A 39-year-old ‘frugal’ self-made millionaire shares 4 books that helped him get rich young


For a long time, I had a scarcity mindset about money. But through reading, I changed how I thought about my finances. I invested in real estate, started a small business, and ultimately became a millionaire at age 37. 

I’ve found that the life lessons we get from books help us achieve our goals faster, especially when they show us how to not repeat the mistakes of others.

Here are four books that helped me get rich:

1. “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” by Robert Kiyosaki

Biggest lesson: Wealth is more about time than money.

Kiyosaki is an entrepreneur who has written 27 books about personal finance. In “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” he suggests we shift our thinking from “I can’t afford it” to “How can I afford it?”

This perspective challenged me to look for solutions to obstacles, instead of thinking that something is just unattainable.

I used to believe wealth was about how much money a person made. Now I see it as how much time money can buy. This new mindset inspired me to pursue more passive income streams, like my website and real estate business. 

2. “The E-Myth Enterprise,” by Michael E. Gerber

Biggest lesson: You want to work on your business, not get stuck working in it.

Gerber is a business coach and entrepreneur. In “The E-Myth Enterprise,” he says one of the biggest mistake business owners make is taking on too many tasks, like day-to-day operations, which leads to burnout.

When my wife and I first started Parent Portfolio, a website that helps families learn to grow wealth, we ran it by ourselves. We did everything from design to content creation to social media marketing.

But once we began generating revenue, we created standard operating procedures and hired freelance writers and virtual assistants, which allowed us to focus on other growth opportunities.

3. “The Millionaire Real Estate Investor,” by Gary Keller

Biggest lesson: Money amplifies who you already are.

Keller founded the real estate firm Keller Williams, which is one of the largest in the world. In “The Millionaire Real Estate Investor,” he argues that money doesn’t make people evil. Instead, it is an amplifier of our current identity.

If someone already has a bad spending habit, having more money will most likely tempt them to spend more. If a person is charitable and likes to help people, having more money gives them more opportunities to do good.

You should always try to lean towards the latter.

My wife and I both came from very humble beginnings, and are still very frugal. We consider ourselves very blessed to have reached this financial milestone. But it is more meaningful because of the work we do now to teach people how to build generational wealth. 

4. “The Last Lecture,” by Randy Pausch

Biggest lesson: Don’t be afraid to take action.

Pausch was a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In 2007, he gave a lecture called “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” The talk is very moving, especially knowing that he died in 2008, at just 47 years old.

As I was reading his book “The Last Lecture,” a common thread emerged: He was never afraid to try something new. I’ve taken this advice to heart.

Ten years ago, my wife suggested we buy a condo and convert it into a rental property. But I was fearful, gave excuses, and ultimately regretted not pursuing the opportunity. Then, in 2019, we bought our first investment property and acquired two more within a year and a half. Today, we own four.

Taking action means not being afraid of disappointment. One year I analyzed over 50 properties, made five offers, only to be beaten other investors’ offers. But I don’t see my missteps as failures. Every setback I’ve experienced has helped me create a richer, happier life.

Jonathan Sanchez is the co-founder of Parent Portfolio, a website that helps families learn to grow wealth and raise financially responsible kids. Follow him on Twitter @TheParentPort.

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