As one of the few people who retired at 28 after becoming a property investor and entrepreneur, I can honestly attribute my current situation (and no doubt my future) to the amount of books I have and will continue to read.
This one habit laid the foundation on which I built my financial, personal, and career success, reaching financial freedom over 35 years ahead of the average retirement age.
This may not be a surprise; most CEOs read more than 50 books a year, which is 12 TIMES what the average American reads. Woah!
As someone who directly benefited from information gathered through extra-curricular reading, here are some gems of wisdom I implemented from books I’ve read along my journey to financial independence.
#1. How to Make Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Considered one of America’s top personal development gurus, Dale changed countless peoples’ lives, including mine. He taught me how to be a better conversationalist, drastically increasing my profits as a headhunter. By deploying his strategies of leveraging personal charm in a sincere and ethical manner, I monopolized the market I recruited for, becoming a top-billing headhunter in the process.
The key lesson I learned is that talking is not a sign of social prowess. Extroverts are not better than introverts – both suffer from issues related to their personality type. In fact, listening and asking open-ended questions as a strategy is much more effective to drive rapport, grow business (and personal) relationships, and to earn others’ affection. Put in to action, Dale’s strategies can create considerable wealth and save you money during negotiation and other financial and personal matters.
#2. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, The Secret by Rhonda Byrnes, The Fastlane Millionaire by MJ Demarco, etc. Never in my life has anyone told me I could be a millionaire*. If they ever did, they probably would have told me I’d need to work my way up the old-fashioned way. These books showed me, there is another way outside of being a corporate slave. For the first time, I had a glorious future to look forward to, one where I could be young AND wealthy.
I started to seriously question: If others have done it, why not me? Why do I say no to myself when I haven’t even tried?
*My dad did see something special within me. However, I often discounted his advice because he was a gambling addict who was very unreliable and considered mentally unbalanced by most of my family. Other than my dad, no one ever expected me to outperform in any way.
#3. Robert Kiyosaki’s book series: Retire Young Retire Rich, Rich Dad Poor Dad, The ABC’s of Real Estate Investing, etc. Although I have never attended any of their seminars, I appreciated learning real estate investment from Kiyosaki’s experience. While I don’t follow his valuation model exactly, I profited immensely from his overall philosophy and approach towards investing.
Namely, “you make money when you buy” truly hit home for me. When I look for real estate deals, personal or investment, current rental value and cash flow will always be the most important. Especially in today’s dangerous environment in which many hard-working Americans (friends, colleagues, acquaintances) continue to fork over their life savings for a downpayment, enslaving them to one location, one over-priced mortgage, and their dependency on their 9-5s, Kiyosaki’s message is more important than ever.
The general public has not learned anything from 2008. History WILL repeat itself.
#4. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley. This book breaks down the real meaning of wealth versus riches. Sometimes, the most “successful” people: lawyers, doctors, executives, live a difficult life due to the pressures of their financial obligations.
Not only was this true for many of the CEOs and executives I represented as their headhunter, I saw this truism all around me at my workplace! Although many of my colleagues make $200k-400k per year, they can’t afford to stop working. Without a paycheck, they would immediately become bankrupted by their high cost of living.
True wealth is about living within your means, making more, and mastering investing. That is the case whether you make $70k or $7mil! Wealth is meaningless if you spend every cent. You can never escape wealth’s delicate dance; even if you’re making 6-figures per month, you should never lose sight of how fickle the wealth winds blow.
I’ll publish another article with more learns that helped me reach retirement young. Hopefully, these books will similarly help you think bigger and grow richer!
If you’re a go-getter with ambitions to achieve the life and career you envision, connect with Dandan Zhu to evaluate new opportunities in headhunting and sales.