Get Rich Fast: Is There a Shortcut to Wealth?

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Unscripted" by MJ DeMarco. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Is there a shortcut to wealth? What’s the secret to getting really rich really fast?

According to entrepreneur and investor MJ DeMarco, there’s no shortcut to wealth. In order to build massive wealth, you must create massive value, which takes a lot of time, creativity, and other resources.

Here’s why trying to get rich fast by pursuing get-rich-quick schemes won’t get you closer to acquiring wealth, according to DeMarco.

There Is No Shortcut to Wealth

The idea that there’s a shortcut to wealth implies that wealthy people are born rich or have access to a secret weapon that quickly and easily creates riches for them. This idea disregards the time and effort required to create wealth, this belief convinces you that you shouldn’t have to work hard and make sacrifices to achieve the wealth you want. As a result, instead of taking constructive actions to improve your finances, you waste time and energy trying to get rich fast with get-rich-quick schemes that fail to generate the income they promise.

(Shortform note: DeMarco’s opinions on get-rich-quick schemes are warranted—they not only fail to generate the income they promise but often result in financial loss. This is because these schemes are designed to get people to hand over their money in exchange for something that promises to make them even more money. However, while the schemers rake in profits, unsuspecting followers rarely enjoy any financial benefits. Therefore, stay wary of schemes that require upfront payments, make grandiose claims about how much money you can expect to earn, or suggest that you don’t need any experience to create massive wealth.)

Do the Work to Achieve Wealth

Overcome this belief and cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset by accepting that there are no shortcuts to creating money. According to DeMarco, you’re more likely to acquire wealth if you define the financial goal you want to achieve and commit to doing the work to make it happen. 

He outlines three practical methods to focus on the work and make progress toward your financial goal:

  1. Set a measurable goal
  2. Create a daily routine
  3. Identify and remove distractions

Let’s explore each of these three methods in detail.

  • Method #1: Set a Measurable Goal. DeMarco argues that a clearly-defined, measurable goal gives you a clear target to move toward and provides opportunities to measure your progress. For example, “I want to be rich” isn’t measurable, whereas, “I want to earn $500,000 a year” is.
  • Method #2: Create a Daily Routine. DeMarco suggests that you break your goal down into a series of daily tasks that will help you make progress toward achieving it. For example, your initial daily tasks toward achieving your goal of earning $500,000 a year may involve researching business ideas and developing a detailed strategy to increase your income.
  • Method #3: Identify and Remove Distractions. DeMarco recommends that you consider what might prevent you from working on your daily tasks and find ways to remove their influence over you. For example, if you have a habit of binge-watching Netflix when you should be working, canceling your subscription will make it easier to focus on what you need to do.
Get Rich Fast: Is There a Shortcut to Wealth?

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Here's what you'll find in our full Unscripted summary:

  • Why the only way to achieve financial success is to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset
  • Eight beliefs about money that prevent you from achieving wealth
  • Actionable ways to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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