Author: Brian Sher
Publisher: Prima Publishing
Reviewer: Goke Ilesanmi
It is natural to hide one’s source of success. The tendency to make the source secret is even high(er) when it comes to money-making. That is why the rich would not like to disclose their financial-success secret. But the good news is that there is revelation of the whole secret in this text entitled “What Rich People Know and Desperately Want to Keep Secret”.
Brian Sher, the author of this text was born in South Africa, and moved to Australia in high school. Sher obtained a degree in Marketing from the University of New South Wales.
His subsequent business travels overseas aroused his interest in consultancy, and after spending two years in Los Angeles, he returned to Australia and formed his own company, specialising in marketing and business-growth strategies.
Working with businesses, one of his major clients offered to partner him in a new venture – Vision Publishing. Under Sher’s direction, Vision Publishing experienced phenomenal growth. His extensive network and strong reputation as one of Australia’s most-dynamic and -exciting marketers made him an active and sought-after business coach.
According to the author, most people dream of being rich; they imagine what it would be like to have more money than they know what to do with. Sher adds that for a brief moment, they leave their reality by playing ‘make-believe’. He says for most people, this is as far as they will ever get with this dream, and they will quickly snap back to inaction, for fear of stretching their boundaries too far.
Sher submits that a relative few people set off on a different journey, a journey so challenging and demanding, yet so exciting that it brings new life and new meaning. He adds that in the end, unfortunately, many of these dreams are also shattered as a result of not knowing what rich people know.
This author thus shares with you in this book, the basic but powerful principles of success and takes you on a journey towards personal and financial riches. Sher reveals what the world’s richest people know that everyone else does not know, and offers you tips for enriching your life and enhancing your bottom line. According to him, businesses and people succeed because they do the basics well, and in most cases, not because of luck, clever finance, extreme technology, or running ahead of the pack.
This book has six parts of 44 chapters. Part one generically focuses on the basics of success, and contains four chapters. Chapter one is based on what riches are and what rich people do. Sher says almost everyone you meet wants to be rich momentarily. He educates that the truth, however, is that being truly rich in life is not just about having more money.
Sher expatiates that being truly rich in life means having many other things more important than money, such as more fulfilling and rewarding relationships, good friends, a satisfying career, etc.
On how the rich people make all their money, the author reveals that they achieve this by going into the right and profitable businesses; by inheriting money; by putting what they have in financial investments; by honestly working for money and leveraging it; and finally by stealing it or cheating others out of theirs.
Chapter two examines your first step on the road to riches. Here, Sher says in everything we do, we have to consider where we are coming from, what business conditions are now and what we have to know before we begin. He explains in detail that how he discovered this reality the hard way in the course of his own business and recounts his experience.
In chapters three and four, Sher discusses why more businesses fail than ever succeed and four critical advantages your competitors can never have. These advantages are your knowledge, marketing, people and systems. .
Part two is conceptually summarised as “You”, and covers 14 chapters, that is, chapters five to 18. Chapter five is based on the starting point for all riches. Here, the author says one thing he discovered early in his business career is that there is no point in reinventing the wheel. Sher stresses that for this reason, you must learn all you can from successful people, in the form of reading their books, learning about their lives, talking to them, etc. He discloses that these opportunities have provided him with a lot of what he knows about success now.
Sher expatiates that as a result of his studying successful people very well, he has been lucky enough to discover many of the habits and characteristics they have in common. He says the richest and the most successful people are the most rounded people. Sher educates that he has found out that most successful people have 36 personal qualities he would like to call “Personal Foundations to Riches”.
Some of these qualities are: practising perfectly to make perfect; having an open mind; flexibility; focusing on continuous self-improvement; dreaming big dreams; and having a clear sense of direction. Others are: setting goals and writing them down; being unique; associating with the right people; developing self-discipline; embracing failure; making quick decisions; becoming self-employed, etc.
In chapters six to 12, Sher analytically X-rays the concepts of education being the only one shortcut to success; the need for big dreams; need to be unique or be nothing at all; need to ask for help; trying to avoid being Poor Jack but Rich Michael; how to get everything you want in life; your need for something far more valuable than money before you get rich.
Chapter 13 stresses that passion is the secret weapon of the rich. Here, the author says success is rarely an overnight phenomenon. Sher explains that what you see as a success is invariably the result of years of efforts; failures and restarts; hurdles cleared and problems avoided. The only things that can sustain such a strong drive for success are passion and commitment, says the author.
Sher asserts that you should find any rich or successful person, and he will show you a person that absolutely loves what he or she does. He expatiates that it is impossible to achieve enduring success unless you love what you do, adding that every rich or successful person he has encountered has said so. Sher adds that passion must constantly be lubricated with commitment if one is to succeed.
Chapter 14 is based on the fact that rich people feel alive and exhilarated because of risk. Here, the author says most people avoid risk like a plague and see it as something bad. Sher reveals that the rich do not think this way as they even thrive on risk. He says successful people make a conscious decision to overcome their fear, accept responsibility until they eventually win. Facing and accepting risk gives you a sense of purpose and a set of feelings you simply cannot describe, and it motivates you to find the next rush, asserts the author.
Chapters 15 to 18 focus on the need to take responsibility; the rich embracing failures most; moving fast or getting out of the way; and always getting self-employed.
Part three examines the broad concept of your marketing, and contains eight chapters, that is, chapters 19 to 26. Chapter 19 is based on the machine that drives your business. According to Sher here, marketing is the second critical area of your business; the machine that drives your business and skill that makes or breaks you. He says this is because when used correctly, marketing can be the biggest profit-making tool you will find in business. Sher educates that superior marketing comes about only when you really understand that marketing is about focusing on your customers’ needs rather than on your product or service.
In chapters 20 to 26, the author also beams his analytical searchlight on further definition of marketing; why most people never get rich; the death of market share; making it easy for customers to buy; how advertising can kill a business; 50 per cent of something being better than 100 per cent of nothing; and the magic button for business success.
Part four is conceptually woven together as “Your people”, and contains five chapters, that is, chapters 27 to 31. In chapter 27 based on how to get your employees to fall in love with your company, Sher says he has always stressed that your people are your greatest asset and one of the four critical ways you can gain a competitive advantage.
According to him, if your people are positive and happy to be working for you, you will definitely be ahead. The author stresses that no one can compete with individuals who actually enjoy their work, have fun with customers and actually care about customers. Your competitors cannot copy such a brilliant culture overnight, discloses Sher.
In chapters 28 to 31, Sher examines the concepts of how to hire the right people; getting good people, then holding on; frequent use of all your resources, including your entire brain pool; and the redundancy of one person if two people think the same way.
Part five has as its generic subject matter of your systems, and contains nine chapters, that is, chapters 32 to 40. Chapter 32 is on why systems are so important. The author says systems are one of the four competitive advantages you have. He adds that drawing on your experience, learning from trial and error, or using meticulous planning, you can use systems to maximise your efficiency.
In chapters 33 to 40, Sher examines concepts such as how to make the complex seem easy and sell your business quickly and easily; “Leverage” as a word that makes people millionaires; focusing on money-making activities and delegating to others; tendency for problems to happen once; and how to measure performance. He also discusses the need for you not to gamble your profits away; the need for everyone to know your business and looking under your feet first for acres of diamonds.
Part six is christened things to remember, and contains four chapters, that is, chapters 41 to 44. Chapter 41 is based on the need for you to realise that growing too quickly could mean getting too big for your boots. According to Sher here, although it is fun and exciting to grow, growing too fast is also dangerous for a business.
In chapters 42 to 44, this author X-rays concepts such as the possibility of the word “Trust” to be a four-letter word; the need not to go it alone; and the impossibility of creating successful people.
In the area of style, the text establishes its towering presence. Sher segments the book into 44 chapters and brilliantly handles them (the chapters). Apart from providing the necessary background with his personal experiences, he also quotes different authorities in each chapter to back up his messages. Quoting these sources readily attests to his depth of research.
The beauty of the book also lies in the fact it is written in a language that does not impede understanding of the main messages. I am especially fascinated by the facts provided in chapter 28 based on the way to hire the right people; the need to concentrate on people skills of prospective employees in the course of employment. This idea is the most effective recruitment strategy in that it is based on testing emotional intelligence rather than intelligence quotient of prospective employees. This is good because research shows that it is easy to teach people technical skills but difficult to teach them soft or people skills.
The use of black and grey colours on the outer front cover of the book reinforces the subject matter of financial knowledge of riches and tendency to hide it by the rich. The black area symbolises secret and ignorance while the grey area stands for knowledge because “grey matter” means “intelligence” or “brain”. However, it is said in chapter one (page eight) that one of the ways rich people make their money is by stealing it or cheating others out of theirs. This should not have been included in the list in the first place because the purpose of the book is to educate people on how to be rich in the right way not through criminal means.
Also, chapters such as one and 12; two and five; and 19 and 20 respectively seem repetitive, with either of the two in each pair almost conceptually redundant.
Generally, the book is a good effort, a one-stop shop of intellectual varieties.
This book is a necessary companion for anybody that wants to become rich through knowledge of the secret of the rich.
GOKE ILESANMI, Managing Consultant/CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is a Certified Public Speaker/Emcee, Communication Specialist, Motivational Speaker, Career Management Coach, Renowned Book Reviewer, Corporate Leadership Expert and Editorial Consultant.
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