Thursday, May 29, 2008

Getting Rich in America, by Brian Tracy

Based on the audiobook "Getting Rich in America" by Brian Tracy.

Here are my favorite high-level points from the book:
  • Whenever you see an opportunity to sell people something greater than the price than you can do it for, you are capturing value. The value is what makes you wealthy.
  • Knowledge is what makes your value more useful and profitable.
  • Always strive to succeed to do your best.
  • Networking is crucial to success.
Another interesting topic -

At the time the book was written, the majority of self-made millionaires were in the following industries:
  1. Commercial Machine and Equipment Wholesaling
  2. Commercial Printing
  3. Designing Computer Programs
  4. Data Processing Services
  5. Dry Cleaning Establishments
Very seldom do people ever look into these industries. Everyone wants the "exciting" technology businesses or the next big thing. Maybe try something in the tried and true businesses above and you will have better success.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wesley Autrey, Subway Samaritan

Wesley Autrey (b. 1956) (dubbed by the media as the "Subway Samaritan", "Subway Superman", "The Hero of Harlem" and as the "Subway Hero") is a New York construction worker and Navy veteran who in 2007 achieved international recognition after he saved Cameron Hollopeter, a 19-year-old film student who had suffered a seizure and fallen onto the tracks, from being struck by a New York City subway train.

He was on the 2007 Time 100 most influential people in the world list made by Time magazine and had the text about him written by Donald Trump.
The Subway Story
On January 2, 2007, Autrey was waiting for a train at the 137th Street and Broadway station in Manhattan with his two young daughters. At around 12:45 p.m., he and two women noticed a young man, Cameron Hollopeter, having a seizure. Autrey borrowed a pen from someone and used it to keep Hollopeter's jaw open. Following the seizure, Hollopeter stumbled from the platform, falling onto the tracks.

As Hollopeter lay on the tracks, Autrey saw the lights of an oncoming train. As one of the women held Autrey's daughters back away from the edge of the platform, Autrey dove onto the tracks. He thought he would be able to take Hollopeter off the tracks, but he realized there was not enough time to drag Hollopeter away. Instead, he protected Hollopeter by throwing himself over Hollopeter's body in a drainage trench between the tracks, where he held him down. The operator of the train applied the brakes, but two cars still passed over them, close enough to leave grease on his cap.

The simple act of caring and doing something nice for a complete stranger is what gives this story meaning.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Advice from Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold gives advice to the contestants of the TV Show, "The Apprentice".

Here are a few quotes from the video:
  • "Never listen to -- it can't be done"
  • "Pain is temporary, the result may be permanent"
  • "The more you succeed, the more people will attack you"

Friday, May 23, 2008

Lessons from Richard Branson

After launching his first business at 16, a magazine called Student, Branson went on to establish a mail-order record business that turned into a chain of music shops and eventually became Virgin Megastores. Today, Virgin has grown to include some 250 companies, including airlines and mobile phones. Last year, Branson launched Virgin America, a stateside domestic air service.

Never criticize anyone, it looks bad on yourself:
"My parents would never let me criticize anyone, saying it would reflect badly on me. To this day, I look for the best in people who work for Virgin and believe that as a result I only get the best back. 'Flowers flourish when watered,' they'd tell me. The same applies to people."


See Richard Branson's Bio for more information.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Teen Millionaires

Stories of two teen millionaires. One of the teens had 12 businesses before age 21.

Here are some of the lessons from the video:
  • Put yourself out there.
  • Start with small goals.
  • Focus on something you know.
  • Adapt or die, continue to change.
  • Read books and study successful people.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Motivation from Knowing

The following is from the blog of author, Seth Godin, who has written many books:
I like reading magic books.

I don’t do magic. Not often (and not well). But reading the books is fun. It’s a vicarious thing, imagining how a trick might work, visualizing the effect and then smiling at how the technique is done. One after another, it’s a pleasant adventure.

A lot of people read business books in just the same way. They cruise through the case studies or the insights or examples and imagine what it would be like to be that brilliant entrepreneur or that successful CEO or that great sales rep. A pleasant adventure.

There’s a huge gap between most how-to books (cookbooks, gardening, magic, etc.) and business books, though. The gap is motivation. Gardening books don’t push you to actually do something. Cookbooks don’t spend a lot of time trying to sell you on why making a roast chicken isn’t as risky as you might think.

The stakes are a lot higher when it comes to business.

Wreck a roast chicken and it’s $12 down the drain. Wreck a product launch and there goes your career...

I’m passionate about writing business books precisely for this reason. High stakes, high rewards. My guess is that there are more business books sold than most other non-fiction categories--it's not just recipes.

The fascinating thing is this: I spend 95% of my time persuading people to take action and just 5% of the time on the recipes.

The recipe that makes up just about any business book can be condensed to just two or three pages. The rest is the sell. The proof. The persuasion.

Which leads to your role as the reader. How to read a business book... it’s not as obvious as it seems.
  • Bullet points are not the point.
If you’re reading for the recipe, and just the recipe, you can get through a business book in just a few minutes. But most people who do that get very little out of the experience. Take a look at the widely divergent reviews for The Dip. The people who ‘got it’ understood that the purpose of the book was to get you to change your perspective and thus your behavior. Those that didn’t were looking for bullet points. They wasted their money.

Computer books, of course, are nothing but bullet points. Motivated programmers get amazing value because for $30 they are presented with everything they need to program a certain way or in a certain language. Yet most programmers are not world class, precisely because the bullet points aren’t enough to get them to see things the way the author does, and not enough to get them motivated enough to actually program great code.

So, how to read a business book:

1. Decide, before you start, that you’re going to change three things about what you do all day at work. Then, as you’re reading, find the three things and do it. The goal of the reading, then, isn’t to persuade you to change, it’s to help you choose what to change.

2. If you’re going to invest a valuable asset (like time), go ahead and make it productive. Use a postit or two, or some index cards or a highlighter. Not to write down stuff so you can forget it later, but to create marching orders. It’s simple: if three weeks go by and you haven’t taken action on what you’ve written down, you wasted your time.

3. It’s not about you, it’s about the next person. The single best use of a business book is to help someone else. Sharing what you read, handing the book to a person who needs it... pushing those around you to get in sync and to take action--that’s the main reason it’s a book, not a video or a seminar. A book is a souvenir and a container and a motivator and an easily leveraged tool. Hoarding books makes them worth less, not more.

Effective managers hand books to their team. Not so they can be reminded of high school, but so that next week she can say to them, "are we there yet?"
In reading business books, Seth is absolutely right - the gap between most how-to and business books is motivation. Business books stimulate you to do something, while how-to books do very little in this regard.

The thrill that I get from reading business books is the risk. The risk comes from not knowing when I am presented with a problem. If I am presented with a problem and have previous knowledge in the area for alleviating it, I feel better off about myself. If I do not know a resolution to the problem, I am determined to find one. For me, it's not just finding a resolution to every problem that I face in my life, it's putting the maximum effort forth to finding the best solution.

I absolutely bask in certain topics that are important to me in my life. The reason for this is the motivating thought of 'being the best at something in the world'. For example, if I want to be the best at investing in the world, I look for ways to accomplish this. I mimic investing gurus, I read investment books and business books, I email owners of businesses that are selling, I ask questions to people in the profession, I look at what others are doing and try to do them better, etc. My motivation stems from the thought of putting my maximum effort forth, knowing I will be very good at it eventually. That simple thought is what keeps me going.

Monday, May 19, 2008

From a Homeless, Drug Addict to Millionaire

Bob Williamson fled a broken home in Mississippi at age 17 to hitchhike around the country. He landed in Atlanta in 1970 at 24, homeless, broke, and addicted to heroin and methamphetamine. When he got a job there cleaning bricks for $15 a week, no one would have guessed that he would start a $26 million software company someday.

Change your life around if what you're doing isn't working:

Successful businesses often spring from a combination of hard work and dumb luck, and Williamson credits both. Not long after arriving in Atlanta, he was injured in a car wreck and spent months recovering in the hospital. While there, he read the Bible, converted to Christianity, and decided to straighten up his life. It wasn't easy: He had a criminal record, no college degree, and few job prospects.

"I was either going to commit suicide, which several of my friends had done, or I was going turn my life around," says Williamson, now chairman and chief executive officer of Horizon Software International, a 180-employee maker of software for food service systems used in schools, hospitals, and other institutions.

Promoted Eight Times in Two Years

Be the first one there to work, and last one to leave:
Williamson eventually landed a job putting labels on paint cans in the basement of the Glidden paint company in Atlanta. He cleaned up the labeling department and helped Glidden move to the company's first computer system. His work ethic, he says, was: "First one there, last to leave." Glidden promoted Williamson eight times in two years.

He went on to work at two other paint companies. By then a paint expert, Williamson started working in his basement to develop a better formula for his hobby: airbrush art. "I borrowed $1,000 on my Visa card and bought a bunch of chemicals and made a bunch of paint," he says. At a trade show, artists flocked to his booth to buy the paint he developed, called Polytranspar. He quit his job and started his own paint company, Master Paint Systems, in 1977.

He spun that into several other businesses: a magazine for artists, how-to books, an art supply manufacturer, and a mail-order business, teaching himself as he went along. As the business grew, so did his need for organizational tools. It was the early 1980s, and he realized he needed systems for his warehouse, inventory control, and supply-chain management. "Back then you couldn't buy software, so I hired a couple of programmers, and we wrote software for all these different companies," Williamson says.

Recovering From Bankruptcy

By 1986, when he was selling 6,000 different art-related items, Williamson prepared to take the company public. But during the audit for his IPO, he discovered an accountant had been embezzling money from the company. "We fought our way through it, and my accountant and my lawyer and everybody told me to just take bankruptcy and forget about it," Williamson says.

Never give up:
But he was convinced he could recover. Williamson urged his creditors not to file lawsuits that would force a liquidation. "Every week I would send them a letter and tell them what was happening, and we rebuilt it up beyond its former stage," he says.

Focused on School Cafeterias

After recovering, he sold off his previous ventures, and in 1992, founded Horizon. The company was built on the back-office software Williamson spent years developing for his own businesses. "We wrote a system for our mail-order business, we wrote software for our manufacturing company, a point-of-sale system for retail," he says. "We weren't selling that to anybody. We had just written in-house for our own use."

The company focused on systems for school cafeterias when Williamson found no one had written back-office software for that market. He was soon selling into other institutions like hospitals, nursing homes, colleges, and military bases. Horizon recently won the contract for the Los Angeles public schools, the nation's second-largest system.

Williamson's son, Michael, who is Horizon's chief operating officer, says his father succeeded by jumping on opportunities that chance presented. "You would never have thought that we would be in food service software when we started Horizon, but the path just kind of led that way and we took advantage of it," he says. "He's always had a great ability to look out into other markets and other products."

The Element of Chance

Be an honest and straightforward person:
Williamson, now 61, presides over Horizon's 44,000-square-foot headquarters in Atlanta. The company had $26 million in revenue in 2007, and he's projecting $32 million this year. Still, Williamson says, "I'm the first one there and the last one to leave." And he ascribes his business success to his conversion. "I have always tried to run my business according to the way that God would want me to…I've always tried to be honest and straightforward, and not lie and not cheat, and not try to take an easy way out."

Hard work was certainly part of Williamson's improbable personal turnaround: He recalls years of working 20-hour days and says he still only sleeps four or five hours a night. But chance guided his entrepreneurial success as well: a car accident that jolted him out of a destructive life, a paint recipe that became a hit, and early exposure to the burgeoning software industry.

And in some ways, Williamson's arrival in Atlanta at the nadir of his life set the foundation for his rise. "I'd been through so much in my life, I don't get discouraged," he says. "The trials I've had in business are mild compared to what my life was like."


Friday, May 16, 2008

Abraham Lincoln, Former U.S. President

Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809–April 15, 1865), the sixteenth President of the United States, successfully led his country through its greatest crisis, the Civil War, only to be assassinated less than a month after the war's end. Before his election as President, Lincoln was a lawyer, a member of the United States House of Representatives, and an unsuccessful candidate for election to the Senate. As an outspoken opponent of the expansion of slavery in the United States, Lincoln won the Republican Party nomination in 1860 and was elected president later that year. During his term, he helped preserve the United States by leading the defeat of the secessionist Confederate States of America in the American Civil War. He introduced measures that resulted in the abolition of slavery, issuing his Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and promoting the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1865.

Lincoln closely supervised the victorious war effort, especially the selection of top generals, including Ulysses S. Grant. Historians have concluded that he handled the factions of the Republican Party well, bringing leaders of each faction into his cabinet and forcing them to cooperate. Lincoln successfully defused a war scare with the United Kingdom in 1861. Under his leadership, the Union took control of the border slave states at the start of the war. Additionally, he managed his own reelection in the 1864 presidential election.

People will criticize your ideas. Stand strong for what you believe in:
Opponents of the war (also known as "Copperheads") criticized him for refusing to compromise on the slavery issue. Conversely, the Radical Republicans, an abolitionist faction of the Republican Party, criticized him for moving too slowly in abolishing slavery. Even with these road blocks, Lincoln successfully rallied public opinion through his rhetoric and speeches; his Gettysburg Address is but one example of this. At the close of the war, Lincoln held a moderate view of Reconstruction, seeking to speedily reunite the nation through a policy of generous reconciliation. His assassination in 1865 was the first presidential assassination in U.S. history and made him a martyr for the ideal of national unity.

Abraham Lincoln's "Failures" and "Successes"
Abe Lincoln became one of the greatest success stories in history, here are the things he had to overcome to get there:
  • Lost job
  • Defeated for state legislature
  • Failed in business
  • Sweetheart died
  • Had nervous breakdown
  • Defeated for Speaker
  • Defeated for nomination for Congress
  • Lost renomination
  • Rejected for land officer
  • Defeated for U.S. Senate
  • Defeated for nomination for Vice President
  • Again defeated for U.S. Senate
In the 56 years (1809 - 1865) of his life, Abraham Lincoln had many failures and successes along the way. How many people do you know that could overcome the losses and failures that he has and still become one of the greatest success stories in history?

Famous Failures

A video of a few of the most famous people of the last century and their failures. Among the people mentioned are Thomas Edison, Michael Jordan, Ulysses S. Grant, and Abraham Lincoln (Bio). "If you've never failed, you've never lived."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Top Gear: Bugatti Veyron

If you're into supercars check out the speed test for the Bugatti Veyron by Top Gear. This should get you pumped up! If you work hard and smart maybe someday you will have one.

Top 20 Quotes for Success

Here are some great quotes on success:
  1. "The secret to success is deferred gratification." - Me
  2. "Don't waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour's duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
  3. "Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value." - Albert Einstein
  4. "The elevator to success is out of order. You’ll have to use the stairs…. One step at a time." - Anonymous
  5. "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is to try to please everyone." - Bill Cosby
  6. "The steps to success are simple. Decide what you want. Determine the price. Pay the price." - Burker Hunt
  7. "There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: Those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed." - Ray Goforth
  8. "The person who gets the farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore." – Dale Carnegie
  9. "Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success." – Thomas J. Watson
  10. "When a man feels throbbing within him the power to do what he undertakes as well as it can possibly be done, this is happiness, this is success." - Orison Swett Marden
  11. "Success: willing to do what the average person is not willing to do." - Anonymous
  12. "You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don't do too many things wrong." - Warren Buffett
  13. "It is wise to keep in mind that neither success nor failure is ever final." - Roger Babson
  14. "You and your opponent want the same thing. The only thing that matters is who works the hardest for it." - Anonymous
  15. "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." - Pablo Picasso
  16. "People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing -- that is why we recommend it daily." - Zig Ziglar
  17. "A man can succeed at almost anything for which he has unlimited enthusiasm." - Charles Schwab
  18. "Success comes from constant and never ending improvement." - Tony Robbins
  19. "Some people dream of success, while other wake up and work hard at it." - Anonymous
  20. "Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." - John Wooden

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Timothy Ferriss, American Author and Speaker

Timothy Ferriss (b. 1977) is an American author, public speaker, and "productivity guru." In 2007, he published The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich which was a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller.

Ferriss is known for his application of the Pareto Principle to business and personal life. He has also taken the position that technology such as email, instant messaging and internet-enabled pda's complicate life rather than simplify it. His teachings fit under the umbrella of what he calls "lifestyle design" which he positions as an alternative to the "deferred-life" career path where one would work a 9 to 5 job until retirement in their 60's. This involves breaking what he calls "outdated assumptions" and finding ways to be more efficient so that 'work' takes up less of people's time.

Ferriss delivered guest lectures on High-Tech Entrepreneurship and Electrical Engineering at Princeton University, where he is also a graduate.


Timothy Ferris on Compounding Time:
I met David Kutoff in Omaha at the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting, and he asked me an interesting question:

Do you think that the value of time can compound like interest?

Three glasses of wine into a post-event party with Cirque du Soleil performers, I didn’t have a good answer, but David recently sent me a thought-provoking e-mail I thought I’d share.

How might better use of your time compound? David explores:

Bear with me, this is somewhat rough at the moment — my initial quandary was whether time, like currency, could be invested to produce a compounding effect. After a bit of thought, my conclusion is that the value of ones time could experience a significant gain, and perhaps a compounding effect over time, given an investment of [that present-state] time in knowledge, skill or other capacity, and a reinvestment of future gains (just like currency).

Money and currency — accumulated excess money — represent one part of your capacity to transact in the marketplace, and can be exchanged for help from others in the form of products or services, including “things” like consumables, depreciable and appreciable assets. Similarly every action you take, whether it be transaction-related or not, requires the expenditure of some amount of time, which is roughly fixed for all of us (say 10,000 working days between the ages of 22 and 62).

Much like currency can be exchanged for appreciable assets that can grow with a compounding effect over time if the gains are re-invested, my theory is that time can be thought about in a similar way, which may lead to more effective action.

To put this in terms of your thinking from your book, lets say you work 40 hours per week simply performing tasks requested by your employer, none of which produce any additional future potential for generating income for yourself.

Think of your time as compounding, and continually reinvest it:
This is the equivalent of spending your money on consumables or living expenses. It’s single use, and gives you no real future gain, aside from whatever currency you might earn in the moment. Now, you decide to outsource 50% of your tasks to India, producing the same outcomes with 50% of your time. You just doubled the value of your time compared to before (less the additional expense for the help). Now, with that free time, you get more rigorous about working out, studying, and building your networks. You increase your energy, skill, and capacity working with others and manage to produce yet the same results that were taking 50% of your time with only 30%. If you keep reinvesting some of your time in additional gains in your capacity to act, you can theoretically have a compounding effect with the value of your time (rather than time itself). Just like investing currency, the earlier you start this process, and continue to invest in your capacity, the more time your capacity has to compound, and the greater outcomes you can produce during your lifetime.

Positivity and Success

What effect does positivity have on success? Can you be successful without being positive?
It seems as though it would be very difficult to be successful without being positive. How will you stick to one idea and believe it will work if you are an entrepreneur? How will you work with great enthusiasm at your current job without being positive? How will you manage your life without having some positivity in it (something good to look forward to)?

You don't have to be positive all the time, it is good to challenge your thoughts and instincts and as it's a great way to become better at what you do. I have found happiness and success through staying positive a majority of the time in my life and taking some time to challenge my thoughts and ideas a minority of the time. It has proven to work for me.

Next time you are unsure of something, or a decision you've made in your life, attempt to believe everything is going to be alright. Believing things will work out in the end shouldn't be difficult if you've put time and effort into making every decision in your life. The decisions you have made over time will turn out to be the best for you, so everything has to turn out right. Right?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Al Pacino's Inspirational Speech

An inspirational and motivational excerpt from the movie "Any Given Sunday." (Caution: NSFW because of Language)

Here's the full script (thanks to EssaysFromExodus).

Friday, May 9, 2008

Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

Part of the job of a leader is motivating people and changing their attitudes and behaviors. Here are some great suggestions on how to accomplish this without offending them:
  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  2. Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  5. Let the other person save face.
  6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be "hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise."
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
  9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.
From the book How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father of the U.S.

Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 [O.S. January 6, 1706] – April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author and printer, satirist, political theorist, politician, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman and diplomat. As a scientist he was a major figure in the Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. He invented the lightning rod, bifocals, the Franklin stove, a carriage odometer, and a musical instrument. He formed both the first public lending library in America and first fire department in Pennsylvania. He was an early proponent of colonial unity and as a political writer and activist he, more than anyone, invented the idea of an American nation and as a diplomat during the American Revolution, he secured the French alliance that helped to make independence possible.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Franklin learned printing from his older brother and became a newspaper editor, printer, and merchant in Philadelphia, becoming very wealthy, writing and publishing Poor Richard's Almanack and the Pennsylvania Gazette. Franklin was interested in science and technology, and gained international renown for his famous experiments. He played a major role in establishing the University of Pennsylvania and Franklin & Marshall College and was elected the first president of the American Philosophical Society. Franklin became a national hero in America when he spearheaded the effort to have Parliament repeal the unpopular Stamp Act. An accomplished diplomat, he was widely admired among the French as American minister to Paris and was a major figure in the development of positive Franco-American relations. From 1775 to 1776, Franklin was Postmaster General under the Continental Congress and from 1785 to 1788 was President of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania. Toward the end of his life, he became one of the most prominent abolitionists.

Franklin's colorful life and legacy of scientific and political achievement, and status as one of America's most influential Founding Fathers, has seen Franklin honored on coinage and money; warships; the names of many towns, counties, educational institutions, namesakes, and companies; and more than two centuries after his death, countless cultural references.


Benjamin Franklin has offered a lot a great advice on many differing topics over his lifetime and can be learned from. Below are excerpts from Money Advice from Benjamin Franklin, the website details 78 pieces of gathered advice from this very successful man. The top 10 in each section are listed below.

Motivation and Utility:
  1. Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise
  2. Diligence is the mother of good luck
  3. God helps them that help themselves
  4. Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labor wears, while the used key is always bright
  5. Dost thou love life, then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of
  6. Lost time is never found again
  7. He that riseth late, must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night
  8. Drive thy business, let not that drive thee
  9. Industry need not wish
  10. He that lives upon hope will die fasting
Lessons learned from his words:
  • Do your research
  • Staying busy will tire you less than simply sitting around
  • Do not waste time, every second is precious and cannot be taken back
  • If you start sometime late, you must work harder than the next guy to win
  • Be in control your life, don't let your life control you

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Set Goals for Motivation and Productivity

Set goals and achievable dates to increase your motivation and productivity:
I have noticed if I set a specific date and time, I am more likely to achieve a goal than if I didn't. Once the goals are written down, they seem to have a lot more influence on me than if I were to simply think about them.

Scheduling a short meeting with one of your manager's to accomplish a specific task is a great way to set aside time to completing your goal.

Peter G. Peterson: The Best Advice I've Ever Got

Co-founder and Senior Chairman, Blackstone Group

Focus On the Things You Do Better Than Others:
When I was at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, I had Milton Friedman as a professor. He worshipped free markets and was also a powerful advocate of Adam Smith's concept of comparative advantage: Focus on those things you do better than others. That has been enormously helpful in defining our business strategies. For example, when we [Peterson and co-founder Steve Schwarzman] were setting up the Blackstone Group in 1985, many argued that Blackstone should invest in hostile LBO transactions. We felt that our advantage was that we were on friendly terms with many American CEOs and boards. So we took the contrarian position. We would only do strictly friendly investments. As a result, so-called corporate partnerships have become a major foundation - and a very profitable contribution - to our business.

Source: The Best Advice I Ever Got

Top 10 Philanthropists of Our Time

Philanthropy is donating money, goods or services for an extended period of time and is usually intended to promote good in the world. The people listed below are very wealthy individuals. Being wealthy is not a requirement to partake in philanthropy, it is giving something to promote well-being. The people ranked below are ranked accordingly to the amount given or pledged.
  1. Warren Buffett (Bio), Berkshine Hathaway
    • A monumental gift announced in June, Buffett's $31-billion commitment to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will fund efforts to improve global health and U.S. education. Buffett, the world's second-richest man, also earmarked billions for the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and the NoVo Foundation--independent family foundations that support causes ranging from reproductive health to worldwide conservation.

  2. Bill and Melinda Gates, Microsoft
    • With $31 billion in assets, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the world's largest charity. And its endowment is expected to double, thanks to a long-term gift from investor Warren Buffett, who installed the first $1.6-billion contribution over the summer. The Gateses' mission is to alleviate global poverty and find a cure for AIDS and other fatal diseases, provide access to information technology in libraries, and turn around America's schools. They will begin construction on a new headquarters for their foundation in downtown Seattle early next year.

  3. George Soros, Investor
    • Investor George Soros distributes $400 million or more each year through his charitable network. In 2005, he shelled out an extra $200 million for his Central European University, a graduate school he helped found in Budapest in 1991. An immigrant from Hungary who made his first billion dollars in England, Soros has a passion for politicking, giving millions each year to promote open and democratic societies.

  4. Gordon and Betty Moore, Intel
    • With charitable gifts totaling well above $7 billion, the Moores are serious conservationalists. In 2001, the couple gave $5 billion to their San Francisco-based foundation, headquartered in an eco-friendly "Green Building," for worldwide environmental research. The Moores also fund scientific and nursing initiatives in the Bay Area, working closely with the California Institute of Technology and local hospitals.

  5. Herbert and Marion Sandler, Golden West
    • The Sandlers have given generously to cure asthma and deadly African diseases such as malaria. The press-shy couple from California also support education, social reform and progressive government, and Jewish causes. Last year they doled out $1 million for stem cell research.

  6. Eli and Edythe Broad, SunAmerica KB
    • The Broads, who own some 800 pieces of contemporary art, are building a new 60,000-square-foot gallery at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. This year they gave $25 million to the University of Southern California for stem cell research and have given generously to other schools in the past. The Broad Foundations (yes, there are three of them) not only tackle education, science, and the arts, but they also help fund civic initiatives like the Grand Avenue Project in downtown Los Angeles and the nearby Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall.

  7. Walton Family, Wal-Mart
    • The world's richest family is also one of the most united when it comes to philanthropy. The Waltons commit the bulk of their gifts through the Walton Family Foundation, which has given more than $1 billion to a variety of charitable causes over the past 20 years. Their areas of focus: K-12 education reform, quality of life initiatives in Northwest Arkansas (home to Wal-Mart), economic development initiatives in the Mississippi Delta region of the U.S., and most recently, marine and fresh-water fishing sustainability initiatives.

  8. Donald Bren, Real Estate
    • Bren's commitment to education runs the gamut from students to principals to school districts to university scholars on his Irvine Ranch. On top of a $20-million gift to fund elementary fine arts, music, and science programs at schools in Irvine, Calif., Bren quietly gave away properties worth hundreds of million of dollars this year to recipients such as schools and retirement communities.

  9. Bernard Osher, Investing
    • This year Osher funneled more than $700 million into his private foundation, which supports the arts, higher education, and integrative medicine in the San Francisco Bay area and his native Maine. Approaching his eighties, he runs a scholarship program for people over 50.

  10. Alfred Mann, Medical devices
    • The founder of 11 biomedical companies, Mann plans to parlay his wealth into at least as many top biomedical research institutes, the first of which opened at the University of Southern California with an endowment of more than $100 million. An October agreement with the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology plants the seeds for the first of these overseas.
Source: The 50 Most Generous Philanthropists

Friday, May 2, 2008

Robert Kiyosaki Video

Robert Kiyosaki explains his motives and how he got rich. He is the writer of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad", which is a great read for people interested in entrepreneurship.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Edward Lampert, American Investor

Edward S. "Eddie" Lampert (born July 19, 1962) is an American investor, financier and businessman.

He is the chairman of Sears Holdings Corporation(SHLD) and founder, chairman, and CEO of ESL Investments. Until May, 2007 he was a director of AutoNation, Inc. He previously served as a director of AutoZone, Inc. from 1999 to 2006.

Lampert graduated from Yale University in 1984 (B.A., economics, summa cum laude), where he was a member of Skull and Bones and Phi Beta Kappa. He was an intern at Goldman Sachs in July 1984, and worked in the firm's risk arbitrage department from March 1985 to February 1988. He worked directly with Robert Rubin; when Lampert decided to go out on his own, Rubin warned it was a bad career decision.

He left the bank to form ESL Investments, based in Greenwich, Connecticut, in April 1988. The name ESL derives from Lampert's initials. Richard Rainwater, whom he had met on Nantucket Island, gave him $28 million in seed money and introduced him to clients, such as Geffen. In 2003, he was kidnapped from the parking lot of his office, but Lampert convinced his captors to let him go after two days.

Lampert's investment style can best be described as "concentrated value", often focusing on the retail sector. He has produced annual returns of 30% since forming his fund. Lampert typically holds his investments for several years and usually has between three and fifteen stocks. His investment style has drawn comparisons to the financier Warren Buffett. He has, in large part, been credited for forming and merging Kmart and Sears into Sears Holdings.

His earnings in 2004 were estimated to be $1.02 billion USD, making Lampert the first Wall Street financial manager to exceed an income of $1 billion in a single year. In 2006, Lampert was the richest person in Connecticut with a net worth of $3.8 billion. As of 2007, he retained that rank, with a net worth totaling $4.5 billion.

Achieve your full potential, even if people question you:
“Like Eli Manning, we know what it’s like to be underestimated and questioned, but we intend to keep working on our game to achieve our full potential,” - Eddie Lampert