DeMarco in The Millionaire Fastlane tells us that the way to get rich as most people in the west live it and teach it.. Is all wrong and deadly slow.
And he then proposes and teaches us the “right” way. And it does make a lot of sense.
- Bullet Summary
- Full Summary
- Real Life Applications
- Working a job and investing in the stock market will NOT make you rich
- Entrepreneurship (the fastlane) will give you independence, freedom, and early (wealthy) retirement
- Time is your most important resource. Buy time, don’t trade time for money.
MJ DeMarco says The Millionaire Fastlane is not the four hour workweek that will tell you step by step what to do. He says this is your task: success is a journey and it cannot be outsourced to India.
Part 1: Wealth in a Wheelchair
One day DeMarco saw a young man drive his dream car. A Lamborghini.
That was the epiphany for him and he realized the difference between “get rich slow” and “get rich fast”.
Part 2: Wealth is Not a Road, But a Road Trip
The typical “get rich” scheme bandied by financial gurus, which he dubs “get rich slow” is a trap, the author says. You need to toil your whole life employed by someone else, squandering the golden years of your life in a cubicle.
MG says that people see the big event-grabbing headlines like the IPO or the big buy-out and think that getting rich is event-driven. But the real story is the process behind those events.
The process entails sacrifices and hard work. You will never enjoy the big ticket event without the process.
MJ also introduces the core concept of the book here: fast wealth happens exponentially, not linearly. Employment and savings are linear, that’s why they don’t work.
And he puts people into 3 different roads when it comes to wealth:
- The Sidewalk
- The Slowlane
- The Fastlane
Part 3: Poorness: The Sidewalk
In short, the sidewalker are those people who spend more than they earn.
They are not necessarily poor, they can be very rich, but they finance their life with an unsustainable mix of income and debt (like Johnny Depp).
Instant gratification is the key for the sidewalker. You probably heard the fable of of the ant and the grasshopper. Well, the grasshopper resides on the sidewalk.
Sidewalker also tend to pursue money though events. Things such as lotteries, gambling, “a big hit” etc. etc.
Part 4: Mediocrity: The Slowlane Roadmap
Most people reside on the slowlane.
They sacrifice today for a better tomorrow. In the ant and the grasshopper fable, these people are the ants. They buy into the “compound interest strategy”, so they work hard today and save to be rich tomorrow.
It’s not an optimal strategy, the author says. Decades in a job you likely don’t love are also wasted decades.
In the slowlane you’re the butt-end of a sucker’s trade. You trade a salary while your employer makes money off of you. You trade 5 for 2 when you give Monday to Friday to get 2 days off. That’s why you see people “celebrating their freedom” on Friday”.
Only to go back in the cage again on Monday.
No, fuck TGIF: your life is now! Your life can be Friday everyday.
The other problem with the slowlane is also that you’re not in the driver’s seat. You don’t control your destiny. What if the stock market tanks when you’re about to withdraw your money? Or if you want to double your income today, think your boss will accept it? If you get an heart attack at 55?
Problems with the slowlane:
- Trade weeks for weekends
- No leverage (work twice harder is not twice the money)
- Trade time for money (you can never buy back time)
- Upper limit (can’t work more than 24h/day)
- Trade your best years for future, uncertain money
- Compound interest takes time and only works in the final years
- Limited learning (compared to huge learning with your business)
The Paradox of Practice: You’re Being Conned
MJ DeMarco says gurus sell the slow lane while they themselves get rich in the fast lane.
He makes fun of Robert Kiyosaki and his “Poor Dad Rich Dad“. MJ says Kiyosaki didn’t make money with his real estate tips but by selling book with his tips. Which doesn’t make him credible.
MJ doesn’t mention it, but this is similar to Tony Robbins peddling slowlane compound interest and Tai Lopez making money selling courses on how to make money.
Part 5: Wealth: The Fastlane Roadmap
People on the fastlane take care of their finances like slowlaners, but also enjoy life more like the sidewalker. However, as they build their empires, they are more similar to slowlaners but with key differences:
- Fastlaners accumulate wealth in 10 years or less (instead of decades)
- Fastlaners control their assets (instead of depending on external forces)
- Fastlaners give jobs while slowlaners seek jobs
- Fastlaners use financial assets to generate cash (slowlaners use them to get rich)
However DeMarco is very clear: do not confuse “get rich quick” with “get rich easy”. Fastlane is all about frontloading your hard work.
Building a Pyramid: The Different Roads
DeMarco uses the example of building a pyramid to explain the different approaches. I will give my own slightly different interpretation:
The slowlaner starts moving the stones. Slowly.
The fastlaner works even harder, weekends included, all impassioned about his project. But he’s not putting up any stones. After 5 years it looks like the slowlaner is getting stuff done, but then the fastlaner’s crane is ready.
In a few months’ time he’s already surpassed the slowlaner and will finish the pyramid in a few years, ready to enjoy it while he’s still young.
The sidewalker? He blew all his initial money on Egyptian hookers and now he bums around for scrap change :).
Become a Producer
DeMarco says we have all been conditioned to consume and buy “stuff”. He urges you instead to get into a mentality of providing stuff.
Don’t attend a seminar, give one; don’t dig for gold, sell the shovels; don’t take a mortgage, hold one.
Divorce Wealth from Time
MJ recommends you build “money trees”.
Such as, systems or products producing income independently of you. This part made me think of other authors as well: Ray Dalio says that if he were to do his job the best, he would find a CEO to replace him and do better than he does. And check The E-Myth Revisited for more on building business systems.
Here are good money trees options for MJ:
- Content (books, blogs, songs, videos etc)
- Distribution systems (app stores, e-commerce etc.)
Law of Attraction is BS
DeMarco says that many gurus sell the law of attraction because it’s easy. He says it’s nothing but the repackaged old habit of visualization.
He says it’s not a law because it doesn’t work universally and all the times. And it doesn’t work at all unless you work hard at what you want.
I couldn’t agree more with it.
MJ then proposes a different law:
Law of Effection
The Law of Effection says that to make a million, you need to help one million people. The more lives you improve, in scale and magnitude, the bigger your returns.
Part 6: Your Vehicle to Wealth: YOU
DeMarco says the main element of a successful business if yourself.
He stresses the importance of ownership and taking responsibility for your life. He sayas that everything happening to you is because of your choices.
And then proposes two methods to make choices: the worst case scenario -asking what’s the worst that can happen and how likely and acceptable it is- and the weighted average decision matrix.
The author makes fun of inspirational quotes and says need to build daily habits instead (check The Power Of Habit).
He also mentions the famous suggestion from The Richest Man in Babylon that you should pay yourself first. But that’s impossible as an employee because your salary comes already curtailed by taxes. To pay yourself first, you need to start a corporation instead -which is the same advice from Rich Dad Poor Dad-.
MJ talks about people spending hours playing Facebook games or watching TV. He says those people are escaping their lives because their lives is not exciting. He recommends you spend little time with those people and build a life that you’re excited to live instead.
Time and Debt
The author says anytime you buy something too expensive for your income, you are giving up time. You are giving up time because that’s all hours you’ll need to work to pay back that (useless) expense.
Time and Money
The author says that many people spend lots of time to save little money. Taking a layover flight to save a hundred and driving two hours to save 20 dollars is stupid.
Your time is the most precious resource, and you can’t buy it back. Time-wise, we’re all on a sinking ship, and you should keep that in mind.
So here’s another difference between slowlaners and fastlaners:
- Slowlaners are frugal with money. Fastlaners are frugal with time.
The fastlane process is not easy. It requires commitment. The author differentiates between interest and commitment.
Interest reads a book, commitment applies that book 50 times. Commitment is staying at it for long hours and through failure and failure.
DeMarco is talking about grit here, and I invite you to read the wonderful Grit by Angela Duckworth for more.
Part 7: The Roads to Wealth
DeMarco says you must not worry if someone else is doing the same you’re doing, but you must worry about doing it better than everyone else.
He writes that a good business must obey five commandments:
- 1. The Commandment of Need
You must start a business to solve a need or a problem people have. Need of the people, not your needs.
That’s why DeMarco says the advice of “follow your passion” is terrible advice. However, he also says passion is important for success and he does suggest to “do what you love”.
- 2. The Commandment of Entry
The harder it is to start a business in the field you choose, the easier it is to make money and keep making money. When barriers are low, you need to be really exceptional.
But they again, it’s easier being exceptional among a small group than being exceptional among hundreds of thousands.
- 3. The Commandment of Control
If anyone can change something and send your business in a tailspin, you’re not in control. As an employee you’re not in control.
Or if your website is all your income and you get all leads from Google and AdWords, then you’re too heavily dependent on Google.
- 4. The Commandment of Scale
The more you can scale your business, the more you can earn. A street corner coffe shop is not scalable as it’s limited in the amount of people it can reach and host on the premises.
A course online is scalable instead because people from all over the world can access it at the same time.
- 5. The Commandment of Time
If you want to enjoy life and win back time to do all other activities you enjoy, you must be able to eventually automate your business or have it run without you.
Part 8: Accelerate Wealth
DeMarco says your real boss is always the person who pays for your products -your customers-.
And in bussiness, DeMarco says, you should choose monogamy. Don’t spread yourself thin or divide your resources over several different ventures. Stick to one and grow that one until you succeed.
Real Life Applications
Switch From Consumer To Producer Mentality
Don’t go through life thinking and planning what to buy. Think what you can sell and provide instead.
Money VS Time
Time is your most important resource. Don’t trade your time for money. Use money to buy more time instead.
Stop Listening To Gurus
Stop listening to gurus who didn’t make their money with their own tips. They didn’t get rich giving up a coffe a day or using their own material. They’re getting rich selling you that material.
Do The Fastlane
If you want to get rich, give up your damn boring job and start your business.
I found the bashing of the industry’s gurus hilarious and at times also on point. But I personally found a bit out of place the critique to Kyosaki as the message of the two books is far from antithetic and at times is actually quite similar.
I agree education is not a pre-requisite for success, however, I wouldn’t go as far as the author does in discounting its utility. What most authors like DeMarco don’t consider is that university is not just a place to get information, but also a place where to make social experience.
The Millionaire Fastlane is one the most underrated book I’ve ever read.
Some parts really spoke to me. I’ve been conditioned to be a slowlaner all my life. I grew up with the idea that the slowslane is what serious people do.
And that diverging from that path is for good for nothing, “woo woo people”.
If you think about it, most of us feel the pressure of the slowlane. Who do we respect, who do recruiters look for in a CV? Consistency. But too often that means “consistency of employment”, the guy who held a job for years. The guy who kept his head down the longest.
I also really enjoyed DeMarco’s writing style. He’s rebellious, biting and irreverent.
Of course there are parts that are not as groundbreaking. Like when it tries to be an “how to book” and discusses which field to start a business. That’s not as powerful.
And there are parts I don’t fully agree with, like that the main determinant of sales is marketing and not the product itself -it’s both-.
But it’s a 5 star book as it give many people the theoretical foundation -and proverbial kick in the butt- to step off the employee’s rat race.
Become a Millionaire
Get The Millionaire Fastlane on Amazon