We’re a product of our environment. What our parents taught us, what our education stamped into us, what our experiences and interests have introduced us to. We simply can’t know what hasn’t been exposed to us in some way–no one is born with knowledge of anything. So we can only know what’s been put in our world in some way or another.
If you’re in the mood for an easy read that you’ll not only learn from but be inspired by, this is the book for you–Get Smarter – Life And Business Lessons. Think of it as a chat with a wealthy older uncle who wants to share with you what he’s learned. It’s written by Canadian self-made billionaire Seymour Schulich who has an obvious desire to leave a real legacy: sharing what he’s learned through his rich and full life with those who want to learn.
Here are some of the takeaways I got from the book, some are my own summaries, some are quotes:
The Decision Maker: A Tool For A Lifetime
Gah! I wish I had known this technique years ago! I have made some fat, messy decisions that have been life-changing and oh-so-wrong. Sure I’ve learned a lot from those mistakes, but in some cases they were painful and took quite awhile to correct and get back on course. The Decision Maker is simple:
- Make a pro and con list as you may already do, but enhance that by setting a non-emotional based value beside each item (from 1 to 10). If the “Pros” are at least double in value of the “Cons”–go for it. If not, be very very careful.
Track The Cash
- The most important thing to monitor is the trend of the cash levels in your enterprise. Simple but true, other metrics can reveal interesting things about your business, but can muddy the waters. The most important metric to monitor is the cash level–if it’s healthy and rising–your business is on the right track.
Investing In Foreign Countries
- I find the information on China, India, Asia to be very interesting because we are a global market like never before. Not only as it applies to our lives, but when trying to guide our children into their future. This is serious stuff to consider IMO and for those in India (my personal interest is drawn here)–I think you’re in the midst of an amazing and phenomenal time right now for business and personal financial development, lucky you! 🙂
- Quote: “Roger Rosenblatt’s Rules for Aging says that if you want to live a long time, avoid swinish people. I’d expand this to include swinish countries where the rule of law is absent, property rights are questionable, and governments expropriate without compensation.”
- A few of his experiences with investing in foreign countries is nightmarish and a definite piece of wisdom to put in your “Must Know” file. Some countries he’s had trouble with are parts of Eastern Europe, South Africa and South America. It’s so shameful because there is so much money in the world just waiting to be invested and put to good use that isn’t because of sheisty leaders or short sighted governments–what a waste of much needed job and business opportunities.
Don’t Let Cash Burn A Hole In Your Pocket
- Don’t pay excessively for anything–a house, a stock, a piece of land–just because you have the money and the popular wisdom is that it can only get more expensive. The popular view is often wrong. The biggest opportunities come to those who can write a cheque when assets go on sale at knockdown prices–often during a period of economic turmoil or recession.
- There is plenty of discussion in the book about storing up cash and holding onto it. Being patient–very patient–and being very picky and choosy about where to invest your cash. The rich get richer, why? Because they have the cash on hand to grab or take advantage of juicy opportunities when they arise.
The Oil Industry
- Oil is entering a golden age of shortage of supply. Very tight oil markets will last for the next thirty to fifty years, until fusion power becomes commercialized. Fusion power will drive all cars electrically and power all homes. Oil may still be used for chemicals and flying planes. Its age will end as did the ages of wood power and coal power.
On Buying A Business
- Remember: Ability is the poor man’s wealth. Don’t pander to the establishment looking for a break; they didn’t get where they are by giving things away or helping people like you. “Nobody sells a good, growing business.” (some exceptions: poor health, but for the most part it’s true).
- Keep away from advisors/consultants. If they knew how to make money, they would. These folks are like the fellow who knows a thousand ways to make love but doesn’t know any women. (lmao).
Be The Promoter, Not The Promotee (Or Patsy)
- Every profession is a conspiracy against lay people. Touches on credit cards, franchises–but see how easy it is to apply to the net marketing world. I kinda envision the world as a ‘pyramid’ with the very wealthy or successful at top and the masses (lay people) filling out the bottom. The lay people are NEEDED to support the top in their position. In an equal opportunity environment–that’s not a bad thing since it motivates the ‘lay people’ to strive to reach up. But keep that in mind for every song and dance that comes your way–we see it over and over again here in net marketing and right now there’s a big new rush being promoted. Look at it with fresh eyes, recognize the promoters and don’t be a patsy (or a promotee). You can choose to grow your own business or grow those above you.
- It’s easy to print money, it’s not easy to find and produce gold economically. Gold is a “store of value” — an asset that, unlike cash, holds its real worth generation after generation. Keep at least 10% of your financial assets in Gold.
- Get the well-located house that needs some fixing rather than the best house in a problem neighborhood. Me–I learned this the hard way. Your investment grows to much higher levels if the property is located in a desirable neighborhood rather than a not-so-desirable neighborhood.
The Law, Lawyers, and The U.S. Tort System
- Advice to Canadian entrepreneurs: Until there is real U.S. tort reform, do not list or raise capital in the United States. Canadian, European, and Asian capital markets are large enough for virtually all capital needs. He discusses the lawsuit happy and lawyer-heavy country that the U.S. is. It can devour anything you develop in the states–total wipeout.
I haven’t heard much about the book but saw it rising in the ranks on Canada’s Amazon best seller list, so I had to give it a shot. And I’m so glad I did, I found it incredibly interesting. The book is 49 chapters that are packed with wisdom, but easy to follow and read. I read this book in one night and couldn’t put it down.
BTW, at the beginning of the book he talks about reading and how much he’s read in his life. Setting aside time to read one book a week is a recommended habit to get into.
Book Title: Get Smarter – Life And Business Lessons
Author: Seymour Schulick
ETA: Update – There’s a free Get Smarter Preview Chapter available to download in pdf.