Book Summary: The 10 Pillars of Wealth, by Alex Becker

Summary reading time: 17 minutes

Book reading time: 3h26.

Score: 9/10

Book published in: 2016

Main Idea

Creating a company in order to get rich, while seeming riskier than a job, is actually safer in the long term.


The 10 Pillars of Wealth: Mind-Sets of the World’s Richest People is a book written by Alex Becker.

I began reading the book after I learned about the third pillar – be better than everyone else.

It struck me. I had never thought of it.

Alex’s angry writing style resembles a lot that of MJ DeMarco’s Unscripted (one of my favorite books of all time) so I enjoyed the book from the start.

The 10 Pillars of Wealth is a great book for people looking for mindset advice.

There is nothing to reject and everything to take.

Becker destroys conventional wisdom and explains why getting a job is not safe at all despite the mainstream telling you otherwise.

He subsequently offers a mental framework to become rich in a couple of years so that you can live free from work for the rest of your life.

If you struggle to take action or have a belief problem, this is the book you need.

However, if you’re looking for a business book, The 10 Pillars of Wealth isn’t it.

I recommend instead Unscripted, Zero to One, or The Hard Thing About Hard Things.



Get it now on Amazon.

Summary of The 10 Pillars of Wealth, written by Alex Becker

You can’t become rich with conventional thinking.

Look at where conventional thinking leads.

Conventional thinkers work like slaves from 9h to 17h. They barely make it at the end of the month, and have no control over their lives whatsoever.

If you want the extraordinary – getting rich – you need to practice the extraordinary.

That begins with shifting your mindset.

Part of it is to change your perception of risk (we’ll talk more about it later).

For now, just realize that great risk = great reward, and the other way around.

If you never take any risks, you’ll never get any perks.

This is why conventional thinkers stay stuck in their routine.

They’re afraid of whatever could happen.

Pillar 1: Reject Getting Rich Slow

There are two ways to get rich. Slowly, and quickly.

Getting rich slowly is getting rich with a job.

It’s a bad equation for two reasons: financial risks, and quality of life.

Getting rich with a job entails slaving from 9h to 17h for 40 or 50 years, until you can retire “rich”.

That’s according to the plan.

However, life rarely goes according to plan.

Getting rich slow works only as long as:

  • You don’t die before you retire
  • You don’t get fired
  • Your company doesn’t go bankrupt
  • Your job doesn’t become obsolete
  • The economy doesn’t crash
  • Your government isn’t taken over by a revolution
  • The currency doesn’t lose all of its value

And other reasons.

As we can see, getting rich slow entails trusting both your company and the government, two actors you literally have no control over.

Is getting rich slowly really safe when your fate rests in other people’s hands.


And there is worse.

Do you know how much of your free time will your job take approximately?


Wouldn’t you prefer to do something else, like traveling, taking care of your family, etc, instead of spending your life working to make someone else’s rich?

There are better things to do than working for a dumb company.

As we can see, getting rich slowly is a bad idea both financially, and from a quality of life perspective.

So, let’s look at the alternative: getting rich fast.

Getting rich fast is extremely low risk because you control everything.

  • How hard you work
  • How fast you learn
  • How smart the decisions you make are
  • etc

If you stick to it, you will eventually make it work.

Furthermore, you only have to make it work once. Once you’re rich…you’re rich.

The three main ideas behind getting rich quick are:

  1. You have the control
  2. You can get better at it
  3. You are allowed to fail

As a result, it’s much safer than getting rich slow.

Yes. It sounds weird, but building a business is safer.

Let’s see how it works in practice.

Imagine you get a job to cover the basics (food, rent, transport) and spend your free time building a business on the side.

There are two possible scenarios from thereon.

  1. You succeed, become rich, and retire.
  2. You fail, start over, and try again until you succeed.

What are the risks, here?

Virtually none. Your job is covering everything you need until you become rich, ditch it, and enjoy everything you ever wanted to have.

You may fail once, twice, 10 times, but you will eventually succeed.

As long as you practice, you will get better at it.

Pillar 2: Separate Time From Money

So, how do you get rich quickly?

There are two ways.

The first one is to raise your price per hour. Movie stars and athletes make a lot of money per minute. The only problem is that your chances of becoming a movie star or athlete are low – really low.

So, since you can’t raise your value per hour, you need to split time from money.

What does it mean?

The only thing that isn’t finite on this planet is time. We all have the same amount of time but it is unlikely to get paid 10k per hour.

So we need to split money from time, where money is being made when we are not spending our time making it.

The best way to do so is to create a system that makes money for you.

A factory makes money for you.

That system is a company. A company, provided it is well-built, is a money-making machine that makes money for you regardless of your presence.

Jeff Bezos is rich not because he became a movie star, but because he has 150 000 people taking care of making him richer 24/7.

Jeff Bezos makes money when he sleeps because Amazon is his money system.

So, how do you build a business that separates time from money?

It is not so easy.

If you build a consulting business about penguins and you are the only one in the world that knows stuff about penguins, you will still be selling time for money since when you sleep, you’re not consulting – hence, not earning.

If you want your company to make money without being dependent on time, it needs to answer “yes” to the four following questions.

  1. Can this business make money while I am not present?
  2. Can this moneymaking process be done by others or automated by machines?
  3. If this business becomes successful, could I train someone else to run it?
  4. Would it be possible to make the process of delivering $100 in sales the same as delivering $1 million in sales? Can I scale this business without having to increase my time involvement?

If you can’t answer “yes” to these questions, it means your business won’t be split from time.

It’s not bad to start and learn, but it won’t ultimately make you rich.

Pillar 3: Accept That You Must Be Better Than Everyone Else

If you don’t think you can be better than everyone else, you’re screwed.

Millionaires make up less than 1% of all people. It means that if you are in a room with 99 other people, you must be persuaded you are the only one who is going to make it.

To quote the author.

By wanting to become wealthy, you are also saying that you want to accept the challenge to be better at making money than 99 percent of the people on this planet. Just by attempting this, you are going to have to accept the fact that you must not just be good, you must be incredible.

You need to know deep down that you are great and can do great.

In fact, this is the most important pillar to remember, the one thing to take away from this book.

The biggest thing holding people back is believing they are average or not good enough.

When you offer them solutions, they directly look for excuses.

  • “But I don’t know how to code.
  • “But I have no money.
  • “But I don’t know anyone.”

This isn’t the right mindset.

The right mindset is to seek solutions.

  • “I will learn how to code or find someone that can.”
  • “I will find a way to get money or to do it without needing the money”
  • “I will get to know people.”

You need to know that whatever happens, you will find a solution to your problem.

You need to have blind faith in yourself so that you never stop, but must make adequate decisions so you don’t lose it all gambling either.

That includes sometimes, ignoring “common sense” and trying crazy ideas.

Thinking that you are the best is not some hippie BS stuff.

It all comes down to the BAR system – Beliefs, Action, Results.

Results are driven by beliefs, and beliefs are driven by action.

Beliefs -> actions -> results.

Eg: by believing you are good-looking, you behave more confidently and get end up actually being better looking than if you did not believe that.

Same goes for businesses. The only way to build wealth is to build a business that is 99% better than other businesses.

The only way to do that is to believe and accept the fact that you have to be great.

And it’s hard!

For most of our lives, everyone told us we sucked and that we were never going to get rich.

We internalized the beliefs. As a result, when we try to get rich, two things happen.

  1. We stop before we even begin because we don’t think we are ever going to make it.
  2. We try to get rich while being average. We play it safe, don’t get out of our comfort zone, and don’t take any challenges.

The only way to overcome these obstacles is to believe that you’re great.

How does it apply?

When you have to do something you’re not great at, you have to tell yourself that you are going to be great at it and do whatever you can to reach that level.

So, how does it work in practice?

  1. Figure out what you are not great at.
  2. Practice and become better at it.

It’s not more complicated.

Repeated actions are all it takes to achieve your goals.

Pillar 4: Every Little Thing Is 100% Your Fault

Thinking everything is your fault is a powerful frame.

While it may seem insane at first, it’s great because it means that if it’s your fault, you can control it.

Society is encouraging us to always reject the fault on someone else.

It’s the wrong approach. When it’s not your fault, it makes you a victim.

Can victims build million-dollar companies?


You need to take responsibility – ownership – if you want to build a company.

Furthermore, no matter whose fault it is, you are the one most likely to pay the price because it’s your business.

Do you really want to let others make you lose money? No.

So you need to think that it is your fault – so at least, you can take action to prevent it.

After all, blaming others doesn’t make the situation better.

All it does is make us feel better. But it doesn’t improve the situation.

Pillar 5: Adopt An Abundance Mindset

Money is repulsed by people with a scarcity mindset. People who think that making lots of money is confusing, out of their control, and/or nearly impossible because of their situations (a.k.a. excuses) will always have trouble making more of it.

The idea is that if you don’t think that money is everywhere and that it can be earned, then you will not take action to earn it.

You will be a loser before even entering the game.

But if you think that money is abundant, you won’t have any difficulties taking action and going to get it.

Now, the problem of the abundance mindset is that it’s hard to think there is abundance when you don’t have any.

The key is not to think about what you have or don’t have, but to think about what you could have.

If you don’t have any money, the abundance mindset commands you to think that there are plenty of ways to make money, and plenty of money to be made.

Whatever happens, there will never be not enough money.

Abundance is a mindset that enables you to expand.

Scarcity is a mindset that makes you retract.

If you retract, you will lose.

Always be expanding. Always live knowing that the abundance out there is for you to take.


Pillar 6: Forgetting “What If” And Focusing On “What Is”

Focusing on what could happen is a waste of time because you are never going to be able to predict everything.

Furthermore, whatever we think will happen seldom happens.

People always trying to prepare for the future do just that – they “prepare” and as a result, never take action.

At some point, you must stop planning and just do it.

Many people can’t get started because they are stuck in perfection paralysis.

Perfection paralysis is a state where you expect everything to be perfect and since it’s never perfect, you don’t take any action.

These people often think that being wrong is wrong.

But it’s not. Being wrong, in fact, is good.

Being wrong is good because it’s the only thing that enables you to learn properly. You never learn if you’re right on the first trial all the time.

But you will learn if you’re wrong. You will see why you’re wrong so you can correct your course and improve.

Action will always lead to mistakes. Success cannot be achieved without action. So mistakes will be made on your way to success.

It’s inevitable, and you had better accept it now than later.

So, how do you get rid of the what-if mindset?

Every time you think what-if, ask yourself these questions below.

  • What if I do not take action on my goal?
  • What if I am poor for the rest of my life?
  • What if I fail to reach any of my goals?
  • What if I have to work at this job that I hate for the next thirty years?
  • What if I cannot provide for my family?
  • What if I end up regretting all of this on my deathbed?

Pillar 7: Map Out Actions That Achieve Goals

Why did Amazon take so long before becoming profitable?

Because they had to follow a series of steps that would lead to world domination.

Now that it’s done, they are indeed, dominating the world.

The better people are at laying out steps that would lead to a goal, the richer they will get.

And the other way around.

Poor people often have short-term goals that they even seldom fully achieve.

And yet, it is quite easy.

  • First step: define the goal.
  • Second step: write a step-by-step plan to reach it.
  • There is not third step.

So, if it’s so easy, why don’t more people reach their goals?

Because they only see the “event” (actually reaching your goal) and not the process (all of the steps) that takes it there.

When you ask them, they can only imagine themselves “rich” but have no idea how to get there.

Hence, becoming rich is seen as being “lucky” because people actually think wealth comes out of an “event”, out of “luck”.

So, how do rich people become rich?

Rich people become rich because they have taken millions of tiny steps leading them to this “event”.

The difference between you, poor and you, rich.

We often see them selling their software company “overnight”, but to get there, they coded for a year, applied for loans, hired people, did some advertising, learned how to sell, registered their business, etc.

You need to do the same thing.

Let’s start with the beginning: your goal.

Your goal = everything you want.

Write down everything you desire (house, car, lifestyle) as well as the price of it all.

Let’s say you want a 50k/month lifestyle. That’s 600k/year.

So you need to build a business that makes 600K/year in profit (at least).

Next, write down a few business ideas, making sure they fit the four questions we have outlined in the second pillar.

Compute the number of units you’d have to sell to make the money you want to make.

Eg: if you decide to create a soap company and make 1€ of profit per soap, you’ll have to sell at least 600k of them.

That’s your ultimate goal.

600k bottles of soap.


Now, let’s break this goal down into 5 smaller steps.

  1. Find a recipe for your soap
  2. Create a system or platform to sell it
  3. Find a niche to sell your soap to and method of advertising that will attract your 600k customers
  4. Craft an iconic brand
  5. Sell your soap to stores

Now, your job is to break down each of these goals into smaller goals.

In the case of the soap recipe, this would go like this.

  1. Google it
  2. Ask people who have done it
  3. Contact soap manufacturers and ask them what you need to get started

Then, you need to know what your customers want in their soap.

  1. Ask your potential customers what they look for in a soap
  2. Ask questions online
  3. Attend events

Now, you can find out the cost and hire a manufacturer for your soap.

  1. Google it
  2. Call manufacturers
  3. Ask people with experience for tips and advice

Let’s say you find out it costs €40k. Now, you need to come up with these €40k.

  1. Contact investors
  2. Take out a loan
  3. Take from your savings

If you are overwhelmed, don’t forget to apply the 6th pillar: focus on what-is instead of what-if.

Pillar 8: Focus Solely on What Gets You Paid

Imagine you get paid 1k every time you run 1 km.

Would you spend time cooking, shopping for food, buying clothes?

No. You’d hire someone to do this for you so you can focus solely on what gets you paid: running.

You’d probably hire a kickass trainer and a massage therapist so that you can run more and faster.

The idea of this pillar is similar.

When you’re building a business, you can invest 40-80 hours into it. 100 if you sacrifice your life.

But you can’t really invest more than that.

So, how do seasoned entrepreneurs manage to invest thousands of hours every day in their company?

Easy. They get other people to do it for them, so they can focus solely on what gets them paid.

You and the people working for you.

As a human being, you have limits.

Once you hire people and direct them properly, this enables you to stretch your limits to infinity.

Hence the idea to focus on what makes you money and grow it as much as you can.

If it is selling (it is likely selling), focus on selling. If it is taking care of your existing customers because they are the ones bringing in new customers, then focus on your customers.

Whatever it is, identify it, and focus on it.

Now, watch out!

Whatever got you here won’t get you there.

Whatever got you across the sea won’t help you get through the forest and up the mountain.

It means you cannot expect to generate 1 million by doing the same stuff you did to generate 10k.

You need to continuously change and adapt your system to reach bigger goals.

Let’s have a look at an example.

Eg. Amy wants to make 10k with a digital marketing agency. She plans on getting 10 clients that pay 1k each.

Here are her goals.

  1. Read four marketing books
  2. Work on ranking websites to practice SEO
  3. Learn AdWords and Facebook ads
  4. Create a business website
  5. Cold call and email potential clients

Now, let’s have a look at which step gets Amy closer to her 10k goal.

  1. Amy doesn’t get paid when she reads her marketing books.
  2. Amy doesn’t get paid when she practices SEO.
  3. Amy doesn’t get paid to learn AdWords nor Facebook ads.
  4. Amy doesn’t get paid when she creates a website. She can easily outsource this.
  5. Amy definitely gets paid when she gets clients.

As a result, that’s what she should be focusing on.

In fact, that’s the ONLY thing she should be focusing on.

While this might seem crazy, this is the only thing you should do as a beginner. Get a client.

Ok so, now that Amy got her 10 clients and 10k, she wants to focus on making a 100k.

To do so, she needs to write down all that she does to get her current clients, and focus on what is getting her paid exclusively.

By simply doing more of what she already does, here’s what Amy would need to reach 100k.

  1. Make five hundred cold calls (forty hours).
  2. Send and respond to a thousand emails (forty hours).
  3. Make two hundred and fifty follow-up calls (forty hours).
  4. Close the deal in one-on-one meetings (forty hours).

Let’s have a look at each of them.

  1. Cold-calling won’t get Amy reach 100k.
  2. Responding to emails either.
  3. Making follow-up calls either.
  4. Closing the deal is what actually gets Amy paid.

Amy should solely focus on one-on-one meetings and delegate the rest to a team to reach a 100k.

Summary: identify the one thing that gets you closer to your goal and focus solely on that.

Billionaires are experts at this.

Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t code. He leads a team of 1000 software engineers.

Buffett doesn’t manage companies. He manages people that manage companies.

These people are experts at scale and leverage.

You should too.

Pillar 9: People Give Money To People That Get People

Money is not real.

If you were the only person on earth, what would you do with all of the money in the world?

Money is good only as long as there are people to sell you what they make and to buy what you make.

You’re rich only as long as people give you the power to be rich.

So what is money?

Money is an exchange of power between people.

Money has power because it is perceived as being valuable.

If we didn’t think it was valuable, it would be as valuable as paper – which it is.

In order to get money, you need to get people to give you the money that they have.

So the idea behind getting money is getting people to do what you want them to do.

Trying to become rich is trying to gain control over other people.

You don’t decide to become successful. Other people do.

While you are trying to influence them, they will be trying to influence you too.

How you react to this will be the most important factor in your success.

Rich people are not people that make things. They are people that make things because they understand others want them.

Car companies build cars people want to buy.

That’s something the 9-5 people will never understand.

As a result, you absolutely need to understand people.

Now, how do you bridge “knowing people” with “making money”?

You learn the most important skill of them all: sales.

There are worthless products making millions as much as there are great products making millions.

It all comes down to how good you are at convincing people to buy your stuff.

As a result, the best skill to learn to make a lot of money fast is sales.

While doing business when you know how to sell is amazing, doing business when you don’t know how to sell sucks.

Furthermore, sales is that one thing you cannot outsource because no one knows your business as well as you do – so you must learn sales.

After all, the only way a business can grow is by selling.

An awesome product that doesn’t sell will kill you.

A crappy product that sells like crazy will make you rich.

Lame entrepreneurs sell products and services. Great entrepreneurs sell emotions.

If you’re a beginner, you need to learn two things: selling, and being comfortable with people.

The best way to learn the former is by practicing, and the best way to learn the latter is by actually hanging out with people.

Pillar 10: Find Competitive Friends and Suitable Mentors

Competitive Friends

Competitive friends challenge you to work hard and be obsessed with one same goal. It moves you forwards.

This is why so many businesses are obsessed with building communities. Because they know people will dedicate more of their time to their products, hence, buy more.

You become the average of the five people you hang out with. Spending your time with losers will make you a loser, and the other way around.

So, where do you find winners?

Mainly online. Discord, Reddit, Facebook, and other forums have plenty of communities with like-minded people.

Join several free groups and make friends with the leaders of these groups, then wait for them to invite you in their better, likely-paid groups.

Appropriate Mentors

What’s a mentor?

A mentor is a person who has already accomplished what you want to accomplish and knows the problems you are going to run into. More importantly, they know the cheat codes to hack your way to the top as fast as possible.

A perfect mentor is someone a couple of steps ahead of you. If you don’t have 10k to your name, don’t go seek mentorship from Ray Dalio.

It will be a waste of time for both of you.

Don’t get a mentor who makes money off mentoring since they’re not actually running a business like yours.

Get a mentor that does what you do.

Pillar 11: The Secret Pillar: Making the Decision to Be Wealthy at Any Cost

Success is a choice.

You must choose to become successful and take action to reach it.

Most people never become successful because they don’t take action.

They don’t want to make any efforts and just go back to watching TV.

These are the exact people you should *not* listen to.

The last pillar you need to adopt to become wealthy is simple.

You need to decide to become wealthy.

Bonus: Different Types of Businesses

There are three types of businesses.

Cash Flow Businesses

  • No startup cost
  • High-profit margin
  • Takes a lot of time to get off the ground
  • Rely almost exclusively on you
  • Difficult to scale

Eg: online marketing agency.

High Investment Scalable Businesses

  • High initial cost/investment
  • Takes a lot of time to get off the ground
  • Easily scalable
  • Can be sold
  • Become profitable slowly (but when they do, they become super profitable)
  • Can be automated
  • Needs a team

Eg: software company

Long-term Investment Businesses

  • Takes time to get off ground
  • 10-20% profit margin
  • Can be automated
  • Low risk
  • Great investment to park your money
  • Demand significant startup cost
  • Can be sold
  • A lot of work to scale

Eg: bars, supermarkets, other brick-and-mortar shops

The best is to start with a cash-flow business. You can start pretty quickly, it won’t cost you anything, and you’ll be able to get some experience running your own company.

Then invest the profit into a high-investment or long-term business.

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  • Post category:Summaries
  • Post last modified:May 13, 2022