How To Get Rich: Listen To P.T. Barnum's Advice

Legendary entertainment entrepreneur, and a very wealthy American in his day, PT Barnum wrote an excellent primer on how to get your personal finances in order (and eventually get rich).

It’s called The Art of Money Getting Or, Golden Rules for Making Money and the Kindle edition is actually 100% free to read and download, as it has long since slipped out of copyright.

I downloaded it and devoured it shortly after I converted to the cult of Kindle, vowing to never again purchase a book made from slaughtered trees (a promise I have kept thus far).

Obviously, life for an entrepreneur in the 1840s and 1850s was radically different from the environment that small business owners and tech billionaire wannabes face in 2011.

But just as we are intrigued by Barnum’s world (no income tax, for one thing, and very few worker protections), he would be impressed and intrigued by ours: he talks at length about the importance of repetitive, targeted text advertising — in newspapers.

He would be blown away by the capabilities of modern online advertising. 

There is still opportunity out there, although your “circus” might very well reach fans on YouTube, instead of under the tent.

Barnum’s free read is definitely worth checking out if you own an Amazon Kindle. And if not, the paperback edition is only a few bucks. Here are a few of the points that stuck with me:

– Ditch alcohol and tobacco, which Barnum refers to as “the weed.” He was way ahead of his time in calling out the negative health effects of smoking, and he doesn’t like the psychological weakness that is produced when a man becomes dependent on tobacco. Same with alcohol — you can’t be focused on the end goal (e.g. accumulating a large sum of cash) if you are constantly drunk, or recovering from the night before. If you want to get rich the PT Barnum way, going straight-edge appears to be a prerequisite. 

– Always spend less than you earn. No exceptions. Barnum does a surprisingly contemporary-sounding/self-help job of convincing readers that paying for the “trappings” of wealth are not nearly as worthwhile as actually holding onto that wealth!

– Find your niche. OK, he doesn’t use the Web 2.0 buzz word “niche,” but he means exactly the same. He also warns about those who do become rich, and then get enchanted by a business idea totally unrelated to the area of expertise that made them wealthy in the first place — an almost certain recipe for disaster.

– Avoid excessive debt. Credit cards didn’t exist in Barnum’s day, but department stores “lent credit” to just about anyone with a heartbeat and the ability to earn an income.

In closing, Barnum’s book is a great, fast read, and I highly recommend it to fellow wealth seekers!

— provided by Outlaw

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