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The Surest Way to Wealth

April 18th, 2007 by Bob Bly

Which of the following is most likely to make you rich?

1. What you know.
2. Who you know.
3. How hard you work.

In Russia, they believe it’s #2.

A recent poll showed that 45% of Russians think “having influential connections” is the key to becoming wealthy.

Only 32% picked “hard work.”

How would you have voted? And why?

P.S. Among Russians over 60, “stealing” was the top-rated path to wealth.

Source: The Week, 4/27/07, p. 9.


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17 responses about “The Surest Way to Wealth”

  1. Kelly Robbins said:

    I agree with Russia. You can know a lot and work hard — but who you know gets you there much faster.

  2. Timothy Schaefer said:

    Knowledge and work ethic are endearing attributes… but they’ll never make you rich. Not until you find a venue where you can capitalize on them – through connections and who you know – will you ever reap the rewards.

  3. Steve Slaunwhite said:

    I’m not sure I agree with Kelly and Timothy. In the early years of my copywriting/consulting career I learned lots and worked damned hard. I didn’t know anybody. Yet, I was successful. It’s only recently that I’ve gotten to know some influencial people.

    I think you need all three. But if I had to choose only two, it would be working smart (#3 & #1)

  4. Jim Logan said:

    I vote for #1 – what you know. It’s not enough, but without it, who you know doesn’t make any difference, you have nothing to offer.

    And working harder isn’t the secret to wealth. I don’t believe wealthy people work any harder than many who toil in cubicals day after day.

    I believe working smarter is a closer secret to wealth. Which is related to what you know.

  5. copywriting services said:

    Hi Bob,

    I think all the three play a role and they have their place in the hierarchy.

    Let’s take me as an example. A hypothetical one, I may add.

    I am a copywriter. In training. I work hard at my skill.

    Now that you know me, you refer me to your clients because you are kinda busy. Or you like to help me. 😉

    Because I work hard, I deliver profit pulling copy. Your client is impressed and you are happy that you made the right decision.

    So my take is hard work on what you know coupled with who you know is the surest way to wealth.

    Edward Santosh

    PS: I’d love this hypothetical experience turn into reality, I may add. 🙂

  6. Carlos Scarpero said:

    I think it’s definitely What You Know, with Who You Know in a close second.

    We all know lots of people who work way hard and are flat broke and people who work part time who are millionaires. It’s all about working in the right areas.

  7. Johnny said:

    >1. What you know.
    >2. Who you know.
    >3. How hard you work.

    The truth is there is not just one ingredient that is the “secret” to making you rich. Knowledge is required, how hard you work is a significant factor, contacts help considerably.

    Funnily enough I ended up making a lot of money in an area that I knew absolutely nothing about when I started!

    If I had to pick one factor that seperates potential millionaires from Joe Average I would say “know thyself”.

  8. Brett said:

    I think it’s ultimately who knows what you know. That’s powerful.

  9. Bob Bly said:

    Brett: do you mean: who knows that YOU know what you know?

  10. Anton Zhuchkov said:

    Well, I’m Russian and I agree about things here. Fortunately, things are tend to change. I myself believe in #1.

  11. Toussaint said:

    A slight variation on Brett’s idea…

    I think of it this way. It’s not “who you know”, it’s WHO KNOWS YOU. Interestingly enough, if you don’t know anything and don’t work, you may not be worth remembering.

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