Billionaire in Training: Because Millionaire isn’t rich enough…
by Bradley J Sugars
ISBN: 0-9580932-0-2, Publisher: Action International Pty Ltd
Reviewed by: Julie Garland McLellan*
Many aspiring company directors find the search for professional (paid) board seats so frustrating that they report it almost easier to found and grow your own business than to get a seat on the board as an independent director. This book may disabuse them of that notion.
This is a strange book. It is poorly written and laid out which makes it hard to read but the content covers a wide range of topics in an engaging way. There is an optimistic tone throughout that makes it enjoyable in an irritating way.
The best part of the book is the identification of five levels of entrepreneur. Starting with level 0 –employee, then Level 1 – self employed, level 2 – manager, level 3 – owner/leader, level 4 – investor and progressing to level 5 – entrepreneur. There is a clear distinction between each level in terms of the activities, the relationship with money and the most likely motivators. It explained why I like being a ‘one man band’ consultant so much and why I won’t get rich doing what I do. The subsequent sections unfortunately failed to motivate me to progress to higher levels of entrepreneurship.
The book covers a lot of ground. Anyone wanting to put into practice the ideas it contains will need to read more extensively on the topics introduced as they progress through the levels of entrepreneurship to wherever they decide to stop.
There are occasional gems that are breathtakingly beautiful and clear. My favourites were ‘you get the staff you deserve’, ‘it’s like motivating idiots; you get them to make more mistakes faster’ and ‘sell the dream, and then work like heck to make it a reality’. I can vouch for the truth of those!
There are also some editorial howlers. A personal delight was the confusion of illicit with elicit.
The section on changing your mindset is possibly the best part of the book. More detail on the process of idealization, visualisation, verbalisation and materialisation would have been very welcome. This is obviously an area the author excels at. It is also a key part of the strategic role of a board.
The editing is too hatchet happy: The section on going public is far too short. There is only one paragraph on boards which advises entrepreneurs to put impressive well known business personalities on their boards. There is no advice on how to find, approach, motivate or reward these people or on how to select ones that make sense for the business at each stage of its evolution.
This is a great book for the young and starry eyed as it gives a lot of hard truths about how businesses work and fail. It does not get bogged down in detail. The author knows his stuff and I was impressed by his passion for the topic. It is a good insight to entrepreneurial success and thinking but not a great book.
* Julie Garland McLellan is a governance and board consultant. She is a professional non-executive director and an AICD NSW Councillor. She is the author of “All Above Board: Great Governance for the Government Sector” and a mentor to aspiring and practicing company directors.
Julie Garland McLellan to judge 2011 Global eBook Awards