Lewis Schiff is the Executive Director of the Inc. Business Owners Council and author of, “Business Brilliant: Surprising Lessons from the Greatest Self-Made Business Icons.”
Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer recently laid down the jackhammer: all her employees must now report to the office… no more working at home. Schiff discusses this debatable cultural phenomena. He also breaks down entrepreneurship and how important ideas are to entrepreneurial success. Apparently, doing what you “love” will not necessarily give you the best return.
Lewis Schiff is the chairman and executive director of Inc. Business Owners Council. His new book, Business Brilliant: Surprising Lessons from the Greatest Self-Made Business Icons, was released in March, 2013. His new book, as well as his previous books, The Influence of Affluence and The Armchair Millionaire are based on research on best practices of high net worth and high-performing households.
Visit Lewis Schiff’s website at www.lewisschiff.com/. Check out Inc.’s Business Owners Council at www.inc.com/.
Narrator: Speakers, publishers, consultants, coaches and infomarketers unite. The Speaking of Wealth Show is your roadmap to success and significance. Learn the latest tools, technologies, and tactics to get more bookings, sell more products and attract more clients. If you’re looking to increase your direct response sales, create a big time personal brand and become the go-to guru, the Speaking of Wealth Show is for you. Here’s your host, Jason Hartman.
Jason Hartman: Welcome to the Speaking of Wealth Show. This is your host, Jason Hartman, where we discuss profit strategies for speakers, publishers, authors, consultants, coaches, infomarketers, and just go over a whole bunch of exciting things that you can use to increase your business, to make your business more successful and more and more passive and more and more automated and more and more scalable. And we will be back with a great interview. Be sure to visit us at SpeakingofWealth.com. You can take advantage of our blog, subscribe to the RSS feed, and many other resources for free at SpeakingofWealth.com. And we will be back with a great interview for you in less than 60 seconds.
Start of Interview with Lewis Schiff
Jason Hartman: It’s my pleasure to welcome Lewis Schiff to the show. He is executive director of the Inc Business Owners Council and author of Business Brilliant: Surprising Lessons from the Greatest Self-Made Business Icons. Lewis, welcome. How are you?
Lewis Schiff: Thanks, Jason. I’m good.
Jason Hartman: Good. I always like to get a sense of geography for our guests. Where are you today?
Lewis Schiff: Well, I’m in lower Manhattan. I am actually in a building that’s called 7 World Trade Center. It’s the very first world trade center back. And it went down on 9/11, it’s back up now for a few years, and it overlooks ground zero.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, I was in ground zero just a few months ago, and I’m so glad that they’re finally building that. It took them 10 years before they started on the project again, so that’s good news. Tell us a little bit about Business Brilliant first if you would. And then I’ve got some questions for you. I want to talk about the work at home debate that’s very much in the news media nowadays with Marissa Mayers’s recent comments. But give us a little background on the book if you would.
Lewis Schiff: Sure. So the challenge in front of all of us as it appears that the economy is recovering is what’s gonna be the same and what’s gonna be different. So we talk about the new normal, the new economy. We use these words, but we don’t know what it means yet. The thing that most of us probably hope is that things more or less go back to the way they were. And what’s the way they were? I define this post-economic expansionary period from World War II I think up until 2008 where pretty much institution, companies, government and even our churches were going to essentially help us navigate our path to our life if we just conform with what they asked us to do. So you go to a good school, you get a good degree, you go to a good company, you work hard, you put in your 20, 30, 40 years, you walk out with financial security. I believe that that scenario, that simple scenario simply will not hold up in the post great recession environment. And so the point of Business Brilliant is to ask those people who have been very successful over the past 10 or 20 years, people who have accumulated net words of millions of millions of dollars but started out in the same middle class as the rest of us what they’re doing differently than we are. And the point of that is for you, as you head into this post great recession time, to ask yourself how can I apply the rules of those great wealth creators who seemed to succeed during all this turmoil while most of us have experienced kind of a stasis or maybe slipped backwards?
Jason Hartman: Well, yeah, that’s a very good point. And if people haven’t heard it enough from me, I’ll say it again. But during recessionary times are the times when a lot of new innovations come up because human ingenuity just finds a way to get through things and it’s the time when you see a lot of new great companies get their start, isn’t it?
Lewis Schiff: Right. Things get disturbed, things get disintermediated, new opportunities arise. I think what happens for a lot of us is we put our heads down and we just hope it ends. And there’s a small portion of people who actually view this kind of disruption as an opportunity. And for me I think that’s been my experience. And I had the great fortune of working with a lot of great business owners and fast growing companies. But I’m surrounded by that attitude. But I know that generally speaking, people just want to go back to putting in their 40 or 50 hours and being paid for their time. And I think that we’ve come into a world where even if you don’t want to be an entrepreneur, even if you never want to start your own company, if you don’t start picking up some of the ideas and approaches of those people, you’re probably gonna slip backwards while they’re probably gonna move forward. And there’s a lot of room in the middle. You don’t have to start a business to be more successful, but you probably have to evoke some of their talents and behaviors and attitudes.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, very good points. What is it targeted at? Your work on the Inc Business Owners Council and the book, I mean is this at the personal and very small business level or larger? Or is there a target like that?
Lewis Schiff: Well, my work day to day, I work with the owners of the fastest growing companies in America. So I work with people who are experiencing 25% and 50% and 100% growth in their companies every single year and they’re having the ride of their lives. Now, that’s very different than most of us, right? Most of us are trying to figure out how to keep it together. But they’re having a very different experience. The book Business Brilliant, I imagine it’s for a professional white collar manager type worker who’s followed the rules, the roadmap that they were told to follow by getting a good degree and by working into a big, good company and working hard and saying to themselves I’m doing what I was supposed to do and yet I have less financial security now than I feel like I did 5 or 10 years ago. So either we keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result about the definition of insanity or we change what we’re doing. The challenge is changing what we’re doing is gonna require two things. One, we have to look at conventional wisdom and say maybe that’s not right. And, two, which follows naturally after that, is we have to take ourselves out of our comfort zone. Those are two hard things to do for anybody.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, it sure is. Well, let’s talk about some of the stuff that’s going on in the media today. And I want to start with Marissa Mayer and her comment that really is getting so much attention about Yahoo! employees and how she can’t turn the company around if all her people are home-based and so forth. What are your thoughts about the telecommuter and the old-fashioned in the office type of staff person?
Lewis Schiff: Well, I have one little caveat to this which is I think that there’s a level of appropriateness to saying our company’s headed in the wrong direction and until we figure out what the right direction is, we need to be looking each other in the eye and hunkering down as they might say. However, if the company has a good strategy, and I think it’s in the right direction. The research I’ve done shows that very successful people or people who have the attitudes that are going to lead to success, meaning people who are entrepreneurial, even if they’re not actually entrepreneurial, but these people in our company that we think of as entrepreneurial, they’re unorthodox and that sort of thing, if you want to attract that kind of person who is gonna be spirited in their approach to solving the problems of your company, who’s gonna bring passion and energy to their execution, probably you have to think of them and treat them as entrepreneurs.
And what we know from surveying folks like that are that they would rather be responsible for getting a certain amount of work done, certain kind of work done, but not be watched over and be in the office at the same time every day. So this is a person who might leave the office at the middle of the day and go watch their son’s soccer game, but that doesn’t really tell us much about whether they’re productive or not. We know that their work leads into the hours in the evening and bleeds into the weekend that there’s a group of people who are very comfortable doing that and they tend to be more successful people. So when you cram people down into a 40 hour work week or a 50 hour work week and you’re forcing them to make these brutal decisions about spending time with their family and that sort of thing, you’re essentially curtailing or taking the wind out of their sales in terms of what they are capable of bringing to your company. So what Miss Mayer has done over at Yahoo! is she runs the risk of alienating her more, what I call, business brilliant employees, the ones who are the more risk oriented, the ones who are more passionate about finding solutions to problems because she’s created a work environment that’s unnatural to the way they like to work.
Jason Hartman: But that’s like saying that just because they work a structured 40 hour work week at the office of the facility and then leave that they’re going to stop thinking about the business it doesn’t mean they can’t think about it and they can’t do work at home. It just means that she needs all hands on deck to coordinate things better and make sure people aren’t slacking as much.
Lewis Schiff: Well, what we see from our Business Brilliant survey cohort are they like to blend personal and business, meaning they value the ability to take an hour off of the middle of the day to do something personal or two hours, with every intention of not just making it up later but making it up times 2 or 3, but if you say to them they can’t, if you say they can’t leave the office for a couple hours because they can’t enjoy the chance to go let’s say watch the kid’s soccer game, what you’re doing is you’re sending a signal to them that they should probably start their own company. If they want to have that work lifestyle, they should go work at a place that values that work lifestyle. And I’m not saying that you can’t ask people to suspend that position for a while, but in the long run you’re sending a signal that if you want to think like and be an entrepreneur, you should go somewhere where that kind of behavior is more welcome.
Jason Hartman: So you’re critical of her then. And I don’t know – I’m kind of in the middle. I mean, I have a lot of virtual workers at my companies and it seems like it works out pretty well. I can tell you that some of the frustrations I had when I had large, expensive physical offices where everybody came in and we did the traditional thing is that, number one, it sort of bugged me – I have to admit – and I know some of this is actually productive, so maybe I shouldn’t be so sensitive about it – but a lot of like water cooler coffee pot chatter that just was kind of a waste of time, at least to me it seemed that way, and just maintaining a physical space for your office is a whole job in and of itself. Companies have a position and maybe a whole team of people called facilities manager or facilities managers and it’s just one more thing to do. So that takes away from the truly productive parts of your business.
Lewis Schiff: There’s a great editor here at Inc Magazine. His name is Bo Burlingham and he has a couple of phrases that I think are appropriate. One is your company either runs on a Trust-and-Track modality or it runs on a command and control modality. Now, there are some good successes in either one, right? Apple is known as a command and control modality and, gee, that’s a great company. I mean, it’s the most valuable company there is. And then trust and track companies are the ones we admire, but it doesn’t mean it has the same impact and the financial results.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, interesting. It reminds me of what Ronald Reagan said, trust but verify, when it came to arms treaties with the Soviet Union and so forth. So you contrast Marisa Mayer and Richard Branson who, by the way, I hope to meet very soon on Neker Island, on a trip coming up. And he is an incredible entrepreneur. I think he has 8 companies valued at over a billion and it started over a billion and started over 300 companies I believe, so pretty darn amazing. What would be the comparison and contrast there?
Lewis Schiff: Well, Richard Branson is very dyslexic. He cannot read a financial statement which is something that he turns into an attribute because what he has to do, given that disability, is he has to find people that he trusts on his team. He’s simply not the guy who’s gonna sit there with a stack of financial data and read the tea leaves. So what he’s really famously known for is leveraging a whole other side of his personality, the instinctive side, the gut side, so that when someone comes to him with an idea, he’s simultaneously sizing up the idea and the person bringing it to him. And if he greenlights it, that person is on their own to succeed or fail. Marisa Mayer is a very different kind of person. She comes from a technical side of Silicon Valley, very, very heavy duty on the analytics. And I can imagine – and I don’t know her and I’m sure she’s a tremendous executive but I can imagine that there’s a lot of analysis that goes on at a company like Yahoo! about what’s right and wrong and where they should put their resources. But I don’t think Richard Branson does. So I think when he puts someone on a job and they start a company, some of them fail, some of them succeed and he’s fine with that. I think Marisa cannot afford for that much more failure to take place at Yahoo! before the place is in big trouble.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, good points. Entrepreneurs are sort of famous for being dreamers and thinking big and being visionaries. Not all of them are. I was a fan of Michael Gerber’s work for a while and I still am. And I had him on the show and he talks about the technician who has the entrepreneurial seizure concept which is the hair stylist who opens a hair salon. I’m just giving you an example – the chef who opens a restaurant, whatever it is. But does it always need to be a big idea? Maybe they don’t have a big idea, but they don’t want to work for somebody else and they want to do their own thing as it were.
Lewis Schiff: Well, you said the phrase in a very interesting way. You said entrepreneurs are famous for big innovation. But that’s what they’re famous for, but that’s not what the data tells us. The data tells us something very different. The data share that we have from our surveys and others suggest that a typical story of how someone starts a company is that they work in a big company, they learn how to do something, whatever widget is they sell or service they provide. They learn the players in that world, and then over time, much like we were speaking about earlier, they realize that the company environment they’re in is not gonna reward them as entrepreneurs the way they like to be rewarded. So they bolt out of that company – they don’t do necessarily the exact same thing that the company did. They do a niche, they do something slightly differently, maybe they do it faster, maybe they do it cheaper, but they don’t innovate – they take an idea and they move it one little step forward. That’s how businesses start in America and that’s how wealth is created in entrepreneurship in America, not through innovation, but through taking a simple idea that you have some personal knowledge and experience with and a contact network around, and then executing it really, really well. And that is much harder to do than come up with a big brainstorm.
Jason Hartman: Well, I agree. It’s all in the execution for sure. And maybe what I meant to say in saying that they’re famous for that big idea type thinking is those are all the folklore stories we hear about.
Lewis Schiff: And we hear about Mark Zuckerberg and we say well that’s what I have to do, but it’s not true.
Jason Hartman: Good point. I agree – most entrepreneurs are people that just do exactly what you just outlined – very true. You hear a lot about this do what you love and the money will follow. I love what I do and the money does follow, but does it have to be that way? I remember a long time ago I was always a big listener to the late Earl Nightingale and love his work. He’s very old school, but he talked about two types of people in life. He talked about river people and goal people. And the river people were the people that just sort of had a certain talent or a thing that they knew that they were born to do – it was kind of like their mission in life – music for Mozart type idea, right? And all they had to do to succeed in life is just be in their river of interest, whereas for the rest of us, we just have to be goal people. Just set goals, achieve them, set another one, keep growing, you know, a little more methodical, a little less cool sounding. But do you need to do what you love?
Lewis Schiff: Well, it’s a similar idea, as we were just speaking about, I think the idea that you can find some passion, you can execute in that passion and that the money will follow, feels good to people. And that is the conventional wisdom. I think the truth of the matter is that our research bears out in our survey of 400 successful households in the book is that time and time again it’s people who have to figure out where the money is in the thing they’re doing that leads to success. So you can have yourself and 10 other folks who are working the field of radio, and you might be experiencing the kind of success that you’re hoping for and the other 10 aren’t. And the difference between you and them probably are tactical things you’re doing to monetize your business that they’re not doing or prepared to do. And they would fall to some very classic entrepreneurial things. So it’s not so much that you’re a river person and that they’re goal oriented people or that they’re all river people but you’re the one who’s making money out of it. I would argue that there’s probably really great business decisions you’ve made along the way. So in the book Business Brilliant, we look at some of the great stories about artists like yourself really.
I mean, we focus on Guy Laliberté. He’s the founder of Cirque de Soleil. And the story that you would hear about him is he became a billionaire by being the greatest clown ever. Well, of course it’s wonderful to imagine that you could be a clown and turn that into a billion dollars. The reality is there’s a strong and long history of brutal business decisions he made to turn his troupe of circus folk into one of the biggest business in the entertainment industry in the world. And they have to do with monetizing it. They have to do with switching from a not for profit status to a for profit status and squeezing people out that didn’t belong. And the funny thing is the other circus players in his group never seems to ask for or get the equity that he ended up with. So he’s not just the most famous clown that made that kind of money. He’s the most successful clown that made that much money. All the other clowns that started off with him in Cirque de Soleil do not own any of that company anymore. He’s a good businessperson.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, no question about it. That’s an amazing company – it really is. And I haven’t heard too many people really profile it. I mean, everybody’s heard of it it seems like – maybe everybody’s been to a show – but I haven’t heard too many people talk about what’s behind that company as you do with some of these other well-known companies.
Lewis Schiff: And there’s another example –Damien Hirst is one of the most famous artists. And it’s another example where nobody goes into the fine arts – no one sits in their studio and paints with the idea that one day they’re gonna be very wealthy. And there’s a lot of really talented artists out there, and also talented and confident artists. But Damien Hirst, Damien Hirst alone, he’s the wealthiest, most successful self-made living fine artist, and he did that by doing amazing business moves. He is a good artist if you like that sort of thing, but he is, as The New York Times once called him, the manager of the hedge fund called the Damien Hirst collection. He is a very smart businessperson. And so you see that even when you take a group of artists just as passionate and just as talented, one of them or two of them emerge as the ones who can really turn it into a business.
Jason Hartman: Very interesting. There are always the few that really turn them into something, and it can’t be just a matter of talent or luck. And I speak of talent in the way of natural talent, like being the best clown or the best musician. You gotta really be a businessperson ultimately, don’t you?
Lewis Schiff: Right, that’s the point. And if you think about somebody who, forgetting for a moment the arts, you’re an accountant or you’re a doctor, you have a profession, you have a skill, the question is why is it that your skill hasn’t led you to the kind of financial independence that a peer’s might have. And the answers usually have to do with the fact that they were willing to not only try to be excellent at what they’re trained in, but also be an excellent businessperson alongside it.
And what stops a lot of people from being the excellent businessperson, a good example would be – something we could all relate to – if you love cooking, then all your friends are gonna say, hey, you should start a restaurant. But most of us never do that because the idea of actually running a business called a restaurant sounds like a really big hassle. But it’s gonna be that great chef who decides to open the restaurant, or that accountant who decides to open the firm or the doctor who decides to go on their own and run their own practice. Those are the ones that are going to create wealth. It’s not just enough to be a great doctor.
Jason Hartman: No question. You have four different steps you talk about for aspiring entrepreneurs. What are they?
Lewis Schiff: So, it runs by the acronym of LEAP and it stands for learn, earn, assistance and persistence. And it’s in a row but really it should be seen as a circle because learning, we have this wonderful evidence from the survey in the book Business Brilliant that the wealthier you are – these were all self-made wealthy – the wealthier you are have a much greater grasp on what they’re really good at. That makes them money – we were just talking about doctors and artists. What are they really good at that actually makes them money? Not just good at and they’re good at it, but good at it that they can turn it into money. And that’s learned.
And you’d be surprised, the middle class doesn’t really know what they’re particularly good at. In fact, there’s a lot of evidence that in an effort to make sure that they’re safe in their position, they become okay at a lot of different things instead of really good at any one or two things. They’re very successful at becoming really good at a couple of things.
Jason Hartman: So, in that example, you mean specialization then is, which they’re probably wrong, but they view specialization as being more risky. They want to be the jack of all trades, master of none, so their superior can come to them and ask them to do this or that and they can get by and get it done, but it won’t be exceptional.
Lewis Schiff: Right. And to be really good at a few things and specialize, you have to make sure you can make money doing those things. And that’s exactly right. Earn is you have to be in what I call the highest line of money, meaning you could be the greatest baseball player on your team but the coach probably has a better deal than you do because if you hit the world series they get that bonus. And the manager probably has an even better deal because he or she gets a cut of sales of souvenirs and all that. And then, of course, the owner has the very best deal of all. So you want to be in the highest line of money that you can. We know that salespeople tend to be sort of in the line of money because some portion of their compensation is commission based.
Well, if you’re a flat salary paid person, you’re pretty much at the lowest run of that line of money because you just paid for your time. And whether what you’re doing is successful or not, you’re paid the same amount. Then there’s things like bonuses which can be company-wide or team-wide or individual. Then there’s commissions, then there’s percentages on the overall deal, and then there’s ultimately ownership. And the reason why we see such a high correlation between wealth and ownership is because it’s the place where the work of everyone else below you on the line of money is helping your value accrue, the equity you hold accrue. And so earn is really about if you’re gonna be good at something you also better be in the line of money – on the top of the rung on the line of money, or at least as high up as you can get yourself. If you work at a company, you can go to your boss and you could say I’m willing to accept a lower annual rate of pay so long as I’ve got a variable bonus program that I believe I can achieve and if I achieve it I’ll be paid even more than I would have been paid otherwise. We can do this in our companies. That’s earn.
Assistance is who’s helping you at all the things you’re not good at. So I used an example earlier of being a chef. The way to be a successful chef in a restaurant is not to be a great chef and also be a great host and also run the books and also order the food and so on and so forth. The way to be a great chef is to say, look, I’m here to be the chef. That’s what I’m really good at. I need to delegate and find other people who are good at all these other things, finding assistance in helping you do all the things you’re not good at. Again, the middle class would tell you that they try to be decent at a bunch of things. The very wealthy will say I’m gonna be good at one thing and rely on a few other people to be good at all the other things. That’s assistance.
Jason Hartman: Just a comment on that, it’s so interesting because I had my friend, Dan Sullivan, on the show a long time ago and I’m sure you know his work. We could have talked for hours on the show – I think that interview was like an hour and a half long or something. But he talks about everybody has a unique ability and that’s that specialization that you’re mentioning. If you improve your weaknesses, you just have a bunch of strong weaknesses rather than actual strengths.
Lewis Schiff: And so much of what we’re told by our peers, by our parents, by the schools we go to are to work on our weaknesses. It’s so funny – you come back from school with an A on your report card and a D on your report card and, of course, they get tutors for the D. No one says let’s take more subjects around the A.
Jason Hartman: For some reason, we all sort of believed that being a well-rounded person – the first two years of college are general ed, your breath requirements. And then, after that, you go onto more specialization, but it’s interesting.
Lewis Schiff: So, finally, so we’ve done LEARN which is very closely correlated to Dan Sullivan’s unique ability. EARN, whatever you’re gonna be good at you have to be in the highest rung of money. Assistance, finding people to be good at the things you’re not good at. And none of those would matter at all if we didn’t get to the last one which is persistence. So what we see are we survey two groups in the book Business Brilliant. We survey people who come from the middle class and have stayed in the middle class and people who come from the middle class and have accumulated many, many millions of dollars. And we see that the rate of failure amongst those who have more money is much higher. They failed 2 and 3, sometimes 4 and 5 times as often as the middle class. And we see that tells a very strong story, that you’re gonna have to fail, learn, pick yourself up and move forward. But that’s how wealth is created because you must persevere through adversity in order to really become an expert in what you’re doing.
Jason Hartman: A couple of comments on that before you go on if I can. The first thing that says to me is it really tells you the value of on the drop training, doesn’t it? Because you learn best by doing and that’s the way lessons are learned in the most powerful way rather than in the classroom and in the textbook. Would you agree with that by the way?
Lewis Schiff: Absolutely. And one of the challenges when you work for somebody else, of course, they don’t want you to fail, there’s really very little tolerance for failure in corporate America which is why they become so well rounded and generalist because if you fail you might learn something, you might come out of it and say I’ll never do that again, I’ll do it differently, but the company doesn’t learn anything – they paid for it. So failure is something that needs to be celebrated, needs to be talked about and honored instead of hidden and avoided.
Jason Hartman: And one more comment on that. That also speaks to the concept of how America has fostered, at least in the past, and now I feel like we’re moving in the wrong direction lately, but has fostered a lot of entrepreneurship and innovation because you can fail here and start over again. I mean, how many stories do you hear about entrepreneurs who tried something, it didn’t work, they went bankrupt, and then our system sort of allows you to start over again. The only thing it never allows you to start over again, and I rail against this all the time, is student loan debt, which is never dischargeable in bankruptcy, but that’s another topic.
Lewis Schiff: Yeah, but you’re right about that because that’s a whole topic about whether we should be going to college and, if so, what should we be studying?
Jason Hartman: Yeah, another great discussion – overpriced college – the government just made it too expensive in my eyes.
Lewis Schiff: But I would say, on the topic of failure, just two points I would like to make, one is we used the word failure which obviously sounds very bad, but actually what we see are very successful people. The way I put it is they mitigate the downside of failure, meaning they try to think it out in advance enough so that if they do have something like a setback it’s not devastating, because if you have a devastating setback, it’s much harder to pick yourself up and move forward. So, we see this in how capital formation takes place. So if you want to start your own business, a lot of people will tell you they can’t start a business because they don’t have money and they’ll use credit cards or they’ll use home second mortgages and things like that. And if they fail or if they’re asked to take risks, that would be difficult. Inmoney g other people for the they’re looking at a complete cascasding demise of their entire financial lives. We see that a lot of very successful people are very good at asking other people for the money for their businesses even if they have the money because, that way, if there is a failure, you’ve lost a lot of your time, you may have even lost some money, but you’ve lost other people’s money. And most folks will tell you that the feeling of having to look someone in the eye and say “I lost your money” is worse than anything else. The very successful people will say I’d rather lose their money than my money because I’d have to be able to keep moving forward in the case of a setback or a failure. So we’re not talking about abject failure, you’re in the poor house. We’re talking about managed failure, managed setbacks so that you can pick yourself up and move forward one day.
Jason Hartman: That is an interesting and rather unusual view of capital formation, but it is accurate. It makes me not want to invest in somebody else’s deal, though, but I guess just like we have to sort of nurture that concept of failure in our own lives because there’s value in it, we also have to be willing to do that in other people and their businesses and their business ventures, right?
Lewis Schiff: And we’re doing it. When you invest in a mutual fund, you’re investing in other potential failures, and we do it in all sorts of efficient ways, but we do it. And the second point I wanted to make about failure is there was a striking statistic that came out in my research of these two groups of the middle class versus the very wealthy, which is that not only do the very wealthy tell you that they failed multiple times, much higher rate than the middle class, but when we ask the middle class how many of their friends have experienced significant setbacks or failures, it’s a very small number. But when we ask the very successful how many of their friends have had significant setbacks or failure, it’s a very high number. So this tells us that not only are the middle class trying to avoid failure at every turn, but they’re not talking about it when they do. They’re embarrassed about it, whereas the very successful people wear it as a badge of honor. It’s almost a price of entry into that category.
So, not only do we have to fail more often by taking smart risks, not dumb risks, but when we fail we need to be able to talk about it with other people, learn from each other.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, very good points. I think that’s great. Well, Lewis, give out your website and tell people where they can learn more about you and your work.
Lewis Schiff: Sure, www.business-brilliant.com.
Jason Hartman: Excellent. And LewisSchiff.com as well, right?
Lewis Schiff: LewisSchiff.com now takes you to BusinessBrilliant.com
Jason Hartman: Okay, got it. That’s the website I have. And just any parting thoughts here?
Lewis Schiff: Well, I think there’s an urgency to a book like Business Brilliant because I think now is the time, as the economy seems to stumble towards a recovery, that the disruption is underway, and you either gonna have to decide are you going to model yourself on the rules of the pre-great recession or the post-great recession. And I think the best models for us today are some of the heroes that we’ve talked about today, Richard Branson and Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet. There’s a lot of these great people that we know are very successful. They’re doing what’s right and there’s a way for us to do this inside the companies we work for and inside the businesses we own.
Jason Hartman: Good stuff. Lewis Shift, thank you so much for joining us today.
Lewis Schiff: Thank you, Jason.
Announcer: What’s great about the shows you’ll find on JasonHartman.com is that if you want to learn about investing in and managing income properties for college students, there’s a show for that. If you want to learn how to get noticed online and in social media, there’s a show for that. If you want to know how to save on life’s largest expense, there’s a show for that. And if you’d like to know about America’s crime of the century, there’s even a show for that. Yep, there’s a show for just about anything, only from JasonHartman.com or type in “Jason Hartman” in the iTunes store.
Narrator: This show is produced by The Hartman Media Company, all rights reserved. For distribution or publication rights and media interviews, please visit www.HartmanMedia.com or email [email protected] Nothing on this show should be considered specific personal or professional advice. Please consult an appropriate tax, legal, real estate or business professional for individualized advice. Opinions of guests are their own and the host is acting on behalf of Platinum Properties Investor Network, Inc. exclusively. (Image: Flickr | qisur)
Transcribed by Ralph
* Read more from Speaking of Wealth
The Speaking of Wealth Team