People often ask me why I write books. I get a great deal of satisfaction explaining how millionaires become wealthy in one generation. But also, I have given more than 3,000 lectures. You cannot inventory these lectures. To earn a living as a lecturer, you have to keep lecturing! But with a book, once it is published it is a permanent source of information readily available to the public.
When I contemplated writing The Millionaire Next Door, I told myself:
Tom, it will take you less time to write this book than
the time you spent sitting in traffic, over a period of thirteen
years, commuting to and from the university where you once
were employed as a professor.
How long did it take me to write The Millionaire Next Door? I wrote the entire 477-page manuscript in about 180 days, or 43,200 minutes. I wrote on average for four hours each and every day, about 240 minutes a day.
This may sound like a whole lot of time and effort, but I don’t see it that way. It was more than just 43,200 minutes; it was 1.5 million symbols made by my hand with a No. 1 blue medium-point PaperMate pen. I looked at the task the way most productive people view their work. In studying millionaires, I discovered that they motivate themselves by selecting from various alternatives for allocating their time.
The mundane task of commuting took many more minutes of my time and units of mental and physical energy than writing a book. You only have a few hours each day to work at your peak mental efficiency. In my case, that’s about four hours maximum, so I had to decide if I wanted to spend another 50,000 minutes in my car or write a book.
I chose to write a book which fortunately turned out to be a New York Times #1 best seller.