The Prolific Wisdom community of Harvard alumni reviewed the new book, The Self-Made Billionaire Effect, by Dr John Sviokla and Mitch Cohen. Here's our rating, review and FIRE Summary of this unique book.
4.5 out of 5 stars
The Self-Made Billionaire Effect is more than just a bio of several high profile and highly successful business people. The book also talks of creative thinking, the workings of disruptive minds and certain patterns behind phenomenal success. The authors took us on a tour of successful companies from Morningstar to Lululemon and pioneering billionaires from Mark Cuban to T.Boone Pickens. The Self-Made Billionaire Effect contains many specific cases, examples and detailed accounts to support its arguments.
The authors bubble up the observations and concepts, of "empathetic imagination", "patient urgency" and "inventive execution" as being core to the success of these $billion-busting renegades. The books is most suitable for corporate executives and teaches how to recognize producers and performers and retain them. For individuals, this book illustrates the skills that lead to protagonists' incredible success. It turns out that established companies often cannot "see the wood for the trees." They simply fail to recognize producers.
It seems that most billionaires didn't make a mint through "blue oceans", rather they spot opportunities to disrupt red oceans (existing markets) through insightful ideas in established markets.
The Self-Made Billionaire Effect is well written and well structured and tackles a very broad topic. At times, we would have liked to get even more insight from some of its characters' stories, but the book already spans over 200 pages - perhaps there is an opportunity for a follow-on.
The Self-Made Billionaire Effect is definitely worth a read, especially if you have a C in front of your title.
FIRE Summary (Facts, Ideas, Resources, Expression)
- There are approximately 800 self-made billionaires in the world.
- Billionaire wealth grew faster than the world economy from 1987 to 2012: from 2% to 7% of GDP. Less than 20% of the sample were in high-tech industries.
- Producers have the ability to keep the long term vision in the back of their mind while concentrating their energies on urgent execution issues at hand. Producers are company visionaries.
- Performers focus and execute. More than half of the billionaires started their business as part of a producer-performer partnership.
- Billionaires juggle judgement and vision, which according to neuroscience sit on opposite ends of the mental spectrum. Self-made billionaires effectively operate in a world of dualities - they seamlessly hold on to multiple ideas, perspectives and scales.
-Self-made billionaires are not huge risk takers, but they see risks in not taking opportunities.
- Most billionaires are already mature professionals when they launch their blockbuster idea(s). 70% of the sample were over 30 when they launched. 80% sailed in "red oceans", operating in highly competitive mature industries. 75% had direct sales experience. 70% had ownership of a P&L by age 30.
- Organizations tend to skew heavily towards performers, and need to groom more producers. Producers are capable of full imaginative ideation because they refuse to limit themselves. They don't box in thinking to existing parameters, but rather punch through to new ideals to produce insights capable of creating explosive value.
- Businesses that work relentlessly in pursuit of between one and three priorities do more and achieve more than those that try to pursue six or eight at one time. Maintain patient urgency on other areas of interest, but focus on the few that count.
- 79% of reviewed billionaires had sales experience.
- Producers need the time and space to be able to daydream and think.
- Empathetic Imagination and Inventive Execution are the power duo of billionaires success.
- Empathetic imagination: This is the ability of identifying and understanding problems by being emphatic to the potential customer and use creativeness to find a solution.
- Inventive execution: where emphathic imagination is the ability to dream in order to find ideas in a creative manner, inventive execution is the ability to act in a creative manner to create a blockbuster product.
- Patient urgency: This is the ability to slowly prepare and wait for an opportunity and move quickly when it is the right time.
- The producer and performer are a pair of thinker/doers who complement each other, and integrate concept and action.
- The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.
- Producers have extreme empathy for customers and an imaginative mindset for generating untested original ideas.
- Producers are deviants. They redefine companies by reaching beyond bounds of current thinking.
- See Rex Jung's work. He's a neuropsychologist from the University of Mexico that showed that creative people are able to turn off the evaluative functions of their brains to allow themselves the mental freedom to invent. Its called TRANSIENT HYPOFRONTALITY. They need to be in an environment where mind wandering can happen. Give producers less to do so they have time to create.
- See 'Prospect Theory' - Daniel Kahneman
EXPRESSION (What you should do next)
- Mark Cuban credits his success with his appetite for information. Billionaires consume LOTS of information. Read more, more strategically!
- Billionaires guard their time, doing away with extras, distractions, and nonessential activities so they are able to support their most vital work. Take time to cultivate your innate curiosity and read and converse widely, and focus.
- Focus on ideas that have the promise of scale. Producers consistently dedicate their time only to ideas that had the potential to build massive value, at real scale.
- Broadcast stories of Inventive Execution. They should be celebrated and become part of your company culture.
- When you fail, try and determine what might have turned things around.
- You have to pick good people and let go. Find people who have faced down real life challenges and know how to get back on their feet.
Mark Brooks (PLD 2014) - CEO, Courtland Brooks
Andre Lamontagne (PLD 2014) - Research Manager, Servomex
Boris Tsimerinov (PLD 2013) - VP, CCC Investment Banking
For the love of learning.