Billionaires around the world have a lot of advice to give to young, ambitious workers. Luckily for us, they're also very willing to share that advice. Here's a collection of some of the best that they've offered, from some of the most successful, and most wealthy, people in the world.
One of the most common pieces of advice given by the wealthiest people in the world should also be one of the most obvious: start early. Carlos Slim Helú founded the business conglomerate Grupo Carso in 1990 and was the richest person in the world from 2010 to 2013. With a net worth of about $50 billion, he's a guy worth listening to. In a letter from 1994 that he sent to students, he wrote, "Work well done is not only a responsibility to yourselves and society; it is also an emotional need." Besides acknowledging the basic advantage of starting early, which he did by buying shares of a Mexican bank when he was twelve, he frequently talks about success in spiritual terms. "Success," he wrote, "is the harmony between the soul and your emotions."
Living with Discipline
Another seemingly obvious piece of advice but one that's incredibly difficult to follow is to discipline yourself. Especially in the early stages of wealth building, the keys are to spend less and save more. As much as possible. More than you think is possible. Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team, wrote, "Save your money. Save as much money as you possibly can. Every penny you can. Instead of coffee, drink water. Instead of going to McDonald's, eat mac and cheese." Strict budgeting and unpleasant money-saving lifestyle choices are the difference between a money-conscious spender and a person passionate for success. Cuban also said, "Cut up your credit cards. If you use a credit card, you don't want to be rich."
Ouch. That's harsh, but even long-time billionaires maintain the need for financial discipline. Warren Buffett, for example, still lives in the same Omaha, Nebraska house he bought in 1957.
No-brainer, yes, but sometimes it helps to hear it from someone for whom it's actually worked spectacularly, rather than that high school teacher or college advisor. Elon Musk is one billionaire who, we can safely say, is genuinely interested in saving the world (in addition to building huge personal wealth). In a commencement speech in 2014, he said, "If someone else is working 50 hours and you're working 100, you'll get twice as much done." Not only does this prove unequivocally that he is good at math, but it puts simply the most obvious advice for success. Working harder will get you farther. Opportunities are an important part of many billionaires' success stories, but working hard is the soil from which their money trees grow.
Author Justine Musk gives us another, less talked about angle on the hard work principle: take care of yourself. She wrote, "It helps to have superhuman energy and stamina. …Make it a point to get into the best shape possible. There will be jet lag, mental fatigue, bouts of hard partying, loneliness, pointless meetings, major setbacks, family drama, issues with the Significant Other you rarely see, dark nights of the soul, people who bore and annoy you, little sleep, less sleep than that. Keep your body sharp to keep your mind sharp."
Passion and Creativity
These are aspects of business and financial success that are more difficult to pin down and, consequently, more interesting to explore. The adage goes something like, "Do what you love and you'll never work a day." Doing what you love is certainly important for achieving the drive and perseverance necessary for grand success, but no one's being truthful who says there's no "work" involved.
Jim Koch, founder of the Boston Beer Company (brewer of Samuel Adams Boston Lager), was the son of a brewer and one of the leaders of the craft beer craze. He loves what he does but holds no romantic ideas about never working a day. He said, "Pursue something you love, because a small business is going to be very demanding of your time, your energy — it just eats your life. And if you're doing something you love, then you will accept and even enjoy that." It eats your life—that's a graphic image. But his advice is more realistic: you'll enjoy the insane commitment and you'll accept the immense work involved because you love the process and you'll love the result. He continues, "If you're just doing it to get rich, you're gonna lose heart. I tell everyone, getting rich is life's biggest booby trap." The takeaway: "Do what makes you happy."
J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, knows the value of this and its connection to creativity. "Imagination is not only . . . the fount of all invention and innovation," she said in a 2008 commencement address at Harvard University. "In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared." The once-billionaire author has demonstrated the enormous potential value of imagination in its purest form: fiction. But its value extends to entrepreneurship and wealth building, as well.
After the executives at Apple fired Steve Jobs in 1985, Jobs began his own version of an imaginative venture. In 1986, he funded the departure of The Graphics Group from Lucasfilm and became the majority shareholder of the graphics company that would become Pixar. He helped found what is now a global leader in animation, bought by Disney for $7.4 billion in 2006. Jobs is even credited as an executive producer of Pixar's first film, Toy Story. And Apple, Inc. is no stranger to invoking imagination in its products and in its ads.
Start early. Work hard. Discipline yourself. Follow dreams. Do what you love. Exploit opportunities. Take risks. Be creative.
Without a for Dummies book on getting rich—well, there sort of is—the best we can do is listen to those who have already done it, understand their advice, and use it to forge our own paths up the treacherous climb to success.
I’ve been feeling very British lately. Not in a Union-Jack-obsessed, “Keep Calm and Carry-On” way. I went through that phase in 2012 with everyone else… no thank you. And it’s not even a surge of patriotism catalyzed by the Queen dying — I’m firmly team Diana and team Meghan.
Now that fall is officially here, the holidays will sweep in and I’ll have to contend with the fact that I won’t be spending them with my family in the UK. I went home to London earlier this year, so there’s not much left in my travel budget for another trip across the pond. A few domestic jaunts might be in my future, but the closest I’ll get to England this winter is watching Love Island and Love, Actually.
So in that spirit, I’ve been filling my days with content from my favorite Brits. I’m listening to all the old British rock bands I grew up listening to, patiently awaiting the new Arctic Monkeys album, and rewatching anything with Michaela Coel in it. I even shipped myself an order of British Baked Beans, so you know it’s dire.
I’ve also been watching British YouTubers like Grace Beverley — my favorite. Generally, I only go on YouTube to watch Vogue Beauty Secrets and AD Open Door videos. But I’m so glad I stumbled on Grace. Her content is a mix of London lifestyle (what lured me in), relatable entrepreneurship, and mindful productivity. I’m not a hustle-and-grind-girlboss, but as a creative person in a 9-to-5, I need all the help I can get to stay plugged in. So, the video “how to be really really really productive without getting overwhelmed” changed my approach to WFH.
Grace outlines her own productivity method: the to-do table. Instead of making a simple to-do list, she divides her tasks into a table that anyone can follow. As someone who’s survived with to-do lists for years, I recently implemented Grace’s method, and it’s revolutionized my workdays.
how to be really really really productive without getting overwhelmed www.youtube.com
I follow her routine to a tee. Here’s how it works:
Essentially, she divides her daily responsibilities into four categories: quick ticks, tasks, projects, and non-negotiables.
- Quick Ticks: Actions that take less than 5-minutes
- Tasks: To-do’s that take up to 30-minutes. Probably don’t take too much brain energy.
- Projects: Long-term list items. These help guide your priorities, even if you’re not crossing them off in one day.
- Non-negotiables: Pick 3 things each day that you must get done. This is how you’ll truly measure success.
With everything written down and sorted, next address your schedule. Meetings, deadlines, and time blocks — whatever works best for you. Write it down. Then make a pact with yourself to stick to them.
This way of categorization provides a roadmap for prioritizing your day — making you far more productive. Have you ever spent the entire day on small tasks and then suddenly realized you hadn’t moved the needle on any task? Or do you spend way too much time on tasks that aren’t a priority? No more. With your non-negotiables laid out, you know what to laser-focus on and what to dedicate energy towards.
Also, it pays to know your working style. I’m not a morning person. Yet, I have to be up and at ‘em super early. So, first thing in the morning, I march through my Quick Ticks to warm me up. I set a time limit, so I can knock out some easy wins which is totally inspiring. Then I move on to bigger things without lingering on emails or admin. For others, it might be more helpful to tackle the big things with all that early-in-the-day brain power earlier.
Grace has great tips on avoiding overwhelm and burnout. My favorite is taking more intentional breaks rather than scrolling through social media. I call this scrolling “productive” because I’m “coming up with pitches.” Oh, the lies we tell ourselves. It’s more productive in the long run to giving my brain a break with non-screen related stimuli.
Grace’s solution? Set a timer to read a real, an actual book. I’ve never thought of this. It’s a genius way to check off some books on my TBR and kickstart my creativity. After reading a good book, I’m completely inspired to write. So having books near my desk helps me step away from the computer during my lunch break for an actual reset. (And yes, the current books I’m reading are by British authors: Assembly by Natasha Brown, and Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold by Bolu Babalolu.)
In my pursuit of switching out my WFH set-up and getting my life together, I’ve engineered my workstation for success. With my new WFH essentials and Grace’s productivity technique, I’m revitalized for work — despite the fall blues and my melancholy about the pending holidays.
Here are the things getting me hyped for work and helping me crush my Grace Beverley-inspired to-do tables — no lists in sight:
Pack your bags — Southwest Airlines is having a major sale! Fares are as low as $59 one-way if you book by October 3rd.
This end-of-summer super sale is a game-changer for your travel plans through the end of the year. Summertime travel gets all the glory. But why not take advantage of your long weekends, holidays, and PTO this fall. You’ll be surprised at how much travel you can fit in. Keep the fall/winter season exciting with domestic trips that give you all the excitement without breaking the bank. All thanks to Southwest.
Here’s the breakdown:
Where can you go?
You’ll find discounted tickets to and from most airports. Sale fares apply to cross country travel, and even Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean! Whether you’re visiting a new city or revisiting your last beach vacation, this sale has fares to make your travel dreams come true.
What do the fares cover?
Southwest Airlines has multiple fare tiers, each with various benefits. Wanna Get Away fares start at $59, while Wanna Get Away Plus fares start at $89. You can also find great deals on Anytime fares, which offer priority boarding and express lanes. Then there’s Business Select tickets for a luxe experience at an affordable price point.
Do you have to be a Southwest Rapid Rewards member?
You may think these sale fares are too good to be true. Is there a catch? Do you have to be a Southwest Rapid Rewards member to access them? You’re in luck — anyone can attain these fares for a limited time.
But, insider tip, you should consider signing up for Southwest Rapid Rewards. With a free sign up, you earn points and miles with each trip you take. And with this sale, each dollar you spend on these discounted tix can stretch super far until you eventually earn free travel. The only thing better than a sale is free stuff.
I’ve been browsing the Southwest Airlines site, checking out flights and dreaming.
Here are the top trips to take this fall:
Toni Morrison has an anecdote about her first ever job, which was cleaning some neighborhood woman’s house. The young Toni arrived home after work one day and expressed her troubles to her father. But he didn’t provide the sympathy she expected. Instead, he gave her something better — his advice:
“Listen. You don’t live there. You live here. With your people. Go to work. Get your money. And come on home.”
Years later, she wrote about this remarkable experience for the New Yorker and said, in hindsight, this is what she learned:
1. Whatever the work is, do it well—not for the boss but for yourself
2. You make the job; it doesn’t make you
3. Your real life is with us, your family
4. You are not the work you do; you are the person you are
What Morrison so eloquently articulated was setting boundaries. I revisited this piece during the pandemic when working from home ramped up in earnest. Back when work was one of the few things that anchored my day.
Without a physical office, the pandemic shattered the work/life balance for many people. There was no more of that physical separation that Morrison talked about. There is no coming home from work physically. There is no real life to come back to — just a manufactured commute to your laptop in your makeshift home office.
But, par for the course, Gen Z are navigating this boundaryless era using TikTok. While internet gurus promote hustle culture and constant online availability since you’re not getting face time with your managers, there’s a trend in town — “quiet quitting.”
@zaidleppelin On quiet quitting #workreform ♬ original sound - ruby
The trend arose from the depths of the pandemic. Layoffs, salary cuts, and furloughs proved that their employers did not care about their hard-working employees.
The Washington Post dubs quiet quitting as a fresh trem for an old phenomenon: employee disengagement. In many cases, it’s a response to burnout. For much of Gen Z, it’s a way of establishing healthy boundaries in the office and resisting the pressure of the rat race. After all, why work yourself to the bone for a company that just proved it’s ready and willing to let you go?
Despite the term’s negative connotations, Quiet Quitting can provide an empowering shift in thinking for employees.
For far too long, employees have been indoctrinated with a slew of toxic workplace advice. Faced with these old misconceptions and lacking job security or clear paths for advancement, Gen Z is untethering their identities from work.
Quiet quitting — therefore — might be a bit of a misnomer. These employers aren’t completely disengaged. They’re certainly not launching Flight Club-esque sabotage attempts on their employers. NO. Contrary to media panic, Gen Z understands the value of a job — the fickle market they entered ensured that. But they also understand the value of life.
They’re doing what they’re being paid for. Nothing more, nothing less.
According to Chief, a private membership network focused on connecting and supporting women executive leaders, older generations should learn from this approach.
“Gen Z has already endured the largest seismic shifts to the career landscape than any previous generation, having started their careers in the middle of a pandemic that changed office culture forever and a gig economy that makes piecing together work more viable. They’re taking both those realities and therefore demanding more autonomy and flexibility than any other generation.”
Gen Z are less attached to job titles and statuses. They’re more concerned about their lives. Sure, this can lead to problematic outlooks on money and experiences — see the “I can earn my money back” TikTok trend. But it’s better than hustling for no reward. Besides, as some Gen Z-ers put it on TikTok, the office isn’t even a vibe.
“With the ability to work from anywhere and for more than just one place, Gen Z-ers are forging their own paths that don’t rely on old patterns set by previous generations and are redefining what “career success” looks like. Gen Z can take note, as more and more leaders are similarly pursuing multiple income streams of their own through the form of a portfolio career. The way in which work looks like and where it happens is evolving.”
With less single-minded focus on one job, some TikTok business gurus advocate shutting your laptops precisely at 5 pm. And then jump onto your side hustle. Do nails or lashes on the weekend. Become social media managers for your phone. Sell soap on Etsy (again … perhaps not in the Fight Club way).
But this valorization of side hustles is not about hustle culture, either. They say job security isn’t guaranteed. Learning new skills and develop an alternate income stream/s to keep you afloat. Just make sure you’re not left in the lurch. BTW inflation is here. So every little bit helps.
But where do you start? Watching TikToks can only get you so far. Try a course on LinkedIn Learning to sharpen up your skills and learn new ones that you can turn into a verifiable side hustle — or leverage in your job search if quiet quitting leads to … real quitting.
Learn on your own time with bite-sized videos or in-depth courses. Watch them after work, before you clock in, or on your lunch break. Then, after your courses are complete, you’ll have certificates prominently displayed on your profile that prove your skills.