1,000 Dollars And An Idea: Entrepreneur To Billionaire is the story of billionaire Sam Wyly. Sam Wyly has created and built such companies as Maverick Capital, Bonanza Steakhouse, University Computing, Michaels Stores, Sterling Software and Green Mountain Energy. In his autobiography, Sam Wyly takes us from his very humble beginnings in Lake Providence, Louisiana, to when he founded his first company Universal Computing and then on to him becoming a billionaire. In between, he gives readers great insight into what it takes to become a success in business as well as life. He discusses his accomplishments as well as his mistakes so that others may learn from them.
Some of Sam Wyly’s early lessons in life came from the football field. In the first chapter “Beat Tallulah” he compares business and football. He talks about how working hard at everything is important and how the biggest and fastest do not always win. Wyly also discusses the importance of empowering each person on your team. The greatest quote from Sam Wyly in chapter one is “Lose the fire in your belly and you’ve opened the door to defeat.”
In chapter two, “Flora’s Boys”, Wyly talks about how money is only part of making a living and how you need to love what you do. He writes, “It’s not the money that counts the most, it’s the quality of the journey.” Sam talks about the importance of being open to opportunities in chapter three, “Big Blue”. He says, “Who you know can get you an audience. What you know and what you make of that audience is strictly up to you!” In chapter 4, “Peter Drucker Wrote the Bible”, Wyly discusses the 3Cs of money lending (collateral, credit and character). He uses a great Peter Drucker quote, “The purpose of a business is to create customers.”
Sam talks about keeping up with changing demand and about how important it is if you have an idea and hit road blocks to keep pressing in chapter 7, “The Birth of a Company”. Chapter 11: Monopoly Buster: Datran, or Die Trying” is about the challenges of taking on a bigger company. Wyly discusses about sometimes it is necessary to take on the establishment and in doing so have to go up against people who are stubborn and don’t want to change. To do this, you have to be creative and persistent. In Chapter 12 “Before There Was Software, There Was Dan Thomson”, Sam Wyly discusses the importance of continuous innovation and the importance of trends. He also discusses the importance of continually thinking about new products and or services.
Chapter 16 “Sterling Software” is full of great ideas and lessons. Wyly discusses the importance of having a good partner and being open to business deals. The importance of a company culture where people feel comfortable being honest and being open to people’s suggestions are also discussed. One of the worst things a company can have is a bad company culture. Wyly also talks about the importance of getting the right people on your board and that you should not be all things to all people. The biggest take away for me from this chapter was things to do when growing a business by acquisition, (integrate quickly and smoothly, keep new employees passionate and clarify your vision). Chapter 19, “Crafty Women”, talks about the importance of not spending your time worrying about what other people say about you. Wyly also discusses the importance of a strong centralized structure and top notch tech is for a business. In chapter 20, “Maverick Investor”, discusses the importance of a great team and looking for bargains when investing. He says “to preserve and grow your wealth, you must think independently.”
This is just a small part of all the great ideas, lessons and quotes throughout 1,000 Dollars And An Idea: Entrepreneur To Billionaire. I always love reading about where entrepreneurs came from and how they achieve their success. Their stories are uplifting and prove that if you have the fire in the belly you can achieve great success also. If you are looking for a great book on an entrepreneur, I highly recommend 1,000 Dollars And An Idea: Entrepreneur To Billionaire.