Business Books

Self-made billionaires are NOT necessarily smart, lucky or hardworking!

(Click here for more from "The Money Show".)

Mike Wills interviewed Mitch Cohen (Co-Author of “The Self-made Billionaire Effect”) about his myth-busting book on self-made billionaires for The Money Show's weekly business book review.

Scroll down to listen to the audio.

Description on Amazon:

Imagine what Atari might have achieved if Steve Jobs had stayed there to develop the first mass-market personal computer.

Or what Steve Case might have done for PepsiCo if he hadn’t left for a gaming start-up that eventually became AOL.

What if Salomon Brothers had kept Michael Bloomberg, or Bear Stearns had exploited the inventive ideas of Stephen Ross?

Scores of top-tier entrepreneurs worked for established corporations before they struck out on their own and became self-made billionaires.

People like Mark Cuban, John Paul DeJoria, Sara Blakely and T. Boone Pickens all built businesses —in some cases, multiple businesses — that are among today’s most iconic brands.

This fact raises two profound questions:

  • Why couldn’t their former employers hang on to these extraordinarily talented people?

  • Why are most big companies unable to create as much new value as the world’s roughly 800 self-made billionaires?

John Sviokla and Mitch Cohen decided to look more closely at self-made billionaires because creating $1 billion or more in value is an incredible feat.

Drawing on extensive research and interviews, the authors concluded that many of the myths perpetuated about billionaires are simply not true.

These billionaires aren’t necessarily smarter, harder working or luckier than their peers.

They aren’t all prodigies, crossing the billionaire finish line in their twenties.

Nor, most of the time, do they create something brand-new: more than 80 percent of the billionaires in the research sample earned their billions in highly competitive industries.

The key difference is what the authors call the “producer mind-set”, in contrast with the far more pervasive “performer mind-set”.

“Performers” strive to excel in well-defined areas, and are important.

But “Producers” are critical to any company looking to create massive value because they redefine what’s possible, rather than simply meeting pre-existing goals and standards.

Combining sound judgment with imaginative vision, “Producers” think up entirely new products, services, strategies and business models.

Big companies tend to reward “Performers” and discourage the unconventional ways of “Producers”.

But it’s the latter who integrate multiple ideas, perspectives and actions, and who trust their insights enough to make game-changing bets.

This book breaks down the five critical habits of mind of massive value-creators, so you can learn how to identify, encourage, and retain such individuals—and maybe even become one yourself.

The “Self-made Billionaire Effect” will forever change the way you think about talent and business value.

Subscribe to our Business Wrap Newsletter


702 welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the 702 community a safe and welcoming space for all.

702 reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

702 is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
Why some African companies succeed on the Continent while others fail

Why some African companies succeed on the Continent while others fail

We interview the editor of “Africans Investing in Africa”, a book on the success (or lack) of intra-African investments.

How to get rich (and work less) by freelancing

How to get rich (and work less) by freelancing

Be your own boss; make lots of money - “The Wealthy Freelancer: 12 Secrets to a Great Income and an Enviable Lifestyle”.

How South Africa worked (and how it failed) over the past 20 years

How South Africa worked (and how it failed) over the past 20 years

We interview Dr Greg Mills, co-author of "How South Africa Works", about his book on SA’s economic achievements and challenges.

How SA born and raised Elon Musk is shaping YOUR future (and everybody else’s)

How SA born and raised Elon Musk is shaping YOUR future (and everybody else’s)

We interview the author of a famous book on the Pretoria Boys High graduate who is changing the world (and space beyond) forever.

How Alibaba (little-known outside China) became twice the size of Amazon

How Alibaba (little-known outside China) became twice the size of Amazon

A book about Alibaba, a company founded by a schoolteacher in his tiny apartment, now trumped only by Google in size.

How to make your business relentlessly relevant, irrespective of its size or age

How to make your business relentlessly relevant, irrespective of its size or age

We spoke to business guru Douglas Kruger about exploring the field of innovation and his book "Relentlessly Relevant".

What battle-hardened Navy SEALs can teach you about your career or business

What battle-hardened Navy SEALs can teach you about your career or business

We review “The Navy SEAL Art of War”, a book that shares battlefield success stories to help you succeed against all odds.

How a group of geeks enabled the revolution that allows you to read this article

How a group of geeks enabled the revolution that allows you to read this article

We review Walter Isaacson’s (author of bestselling biography of Steve Jobs) new book on the history of our Digital Revolution.

The unexpected truth behind humanity’s most amazing inventions

The unexpected truth behind humanity’s most amazing inventions

True creativity is not only for geniuses, argues Kevin Ashton, author of "How to Fly a Horse".

Most Influential Book of 2014: Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Piketty)

Most Influential Book of 2014: Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Piketty)

Gill Marcus calls it “one of the most important books of this century”. 5 thought leaders debate Thomas Piketty’s tour de force...

Popular articles
So what exactly is radical economic transformation?

So what exactly is radical economic transformation?

Wits associate professor of economics Christopher Malikane speaks to Azania Mosaka about the term that is being bandied about.

Last chance for Spur's 2-for-1 burger special this Monday

Last chance for Spur's 2-for-1 burger special this Monday

Monday (March 27) is your last chance to sink your teeth into the popular burger special which Spur will discontinue from April.

Shop 'til you drop: The top 'Black Friday' deals this week

Shop 'til you drop: The top 'Black Friday' deals this week

Start your Christmas shopping off with a bang at these major retailers offering some impressive discounted sales for Black Friday.

'The university degree is dead'

'The university degree is dead'

Flux Trends founder Dion Chang gives five reasons why he believes getting a degree is past its sell by date.

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

WIN R2000! But only if you can prove you're a whiz of the MTN Biz Quiz by answering the following three questions...

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Is social trend Blesserfinder, where girls are allegedly matching up with rich 'benefactors' in exchange for sex, a real thing?

5 ways the NSFAS funding model will change in 2017

5 ways the NSFAS funding model will change in 2017

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will pilot a new funding model in 2017. NSFAS chairperson Sizwe Nxasana explains.