Book Review: The Ten Roads to Riches – The Ways the Wealthy Got There (and how you can too!) by Ken Fisher with Lara Hoffmans

10roadsPublished: 2009, 228 pages, Amazon, audiobook
Reviewed: August 2015
Other Reviews: The Aleph Blog,
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Overview: Billionaire Ken Fisher is the founder, Chairman, and CEO of money management firm Fisher Investments.  He writes for Forbes magazine and has now written six books about investing and money management.  In this book he describes ten potential paths to becoming uber rich.  He has personal experience with most of these 10 roads and knows others who have trod the roads less familiar to him.  Unfortunately, most of these roads are very unlikely to be pursued by most of the readers of this book. His writing style is engaging and he has some good advice, but you have to wade through a lot of useless information to get there. My rating: 6.5/10.

Who will benefit most by reading this book: Founder CEOs of financial investment companies that want to diversify their portfolio.

How the rest of us can benefit: At least three of the chapters contain advice on roads realistically traveled by normal folk.

Complete Review: Fisher is a self-made billionaire, primarily by spending (e.g. investing) other peoples money (OPM, ch. 7).  He has also made a little money through his various publications (ch. 8), and considerably more in real estate (ch. 9).  He is a founder and CEO (ch. 1 and 2) and has successfully invested his own money (ch. 10).  He has personal experience with most of the ten roads he writes about and has close friends and confidants int he few areas where he lacks experience.  Truly, he practices what he preaches.

One of the major problems of this book is that most readers won’t want to pursue most of the paths described therein.  Very few of us aspire to be founder CEOs of financial management companies, so at least half the book won’t apply to our situations.  Also, a few of the roads–like marrying well (ch. 5), becoming a plaintiff lawyer (ch.6)–may not be viewed as ethical or desirable paths by many readers.  The chapters that deal with more realistic and appealing roads are much more helpful.  Starting a company (ch. 1), inventing income by writing, inventing, and creating (ch. 8), and investing in real estate (ch. 9) and stocks (ch. 10) are the roads most likely to be followed.  These chapters were quite interesting and I wish Fisher had simply spent ore time developing these ideas while consolidating all the other roads into a single chapter.  Five total roads–in my opinion–would have been far more helpful to most readers than the ten described in this book.  To Fisher’s credit he repeatedly points out that most of these roads won’t apply to you and that there’s a chance you will even be offended by certain roads described in the book.  He suggests you simply skip those chapters.  Unfortunately, that is not the way most people read books (by picking and choosing which chapters they will read).  We’re too afraid of missing something.  For that reason I really wish there had only been five roads instead of ten.

Overall the book was certainly informational and worth a quick read.  I thought he made some very interesting points about the downfalls of fame and fortune, and he points out some plausible alternate pathways (to celebrity).  For example, instead of becoming a rock star Fisher advocates you consider writing songs that other people will sing (and that you’ll profit from through royalties).  Instead of writing a standard novel Fisher recommends writing one that can easily be adapted into a screenplay.   Other advice given include: avoiding flipping real estate, not wasting your time with savings bonds, and having a globally invested portfolio.  He could have skipped the sections on becoming a CEO, a ride-along, marrying well, and becoming a politician (although I love reading him rag on politicians).  Take those topics out and you’ve got an excellent book.

Tyler Christensen
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Tyler Christensen

Tyler is a husband and dad, professor, writer, web designer, and DIYer.
Tyler Christensen
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