Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.


Deep in your heart, you know that being a millionaire is likely dull.

If you already are one, you know that with some force. You still don't have a 100-foot yacht. You still don't have a stable full of Ferraris. Frankly, you can barely afford a stable.

Thankfully, a new book has come along to end your woes and help you vault to the level of ridiculously, absurdly, don't-even-know-how-much-money-I-have wealthy.

It's called Wealth Secrets of the One Percent, and it's by Sam Wilkin.

The Telegraph informs me that Wilkin is an adviser for Oxford Economics. I am intelligent enough to know that anything with "Oxford" in the name must be very clever.

Wilkin's book identifies seven little secrets to becoming a billionaire. But, goodness, when it comes down it, only two are apparently really important.

They are: One, start by being almost a billionaire. Two, hoodwink your business partner out of all the cash in your hedge fund.

I'm sorry, I don't have that quite right. In fact, the magical two are: Slice out your competition and make sure you take big risks with money that doesn't happen to be yours.

You might grunt that this is easier said than done.

I (and perhaps Wilkin too) would point you to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

He didn't have to try very hard to dominate his competition, given their astounding levels of myopia and incompetence. (Have you noticed how, for a few years now, the word "MySpace" has always been part of a joke?)

It's nice to have complete control over a market. Many people, it seems, fall upon it. Google's founders never thought they'd be an ad company or supremely dominant. Yet suddenly they commanded search, as others foundered.

And as for doing it all with other people's money, well, if you're in technology these days, there's a lot of other people's money to go around.

Just make sure your contract is so beautifully phrased that these other people can't come along and take your house (and stable) if everything goes kaput.

Wilkin also suggests creating your business in the sorts of place where no one in their right(eous) minds wants to create a business. (Zimbabwe, anyone?)

He did offer The Telegraph this one luscious quote about billionaires: "These people tend to be pretty merciless, really competitive. You have to go in willing to fight tooth and nail to be that winner and be comfortable and untroubled by wiping everybody else out."

In essence, how preternaturally mean are you? If you'd cheerily punch someone in the nether regions during a game of pick-up basketball, perhaps you, too, could one day own Necker Island.

Another aspect Wilkin points to is the declaration of wanting to be rich from an early age. If you said it when you're seven years old, it's a good sign. Sigh. Who'd want a child like that? Actually, I would. Just think how he or she might support me in later life, with a mere 0.1 percent of income.

The final aspects of the magnificent seven ways to become a billionaire?

Set up your business in an area where the laws are so complex that you can take advantage of them. (My alternative advice? Ignore the laws that don't suit you. I call that the Uber Principle.)

Then there's create a business network that you can begin to dominate from within. Telecom and shipping networks are apparently good examples of this. Digital espionage networks are a little more problematic.

There's also making sure you own your business and property rights. (Intellectual property is far more than being merely intellectual.)

Finally, there's expand as quickly as you can. The quicker you expand, the quicker you populate a market, and the harder it then is for any competitor to operate.

So there you have it.

You now have all the tools to begin ordering your first 767, your first private island, and your first fleet of custom made DeLoreans.

Oh, wait. There's only one thing left. What's your business idea?

Published on: Jul 7, 2015