Randy Jones | November 4, 2009
As you have read in previous posts, RMITs are not believers in long-term planning. America’s big successes got where they are by incremental improvement and strong, careful execution, but they didn’t get there by deciding at the outset how they would hit a $2.5 million profit target or achieve a 72 percent market share. They followed their perfect pitch, always moving forward while remaining flexible enough to adapt to change and to take advantage of opportunities. As Dan Duncan, Houston’s RMIT, told me, “Daily incremental improvement is the surest path to great success and a great fortune.” As I found out as I was researching The Richest Man in Town, however, for all that they cautioned against too much goal-setting, many RMITs have a secret.
Randy Jones | August 11, 2009
Every morning in my youth, my late father used to wake me by saying, “Get up, boy—you can’t make a crop lying in bed!” As a father now myself, I rouse my sons with the same saying. My parents instilled the importance of hard work in me from an early age, and it’s one of the most powerful advantages they could have given me. Virtually every RMIT told me that the biggest factor in their success was neither education—only ten of the 100 RMITs attended an Ivy League school, three dropped out of college (including Bill Gates), one went to community college, and fourteen didn’t go to college at all—nor a secure financial basis to start a business. The biggest success factor they all pointed to was the fact that they started early and hit the ground running.
Randy Jones | April 21, 2009
It’s almost graduation time, and you can feel the anxiety in the air. Very soon, 1.5 million college graduates will be flooding into the worst job market in 25 years, with unemployment at 8.5 percent and rising. According to Nouriel Roubini (also known as “Dr. Doom”), the New York University economist who accurately predicted the current economic meltdown, we can expect the unemployment rate to go into the double digits before we begin to feel the effects of a recovery. To make matters worse, the class of 2009 is competing with 1.8 million degree holders who are already on the street looking for the same jobs. The supply and demand curve is simply not in their favor. Understandably, the fear among this year’s graduates is palpable—but it’s nothing compared to that of their parents.
Randy Jones | February 17, 2009
I wanted to be rich from my earliest memory. In fact, I believe I was hardwired to see the world through the lens of affluence, even though I was growing up on a farm in Carrollton, Georgia, far from the glamour of what is usually associated with the so-called good life. Full disclosure: I was not poor by any stretch of the imagination. I have never known what it must be like to wonder where my next meal would come from or how I would make the late utility payment. Many might even say I grew up rich—but while I was privileged, certainly, it was not what I would call rich. At least, not by the definition I have come to apply to “rich” in my adult life. And certainly not in the strictest financial sense: I came from hard-working Southern stock; to me, it seemed my dad and mom never stopped working, and they made certain that my brothers and I “joined the fun.” It wasn’t always fun, but boy was it effective, and in many ways life-altering. Like my dad and mom, I love to work. Few things make me happier than ending a productive day or checking off my entire “to do” list. I thrive on that sense of accomplishment, that ineffable feeling that I have earned my keep.
Perhaps this is the reason I devoted the past few years of my life to writing The Richest Man in Town. And what a journey it has been: I have researched and interviewed the richest self-made man or woman in 100 American towns in an attempt to find out how they reached their American Dream and what we could learn from their seismic success.