Business Gods Reveal The Secrets Of Their Fortune


Probably the most envied people group on the planet.

You see, billionaires don’t become billionaires simply by waking up one morning and deciding, “Today, I will become a billionaire.”

If only it were that easy.

What really happens: these people have a plan. An extremely detailed, meticiously created plan for success. They have strict guidelines they live by, and (almost) never deter from.

Right about now, you’re probably thinking that it would be super-cool to know what exactly these guidelines are.

And now, you can. Over the years, multiple billionaires have been free and generous with their advice, and I’ve collected 50 such lessons from said billionaires and put them together in this post (along with a little implementation advice for each one).

By following these billionaire tips, I guarantee* that you’ll become a billionaire (or, in the very least, a successful entrepreneur).

*Legal disclosure: I am not liable in the event that you follow these tips and do not see 9-figure returns. But, y’know, I’m rooting for you.

Shall we begin?


1.”Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” — Bill Gates

So, so true. Your company’s most unsatisfied customers — the ones who are downright disgusted with your product — are the ones who know your product’s flaws best.

Find them. Learn what they hated about their purchase and what changes they would recommend, then take their advice and build a better product.

2. “Rule #1: Never lose money. Rule #2: Never forget rule #1.” — Warren Buffet

Anything that makes your business lose money is no good. If you aren’t seeing returns from a strategy, either improve it dramatically or throw it out the window altogether.

Not my idea. Warren Buffet’s.

3. “You can’t just ask customers what they want and then give it to them. By the time you build it, they’ll want something new.” — Steve Jobs

This man, having been the founder of Apple and all, ought to have known a thing or two about the relationship between innovation and customers. Pretty soon, there will probably be more iPhone models around than you can shake a stick at (don’t shake sticks at iPhones, though — that’s weird).

While your customers’ recommendations are no doubt crucial to improving your product, you can’t build in every single thing that would be “nice to have”. Instead, when innovating with your product, you need to focus on adding the features that you think will have the greatest impact on increasing its value.

Note: this tip isn’t contradictory to tip #1. Unsatisfied customers don’t tell you what they want, they tell you what they hate (instead of creating new features, you’re fixing broken ones).

4. “In business, by the time you realize you’re in trouble, it’s too late to save yourself. Unless you’re running scared all the time, you’re gone.” — Bill Gates

When in business, worry. Pessimism can help you identify potentially troublesome areas in your business.

5. “A business absolutely devoted to service will only have one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly huge.” — Henry Ford

Your customers = your #1 focus. Never lose sight of that.

6. “When you’ve got 10,000 people trying to do the same thing, why would you want to be 10,001?” — Mark Cuban

Innovation is who we are as entrepreneurs. We’re entrepreneurs because we’re trying something new. We’re trying to be different.

Keep being innovative, and never fall prey to profit-sucking, product-duplicating cycle of same old, same old.

7. “As much as you need a strong personality to build a business from scratch, you also must understand the art of delegation. I have to be good at helping people run the individual businesses, and I have to be willing to step back. The company must be set up so it can continue without me.” — Richard Branson

Richard Branson

Image credit: D@LY3D via Flickr.

Learn how to automate your business by hiring employees to do the jobs that you do now.

8. “In your company or industry, work every job in that industry. It’s the only way of having a complete understanding of your people and your company.” — John Catsimatidis

Before hiring employees to run your business, remember to try your hand at the work of every job possible in your company. It gives you a better understanding of how things work in your business and how to streamline its efficiency.

9. “Ten minutes are not just one-sixth of your hourly pay; ten minutes is a piece of yourself. Divide yourself into ten units and sacrifice as few of them as possible in meaningless activities. Most things still remain to be done.” — Ingvar Kamprad

Wasted time is the enemy. When you’re working on your business, put everything else away and concentrate on what needs to be done.

Email, close. Facebook, close. Twitter, close.

10. “When there is a crisis, that’s when some are interested in getting out and that’s when we are interested in getting in.” — Carlos Slim Helu

Don’t be afraid to delve into an industry/niche that seems to be going downhill. Just make sure you do your research beforehand so you know you have the ability to turn things around with your company.

11. “Never count on making a good sale. Have the purchase price so attractive that even a mediocre sale gives good results.” — Warren Buffet

Pricing is one of the most important aspects of your business. Don’t wing it. Find the perfect balance, where any sale — good, bad, or mediocre — can give you good results.

Pssst: that means doing a ton of CRO.

12. “A good businessman must have nose for business the same way a journalist has nose for news. Once your eyes, ears, nose, heart and brain are trained on business, you sniff business opportunities everywhere.” — Orji Uzor Kalu

Becoming a businessman (especially if you worked a job in an unrelated field before becoming an entrepreneur) is a huge learning process. It involves training a whole new mindset focused on business opportunities, so don’t worry if you aren’t instantly able to do what all entrepreneurs/businessmen are supposed to be able to do.

13. “While strategy, market positioning, and coming up with a long-term plan are all important, focus on making the individual sales and creating happy customers. None of that strategic planning is any good if you can’t keep the lights on because you’re not making enough sales.” — Tej Kohli

I think we’re beginning to see a trend here. If you haven’t noticed it yet, it’s happy customers = profits.

Each and every sale + new customer should take supreme importance in your company.

14. “If you want to succeed, you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.” — John Rockefeller

Another trend: be innovative. Try new things. 99% of the time, the beaten path is not the one worth following.

15. “The biggest risk is not taking any risk … In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” — Mark Zuckerberg

Business is all about risks: knowing which ones to refuse and which ones to take. If you never take a gamble, you’ll never strike it big.

16. “There are no shortcuts. NONE.” — Mark Cuban

That fancy new get-rich-quick scheme that practically the entire shady side of the Internet seems to be peddling? It doesn’t work. Stay away. Stick to hard work and lots of effort.

17. “The most meaningful way to differentiate your company from your competitors, the best way to put distance between you and the crowd is to do an outstanding job with information. How you gather, manage and use information will determine whether you win or lose.” — Bill Gates

Gather as much information as you can about your industry, your competitors, your company, and your customers and use it to better your business.

19. “When you innovate, you’ve got to be prepared for people telling you that you are nuts.” — Larry Ellison

When people tell you that your business idea is crazy, that’s a good thing. Embrace your lunatic status, and keep at it.

20. “If your cash is about to run out, you have to cut your cash flow. CEOs have to make those decisions and live with them however painful they may be. You have to act and act now; and act in the best interest of the company as a whole, even if it means that some people in the company who are your best friends have to work somewhere else.” – Larry Ellison

If you’re currently faced with a painful decision, choose the path that will leave your business better off in the long term. Yes, sometimes it’s hard, but nothing ever worth doing is easy.

21. “The man who comes up with a means of doing or producing almost anything better, faster or more economically has his future and his fortune at his finger tips.” — J. Paul Getty

Constantly innovate with your production process. If you can produce an equal product faster and/or cheaper than your competitors, you’ve got it made.

22. “Somebody once said that in looking to hire people, look for three qualities; Integrity, intelligence and energy.” — Warren Buffet

If your new employee doesn’t have the first quality, the latter two could end up harming, instead of benefiting, your business. Integrity is one of the top things you should look for in all job candidates.

23. “The competitor to be feared is one who never bothers about you at all but goes on making his own business better all the time.” — Henry Ford

Yes — knowing about how your competitors work and what they do is important. But what’s so much more important is how your company does things. Focus on the latter, and then start worrying about the former.

24. “Business is a cobweb of human relationship.” – Henry Ross Perot

Can someone say CUSTOMER SERVICE again?

25. “When you’re green, you’re growing. When you’re ripe, you rot. Are you green and growing or ripe and rotting?” – Ray Kroc

Try stuff that’s new. Delve into the unknown — the things that you have absolutely no experience in. Then, and then only, can you start to learn.


26. “There has to be a balance in life. A balance of business, family, and the opportunity to learn and teach.” — Chuck Feeney

Your company is never the most important thing in life. Your family and the people around you: that is what’s important.

27. “Invest in yourself and the people you believe in.” — Patrick Soon-Shiong

Spending money on yourself is not wasting money. You must invest in yourself to see returns in your business — whether that investment means the new computer that will help you work better or more time for you to spend doing the things you love outside of business.

28. “Try to never to be the smartest person in the room.” — Michael Dell

If you’re slightly confused at this quote, no problem. I was too when I first read it.

But what Dell is really saying here is to surround yourself with people who are smarter, more experienced, and generally better than you. Surround yourself with experts, and soon you’ll be one yourself.

In practical application, that could mean joining elite circles (like paid high-level forums, for instance) in your industry  and networking (interviewing, exchanging guest blog posts, etc.) with some of the big names in your niche.

29. “The next day after I got fired, literally the next day, I started a new company.” — Michael Bloomberg

Bloomberg’s first job out of school was at Wall Street, where he stayed for 15 years until the day he was fired. Know what he did the very next day? Started a new company.

The lesson in that is not to start new businesses willy nilly. Instead, it’s that you should never let yourself get down after what seems like a failure on the surface. If Bloomberg had never been fired, he probably would have never gotten the opportunity to become worth $33 billion.

30. “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” — JK Rowling

They say that no one fights harder than a man who has nothing to lose.

A lot of Gen Y entrepreneurs will hit rock bottom before they hit the motherload. Accept your situation, and work to better it rather than sit around and gripe.

31. “In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story.” — Jeff Bezos

Your choices — both in business and in life — define who you are as a person. Make choices that you’ll be proud to look back at 40 years from now and think “I did the right thing“.

32. “If you actually do something you love it’s a lot easier and takes on a lot more purpose.” — Mark Zuckerberg

When vetting a business idea, or even when you’re just trying something new in life: in most cases, if you don’t love doing it, you won’t succeed at it.

In the rare instances where you might actually succeed, know that you’ll still be miserable doing it. Is a financially sound company worth the cost of your daily happiness?

In one word, no.

33. “Done is better than perfect.” — Mark Zuckerberg

I absolutely love this tip. Admittedly, I’ve heard it quite a lot, not only from the mouth of Facebook’s founder, but it never ceases to be relevant.

So many entrepreneurs wait. They wait until their website is perfectly designed before publishing it. They wait until their product is perfectly built before launching.

You will never achieve perfection, so don’t cite imperfection as an excuse not to launch your product/website.

A “done” product that brings in $20K per month in profits is better than one being “perfected” that is still in the works and hasn’t been launched yet.

34. “Failure is the only opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” – Henry Ford

When you fail at something after trying your best, don’t be disappointed in your effort. Be proud that you now know what doesn’t work, and that you can now begin again: this time, with a higher chance of succeeding and less chance of failure.

35. “It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behaviour is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.” — Warren Buffett

Trend #3: networking is important. Constantly try to reach out to people in bigger and better places than you are. Learn from them, emulate them, and soon you might be them.

36. “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” — Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

Image credit: Ben Stanfield via Flickr.

A follower is someone who does the same thing day in, day out. No questions asked; he does what he is told to do.

The leader, on the other hand is the one who innovates. The leader comes up with new ideas for products, new techniques to build them, and new strategies to market them. As entrepreneurs, we are meant to be leaders. Innovation is a prerequisite of living the entrepreneurial lifestyle.

37. “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” — Henry Ford

Attitude plays a huge role in our capabilities. If you tell yourself that you will be able to do something, then you will be able to do it (if it’s within the bounds of logical reasoning).

On the other hand, if you tell yourself that you can’t do something, then you won’t be able to do it. Either way, you’re right.

It’s crucial that you think “can”, not “can’t”.

38. “It’s how tenacious you are … that will determine your success.” — Steve Ballmer

Every billionaire has gone through times of hardship. The difference between them and the average Joes of this world?

They stuck with it, no matter how tough it got. Be tenacious. Never give up on something that you know has the capacity to turn your life around.

39. “You grow more when you get more people’s perspective.” — Mark Zuckerberg

Zuckerberg has a 1.2 billion user base to get perspective from. Now, you might not have those kinds of numbers (yet), but everyone always will have people around them that they can get feedback from. Not only feedback on their business, but also in general on their life. The more feedback you get, the better you know how and where to grow.

Did I say that networking is important?

40. “It is often easier to make progress on mega-ambitious dreams. I know that sounds completely nuts. But, since no one else is crazy enough to do it, you have little competition.” — Larry Page

Few people will have the courage to dream insanely big, and even fewer will have the resolve to follow up on their dreams. Lofty goals often mean lofty gains, so don’t be afraid to dream big.

41. “No one ever made a million bucks by being cautious or timid or reasonable.” — Eli Broad

Don’t play it safe. The moment you do, you neutralize any opportunity you might have had to achieve greatness.

42. As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” — Bill Gates

Being a leader isn’t just about innovation and exploring things and ideas that others haven’t; it’s also got a lot to do with equipping others with tools or skills to do something (or in other words, empowering them).

If you think about it, that’s exactly what business owners do. They create a product, sell a service, or give advice that enables people to do something.

As a leader, you should focus on how you can help those around you.

43. “In the end, you’re measured not by how much you undertake but by what you finally accomplish.” — Donald Trump

Lofty ambitions are good, but in the end you will be valued by how much you were actually able to accomplish. Not only does that mean putting in the hard work required to achieve your goals, but it also means having the persistence and patience to stick with something, and not constantly flit from one idea to the next.

44. “I’m the type that thinks if you don’t learn from history, you’re doomed to repeat it.”– Mark Cuban

Everyone on this earth is bound to make mistakes. But what separates the good from the great is that the great learn not only from their own mistakes, but also the mistakes of others.

That’s (again) why information and knowledge is so important to both a successful business and a productive lifestyle.

45. “You can’t be a good leader unless you generally like people. That is how you bring out the best in them.”  — Richard Branson

You can’t empower people that you hate. Learn to like the people you work with and the customers you work for, or you might as well scrap the whole idea of being an entrepreneur.

46. “It’s fine to celebrate success, but more important to heed the lessons of failure.” — Bill Gates

When you accomplish something great, by all means, celebrate. When you flunk miserably, welcome your failure as a learning opportunity and a lesson for life.

47. “I don’t believe too much in luck. I believe in circumstances. I believe in work.” — Carlos Slim

Leaving something up to fate is quite possibly the worst thing you could ever do. Make fate work for you — manipulate circumstances and put in the work to get the best result possible.

48. “Don’t aim for perfection. Aim for success.” — Eike Batiste

I’m a perfectionist, and I hate that. By narrow-mindedly focusing solely on perfection, I often lose out on easily-attained successes that would have been achieved had I simply scrapped perfection.

Don’t make the same mistake: your goal is success, not perfection.

49. “The most dangerous poison is the feeling of achievement. The antidote is to every evening think what can be done better tomorrow.” — Ingvar Krampad

The moment you start concentrating on the fact that you’ve achieved something big is the moment you start losing focus on how to do better. Every day, set aside some time for reflection to think about what you can do better tomorrow that you didn’t do so well today.

50. “Being the richest man … doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me.” — Steve Jobs

At the end of it all, not even all the money in the world will make you happy. Money simply doesn’t have the power to buy happiness.

So don’t live for money. Live, instead, for the what you do and the way you make it.


In this giant collection of tips from the richest people on the planet, we’ve seen a lot of lessons that can be applied in practically every facet of a billionaire lifestyle.

But we’ve also seen a few recurrent themes that, as evidenced by their frequency, are really, really important. Here are 4 key takeaways that I’ve identified:

Takeaway 1: Failure can often be more beneficial than success. To a certain extent, it’s good to make mistakes — if you’re doing everything right the first time, that probably means that you aren’t reaching out of your comfort zone to explore new heights.

Take risks, and don’t be afraid to fail. Instead, embrace your shortcomings and constantly focus on improving them.

Takeaway 2: Networking is huuuge. The elite spend time with the elite.

Takeaway 3: You don’t have to wait for perfection to achieve success. Mark Zuckerberg put it best: “Done is better (and very often more profitable) than perfect.”

Takeaway 4: Customers are your #1 focus. No ifs, ands, or buts. Customers come first.

Rich Kids Secret: They Have More Money Than You And This Is How They Do Them

You might love her as she emerges from the chopper in a fairy costume for a party in Las Vegas, or readies for take-off in the private jet for lunch in Monaco. Or you might hate her. It doesn’t matter. The point is, #youcantdothis.

Chryseis Tan is one of the Rich Kids of Instagram and Tumblr, social media accounts showcasing the unapologetically self-indulgent lifestyles of the world’s wealthiest millennials.

Supposedly. Some of these rich and Instafamous puckering for the camera may not be as well-off as their portraits portray. They’re draped on Ferraris, lounging on yachts, wallowing in champagne and wantonly splurging wads of cash on fashion, food and fun in the world’s most enviable environs.

But Chryseis Tan is the real deal. She’s the 27 year old jet-setting daughter of Malaysian billionaire Vincent Tan, with 58,000 Instagram followers ready to coo “woww!” “gorgeous” “love this” and “so pretty!!” at her every post. Her handbags are to die for too – Hermes of course, not to mention her fellow billionaire offspring Faliq Nasimuddin whose father was a captain of the Malaysian car industry.

Ms Tan’s tagline (apart from #youcantdothis) is “I want to travel the world”. No problem there: here she is in Hong Kong, here in Courchevel (the French ski resort recently visited by William, Kate and family), there in Japan. Zurich, Shanghai, Paris, Koh Samui, San Francisco? No problem.

But 58,000 followers is as nothing beside others of her ilk. Take Dan Bilzerian, hardly a kid at 35, a self-proclaimed “sexual philanthropist” dubbed the “King of Instagram” by 10.4 million followers. The barrel-chested professional poker player is a favourite among US college boys for his outrageous ass-kicking, gun-toting persona and risque posts with skimpily-dressed-if-at-all women. His campaign for the 2016 presidential race appears to have consisted of a series of parties at exclusive night clubs.

There’s a novel, Rich Kids of Instagram, “dishy and hilarious … revolves around a core group of spoiled young people”; a reality TV show based in Beverly Hills featuring Dorothy Wang, Morgan Stewart and their #blessed chums; and a documentary made by Britain’s Channel 4. “SLAMMED by viewers after expensive cars, cash and wealth is flaunted”, the Mirror screamed.

The media, of course, lap it up. RKOI have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, The Atlantic, Buzzfeed, Gawker, the Telegraph in Britain, and many other places. What they do on holidays (lounge around in hotels, buy up big in boutiques) has become a bit of a seasonal meme in the northern hemisphere, a bit like bushfire and cricket stories in the Australian summer.

There’s even a Rich Kids of Australia , very modest by global standards, with just over 1000 followers and only 16 posts. These seem disproportionately to feature aspiring Perth model and socialite Eva Scolaro, mostly famous for a glassing incident in a Perth pub that landed her in jail in 2010.

Clarisse Lafleur provides Australia a closer brush with RKOI’s distinctive brand of f— you fame, because the Maserati-driving 18-year-old with the “Princess” number plate attends Bond University on the Gold Coast, or she did in January when the Daily Mail caught up with her. Her grandfather was president of New Caledonia and she lives off an allowance from her “very generous father” who is in business and tops it up as needed.
“Being wealthy doesn’t mean throwing money everywhere and wearing a bunch of designer clothes and too much jewelry all at the same time: you don’t look rich; you look like a Christmas tree.

“You need to have the culture behind it otherwise people will laugh at you,” she was quoted as saying.
You don’t need a sociology degree to figure out that the millions who follow those featured as RKOI are vicariously living out fantasies. Some responses to posts are raw with yearning: “Change my life!” wrote “liner.long” to Clarisse Lafleur. “give me a million?! I would love you like nobody did before.”

But it’s all about the display, says Emeritus Professor and cultural theorist Jon Stratton. He likens the rich kids to the dandies who paraded their wealth and style on the 19th- and early 20th-century boulevards. Their followers are the flaneurs on hand to watch.

“They want to be envied because that is a way of feeling reassured and smug with what they have got.

“A lot of these people have absolutely no idea how most people live. They come from such incredible wealth that they are completely disconnected from what the majority of the world considers to be everyday life.”

Amy Dobson, who focuses on gender and sexuality in digital cultures as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Queensland, notes the commercial flavour of many RKOI posts displaying luxury brand names.

Instagram and other commercial social media platforms are experiments in new ways of making profit, through user-generated content and “self-branding”, she says.

While Australian culture has historically been more averse to conspicuous displays of wealth, this may change in future as “celebrity” and “luxury” become popularised as key aspirations for people, Dr Dobson suggests.

Popular Internet culture encourages everyone to “take on an almost a celebrity-like way of broadcasting ourselves and engaging with other people”, says Akane Kanai, associate lecturer in sociology at the University of Newcastle.

“That is obviously easier for rich people [to have] the aesthetic kind of look, the right sort of toned bodies, the right sort of things to wear, and all the attributes of celebrity.”

How The Super-Rich Became Super Rich

Richard Branson sitting on the edge of his pool

“Let us assume, dear reader, that you are interested in one thing and one thing only: obtaining a vast fortune.” So begins economist Sam Wilkin’s new book, Wealth Secrets of the One Percent, on how the super rich became just that. The “fortune”, Wilkin clarifies, is not the stuff of fancy cars and a holiday home on the Amalfi Coast, but “yachts and personal helicopters, diamond-encrusted light fixtures, stately homes and private islands”.

The sort of fortune, in other words, only available to the world’s 1,826 billionaires and well out of the reach of the wildest imaginations of the rest of us.

But Wilkin says he can change all of that. He has spent years researching the machinations of the uber rich and claims to have homed in on their wealth secrets. Pay attention, for this could be your chance to follow in the immaculate Italian leather shod footsteps of the world’s one per cent.

Get rich quick tomes are, of course, nothing new, and usually more common to a Waterstones’ bargain bucket than an oligarchic’s book shelf – if such a thing exists. However, what makes this book different is Sam Wilkin’s is an inside man.

The 41-year-old is a senior advisor for Oxford Economics (one of the world’s foremost global research consultancies) and Oxford Analytica which provides strategic advice to more than 50 governments across the globe. He works with some of the world’s largest companies and even the odd billionaire – sadly, he won’t say which. Wilkin has previously written several economic theory books, but this one, published worldwide this month, is different. It zeros in on how the wealthy made it and attempts to answer the billion-dollar question: “How can I get me some of that?”

We meet for dinner at a harbourside restaurant in Amsterdam. Wilkin is Buckinghamshire-born but lives in New York and is travelling back via Holland after giving a lecture in China. From the book’s amoral money-grabbing tone, I am half-expecting a Wolf of Wall Street character to breeze in, perhaps arriving by launch from some distantly moored super yacht. Instead I am greeted by a bespectacled figure in a suit crumpled by his long-haul flight. He prefers one glass of beer to a bottle of vintage champagne.

Warren Buffett throwing paper at someone
Warren Buffett, the world’s third richest man

So the obvious question, and one I am grilling him on before he has even buttered his bread, is exactly how does somebody (take, just plucking an example out of the sky, a lowly-paid journalist) become a billionaire? The good news, first, is that it is getting easier. In Britain, alone, the number of billionaires has increased from 53 to 113 in the past five years. For 2015 there are 290 newcomers on the Forbes global rich list.

“It’s easier than ever,” Wilkin says. “It’s the rise of the financial sector and the rise of fast growing emerging markets. These are what an economist would call institutional factors.”

The book narrows the so-called wealth secrets down to seven, but for Wilkin only two really matter: eradicate the competition and take risks with other people’s money.

He cites the example of Microsoft founder and richest person on the planet Bill Gates as somebody who managed to seize control of an entire market. Same too, the lightning expansion of Google by Sergey Brin and Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook empire.

Wilkin compares this total control of markets by men who had barely finished their degrees to the robber barons of late 19th century and early 20th century America. While the likes of Rockefeller, John Pierepont Morgan and Andrew Carnegie managed to hoover up the vast profits of industrialisation, a century on a privileged few have similarly reaped the rewards of a new digital economy.

He says the pharmacteutical and technology sectors are nowadays where the true money is to be made. This is what American investor Warren Buffett, the third richest man in the world (net worth of 72.3 billion dollars), refers to as getting in the right boat.

Roman Abramovich
Roman Abramovich

The other obvious way to have no competitors is to pick a place where nobody else wants to do business. “The best place to do business is really the worst’ he says. ‘You want a place that is so hard to do business in that nobody else can get one started.”

The most famous example of this, he says, is the Wild East of post-Communist Russia during the Nineties where men like Roman Abramovich(last week spotted sailing his 557ft super yacht through the Scottish Western isles) made their wealth.

By 2004, Moscow was home to more billionaires than New York and Wilkin says more than ever this is the wealth secret that dominates the rich list. The emerging markets of China, India, Brazil and Mexico are now home to almost one in four of the world’s billionaires.

Clearly, knowing where and how to operate is not enough. Personality is also key and Wilkin says there are obvious traits that unite a lot of the people in the book, going as far back as Marcus Licinius Crassus, the Ancient Roman known as one of the richest men that has ever lived. The corporate matiness of modern billionaires, as personified by Richard Branson chillaxing on his private paradise island of Necker, masks a steely resolve. This, Wilkin says, is the main disclaimer for readers. “Knowing what you can do to be rich is not the same as being able to execute it.”

Melinda and Bill Gates

“These people tend to be pretty merciless, really competitive,” he says. “You have to go in willing to fight tooth and nail to be that winner and be comfortable and untroubled by wiping everybody else out.”

Wilkin talks about the “hard-charged testosterone environment” of modern day financiers, a lot of it resting on ego and still very much a man’s world.

Another uniting personality trait he says he has noticed among billionaires is they tend to declare their financial objectives as young children. “Bill Gates did it to his high school friends. Andrew Carnegie, too. Having the objective just to have money is a major driver of people who become super rich.”

He himself comes from normal middle class stock – his English father is a retired professor, his American mother a former librarian – and admits he is full of respect for the “amazing gumption” of your average billionaire. “It’s impossible not to admire these people,” Wilkin says. “They really are larger than life characters who have done amazing things.”

And what about him, I wonder. If he does know their secrets why doesn’t Wilkin become a billionaire himself? He insists, in between sips of mint tea, that he has no desire for great wealth – mapping how it is made is interesting enough.

He says the “moneyed herd” of super rich bankers and the like are a regular sight in Manhattan, but the endless desire to stay on top at all costs which unites so many billionaires, is not for him. Happiness, he says, should not depend on one’s bank balance.

None the less, when I ask what he would spend his fictional billions on, it is impossible to ignore the glint in the economist’s eye. “Nothing ostentatious, but I would like to have a nice place in a few countries. Maybe Oxford, maybe New York, maybe Japan…”

As he trails off, I wonder if perhaps the one per cent may soon have another member?

Wealth secrets

  • Pick a field where you can establish a monopoly – such as Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim who from 2010-2013 was ranked the richest person in the world after taking control of the country’s entire telecommunications market.
  • Expand as quickly as possible – Amazon has eschewed early profitability to becoming the “everything shop” and as a result investors have poured money in.
  • The worst place to do business is really the best – it is easier to dominate emerging markets due to the lack of competition and potential for growth.
  • Take risks with other people’s money – do all you can to encourage investors and then gamble their money rather than your own.
  • To get rich you need to own your own business and property rights – Bill Gates’s Microsoft at one point had a 95 per cent share of the operating systems market, protected by intellectual property rights.
  • Spin complex laws into gold – set up in industries bound by such convoluted regulation – for example agricultural subsidies and banking regulation – that it is easy to bend the rules as nobody understands anyway.
  • Establish business networks – telecoms networks and shipping networks have created a lot of billionaires’ fortunes as they can squeeze out all competition.

Why choose solar energy


As the environment becomes more and more jeopardized and the cost of energy skyrockets, may concerned people are turning to green energy to meet the energy requirements of their homes and business. Solar energy is unarguably the most popular choice in renewable energy today.

It reduces the high cost of energy and gives the user independence from the power grid. This allows people who make the smart solar choice to enjoy the advantages of electricity even when the electricity is out due to bad weather conditions or some other reason. Those are great reasons to choose solar. In this article, you will learn even more reasons why you should choose solar energy to power your home.

When you choose to power your home with free energy from the sun, your real estate values will increase. Having a good solar energy system in place is a great selling point for a home. Even if you don’t plan to sell your home, when you go solar, you can count on enjoying economical, clean, reliable power to your home for a quarter of a century or more.

If and when your solar energy system needs replacement, you can pretty well count on being able to replace it with sharply improved technology at a lower price since that’s just the way it goes with all up and coming new technologies. They just get better and better and more affordable.
The efficient solar energy systems you can buy today can be counted on to pay for themselves within five years of purchase. Additionally, when you buy you are sure to be eligible for attractive rebates and tax credits to help you with your initial purchase. All this means that you can count on energy that is virtually free after the first five years or so of use.

When you make the smart choice of switching to green energy from the sun, you are doing your part to reduce our nation’s addiction to fossil fuels. This is a very positive move, indeed, in both financial and ecological terms. The less fossil fuels we use, the less our nation must pay to other nations for oil. It also reduces the amount of conflict our nation is drawn into in the name of fossil fuels. Additionally, clean energy from the sun does not damage the environment or the ozone layer. When you choose solar, you are making a choice to leave the world a better place for the next generation.

As solar power becomes better and better, the amount of power a good system can produce naturally increases. These days, with high efficiency panels, it is not necessary to have blazing sunshine all day to get good energy output from solar panels. In fact, many systems produce quite a bit more energy than is needed. When this happens, the homeowner can sell energy back to the power grid and not only save money, but also make money.

It’s easy to see that solar energy is a smart, economical, responsible green energy choice. Don’t be afraid to take the plunge. Follow the tips presented here to convert your home to solar energy and enrich your life and your pocketbook with the power of the sun.

Save the Planet with Eco Friendly Products

Going green is all the rage these days, as more and more people come to understand the importance of taking care of the environment. Although recycling is a terrific start, we need to go much farther than that if we want to start repairing all the damage that has already been done. That’s why in addition to the traditional “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” mantra, we should make a concerted effort to buy eco friendly products and reward manufacturers who adopt this responsible approach.

There used to be a time when choosing eco friendly products meant sacrificing choice or quality, but thankfully that’s not the case anymore. So many companies have jumped onto the green bandwagon that consumers have a wider array of choices than ever before. In fact, you can find eco friendly products for just about every avenue of your life, from automobiles to kitchen appliances and even entire homes.

Hybrid vehicles lead the pack of eco friendly products that can have an immediate and positive impact on our world. Cars such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight both reduce fuel usage and cut down on harmful emissions, which makes a powerful one-two punch for the environment. While lots of folks would probably love to drive hybrids such as these, not everyone has the $22,000 necessary to purchase the entry-level models. Fortunately, there are a bunch of other eco friendly products that are much easier on your wallet.

Take clothing, for instance. Conventional clothing that is made from fabrics such as cotton put a tremendous burden on the world’s water supply, as it takes a lot of water to keep cotton fields irrigated. Moreover, most growers use pesticides and other harmful chemicals to protect their crops. These chemicals can then seep into the soil or groundwater, causing even more damage. Conversely, clothing manufacturers that produce eco friendly products use such materials as hemp, bamboo, soy, and other sustainable textiles. The production of these materials does not take the same toll on the Earth, and has the added benefit of providing much-needed agricultural jobs to people in developing countries.

Other eco friendly products that you can incorporate into your daily life include reusable shopping bags, organic soaps and cleaning agents, kitchen disposables (such as paper towels, plastic wrap, and sandwich bags) made of recycled materials, self-charging flashlights and portable radios, and rechargeable batteries. This list contains just a fraction of the growing selection of green goods available, so don’t limit yourself to what you see here.

Doing your part for the environment doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your comfortable lifestyle. By making a few small changes like buying eco friendly products whenever possible, you’ll be making a bigger contribution than you think!

Green Living Home Improvement Projects

Many homeowners are choosing to live a greener life, and are finding ways to perform home improvement projects that can decrease the amount of energy consumed every year. There are proven home improvement projects that are essential to green living. They can help the homeowner save money, using energy-efficient solutions while helping to save the planet.

Through proper material selection, including recyclable and renewable options, there are many ways to improve the aesthetics and functionality of the home using green solutions. This can be anything from changing out an old incandescent bulb, with a new LED bulb that is known to produce the same amount of light for a reduced amount of cost.

Another option is changing out the traditional showerhead, for one that restricts the water flow. They can save thousands of gallons of water every year, while still providing quality baths and showers. The idea of living a green life is often taken in small steps, where minimal changes are made one step at a time.

Recycled Furniture

Many homeowners are choosing to go green by purchasing recycled furniture. They can pick up outdated, or worn out dining room tables, sofas, and chairs. With simple products found at the local home improvement store, they can easily transform these ugly, outdated furniture items into beautiful pieces of art that fit perfectly within the home.

Eco-Friendly Paint

Many homeowners are choosing to use eco-friendly paint that reduces the amount of airborne fumes during the painting process, and lasting until the paint cures. Every major home improvement retail center offers a wide assortment of eco-friendly paints that can be blended into any color in the rainbow.

Reducing the Carbon Footprint

The easiest way to reduce the family’s carbon footprint is to maximize the energy efficiency of the home. This can be accomplished by adding weather stripping around all windows and doors, and plugging up any drafty open holes in the house, attic or basement. In addition, changing out the existing HVAC system for a new energy-efficient one can reduce the amount of electricity required to heat and cool the home.

Many homeowners are also choosing to install solar panels on the roof of their home, as a way to generate their own electricity. This helps maximize the energy efficiency of the home, and minimizes their dependency on burning fossil fuels to generate heat and cooling.

Green Style Landscaping

By planting the right kinds of trees and shrubs around the home, it is easy to block out the heat of the summer sun, and minimize the amount of air conditioning required to cool the home. Heavy shrubs and high foliage trees positioned properly in the landscaping can dramatically enhance the beauty of the exterior of the home, while protecting the house from the harsh rays of the sun.

These few green living home improvement projects can save money, reduce energy costs, and help save the planet. Each one is affordable, and easy to perform. It is beneficial if every member of the family gets involved in living a greener life.

Home Energy Saving Tips

Whether you admit it or not, with all the expenses you have in mind, no matter how big your salary is, you still want to save some extra bucks in one way or another. And the best place to start saving is right at your very home; on your power bills. Yes, your power bills.

All your appliances and electric gadget consume electricity and pile up to your ever-growing electric bills month after month contribute to your burden as a homeowner (or a tenant on a rented place). This calls for complete information on how to start lowering your home energy consumption while not depriving yourself with all the technology you have bought.

· Let us start with how well-sealed your home is…

Ensuring that your house is totally sealed keeps your heating devices maximize its use, at the same time, save some energy. If you live on the southern part of the country, a perfectly sealed home keeps the temperature of your house maintained. This will also maximize the power of your air conditioning system.

To do this, keep your window, sills, doorframes, and joints tight. Apply sealant on these places so that the air from the outside does not mix with the air on the inside. Whether you want to heat up or cool down your home, properly sealed house will keep your heater or air conditioning system in its best functions. You surely don’t want the warm or cold air go in and out of your home. This will consume more energy than it should be.

Heat loss can also occur on windows. To prevent this, use plastic window cover. Plastics are best material to insulate and keep the heat of your home inside.

A free flowing heating vents and air grills will maximize the flow of heat in your home. Keep interference such as rugs, furniture and drapes away from them.

On moveable sections of windows and doors, you may want to use weatherstripping. Weatherstrips are rubber materials that seal the movable object from its non-moveable object. This will go on garage doors, exterior doors, operable windows, and door of attic.

· Then, proceed on the blinds and drapes…

If you want to keep your home warm during cold weather, choose drapes that would cover the windows entirely. If it is sunny, open the drapes let the sun’s heat insulate your home. In this way, you save a lot of money on heating system.

· The thermostat…

You can lower down your thermostat while you are away and while you are asleep. A centigrade lower equals to 2% saved energy. Again, you may want to turn the heating down if you are not around.

· Then the laundry and dishwashing…

You should know this: You can save as much as 85 to 90% when you turn the dial of your laundry to cold. Heating the water will consume a lot of energy. Also, you can save a lot when you wash full load. One last thing: a front loading washing machine saves you 50% on water and 50% on energy.

Dishwashers consume the same energy regardless of wash loads. Therefore, it would be much energy efficient if you load your dishwasher full.

· Go to the basement…

Most heat is lost when your basement has leaks and drafts on the walls. Make sure you seal these places so that you can conserve a lot of heat and energy. You may also add insulation in your basement to ensure that the heat is conserved.

One good way to know if your basement has leaks or draft is to look for spider webs. When there are web, there are leaks.

· Time to go to the garage…

Do not turn on the heating system at your garage full time. Whether you stay at your garage often or not, you can always heat it up minutes before you get in there. You can save a lot of energy if you do this. Remember: use your garage heating system only if necessary.

· And finally… you electronic devices.

Whether it is your tv, stereo, lights, or any other devices that use electricity, make sure that you turn them off when not in use.

Bio-Fuels: The Fuel Of The Future

Biomass burning has an overall impact on the atmospheric chemistry as well as the climate. When there is a fire in the savannas, or tropical forests, or like the recent California fire, large quantities of particulate matter and trace gases are released.

Biomass fuel is also known as Bio-fuel. Bio-fuel is defined as liquid, solid or gaseous fuel that consists of biomass. Biomass fuels can be used for generating power and also for heating purposes.

Biomass fuels can help greatly in reducing the various greenhouse gas emissions and at the same time can increase energy security by being an alternative to fossil fuels. Today, you will find expansion of bio-fuel industries in Asia, Europe, and America.

Bio-fuels are most commonly used in automotive transport like the E10 fuel. They can easily be produced from any source containing carbon like plants. Biomass is mostly derived from living organisms, which includes animals, plants, and their by-products. Manure, crop residues and garden waste are some of the different sources of biomass. This is a renewable energy source that is associated to the carbon cycle as compared to various natural resources like coal, petroleum, and nuclear energy.

Some of the most popular agricultural products that are grown for the purpose of creating Bio-fuel in the United States are soybeans and corn while Europe uses wheat, rapeseed and sugar beet; sugar cane is grown in Brazil, Jatropha in India and palm oil in South-East Asia.

In the early part of 2007, Diversified Energy Corporation with the help of North Carolina State University (NCSU) geared itself for a breakthrough in biofuel technology, which has been named Centia. Centia has been positioned for producing military and commercial jet fuel and can even act as a biodiesel additive in cold or freezing weather. The process of developing Centia looks promising and is expected to deliver a high energy efficiency level that can be in excess of 85%.

There are a wide variety of scientific experiments being conducted, globally, to produce a viable bio-fuel that will be efficient and environmentally friendly. Scientists have started to look beyond the bio-fuels and started to work on the various byproducts of bio-fuel that can be used and even consumed as food in our daily lives.

Considered as an integral part of the green revolution, bio-fuels offer quite a few advantages over other fossil fuels like coal and petroleum. Bio fuels have the ability to recycle carbon dioxide with every growing season by getting it from the air to convert it into biomass. So unlike coal, which upon burning releases carbon, biomass in a way traps all the carbon that is in the air. This is an important aspect from the point of view of global warming because it doesn’t release any carbon components into the air. The biggest advantage over conventional fuel is that bio-fuel is renewable and hence they will not deplete the limited natural resources of our planet.
Common Biomass Fuels
Here is a list of some of the most common first generation Biomass fuels:

Vegetable oil
Vegetable oil is used for cooking food and also as a fuel. Vegetable oil is not high quality oil for fuel use but it is still used in older diesel engines, which are equipped with an indirect injection system.

In most of the cases, vegetable oil is used for manufacturing bio-diesel that is compatible with most of the diesel engines. It is normally blended with conventional diesel fuel for optimum efficiency.

Bio-diesel is one of the most common Bio-fuels in Europe. It is produced mainly from fats or oils using the process of trans-esterification. It is a liquid that has a similar composition like that of mineral diesel. The chemical name for bio-diesel is fatty acid methyl ester (FAME).

The oil is mixed with methanol or ethanol and sodium hydroxide, which initiates a chemical reaction to produce glycerol and bio-diesel (FAME). The process produces 1 part of glycerol per 10 parts of bio-diesel.

Bio-diesel is extensively used in diesel engines after it is blended with mineral diesel. Some countries like Germany have manufacturers Volkswagen, who provide a cover on their diesel engines as a part of their warranty for 100% bio-diesel use.

A majority of vehicle manufacturers still limit to use of 15% bio-diesel blended with mineral diesel. In some of the European countries, 5% bio-diesel blend is widely used and even available at gas stations

Ethanol is one of the most common Bio-fuels across the world. It is also known as an alcohol fuel and is produced by fermenting sugars, which are derived from corn, wheat, sugar cane and sugar beet. The various production methods for ethanol are fermentation of the sugars, enzymatic digestion, distillation and drying.

The use of Ethanol has been widely seen in petrol engines where it replaces gasoline. Almost all the petrol engines in the world can run on 15% blends of bio-ethanol with gasoline.

With an eye on the diminishing natural resources, its time for us to usher in the bio-fuel era!

Recycling Resolutions

It’s not too late to make your recycling resolutions.

The holidays are finally over and we can all hopefully begin slowing down and getting our lives back to normal.

If your home is like mine, the holidays left you with a huge mess. Empty boxes and torn wrapping paper litter the floor after the kids excitedly open their gifts. It’s so tempting to gather it all up and through it in the outside garbage bin.
But this is a great opportunity to not only recycle, but to reuse. Almost all of the wrapping paper and boxes can be recycled, so consider keeping your contribution out of the landfill. And for the reuse possibilities…they are practically endless. I’m pretty sure that most of the ribbons I use have been used for several years. And many of the boxes that hold the gifts are great to use for packaging gifts next year. Do you realize that many stores now CHARGE you for a gift box? Sheesh, I’ll save mine for next year, thank you. Not to mention the gift bags. I LOVE getting my gifts in those pretty little bags. Especially since I know I will be using it for someone else’s gift somewhere down the road. Do you know how much those things cost? They are outrageous. No way would I throw them away. They are too valuable.

Now what are we to do with the tree? If you use an artificial tree, it’s a pretty easy decision. You fold it up and store it for next year. Simple. And if you are lucky enough to live in a warm environment and purchased a live tree including the root ball, you can get to work planting it in your yard to enjoy for years to come. But what about cut trees? Most communities offer some sort of Christmas tree recycling. The lucky ones have curbside pickup to recycle their trees. The rest of us need to decide what to do. What convinces me to haul the tree to the recycling facility is a couple of things.
I was willing to haul it home after I purchased it, so I can just as easily take it to be recycled.

Some communities use the old trees to shred and cover pathways and trails through parks. This helps to repair and reduce the damage we create as we enjoy our hikes.

Some communities turn the old trees into mulch and then provide it to the public for free! What a deal. Spring is just right around the corner, by the way.

So that pretty much covers what we can do to reduce our holiday effect on the environment. Now it’s a new year and we can begin thinking about getting a fresh start.
Some resolutions to consider:

– Resolve to begin recycling if you don’t already. You can start small. This site provides a wealth of information about getting your recycling efforts off the ground.

– If you already recycle, step it up a notch. If your curbside recycling service doesn’t accept a particular item (like glass or cardboard), resolve to begin taking that item to the drop off facility in your area.

– Resolve to purchase more products packaged with post consumer recycled materials. The higher the percentage listed on the package, the better.

– Resolve to purchase more items made from recycled materials. Paper towels, toilet paper, napkins, and many other paper products fall into this category.

– Resolve to purchase more items in bulk, thus reducing packaging waste.

– Resolve to create at least one creative craft using something you might otherwise throw away. This is fun, gets your creative juices flowing, can reduce stress, and is a g reat way to spend some quality time with your family.

Green Living And Your Neighborhood

Green living is no longer a vague term known only by environmentalists. One of the ways we know that an important social trend has hit the big time is when major consumer providers adopt the term. Just about every major influencer in our society from Walmart to national broadcasting networks, are using the term to promote products and attract audiences. Green living is a welcome lifestyle that individuals, families and companies are choosing to ensure that the things they do and the products they use have as little an impact on the environment as possible. One of the best ways that you can build this thinking into your lifestyle is to live in a community that subscribes to green living.

If you are among the population of people who live a green lifestyle as a member of a rural community, you are in a good position. I would suggest, however, that you think about ways you can support a lifestyle movement that seeks to protect rural areas of our country (like your community), by making the more urban areas more livable, sustainable and green. This movement is here and it is strong and it is called new urbanism. New urbanism is a movement affecting areas where most of us live, including those in the suburbs and city centers.

One of the key threats to our beautiful rural areas and farming communities is the spread of urban development. New urbanism seeks to contain that spread by encouraging the development of communities that can accommodate more people. I’m not talking about increased high rises and ugly housing complexes. I’m referring to the development of lovely and affordable urban houses, town homes and condos/apartments that reflect the beautiful architecture and unique detail of those neighborhoods that were created in America before World War II.

New urbanism neighborhoods are found in newly built developments and renovated communities both in the suburbs and older city centers. This new mindset has taken almost 20 years to take root in our national psyche. It is at its essence a straightforward, fundamental focus on changing where we live to improve our quality of life. We are tired of choosing or rating successful neighborhoods based on the largeness of the yard or house. Life is much more than that.

In the new urbanism mind set, quality of life is defined by how our environments affect our emotions and our ability to live a life according to sustainable, healthy values and core life priorities. New urbanists believe that if we can develop more communities that make it is easy to enjoy green living, working and socializing right in our own neighborhood we can make a positive impact on our environments.

Benefits of New urbanism communities:

• New urbanism will contribute to less vehicular pollution by making it easier for people to find employment close to where they live or to establish their own businesses at or close to home. New urbanism communities, because of their location near or close to population centers, have the technological and business resources to support entrepreneurs and a wide range of businesses.

• Communities that subscribe to new urbanism principles attract residents who want to live a green lifestyle so it will make it easier for you or your family to adopt green lifestyle practices.

• The greenbelts surrounding your city or suburban area will be better protected if new urbanism communities in your region thrive since new urbanism encourages home buyers and renters to choose existing urban centers over new developments on large lots in shrinking rural regions.

New urbanism provides the structure needed to influence the largest percentage of our populations in North America and around the world.