Secret to Success

There are two principles that almost no one understands…but they are critical to success. First, everything happens at the margin. Take some kid who’s just as smart as you are…and one of you will do very well, while the other one might do not-so-well. What’s the difference? One makes just a little bit more effort. Of course, just a little bit more effort doesn’t make any big difference the first day…but that’s where my second principle comes into play – ‘compounded effort over time.’ You know how compound interest works. You put money in the bank. Depending on the interest rate, it builds up. At first, you barely notice the increase. But after a while, it grows at an incredible pace. Well, effort is the same. At first, the results are barely perceptible. But over time, the guy who puts in just a little more effort…who listens just a little more carefully…who tries to work just a little harder…and just a little longer…and who cares just a little bit more about the way things turn out…after a few years, this guy’s extra efforts compound until he is far ahead of the other guy.

-Bill Bonner to his 14yr old son

Response: “But Dad…how do you know what to do? I mean, like, I could work harder on my math…or on my Spanish…or I could try to create my own video game, sell it and get stinking rich. But I can’t do, like, everything great.”

“That’s right, you have to make choices,” I tell him. “There are only three important ones: what you do, whom you do it with, and where you do it .”


A Good Man

A good man, left to his own observations, knows better. He doesn’t waste his money or drive recklessly. Over time, he realizes that the way to get ahead is simple: get up early, work hard, save as much money as possible and invest it wisely.

But give the guy a theory that allows him to believe that he can get rich by spending his money instead of saving it and he’ll swallow it like a shot of whiskey on an empty stomach. Under the influence, confidence will flush his cheeks, his spirits will rise, and his wallet will come out as fast as a purse on the Paris metro. He’ll spend…as long as he’s able.

-Bill Bonner