Book Review: Sam Wyly’s 1,000 Dollars & An Idea

Sam Wyly 1000 Dollars & An Idea

Sam Wyly is a peer of Ross Perot and has had a series of entrepreneurial ventures. He has lived a full life and was compelled to share his journey in his autobiography.

There is a scene towards the end of his book, 1,000 Dollars And An Idea that is inspiring.  Late in life, he has a surprise birthday celebration with the people that he had made a difference with throughout his life.  That moment was surreal and slow motion-like for him.  Would we all have the privilege of a similar moment.

It’s a great book to think about your own strategies to your life and business in light of how a highly successful entrepreneur maneuvers.  Here are four things I learned from Sam Wyly:

  1. Focus on the deal.  Many people get distracted on working harder building things that may not have consequence over time.  Sam Wyly was a deal maker.  He shares how he put seemingly impossible deals together using relationships, capital and savvy.  There’s always a deal if you can persist in bringing the pieces together.
  2. Gratitude is the greatest of all virtues.  His story pieces together the cumulative impact of the people that made a difference in his life from his high school coach to his parents to even his adversaries.  He expresses gratitude and the world reciprocates.  I enjoyed hearing about his upbringing and the trials he experienced.  They helped him become strong in character and judgment.  They also compelled him to give back.
  3. Know who you are.  Wyly wrote, “If you don’t know who you are, becoming an entrepreneur can be a very expensive way of finding out.”  He knew his talents.  He knew the talents of others and surrounded himself with gifted people.  He knew how to get to the goal with his talent augmented with the passions and abilities of others.  This helped him avoid mistakes.  It also helped him keep a healthy perspective on his own ego.  Very wise.
  4. Read.  This was a cornerstone to his success and allowed him to broaden his knowledge and opportunities.  Wyly stated, “Reading is one of the keys to success, because if you won’t admit what you don’t know, you’ll never discover what you need to know.”  He was involved in completely different ventures from computing to software to steakhouses to energy production.  Education is something that happens throughout his life, and because he kept growing, he had eyes to see opportunities and take advantage of them.

Life is short, very short.  We all have a limited amount of time and gaining such perspective that Sam Wyly provides in the pages of his memoirs is truly inspiring.  His example helps me focus on today and going after the goals I set by first getting clear and second working in my strengths.  We get there with people we invest in and that invest back in us.  These are timeless lessons on how life and business work.

Thanks, Sam, for making a difference!

I would encourage you to read the book and provide your thoughts.

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Sam Wyly’s 1,000 Dollars & An Idea

  1. I really thank you for putting the information in such a concise way that I can remember it because it was a book I enjoyed reading.

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