An economist is someone who didn't have enough personality to become an accountant.

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Money is like manure. If you spread it around it does a lot of good. But if you pile it up in one place it stinks like hell. - Jr Murchison

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Do you need to be brilliant to be successful?

Do you need to be brilliant at school to be successful?

Not necessarily. There are also things in life that can only be taught through experience. Look at this list of people РRichard Branson, Harry Triguboff, Frank Lowy, Lindsay Fox. What do you think they have in common? Only Harry Triguboff  went to university but between them they are some of the wealthiest and most successful business people in the world.

Richard Branson is a particularly interesting example as he was dyslexic and a quite bad student but was also very motivated to come up with unusual ways to “make a buck” or build a new business. At times he apparently has someone following him to jot down notes of ideas he may have whilst walking or talking with business associates. Branson also has spent little time in a traditional office having famously lived on a canal boat in London for many years. He is a visionary man but has definitely not done things in the traditional business way. He is the master of selling his brand (Virgin) and has known from the very start how important branding is in business.

Smart doesn’t mean qualifications – does it?

Have you ever heard of Klaus Zapf? I didn’t know who he was until I read an obituary written about him in The Age newspaper recently. He is a German Entrepreneur with a very interesting story. He was the founder and co-owner of Zapf Umzuge, one of the largest removal companies in Europe and when he died had a personal fortune of around $17 million. Although he was very wealthy he paid himself a small monthly wage, lived in a rented apartment and gave away vast amounts of his wealth. He used to shop at Aldi discount supermarket and claimed that wealth, “just makes us unequal”. He also declared that “There are so many bloody idiots around with money. You don’t need another one”. Before starting his business he begun studying law but admitted that he was more fond of studying pubs and their contents.

These are two particularly eccentric versions of wealthy and successful business people who did not enjoy their education and went on to build large businesses. One of the best ways to build wealth is via a business as I have previously written in the post Starting your own business.

Brilliant ideas people

All the business people I’ve mentioned above all have on thing in common. They all had an idea and had the persistence and drive to see the idea blossom into a viable business. Richard Branson is probably the exception to all the businessman listed as he has had a whole string of ideas over his career which he has been able to turn into successful businesses. Most of the other men had one particular idea that they haven’t changed during their whole working lives. Harry Triguboff for example has built thousands of apartments over his life that conform to a formula he started many decades ago and he has never changed that formula – much the same as Coca Cola has never changed their drink recipe.

Do you know anyone who has come up with a brilliant idea? Please tell me in the comments section if you have.

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