining.” p.19

The Big 7 Skills for Success:

  1. “How to make your work meaningful and your meaning work. (or, how to make a difference in the world without going broke)
  2. How to find great mentors and teachers, connect with powerful and influential people, and build a world class network.
  3. What every successful person needs to know about marketing, and how to teach yourself.
  4. What every successful person needs to know about sales, and how to teach yourself.
  5. How to invest for success. (the art of bootstrapping)
  6. Build the brand of you. (or, to hell with resumes)
  7. The entrepreneurial mind-set versus the employee mind-set: become the author of your own life.”
  • Respect the tension between Safety and Heroism.
  • Leadership is “creating a future for others which wouldn’t have happened otherwise.” -Bryan Franklin

People tend to feel safer and more comfortable with the known over the unknown.  An “impact” is a change in course, so if you want to make an impact in your field, you’re asking people to venture into the unknown.  The more of a change of course your innovation or leadership represents, the more your are asking people to abandon safety and comfort, which is not usually something they’re willing to do without overcoming a great deal of resistance.

There may be entrenched interests who are quite happy with the way things are now and who aren’t interested at all in your “impact,” thank you very much.  In fact, they may say you can take your impact and shove it!  Try to rock the boat too much, make too much of a change, and these people may try to oust you from the organization, community, or marketplace, or even try to harm your reputation or career prospects.  Anyone who has dealt with office politics knows this.  Any artist or entrepreneur who has tried to do anything innovative knows this.

Making an impact on large groups of people involves leading them in some way.  Yet, seeking to be a leader is akin to seeking what economists call a “positional good.” …  The more people you want to lead, the stiffer the competition.  And the stiffer the competition, the less you can be sure you’ll win.

Those who do end up leading often achieve leadership, amass wealth, fame, or support, or make an impact on the world, largely through the effects of word of mouth.  Followers/customers/fans convert other people to followers/customers/fans, who convert more people to followers/customers/fans, until a big group- which business author Seth Godin calls a “tribe”- has amassed around a given leader, company, or artist.  This is how most artists, musicians, actors, writers, and entrepreneurs who become famous and wealthy do so- through the viral effects of word of mouth.” p.31-32

  • There are 2 paths: the safe (and often insignificant one which leads to “a life of quiet desparation,” as Thoreau put it) and the risky (which offers heroism, purpose, and risk).
  • I must read this!: The Monk and the Riddle: The Art of Creating a Life While Making a Living“The most dangerous risk of all- the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.”  Randy Komisar is an interesting dude.
  • The single trait that sets self-educated millionaires apart: their relationship to risk.  They are RESILIENT.  They take many small calculated bets.  Not big, high risk ones.  They view failure as necessary to learning.
  • Consider reading The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business
  • “The ardent or insane pursuit of a particular goal is a good idea if the steps you take along the way also prep you for other outcomes, each almost as good (or better). If pushing through the Dip and bending the market to your will and shipping on time and doing important and scary work are all things you need to develop along the way, then it doesn’t really matter so much if you don’t make the goal you set out to reach.” – Seth Godin
  • “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn “…and on a bigger picture, you are a reflection of the twenty or thirty people who give you the best advice.” -Elliot Bisnow.  In short: find exceptional people to learn from, and surround yourself with them.
  • Marketing names to know: Claude Hopkins, Eugene Schwartz, John Caples, David Ogilvy (and all there books).  Read: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Collins Business Essentials)
  • Leadership is like a fountain.  Imagine the leaders are the water near the top, ready to burst out of the fountain.  The water about to burst is being pushed up water below it.  If you want to succeed, find leaders who are doing amazing things in the world, and push them up.  Find powerful people and help them reach their goals.  If you’re of service to them, they will be of service back.” – Eben Pagan
  • On mentors: the secret is giving.  Giving. Giving. Giving.  Support them.  Figure out how you can help them, and do it.  Be the water beneath them, pushing them up the fountain.  Be enterprising about it- figure out ways to give and to support them that will blow their mind…. you must always do it with absolutely zero expectation of getting anything in return.  The vibe has to be one of giving, not taking.
  • Connection Capital= (a)your already existing connections + (b)your ability to give good advice.

The two most important networking questions ever:

  1. What’s the most exciting thing for you right now in your life/business?
  2. What’s challenging for you in your life/business now?

“The people who are most successful, they had a problem that was gnawing at them, and they couldn’t be comfortable unless they did something to solve that problem.  It was so clear to them that they needed to do this thing, that every minute they weren’t doing it, they were unhappy.  It was about an outcome in the world, more than some romantic notion of making it big as a entrepreneur.  It was about solving a problem.”  – Sean Parker

“Understand that no matter what you’re doing, even if you want to be a ballplayer, a rapper, a movie star- nothing happens until something gets sold.  Ever.  The reason actors make so much money is because their face sells the fucking movie tickets.  It’s not about their ability to act.  The reason the musician gets rich is because he sells a lot of seats and records.  Or his song gets used in a movie- it’s a license, a sale.  The key to making money, and therefore living a life of less stress, is to cause someone to joyfully give you money in exchange for something that they perceive to be of greater value than the money they gave you.  The key there is ‘joyfully.’  Most sales and marketing you study, you learn how to trick people into parting with their money, or badger them into doing it, or make them so miserable that they think you’re their only salvation.  None of these situations involve the word ‘joyfully.'”  – Frank Kern

“If you aren’t talking to your prospect about their strongest and deepest wants, needs, and desires, you are doing them a disservice.”  – Craig Clemens, copywriter.

  • Make a list of your prospects’ biggest fears, frustrations, desires, dreams, and nightmares around the issue your product or service helps with.  List 25 answers for each category.

Learn Direct Response Copywriting in 2 months:

  1. Create a new email address.
  2. Read archives, and subscribe to the newsletters of: Brian Clark, Marie Forleo, Matt Furey, Jonathan Fields, Seth Godin, Gary Halpert, Gary Bencivenga, Dan Kennedy, Eben Pagan, and Frank Kern.  Oh, and to see how to apply it: Jena La Flamme.
  3. “Apply ass to chair.”  Norman Mailer when asked for writing advice.

The single most important book recommendation of Education of Millionaires: Click the cover.

Also, check out for a two day sales training. ($1600)

David Ash’s Charity, the Vivian Project:

“The advice I would give to young people?  Quit your job.  Don’t work for anybody.  You really can’t make any money working for someone else.  Maybe it’s a hamburger stand.  Maybe it’s a coffee shop.  You can do that.  It’s very risky to quit your job and start on your own.  You have to be committed to it and you have to be willing to work the hours, because you have a lot of labor.  You can start almost any kind of business yourself.  It doesn’t take a lot of capital.  It’s very doable.  You have to work your ass off.  Be willing to work yourself.”  Phillip Ruffin on bootstrapping.  He made $820,000 they day before he was quoted.  When asked his secret:

“We watched our pennies and didn’t do anything extravagant.  These were real businesses earning real dollars, not a bunch of risky hype.  It was a lot of work.  We were working twelve, fourteen, fifteen hours a day.”

  • Understand the distinction between “andragogy” (man-leading), and “pedagogy” (child-leading)
  • Common thread among people interviewed for the book: a serious passion for lifelong learning.
  • Matt Mullenweg: the the long-form book will never die.  Recommends: Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything
  • Forget a resume.  Build a brand by participating in community with thought leaders (this can be online)
  • “Your brand is what people think about when they hear your name.”
  • “Create stuff. Sell stuff.  Market stuff.  Lead stuff.  Make sure it’s good stuff, then make sure there’s a good Google trail about it, so when potential employers or clients Google you (as they all will), the brand impression they come away with (the thoughts that come to mind when they hear your name again) are, “This person gets shit done.” or simply “Wow.”
  • Danielle LaPorte‘s secret to selling:  “Radiate and state the facts.
  • Follow the 5 Minute Rule: “Bitch, moan, complain, get it out of your system, whatever you got to do.  But just for 5 minutes… beyond that focus 100% of your energy into what you can control.  What can you do now?  How can you learn and benefit from the experience?  How can you move forward?”

“There are two decisions you need to come to in order to be free, and to be more effective.  First is that you are not entitled to anything in the world, until you create value for another human being first.  Second, you are 100% responsible for producing results.  No one else.  If you adopt those two views, you will go far.” – Joe Polish

Distinguish between the Entrepreneurial and the Employee mindsets:

The Entrepreneurial Mindset:

  1. Focus on contribution
  2. Focus on outcome
  3. Sort for what’s needed
  4. Work yourself out of a job
  5. Go toward big decisions, even without authority
  6. See your circumstances as illusory and temporary

The Employee Mindset:

  1. Focus on entitlement
  2. Focus on output
  3. Sort for what’s requested
  4. Work to protect your job
  5. Turn away from decisions
  6. See your circumstances as fixed and permanent
  • Bryan Franklin: “Contribution is an acquired taste.”  Look at your life and you will find plenty of areas of entitlement.  “It is itself a leading risk factor in getting laid off.”
  • Create real result for people willing to pay and you’ll never need to worry about money.
  • Remember George Bernard Shaw: “A reasonable man adapts himself to his environment.  An unreasonable man persists in attempting to adapt his environment to suit himself.  Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
  • Honorable book mention: 50 Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School: Real-World Antidotes to Feel-Good Education

Safe is the new risky; risky is the new safe.  The riskiest thing you can do is play it safe.  There are countless examples of people who are now unemployed because they played it safe.  All those people went to Wall Street because it was the safe thing to do, to follow instructions- they all lost their jobs.  Go down the list.  More and more, if it’s a safe job, it’s risky.”  – Seth Godin

Be like Henry Ford and Louis Marx:

  1. Develop a vibrant and aggressive interest in general human affairs.
  2. Develop an industrial kingdom in which writ alone runs.
  3. Develop an a resolutely individualistic way of doing business which your rivals, like it or not, are obliged to reckon.

“In this increasingly unpredictable and chaotic world, the wisest choice for thriving and flourishing is to focus your efforts on cultivating skills, habits, and ways of being that will work for you under a wide range of market circumstances and economic realities, and which will allow you to bounce back and adapt to changes, shifts, shocks, crashes, and new opportunities as they arise.  This is called cultivating resilience.”



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