The name is crap, but the content is not that bad.
Get on the Fastlane.
This book strongly espouses the “Fastlane”. It is the definitive manifesto for why, and what is this fastlane. Let’s break down what the author, MJ DeMarco defines are the various lanes that one can take:
This is the lane that MJ considers as the dogma preached by almost all major financial gurus or experts. This approach involves saving 10% a year of your monthly cheque, investing in mutual funds, and 401ks, and finally retiring at at 65 with a decent balance in the bank account. Its made amply clear that MJ despises this way of life, since he believes that this way of life leads you to lose out on the best years of your life, slogging away only to leave you “settled” after you have arthritis in both your knees, and are too tired to enjoy your life. He makes some excellent, although condescending points on why this way of life is no good, with examples on why even compounding your investment will be no good. The only issue I have with his explanation is the fact that he assumes that pretty much everyone has the saving rate of 10%, which is not entirely true, especially if you look at the financial plans of the FIRE communities, which espouse a more “middle” lane if you will.
This is the one that most people will never experience, and he considers the default for most “rich” people. I wrote rich because think of this way as the one taken by celebs gone bankrupt, or famous/lucky people living lavish lifestyles on a line of credit. This is pretty unanimous in being a stupid way of life, yet many fall into this trap.
This is the meat of the book. The fastlane is how one can get build wealth, which can last, and let you retire, or live life comfortable. The basic tenets of this lane are things that you may probably already know, or have heard about, but MJ does a good job in codifying it for us (although in a very fratboy-esque manner.) Of the top of my head a few tenets of this are:
- Owning a business.
- Making a business that can scale, and can utilise leverage.
- Leveraging the power of compound investing only once the initial capital is raised to live a comfortable life.
Now, how to build such a business? MJ nicely outlines the why, when, what and how of starting one. He uses something he calls the “NECST” (pronounced next as per MJ) method for picking and running a business. Here I have outlined briefly what he means:
What is the need for your business? What problem are you trying to solve? He says, the need should be measure in a manner that is unbiased (no friends or family.) Apart from that, we should not worry whether the product already exists - we should make a better version if we think the need exists.
He says that the higher the barrier of entry to a business, the harder it is to make it. For example, today, starting a blog as a business has become so easy (low barrier of entry), its not a good business idea. Where as, if you decided to start a company that was on the cutting edge of something, or doing something harder to enter as a market, it is more likely you would succeed. Nobody should be able to get into your business overnight.
We must have control over the business. We must never be at the mercy of another business, for ours. For example, I start a massively profitable affiliate marketing business for Amazon. The day Amazon shuts their affiliate program, I am done, so is my business.
This is the most important, the business should have no ceiling to scale. It should be something that is not limited by customers, or the ability to reach them. Think, having a bookstore in your town vs selling books online.
This is the most important rule if you want to comfortably run your business, and be wealthy long term. This tenet is your ability to separate your time from the business. How much of the business can be automated? How much of your effort is needed? Usually, businesses that require too many human resources are no good. We must be able to use our leverage, and disconnect your input from your output in a very strong way.
Good books, bad books.
What makes a good entrepreneurship book? I feel any book that sufficiently inspires you, and gives good advice along the road makes the cut to be a good book. This book does that in my opinion.
Yes, MJ sounds like a douche. Yes, MJ is being ignorant of the middle lane. Yes, trash talking other financial choices is a pretty stupid thing that initially put me of this book. But this book makes some good points. His lifestyle is not for everyone, but the advice here for those who want the fastlane is great. Its a perspective that I am glad I read about. A strong 7/10.