What It's Like to Hang with Millionaires

What It's Like to Hang with Millionaires

A few weeks ago I was in Russia to speak at a conference. I spent a lot of time with a really impressive group of guys. I've joked in the past that I am "moderately rich". These guys were much richer than me.

It was a fun and interesting experience and I thought I would share some of the insights I gained being around them. (Also check out what I learned on my trip to Cuba.)

Noah Kagan in Russia

1. They do not ask for permission.

In Russia, the trip organizer rented a house in a remote area. A few of the guys didn't like the 1.5 hour commute and lack of internet access. Rather than complain and bitch, and ask if they could stay elsewhere, what did they do? They got a hotel downtown.

Successful entrepreneurs don’t wait for someone else to solve their problem. They take action.
(click to tweet)

2. They look at value, not cost.

They value their time and focus on the things they are exceptional at. Instead of figuring out where to eat dinner one night, one guy asked his assistant to figure it out.

An example in business would be the "marketing person" trying to learn to code even though he should be focusing on marketing and outsourcing his development.

3. They are Authentic.

How many people do you know that start businesses just to make money? They likely don’t know shit about the industry or field and end up quitting. This group of guys created and built businesses they were really interested in.

Two of the guys who sold out for 8 figures talked about how they rewarded their users for actions on the website. Think about how some sites focus on ads, more pageviews, upsells and other monetizations which all benefit the owners. These “good guys” genuinely appreciated people using their website and made the experience reflect that.

Authenticity is the moment your business is the same as your life. It’s pure, unadulterated, clean and truly what you want to represent in the world. These people live that.

Ultimately, being around these millionaires made me examine myself to see where I want to improve.

Before you delete or archive this email ask yourself this question:

How do you feel about these traits in yourself?

Stop and Evaluate.

It was a great trip with a great group of guys + lots of vodka shots.

Noah "your comrade" Kagan

P.s. Leave a comment with your favorite fiction book.

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151 responses to “What It's Like to Hang with Millionaires”

Gavin Fosker
July 20, 2018 at 3:20 am

Who Moved The Cheese

January 22, 2015 at 7:34 am

I really thought the bit about not asking permission is them rich people throwing their weight around, which turned out to be just the opposite. Such trait is definitely impressive.

steive@green lotus trekking
September 18, 2014 at 2:06 am

Albert Camus – The Outsider

Joao Reis
February 12, 2014 at 10:49 am

Favorite fiction book ? Easy ! "Brave New World", from Aldous Huxley

February 12, 2014 at 10:09 am

Albert Camus - The Outsider

January 8, 2014 at 2:25 am

"Successful entrepreneurs don’t wait for someone else to solve their problem. They take action." Awesome! It's all about getting shit done!

August 8, 2013 at 2:28 pm

The Little Prince

Sean Oliver
July 19, 2013 at 9:31 am

Nexus by Ramez Naam

Dana (Dottie)
July 19, 2013 at 9:16 am

Fav book for just brain candy, because I don't really read fiction that much; Jenna Jameson, Make Love like a Porn Star. I just like her style and am completely jelaous that I am not as hot as her.

Great post. Thanks for the inspiration.

July 18, 2013 at 12:45 pm

One hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is imagination on high.

July 18, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Cormac McCarthy's The Road - How to move with purpose while embracing mystery. The rhythm of the words, alone, captivate.

Lex Luther
July 18, 2013 at 1:49 am

My favorite fiction book is "The School for Good & Evil" by Soman Chainani.

Eva Petakovic
July 11, 2013 at 9:06 am

House of Sand and Fog, by Andre Dubus. A little depressing, but in a good way.

July 10, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Thanks, Noah, for such an inspring post. I think I need most work with #1, because I tend to be a people-pleaser. But during the times when I just dgaf and show the real me, people are shocked and pleasantly surprised. Ties in with #3 and being authentic.

Love you man! 😀

Crazy sexy fun traveler
July 10, 2013 at 3:19 am

I always say you gotta be active yourself and do what you want. Nice tips!

July 9, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Anthem - Ayn Rand

July 9, 2013 at 10:04 am

Ender's Game

July 6, 2013 at 8:57 am

Hey, great minds think alike (I added Enders Game, too!).


July 6, 2013 at 7:47 am

Hard boiled wonderland and the end of the world by haruki murakami

July 6, 2013 at 7:15 am

I've always loved all of Flannery O'Connors and her complete works fit in one volume. Noone has captured the American south and psyche like her. Amazing read and great to return to since I first read her thirty years ago.

Sample: "She would of been a good woman," The Misfit said, "if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."

Ben Holt
July 5, 2013 at 10:49 am

Easily "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury. Powerful writer, that one.

July 5, 2013 at 7:23 am

Unbearable Lightness of Being by Kundera will make your brain do a back flip.

Read it.

Noah Kagan
July 5, 2013 at 9:29 am

Thanks Josh. You won Powtoon. Email me your AppSumo email and I got you 🙂

July 4, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Favorite fiction book: "Pride & Prejudice." Of course!

But "Guilty Pleasures" and the rest of the first five Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series are a lot of fun too.

July 4, 2013 at 9:51 am

Fiece Invalids Home From Hot Climates by Tom Robbins.

How many of these traits are because they are rich, and not why they are rich? I will give you authenticity. But not asking to pull up stakes and stay at another hotel is much easier when you have a nearly unlimited supply of money.

If the next Bill Gates is currently a broke college kid, he'd be sitting next to you on that long drive.

July 4, 2013 at 9:40 am

Assassin of Gor by John Norman

Nadja Petranovskaja
July 4, 2013 at 8:36 am

As a Russian I am proud you got some very good points about my home country! thanks for this post, Nadja

July 4, 2013 at 7:40 am

The Vintner's Luck, by Elizabeth Knox

Joel Carruthers
July 4, 2013 at 5:01 am

Although lately most of my reading is non-fiction, Pillars of the Earth and World Without End by Ken Follett are probably my faves.

But is it weird that I listened to Jeremy Irons read 'The Alchemist' while I was running an ULTRA-Marathon and really enjoyed it???

Evan Thomas
July 3, 2013 at 11:05 pm

'The Invention of Solitude' by Paul Auster. At his essayist best on fatherhood, memory, space and time. It's incredible. And 'Libra' by Don DeLillo, an epic dramatisation of the life of Lee Harvey Oswald. So. so good.

July 3, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Ender's Game, hands down.

Noah Kagan
July 5, 2013 at 9:32 am

SUCH a great book. You win Powtoon, email me your AppSumo email to claim.

July 3, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Honestly... Other than the lesson "don't complain about something you can change/fix yourself"... this was the first useless post I've seen from you. I don't have a marketing assistant and I have to BEG people to help me with code because I haven't made my first dollar yet. Yes, yes, I'm complaining about something I can do something about.. I need to buy your damn program; I know, I know!

Luke Freeman
July 3, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Favourite fiction book is hard so I'll pick just a recent favourite: "Wake" by Robert J. Sawyer.

Also, I love the "click to tweet" that you've been including recently. I can't help but click it 🙂

Noah Kagan
July 5, 2013 at 9:35 am

Thanks Luke. It was my friends Tyler's idea. Seems to be working well.

July 3, 2013 at 7:41 pm

The Alchemist: the lesson for me- dont be afraid to start over again.

As far as the post, I think it fair only fair, Noah, to mention how much being rich might make you better able to absorb costs and inconveniences of switching hotels / locations, costs of outsourcing things, and less sensitive to how "authenticity" or brute honest can come across to people (stakes can be lower).

Stuntin is a habit,

Noah Kagan
July 5, 2013 at 9:42 am

Hey Matt

I've noticed spending on things is a function of net-worth and what each person values.

Recently I saw a guy from MIT join our HTMYFD.com course which at first I was happy and then surprised. He's spending a lot on college already....

Why would someone from MIT join another program for learning???

But after chatting with some friends it dawned on me they look at that learning and investing in themselves differently than most people.

That's likely what's made them successful.

Hoo Kang
July 3, 2013 at 7:40 pm

Homer's Illiad. Harry Potter Series.


Is there anyway you can post about how you ended up rubbing shoulders with these types of people and how we can too?

Thanks in advance and everything that you do.

Noah Kagan
July 5, 2013 at 9:43 am

You know I went to 6 of the 7 opening nights for Harry Potter at the movies 🙂

I got invited through a friend in NYC to speak at the conference in Russia.

July 3, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (a 1976 novel) by Tom Robbins answers questions about life, the universe, and everything.

July 3, 2013 at 4:31 pm

I'm not a reader but I recall really enjoying Call of the Wild by Jack London when I was a child.

July 3, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Skepticism Inc. by Bo Fowler.

There's two parallel story lines in the book. One is about a man who opens metaphysical betting shops. The other follows a shopping cart with artificial intelligence that becomes self aware. Only to spend eternity looking for its god. Hilarious book and not well known enough.

Alexandre Viveiros
July 3, 2013 at 3:35 pm

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

July 3, 2013 at 2:56 pm


Very hard choice to pick one. I'm huge fan of science fiction, so I will say that maybe Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson is the one.

I love almost eveything from Jacek Dukaj, but he isn't translated from polish to english yet.

Kyle Legare
July 3, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Slaughterhouse V by Kurt Vonnegut

Nate Dodson
July 3, 2013 at 2:14 pm

The Monkey Wrench Gang By Ed Abbey.

July 3, 2013 at 12:52 pm

The Great Gatsby

Terrica the Glamazon
July 3, 2013 at 12:46 pm

A Song of Ice & Fire (known to the HBO heaux as "Game of Thrones"). I have suppress my inner Lannister constantly.

Luckily, I don't have a brother, so I'm good on that front.

Patrick Foley
July 3, 2013 at 12:42 pm

The Prophet by Gibran. You'll love it.

July 3, 2013 at 12:02 pm

It was good to see you in Russia, Noah. See you somewhere in the world someday. 😉

Daniel Reifenberger
July 3, 2013 at 11:25 am

illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah
Richard Bach

Robert Jewell
July 3, 2013 at 11:24 am

If I had to choose only one of the many fictions books I love, it would be: The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Kundera.

If you want my reasons, I would love to contribute them.

Steven Chan
July 3, 2013 at 11:19 am

Appreciate the post, Noah. I like seeing the kinds of things you do to improve yourself, and you're not restricting yourself to just American entrepreneurs!

My favorite fiction book must be Dune, by Frank Herbert. Love the symbolism and the setting.

Marcus Trujillo
July 3, 2013 at 11:14 am

The few times I've hung out with millionaires I noticed the same thing, they tend to try to find what value they can provide. They asked me if there was anything I needed even though I was a lowly sophomore in college at the time.

Favorite fiction: The Kite Runner by Khaled Husseini

July 3, 2013 at 10:56 am

A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini, heartbreaking and amazing!

Awesome tips Noah, cheers!

July 3, 2013 at 10:34 am

The Magus. What a mind trip.

If you liked the movie The Game, and how people deal with darkness, depression, and maturity, this is a good one. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Magus_(novel)

July 3, 2013 at 10:26 am

Nice post Chief Yoga Pants.

Good Summer in Seattle reading list you got going here.

Favourite Fiction Book: The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosi?ski. Makes The Hunger Games look like a fricking tea party.

July 3, 2013 at 10:19 am

Under the Volcano, by Malcolm Lowry. It includes my favorite quote of all time, also quoted by Bolano in the Savage Detectives (also great). The pithiness of it, the sense of a whole conversation happening and then being shut down right then, is why I love it.

"Don't you want Mexico to be saved? Don't you want Christ to be our King?"


Scott James
July 3, 2013 at 10:00 am

I love Franny & Zooey by JD Salinger and read it once every year or so. It has become my touchpoint to see what I respond to and how it's different or the same as when I was 15, 22, 28, etc.

The last 20 pages of Franny & Zooey are my favorite existential scene in 20th century American Literature, followed closely by the Cosmopolis haircut and the wheelchair assassins of Infinite Jest.

Omar Velayudhan
July 3, 2013 at 9:56 am

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

July 3, 2013 at 9:51 am

One of my favorites books is the Inkheart (Inkheart Trilogy) by Cornelia Funke.

(Would like to find an original German version for kindle so I could re-kindle my Deutsch and maybe learn a thing or two).

July 3, 2013 at 9:47 am

The Picture of Dorian Gray

July 3, 2013 at 9:33 am

Hey man.

Commenting to leave a fiction book to check out:

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
(amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Shantaram-Novel-Gregory-David-Roberts/dp/0312330537)

"Shantaram is narrated by Lin, an escaped convict with a false passport who flees maximum security prison in Australia for the teeming streets of a city where he can disappear.

Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, the two enter Bombay's hidden society of beggars and gangsters, prostitutes and holy men, soldiers and actors, and Indians and exiles from other countries, who seek in this remarkable place what they cannot find elsewhere."

It's rad, and a quick, awesome read.

July 3, 2013 at 9:24 am

Thanks for keepin it fresh!

The Hobbit is a fantastic fiction book.
(the movies suck in comparison)

July 3, 2013 at 9:06 am

Thanks for the post!
My fav book - The Da Vinci Code 🙂

July 3, 2013 at 8:57 am

"Prince of Tides" by Pat Conroy...it is an experience.

July 3, 2013 at 8:55 am

Noah “your comrade” Kagan:)))
A very interesting essay about the adventures of American millionaires in Moscow 🙂

Mikhail Bulgakov's "Manuscripts don't burn"
A memorable and much-quoted line in The Master and Margarita is: "manuscripts don't burn" (Russian: ???????? ?? ?????). The Master is a writer who is plagued by both his own mental problems and the harsh criticism of most of the soviet writers in the Moscow of the 1930s. He burns his treasured manuscript in an effort to cleanse his own mind from the troubles the work has brought him. Woland later gives the manuscript back to him saying, "Didn't you know that manuscripts don't burn?" There is an autobiographical element reflected in the Master's character here, as Bulgakov in fact burned an early copy of The Master and Margarita for much the same reasons.

- It's the vodka? - asked Margarita
Resentful Cat jumped up on the chair!
- Why, the Queen? - he croaked, - how can I get you a drink vodka?? It's pure alcohol!

Kyle McDermaid
July 3, 2013 at 8:54 am

Catching Fire was the last one I read but I'm going to have to jump on the bandwagon and say Ender's Game

Corey Wadden
July 3, 2013 at 8:30 am

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

July 3, 2013 at 8:28 am


My favorite fiction book would have to be Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. Fun and fast read.



Aaron Tull
July 3, 2013 at 8:17 am

I don't know why, but this blog was extremely compelling to me. I think it's because so many of us get stuck on a number (i.e. being a millionaire) and ultimately miss THE most important part: finding and doing what we enjoy/love and find interesting. I think I often discount the things which come easily for me and naturally, because I follow (or get distracted by) trends outside of my interests.

The thought of being authentic made me pause and realize how important it is that I do what truly interests me, not what simply appeals to others.

Great job on this one, Noah, and thanks for sharing it.

July 3, 2013 at 8:01 am

Favorite fiction book?

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Noah Kagan
July 3, 2013 at 8:17 am

Really great book. His other book, A Thousand Splendid Suns is great too.

July 3, 2013 at 7:55 am

Sounds like an awesome trip Noah.

I really like the idea of not asking for permission and just getting shit done. I need to work on that.

I'm a bit of a fantasy nerd so I'll recommend The Wheel of Time. Take your time with this one: 14 books.

July 3, 2013 at 7:50 am

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelo

Great little book that gets you thinking and feeling differently about going after what you want.

Scott Gold
July 3, 2013 at 7:50 am

SPHERE by Michael Chrichton...awesome premise.

Paul Foley
July 3, 2013 at 7:28 am

Ender's Game By Orson Scott Card, one of the greatest books of all time!

July 3, 2013 at 7:15 am

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The perfect ending to the greatest fiction book series of all time.

July 3, 2013 at 7:14 am

I liked this post from the perspective that it challenged some beliefs of mine. For example, I have this belief that all the rich people in Russia are Oil barrons that won state monopolies. It was cool reading about some internet entrepreneurs in Russia!

July 3, 2013 at 7:09 am

Fav fiction book currently:

Ender's Game

July 3, 2013 at 7:06 am

Earth Abides by George R. Stewart

When I was in elementary school, my principal told my mother I'd like the book so she bought it.

Of course, I was convinced that no one besides me would know what I like so I didn't read it for a couple of years.

One day I picked up and I couldn't put it down. To this day I often think about this book, the story, character and themes.


(It was written in 1949--it is still relevant for today).

Ade Goldberg
July 3, 2013 at 7:05 am

A new acquaintance of mine has written a fantasy adventure book that blew my mind. I had zero expectations and read the book; I laughed, flinched and became engrossed. I was intrigued as the book features an African-Hebrew super hero character (exactly - Jewish super hero??).

The book is called 'The Lion of Umuna: The Legacy of the Nomads'.

I usually read non-fiction, so for me LoU is the 'Best fiction book ever'.

July 3, 2013 at 6:57 am


July 3, 2013 at 6:56 am

Enders Game by Oreon Scott Card, first read it in high school & it's been my fave ever since! (I'm 33 now!)

Alex Berman
July 3, 2013 at 6:56 am

Survivor by Chuck Palahnuik is my favorite fiction book because it's so creepy. The book's about the last survivor in a suicide cult who gets super famous once everyone else in the cult kills each other.

At one point the lead guy gets picked up by a marketing agency and they show him all the brands they have designed for things that haven't happened yet like aids drugs, cures for cancer and his rise to fame.

Best fiction book ever.

Mark vG
July 3, 2013 at 6:55 am

??????????! For those who don't speak Russian that is "pazhalusta" whish is best translated as "you're welcome".

Your story reminded me of my life in the former Soviet Union. they were once loaded with rules and had no freedom. Now they have nothing but freedom and that has produced alcoholics and billionaires. Very interesting.

How can anyone go past Don Quixote as an example of living the crazy life bereft of rules and responsibility.

??????? ???????

Garrett Ezell
July 3, 2013 at 6:53 am

The Harry Potter series obviously!

John Snow
July 3, 2013 at 6:47 am

Good stuff Noah, thanks for sharing. Favorite fiction book - Dragons Love Tacos, by Adam Rubin.

You know who else loves tacos? Me. And Noah Kagan.

I'll be on the lookout for my free year of Powtoon... whenever you're ready.

Calvin T
July 3, 2013 at 6:43 am

Really enjoyed the value > cost observation.

Favorite fiction book: Lord of Flies. While formulaic and incredibly cheesy in its use of symbolism, that book has had such a formative impact on my reading and writing abilities, since my 9th grade English teacher introduced it to me.

Ben Nesvig
July 3, 2013 at 6:42 am

Replay by Ken Grimwood is one that has stayed with me. It reads like an episode of the Twilight Zone while playing with a fantasy everyone has at some point. Stumbled on it from a book recommendation list from Seth Godin.

"Jeff Winston, forty-three, didn't know he was a replayer until he died and woke up twenty-five years younger in his college dorm room; he lived another life. And died again. And lived again and died again -- in a continuous twenty-five-year cycle -- each time starting from scratch at the age of eighteen to reclaim lost loves, remedy past mistakes, or make a fortune in the stock market. A novel of gripping adventure, romance, and fascinating speculation on the nature of time, Replay asks the question: "What if you could live your life over again?""

Chase Pursley
July 3, 2013 at 6:39 am

These days, I think 1984 (NSA/Snowdon) is appropriate as well as The Diamond Age (in regards to crypto currency and communicaton privacy).

Yael Grauer
July 3, 2013 at 6:27 am

I hope I never have to outsource my dinner plans. If I did, I'd instead ask for a list of three to choose from. 🙂

Favorite fiction book: probably Les Miserables, though the Brothers Karamazov is up there.

July 3, 2013 at 6:24 am

Very well said : "Authenticity is the moment your business is the same as your life. It's pure, unadulterated, clean and truly what you want to represent in the world."

This statement echoes exactly what I aspire to in my businesses. Great stuff.

Favorite fiction book: The Secret

Chris Stott
July 3, 2013 at 6:22 am

The action takeaway is the key one for me. I'm certainly guilty of putting up my own barriers rather than just doing things.

Book: "A Thousands Splendid Suns" by Khalid Hosseini

Christopher Walker
July 3, 2013 at 6:21 am

I second that ^ for The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

My other fav is The Great Gatsby.

Renita Smith
July 3, 2013 at 6:10 am

It's simply yet ironic at the same dam time. As a kid I loved Richie Rich. So much so that every pet I owned between 5 & 9 yrs old was named Richie Rich. The cat, the German Shepard, and the turtle- all Richie Rich. The only thing we had in common was our names started with an "R." I was a less fortunate little Black girl and he was the rich little white boy and yet at 5yrs old I knew that one day I somehow would be rich too!
How about If I win the Powtoon, I make a video about it!

July 3, 2013 at 6:07 am

Ahh.. to have an assistant!

The Alchemist
by: Paulo Coelho

Pavan Sudarshan
July 3, 2013 at 6:07 am

Fiction? The Bibl.. Wait. No, I meant Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami

Ken Savage
July 3, 2013 at 6:03 am

Pssssh Noah. Clearly the best fiction of all time was Hemingway. My fav with "Old Man and The Sea"

July 3, 2013 at 5:59 am

And then there's the Walter Hagen quote: “I never wanted to be a millionaire, I just wanted to live like one.”

On the Russia theme for favorite fiction book: "Hunt for Red October" is still a winner.

Scott Townsend
July 3, 2013 at 5:51 am

Favorite fiction is Stuart Little.

July 3, 2013 at 5:48 am

Reminds me of something I just read.

People were surveyed what does success means to you?

Most everyone had the same answer.

All the traits you either have or are easily obtainable.

Unfortunately, most people think success comes from luck.


My favorite fiction book:
The Phantom Tollbooth

PS fiction is a great source to expand your insight.

July 3, 2013 at 5:44 am

"Leave a comment of your favorite fiction book"

Sigh. My favorite piece of fiction isn't big enough to warrant its own book: Chekhov's "The Darling". It's a great short story, and all the more because so many pseudo-intellectual pointyheads *miss* the freakin' point of it.

But I'll let you read it yourself.

Any volume of Chekhov would do for me. Thomas Mann I like as well. Laure mentioned Balzac. Any honest list of history's greatest novelists would have him at the top.

I guess for me the fave book of fiction would have to be "1984". Not because its an all-time great. It ain't. But because of who I was when I read it. I was 12 or 13 at the time and this served as my official introduction to real literature.

Stephen Bateman
July 3, 2013 at 5:44 am

Do you think they looked at value over cost *before* they had 8 zero's in their bank account?

Favorite fiction book: Quo Vadis.

Brian Schmitt
July 3, 2013 at 5:34 am

The Great Divorce, by C.S. Lewis.

It seems it's all about boundaries. Setting them with others and knowing your own. (Which can mean you remove some that don't really exist.) Then operating freely with in those two sets.

July 3, 2013 at 5:34 am

Sorry noah, the post has been sent with som typos, please use this one:

Interesting post. If you wanto to know more about millionaires common traits you should definitely read "Business Brilliant" by Lewis Schiff, an Illuminating read with many many surprises on which are the differences between the very rich and the rest of us.
Of course the "don't ask for permission" concept is covered...

And for the fiction part, I've many loves but Neil Gaiman is special. Read "American God" and if you love comics "Sandman" (but if you love comics you already know it).

Lain Ehmann
July 3, 2013 at 5:34 am

Best fiction: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. It's a young adult book but it's one EVERYONE should read. The story of two boys during the Holocaust, one on each side of "the wall." I made my kids read it after I finished it. Life-changing.

Glad you had a great trip. Good questions to ask myself.

Rodrigo Stockebrand
July 3, 2013 at 5:33 am

I'd say best fiction recently is Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaason. Great book and from a fellow Miami-an.

July 3, 2013 at 5:32 am

Thanks for this Noah. Hey, if you are allowed to talk about that reward approach feel free to en light me 🙂

"Ads, more pageviews, upsells and other monetizations" is not necessarily evil if one uses the profit to help more.

Thanks again

July 3, 2013 at 5:32 am

Interesting post. If you wanto to know more for millionaires common traits you should definitely read "Business Brilliant" by Lewis Schiff, an Illuminating read with many many surprises on which are the differences between the very rich and the rest of us.
Of course the "don't ask for permission" concept is covered...

And for the fiction part, I've many loves but Neil Gaiman is in the top. Read "American Hero" and if you love comics "Sandman" (but if you love comics you already know it).

Jason Croft
July 3, 2013 at 5:29 am

Thanks for the millionaire insights. I dig it. I've gotten pretty good over the years about not worrying about permission. I need to work on the authenticity when it comes to biz, I think.

Favorite fiction book - De Novo Syndrome by Jim Buckner and David Mark Brown.

July 3, 2013 at 5:21 am

Sounds like a fun trip for you. People who solve problems instead of complaining are the best travel companions.

Knowing nothing about Russian food beyond Borscht, was there any food that could hang with your Mexican favorites?

An old standby for me as far as a fiction recommendation goes is...
Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr
I'm sure you'll dig the "Wandering Jew" character.

July 3, 2013 at 5:19 am

My favorite fiction book has to be The Hobbit. First read it in grade 5 because the awesome teacher I had for that year and the next was a huge Tolkien fan. He had hand drawn characters from the books (done by students) all around his classroom and before I even knew what the book was the atmosphere in that classroom drew you in to want to know.

July 3, 2013 at 5:13 am

Oh my god !
After your post I'm definitively conviced that I HAVE
As you told, these people are authentic and rather clever.
In France, there are a lot of "camarade" and most of them know business :
In fact there is a big advantage to be a foreigner with a foreign LTD ... administrative duties & tax are much more simple.
Having a "100% legal" business in France is more like a battle than a formality :
Lawyers& Account manager are merely mandatory.
Bootstrapping and iterating small business is just a nightmare 🙂
But ! For the few, it is a really good thing. The less combative will let it down right before doing anything.

My concern about russian is that they think like me act and re-act right now before anyone take your seat !

To my opinion my favorite fiction book is " Kagirinaku tômei ni chikai burû" (Almost Infinitely Transparent Blue) written by Japanese author Ry? Murakami.
This novel is about a group of young friends in the mid-1970,
Living near an air force base !
Everything goes fast dirty and that's life, people live peaceful empty lives other one dangerous and damn interesting ones.
Like people that do & other that watch ,
By the way great post,

Frenchman , J.

July 3, 2013 at 5:11 am

Hey Noah!

I know what you mean about not asking for permission. I come from Sweden (a place where people not are very "ballsy") and have spent much time with Russians. I can tell you this... It's not just the rich ones that "do before they ask". They really taught me that it's easier to ask for forgiveness then it is to ask for permission.

A great book is "The Lord of the Flies". If you haven't read it since high school I suggest re-reading it!

Have a good one!

July 3, 2013 at 5:09 am

The Deep Blue Good-by, john d. Macdonald

Don The Idea Guy
July 3, 2013 at 5:08 am

Loved the insights from the article.
Choosing a favorite book is always tough, but I'm going to go with "The Thefts of Nick Velvet, Professional Thief" by Edward Hoch. It's a fun collection of detective short stories about a thief who will only steal items of no real monetary value. It should be a movie or tv series!

July 3, 2013 at 5:08 am

You`re so right Noah!
I don´t like this scammy websites, too.
The more a website is from someone in person, the more I like it.

And it`s very special you were with this russian millionares there!
It is very interesting:
Which conference do you went?
How do you get in contact with this people?

Oh and I want to win the year of Powtown because of this I say my favourite fiction book is "Lord of the rings" from Tolkien.

Love your blog, BIG THANKS

Sal Coombes
July 3, 2013 at 5:04 am

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

"We have so much time, and so little to do! Strike that. Reverse it."

"Oompa loompa doompadee dah.If you're not greedy, you will go far."

Take away - for the best recipe, ask the customers 🙂

July 3, 2013 at 4:59 am

Favorite fiction book -
"Enders Game" by Orson Scott Card
MUCH (much) more than sci - fi tale

This genius author profiled 3 NEW ways to test and sell
information products.

(Hint - focus on the brother and sister writing competing political articles on the net)

Ivan Mojsilovic
July 3, 2013 at 4:59 am

The lady in the middle worth all their money together 🙂

July 3, 2013 at 4:55 am

What I loved is the small picture anchored to blog post link. So sly. At first I was waiting for a zoom to the pic - then I appreciated the #hustle.

Pondered why you linked your Cuban experience with your trip to Russia.

Was it because of the large dichotomy between hanging with ruskiy millionaires and regular everyday cubans?

Russian is an interesting place - in that you can find folks living in Cuban like conditions and billionaires all within a 500 mile radius.

Chris Muglia
July 3, 2013 at 4:47 am

Noah, really great definition of authenticity.

"Authenticity is the moment your business is the same as your life. It's pure, unadulterated, clean and truly what you want to represent in the world."

Too many books to list as fav. Thousands.

But here are some late investment in time and attention: all three of Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle plus Cryptonomicon. Guessing about 4,000 pages?

Also, Three Simple Steps. Trevor Blake. Brilliant. Very much in the line of not asking for permission as in your post but with some good, plausible explanations how that works physically in your brain and how to foster that behaviour.

Ed Raeker
July 3, 2013 at 4:47 am

My favorite fiction book is 'Watership Down' about a warren of rabbits that must flee their home, band together and face seemingly insurmountable obstacles - all while learning about the values of compassion, bravery and loyalty....

Ben Heidt
July 3, 2013 at 4:47 am

Very interesting post comrade,

my fav fiction book by far is "The Alchemist" by Coelho, you´ve propably read it, and if not you should do so right now !!!!

No really NOW stop reading go to amazon and buy it, here you


It`s a short book but the world will look a magical place for a few weeks after you read it 🙂 (It´s also on Tim Ferris must read list, if that helps )

So if you are still reading and not on Amazon (shame on you):

Speaking about being from a different country, do you think an accent is a huge negative point when doing tutorial videos, even when you are clearly understandable ?

Thanks, keep it FAT !


July 3, 2013 at 4:47 am

Favorite fiction book? The classic "Treasure Island", can't wait to read it to my boy.

Interesting post and story focusing on successful Russian entrepreneurs. My only question is what are Steve and Alexis doing there?

Jo Middleton
July 3, 2013 at 4:44 am

Thanks for a really thought provoking post. It makes a lot of sense regardless of how much money you have. Focussing on the stuff you are good at, delegating the rest and being prepared to step up and make decisions are all great traits.

One of my favourite books of all times is actually Silence of the Lambs. In a way Clarice Starling is just like this - she takes matters into her own hands and just cracks on because her work is something she feels passionate about.

July 3, 2013 at 4:42 am

I'm the "marketing girl" right now because my hubs thinks bootstrapping it and not outsourcing is the way to go until you make money and can outsource. So this means that I'm forever learning stuff I'm not interested in and eventually its so big I give up on the passion I had for the idea in the first place.

I did take your HTMYFD and I now have a little more cash to do as I please and paid down some of my debt. Yay! 😀 The characteristic I struggle with the most is "they do not ask for permission." I'm married with kids and anything that might affect our taxes/standard of living needs to be discussed etc so I don't feel as comfortable just doing and apologizing later.

About the fiction book, The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros is the one that has haunted me the most. I read it in high school and when I got to the portion about the carnival it hit me like a ton of bricks. None of my classmates understood what happened without the teachers help. That's when I realized I was different than other kids and hated Cisneros for reminding me of it. It was also the first step in to labeling what had happened to me and attempting to move forward.

July 3, 2013 at 4:39 am

The Hobbit

July 3, 2013 at 4:37 am

It's not that these traits are new. Most people have heard about them, or know them intellectually - but pulling them off in real life on a continuous basis is a different game.

I know it, because I suck at pulling it off.

Book? "Altered Carbon", because the main character uses these traits differently...

laure merlin
July 3, 2013 at 4:28 am

great post, wondering why you're asking about fav fiction though?
French XVIII century "Dangerous Liaisons" is certainly one of them, and for Russian fiction "Fathers and Sons" by Ivan Turgenev. But all of Balzac's Human Comedy as well.
You choose my fav?

July 3, 2013 at 4:27 am

Good post Noah... appreciate it for sharing your views...

July 3, 2013 at 4:21 am

I always look forward to your emails, Noah.

Fave fiction book: Forever War by Joe Haldeman. The ending never fails to make me cry.

Matt Coffy
July 3, 2013 at 4:18 am

Noah- I think "purpose" is the hardest damn thing to really figure out. Are we on point or off point... does my bank account grow to reflect this? Am I doing this because I want to or because i need too?

One thing i noticed when i was paying my team members yesterday there 2q bounuses for hitting our numbers, was a sense of Pride.

pride- maybe thats it

July 3, 2013 at 4:18 am

Great post.
Short and to the point.
Hits on 3 very important traits for being successful, and more importantly - HAPPY.

July 3, 2013 at 4:17 am

Great post. Being Authentic, that really resonated with me.
Fav fiction book: Life of Pi by Yann Martel. I've read this one a few times.

July 3, 2013 at 4:17 am

Fav fiction book The Twits by Roal Dahl 🙂

Nice post I ask for permission way to much. I also think i worry about what other people think to much. I guess they don't give a damn what other people thing of them?

July 3, 2013 at 4:16 am

Being around people who inspire you and encourage you to be better is a keystone activity of successful individuals. Do not underestimate the impact that these people (and their counterparts) can have on you.

And if you do get to spend some time with exceptional individuals, make the most of it. Pick their brains, ask questions, and be curious. Knowledge is meant to be shared and 9 times out of 10, people are more than willing to help...

July 3, 2013 at 4:16 am

You will love this book 🙂 --

The 100 Year Old Man Who Jumped Out Of The Window And Disappeared

Noah Kagan
July 6, 2013 at 8:48 am

Thanks Stepan. You won Powtoon. Email me 🙂

July 3, 2013 at 4:16 am

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

Noah Kagan
July 6, 2013 at 8:57 am

Wow. Second person to recommend. Buying. Thanks Melissa.

July 3, 2013 at 4:14 am

Picking a favorite fiction book is like picking a favorite child. I just love everyone of my books uniquely. My favorites this past year has been: Freedom by Jonathan Franzen and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and all of those George R.R. Martin books. Check out my list of read items here:

Oli Pitt
July 3, 2013 at 4:13 am

Bonzer true words and my favourite fiction would be

The Fountain Head Ayn Rand.

My Desert Island book would be:

Water Log - Rodger Deakin.


Loving at the moment



Noah Kagan
July 6, 2013 at 9:05 am

Thanks for all the great suggestions. I love Ayn Rand. Wish-listed Water log.

July 2, 2013 at 11:25 pm

Authentic doers who value their time and know their strengths. You pretty much summed up every blockbuster book published in the past 10 years.

On that note, I'm signing off and headed off to do something that I'm good at.

Great post, Noah. thanks!

Steve Sorrell
July 2, 2013 at 10:19 pm

An old story I love to read from time to time is
"Leiningen Versus the Ants". It's about willpower, and ingenuity and guts all set in steamy tropical jungle with almost certain doom pressing in on you. Perfect for any wantrepreneurs!

July 2, 2013 at 10:10 pm

First commentor? Nice.

It's cool to see how I stack up against really successful people.

I definitely don't ask for permission. Just do it and ask for forgiveness.

Great post, very inspiring!

Noah Kagan
July 6, 2013 at 9:04 am

Winning. Glad you enjoyed it Adam.

I have to remind myself about this at times.

July 2, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Shataram. Looks like a beast but reads like butter. It's a story about crime, love and survival on the streets of Bombay. Hands down the best book I've read in the last 10 years.

Phillipe Gonzalez
July 2, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Jack London- Martin Eden