Book Review: The Millionaire Fastlane

by Matthew on June 3, 2011

I recently finished the book The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime by MJ DeMarco. I’ve read plenty of guru books over the years, including a number of the classics by George Clayson, Robert Kiyosaki, etc. In comparison, I think Millionaire Fastlane is more useful. The book fit perfectly in with my own personal realizations over the years about how money is made and careers are futilely pursued.

Before I dive into the book in more detail, here are some of the things I began realizing back when I was a teenager and reading guru books:

  • There’s a lot of truth to the humorous anecdote about the newspaper advertisement claiming “I make lots of money from home with my secret strategy! Send me a $5 bill and a self-addressed stamped envelope and I’ll tell you my secret!” Answer: That’s how.
  • Most of these gurus are rich now, and it’s hard to find out or verify their claims as to where their wealth came from. For all I know, it was selling books on how you can be rich doing something they couldn’t do themselves.
  • Books like Rich Dad, Poor Dad (Kiyosaki) get your juices flowing about the power of money and letting money work for you, but it’s tough to build a real-estate empire on the $6-10/hr. I was making at 14.
  • The myth that it’s a hard and fast requirement to get an elite college education and then a “good job” to accumulate wealth has only gotten worse of late. Even when I was a teenager, I was so convinced that a college education was only a bit part of the story that family friends expressed their grave concerns to my parents. I paid none of this any mind.
  • Exchanging dollars for hours is extremely limiting and ultimately unrewarding to me.

Enter Millionaire Fastlane. MJ DeMarco basically goes through the three financial lifestyles that most people live in and explains the actual formula for generating wealth. Not only that, but he did it himself and even succeeded better at an online business after the dot-com bust than before.

Using driving analogies as he does through the book, DeMarco explains that there are three basic lifestyles most people choose to live:

The Sidewalk

A person on the sidewalk is always “one something” from broke, he says. One paycheck from broke. One record deal from broke. One missed sales quarter. Whatever. These people come in all income brackets. Some people have a $700/mo. mortgage they can barely pay, some have a $7000/mo. mortgage they can barely pay. Sidewalkers all.

The Slowlane

The Slowlane folks are the people who listen to all the penny pinching and retirement saving strategies. The smartest of them do manage to take care of themselves and their families fairly well, and generally aren’t out there burdening society because they are responsible. They are also the numbing poisons of corporate life. The middle-managers who are just content living life without being challenged too much. The super risk-averse. As a newly-employed younger guy, all the older, more experienced folks couldn’t help offering the best advice they knew how to give. The best advice among it all was classic Slowlane advice. “Sock lots of money away into your 401K. Live modestly and within your means. You bought a coffee on your way into work?”

The Fastlane

Where people make money and accumulate wealth is what DeMarco calls the Fastlane. Real leverage for wealth accumulation is made in ways other than exchanging dollars for hours. In short, this pretty much means selling something. That way you can scale your ability to profit from a transaction. You can sell a product, physical or digital. You can sell some type of scalable service. There are an unlimited number of things you can do, but ultimately you must find a way to bring value to a large number of people. These are the laws of leverage and they’ve been said in other ways before, but here you will find it all laid out.

That’s my short overview of the book and the overall takeaway from my perspective. It’s a good book and I definitely recommend it.

General Observations

Millionaire Fastlane might appeal a bit more to a male audience, because DeMarco uses car analogies a lot and talks a lot about how he loves expensive cars. He also repeats himself quite a bit and the page count could probably be trimmed.

DeMarco isn’t a master wordsmith and some words are misused in the book; it could use a good editor.

The price is a bit high, especially for a paperback. I feel it’s worth the money given the content, but it feels self-published and not like a top-notch publishing job. There is no index in the back of the book, so it might be hard trying to go back and find something you read earlier.

Quibble

I had one major problem with something DeMarco said in the book. In Chapter 40 he explains how it’s important to “look big and act small” as a business. He then recounts how he had fictional employees on his corporate website to make it look like people held all of these important titles. He doesn’t exactly excuse his behavior, but he should have made it clear that this was actually wrong and fraudulent. Too much goes on in the name of marketing or sales that crosses some ethical (and possible legal) boundaries and this is one of those things.

Summary

Overall, I highly recommend Millionaire Fastlane, especially for understanding how younger people who “hit it big” were doing things other than just standing around hoping to be in the right place at the right time (though that never hurts).

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

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