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The Basic Formula to Get Rich, According to Felix Dennis’s Uncommon Book

by | Jul 10, 2023 | Financial Freedom, Money

There are millions of books on money.

Most of them suck.

They’re written by amateurs or, worse, researchers. Felix Dennis wrote a book called “How To Get Rich.” It’s a terrible title and sounds like it’ll be full of get-rich-quick schemes.

The opposite is true.

It’s a fantastic book. Why? Felix is a practitioner. He built many successful businesses such as the magazine Maxim. He made hundreds of millions of dollars. But not everything he did in life was noble.

He says he got addicted to narcotics, pro$titutes, and the drug of making money. While he wouldn’t recommend any of those things, he fell for them — as do many rich people.

Felix’s formula to get rich is fascinating. Here are the foundational parts.

Great ideas are stupid

Felix met many wannabe entrepreneurs in his life.

A lot of them wanted him to sign non-disclosure agreements. LOL. They wanted to “protect” their ideas. There ideas were everything.

He thinks people like that are stupid.

The execution is what truly matters. An average idea with brilliant execution will always beat a great idea with mediocre execution.

Go out there and do stuff. Experiment. Take action.

Action creates evidence. Evidence attracts smart people. And smart people will work with you to build great things that make you rich.

Counting your money is a poor man’s game

At the start of the book Felix says he doesn’t know his magical net worth.

It seems odd. But he says knowing how much money you have is a poor person’s game. When you’re wealthy your goal is to not think about money. It’s to pay the bill and not care about the cost.

Rich people don’t have all their cash sitting in a bank account. No. It’s invested in assets, and those assets fluctuate in price every day.

Focus less on how much money you have and more on how you can get better at making money, so you can work less.

Money doesn’t care about where you were born or your circumstances

The victims in society love to blame everything but themselves.

Felix says his business dealings taught him that money is “color-blind, race-blind, gender-blind, degree-blind, and hometown-blind.”

It just doesn’t matter.

“If you truly believe that your race, gender or upbringing can keep you from becoming rich, then you had best give up here.”

It’s your mindset that builds wealth. It’s what you believe about the world that attracts people and opportunities to you that turn into a boatload of cash over a decade or more.

Set yourself free. Start wealth-building from where you are.

The hidden superpower wealthy entrepreneurs possess

Felix observed many successful entrepreneurs in his career.

They all had a hidden trait: they had nothing to lose. I love this realization. It’s how I feel. When I start work each day on my online business, I feel like I have nothing to lose.

What’s the worst that can happen?

I lose another million dollars? So what. If you lose all your money, the same mindset that got you the cash in the first place can help you get it all back again. A great example that springs to mind is a popular guy who tweets.

One afternoon a tweet he posted got him banned for life. He lost his 100K followers. Within a week he had them all back again by starting a new account. How?

All the people that watched him build the following pitched in to share his tweets like crazy.

And his super fans went wild to see his influential status restored. Plus, he copied and pasted the same content from his old account onto the new account.

Don’t worry about having money taken away. Worry about never having the skills and mindset to acquire it in the first place. Setbacks are short-term.

We can literally come back from any financial disaster.

What you should be busy with

Busyness is an epidemic.

It’s because distractions are the default operating mode. Felix doesn’t mind busyness as long as it’s spent learning instead of scrolling and procrastinating.

Learners are high earners.

I relate to this so much. Every month I buy courses, books, and coaching to be at the top of my online game. It’s not discipline that makes me do it though.

It’s curiosity.

It’s the same reason people like David Senra of the Founders podcast and Danny Miranda start podcasts. They’re following their curiosity. And it’s why they go on to be so influential and wealthy.

Be curious. Fall down rabbit holes.

“Curiosity has led many a man and women into the valley of serious wealth.”

“Cowards die many times before their deaths”


Getting rich requires guts.

You can’t be weak, undisciplined, or say yes too easily. You have to know what you want, and most importantly, why.

You’ve probably heard the saying “People die at 25 and get buried at 75.” This relates to Shakespeare’s quote. If you’re full of fear you die long before you hit the cemetery.

Fear holds us back. It stops us making money because we’re afraid of the downside. But what are we so scared of?

Life is short and then you die. You may as well try because it’s better than becoming a nothingburger and going nowhere in life.

The worst-case scenario is mediocre as hell.

Like, if the worst happens it would barely affect you. So there is no reason to be held back by opinions or fears. Instead, be driven by regrets.

Avoid them.

Wealth is a choice

Most jobs never lead to wealth.

And many people have chosen that path which is fine. If you ever want to be rich, then at some point you’ll have to either start a business or own a part of other people’s businesses.

The earlier you make this decision the better.

Why big companies will probably never make you wealthy

I spent my life working in corporate.

I reached the same realization Felix did. Big businesses are full of committees and group decisions.

This seems smart and democratic … but it’s stupid as hell.

Collective responsibility exists so that no one person can take the blame for a bad decision. The problem is this leads to long, slow decisions being made. And it destroys innovation and speed.

“A committee is a group of the unwilling, chosen from the unfit to do the unnecessary.” (Death by committee.)

The reason this way of operating is the default is because leaders and executives don’t want to get fired and they want to keep drinking milk money from the big corporation’s cow teat for as long as possible.

It’s this toxic psychology that programs employees’ brains to fail if they ever leave their job or try to start a business. You literally have to cleanse yourself of this disease. It’s taken me 2.5 years since quitting my job.

Personal responsibility is the key to wealth.

If you outsource the blame, you outsource your ability to win the money game.

Working for others for too long has a huge downside

It’s normal to start life working a job.

I don’t hate this path at all. A job is where you go to learn before you really earn big. The challenge is we get stuck there.

The comfort and office friends are hard to leave behind. They want to dumb you down and keep you at the cubicle so they can feel good.

Felix says working for someone else for too long reduces your desire to take risks. And that’s the real problem. Jobs carry little risk. You can blow up the skyscraper you work in and probably not get fired.

Convincing people to be employees is harder and harder.

Especially once people understand the tax system and figure out contracting, freelancing, and one-person businesses reduce one’s tax.

Financial progress happens when you take risks. Not dumb risks, like throwing all your cash on red at the casino. Self-risks. Research-backed risks. A diversified portfolio of small risks with 5-year payoffs.

Taking risks is how you discover what works.

Risks = Growth

“Team spirit is for losers, financially speaking. It’s the glue that binds the losers together.”


This one is controversial.

Working with others is crucial to building things that make money. What Felix means here is that getting rich is a solo pursuit. It’s a decision you make and choose to fast-track.

Teams at work are great but often they indoctrinate us to become mediocre and get distracted by shiny objects — such as promotions, bonuses, and loser job titles.

Don’t let a team hold you back. Even better, build your own team online and go execute on a goal that YOU lead.

Own the outcome to own the financial reward.

A quiet word on luck

“Luck is preparation multiplied by opportunity.” — Seneca

“The harder I practiced, the luckier I got.” — Gary Player, golf legend

“Luck is a dividend of sweat.” — Ray Kroc, McDonald’S founder

These quotes all appeared in Felix’s book. He’s not a fan of luck. People who look lucky and get rich don’t do it by accident.

It’s either they prepared for luck, they practiced to get luck, or they worked harder than anybody else and let sweat pour down their face.

Steal like Banksy the graffiti artist

Those who’ll likely never be wealthy believe in originality.

They’re romantic about it. They believe in the art of everything and think financial profit is the root of all evil.

Felix learned to steal like an artist. If he saw a business strategy working, he’d copy it. He worked in the magazine game. He saw computer magazines in the 90s (with CD-ROM games included) become popular.

So he stole the idea.

It’s easier to find an idea online that’s already working and make it better than it is to think you’re Einstein and try to invent the first product/service of a new category.

Less ego, more copying.

The final lesson from Felix that everyone screws up

Rich people are owners.

A lot of tech bros in Silicon Valley want to be rich. But they have startups where their ownership gets diluted over time.

Pretty soon they’re a 2% owner in a company they built and have no control. That’s what happened to Uber founder Travis Kalanick. He eventually got kicked out of his company as a result.

If you want to get rich then do everything in your power to own 100% of a business you start. Ownership gives you control over your financial future.

Are You Operating With Maximum Energy?

For those who are tired of dragging through the day, who want to get back the fire they once had, who are ready to reclaim your natural energy… this is your book.

Unleash the fire within