As you know, if you’ve been following the comments after my July 9th posting, “Is The Tradeoff Real?” I’ve been reading Felix Dennis’s new book, How To Get Rich (I’m currently halfway through). This resulted from an interview with
syndicated columnist and podcaster Anita Bruzzese, where I was asked for my opinions regarding several very “anti-go-giver” type quotes attributed to the British uber-entrepreneur and multimillionaire in a Time magazine article.
It was my suspicion that the quotes were taken out of context and – reading the book and seeing the quotes firsthand along with the context – indeed they were. While Mr. Dennis says some rather curious things (in my opinion, unnecessarily so, perhaps in order to appear to be a curmudgeon of sorts), his book is an excellent look at how a hugely financially successful man came to be that way. The book has been a delight and pleasure to read. And, by and large, his principles are in total alignment with the Five Laws John and I share in The Go-Giver (again, when everything is taken in context – always an important consideration).
On page 130 he makes a wonderful point about courtesy that – with the permission of his publisher, Portfolio (coincidentally, John’s and my publisher, as well) – I’d like to reprint here and then add my comments.
“I cannot give it a chapter or even a subheading to itself, because being courteous and always failing merely makes you a courteous loser. Courtesy is not a cardinal virtual in getting rich, I admit. But it helps. It works. It greases wheels where force will not prevail. Out of the mouth of anyone on their way to becoming rich, it lends a certain gravitas and creates the impression of someone you might like to do business with.”
He’s so right: courtesy helps, and it helps a lot. It adds credibility and elicits the “know you, like you, trust you” feelings toward you in others that can make a huge difference in your success.
He’s also right that courtesy while failing is exactly that: failing. This goes hand in hand with what John and I say when we’re asked, “Do nice guys/nice gals really finish first?” The answer is, “Yes, as long as they are doing the correct things in the success process that allows a person to succeed.”
Courtesy, kindness, fairness, honesty and all the other positive characteristics that one can and hopefully does have are very important, and very helpful. At the same time, they must be combined with the other success principles.