The Millionaire Next Door

The Motives of Millionaires. . .Billionaires

In a recent article in The New York Times, Andrew Ross Sorkin explored Steve Jobs’ motivation for success.

Mr. Jobs has clearly never craved money for money’s sake and has never been ostentatious with his wealth.  He took a $1 a year salary from Apple before stepping down as CEO. . . .

Mr. Jobs, a billionaire, has much in common with the millionaire next door.  Most emphasize achieving but not for the sake of a hyperconsumption lifestyle.  For example, I profiled Mr. Allan in The Millionaire Next Door who stated succinctly, “If your motive is to make money to spend money on the good life. . . you’re never going to make it.  Money should never change one’s values. . . making money is only a report card.  It’s a way to tell how you’re doing.”

Mr. Jobs is quoted in the article as saying, “You know, my main reaction to this money thing is that it’s humorous, all the attention to it, because it’s hardly the most insightful or valuable thing that’s happened to me.”

In The Millionaire Next Door and in several previous blogs, I also discussed Ken and his father who was a distinguished cardiologist and a decamillionaire.  Ken’s father “. . . bought a new Buick every 8 years.  He lived in the same house for 32 years.” He often told Ken that “I am not impressed with what people own.  I am impresssed with what they achieve. . .always strive to be the best in your field. . .don’t chase money.  If you are the best in your field, money will find you.”


4 thoughts on “The Motives of Millionaires. . .Billionaires”

  1. Thomas Stanley’s exhaustive study in his later book I just checked out and listened to from our library called “the millionaire mind” is absolutely tremendous. It gave me insights where I made mistakes and encouragement that I am on the right track. It uncovers assumptions and misunderstandings of those who have the mindset of wealth. But this is much more! I also find it complementary to Robert Kiyosaki’s books of gaining insight, taking responsibility, and being deliberate and intentional. Thomas Stanley’s understated ways had an igniting effect to me for some strange reason. Maybe because the millionaires in general just don’t quit and know their success lies hidden in their daily habits.

  2. Just finished Truett Cathy’s latest book, Wealth, Is It Worth It. Truett states that at age 90 he has only bought 2 new cars. He would much rather buy a used Buick with 20,000 miles on it that has been taken good care of. It’s truly a wonderful little book, and it’s an easy, quick read that nails this point above perfectly. This all from a man who is “embarrassed” to be on the Forbes 400 list.

  3. Bruce Benson (

    I recall another quote from a Job’s interview. It went something like “I was worth about 25 million when I was 25, so it was never about the money.”

    I also recall a quote from Sam Walton’s book about his wife saying something like “Sam, we have enough why open more stores?” But for Sam it was about the ability to be the best merchant possible to the most people possible, and again not about the money. His wife also said she never forgave him when he topped the “richest” person list as it destroyed any privacy they still had.

  4. Very apropos, given the motivations of certain sectors of American influence who seek to demonize the motivations of those who succeed.

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