Imagine giving your competition 24 hours every week to catch up. How do you think you would do?
Well, that’s precisely what the billionaire founder of Chick-Fil-A does. For religious reasons, he closes ALL his stores every Sunday, a fact disappointed fanatics know very well after being reminded multiple times after forgetting.
But the story gets even more interesting..
I found out Cathy died very recently in 2014 (rest in peace) and he gave three requirements to his predecessors for Chick-Fil-A.
Can you guess what they were? I’ll give you a second. Give me your guesses now.
Here’s what they were:
1. Always stay closed on Sunday.
2. Never change the original chicken recipe.
3. Never sell burgers.
This is profound. Why?
Because he really understands the business on a deep level. Truett knew what made Chick-Fil-A stand out. He knew what made it special. These were his unique selling propositions.
When I asked you to guess what his three requirements were, maybe you thought, “Always keep the waffle fries waffle fries!” or “Never mix the Chick-Fil-A sauce with the Polynesian!”
While those are also loved parts of the business, he zeroed in on what really made Chick-Fil-A stand out and kept it very simple.
Staying Closed on Sundays
Truett died at 94 years of age. His Christian roots told him to always give everyone a day of rest every week.
Some people thought this outrageous and preposterous. I have literally gone to a mall on Sunday and seen every fast food place there brightly lit and open … except for Chick-Fil-A. This sometimes infuriates or frustrates customers because they say they’re willing to pay and Chick-Fil-A is turning away business.
But you have to factor in everything before making a conclusion like that. Yes, I’m sure Chick-Fil-A turns away a lot of profit as a multi-billion dollar organization by closing on Sundays.
But what about the added loyalty and allegiance from Christian customers because they respect what he’s doing? What about the extra care that this gives to his employees by guaranteeing a day off every week? Maybe the math might still work out to be that he’s still losing more money than he gains from the added customer loyalty and employee productivity. I’m not sure.
But it’s a lesson in sticking with your values, showing the world you can still do very well in life despite a big disadvantage, and showing who you are to your customers/employees.
The other two points are baked into the core of Chick-Fil-A’s recipe. I remember as a tiny kid over a decade ago walking past a Chick-Fil-A and seeing a guy in a Cow costume with the sign “Eat More Chikin.” The company stands for an alternative to burgers and losing that could affect the edge it has. Even to this day, that simple message is what I see on Chick-Fil-A billboards.
Maybe this avoidance of change could spell doom for the future of Chick-Fil-A. But maybe Cathy saw something deeper and realized that this simple requirement, if lost, would ruin the core of what Chick-Fil-A represents.
Chick-Fil-A is an incredible story showing how simple things can make the difference in your success. For example, their customer service has and still is on a different level from other fast food joints.
I’ve literally had my meal delivered to my table by name. That’s a simple way of going above and beyond to please your customers that will ultimately lead to more profits.
“Generally speaking, if you take care of your customers, they’ll take care of you.” -Warren Buffett, 2016 shareholder meeting [Note: he said “Generally speaking” because there are exceptions, such as if your industry is going extinct.]
Could Chick-Fil-A have done a lot more in terms of customer service? Yes. It wasn’t like some of these 5-star hotels I’ve heard of where they literally memorize how you like your coffee, how you arrange your chair, and where you put your clothes to recreate that each time you come back.
There’s always room for improvement but it was definitely better than what you’d get at McDonald’s, especially for a $10 purchase.
S. Truett has written multiple books giving advice on wealth, religion, building a business, if it’s worth getting rich, and making money. It’s rather a shame that a lot of books by billionaires are not well known while many other “wealth” books are because they’re well-marketed.
I, for one, will definitely be reading some of these to pay my respects to Chick-Fil-A and learn from an incredibly successful man. My whole family has loved this place for years (as have many of you). We’ve spend a good deal of money there over the years and I almost always dress up as a cow to get free Chick-Fil-A sandwiches every year for Cow Appreciation Day.
There seems to be a lot of false stereotypes about billionaires.
Even from millionaires.
Having watched or listened to thousands of interviews and speeches from successful people, it’s interesting to see how people talk about billionaires.
Particularly, I have seen a few people, some who make an average salary and others who millionaires talk about billionaires as if they are this god-like superior figure that they have been able to manipulate in some way.
There was this one interview where this guy was bragging about how he got this billionaire to have a huge argument with him and then got him to chase after him for a deal like a dog chasing a treat.
Another interview, a guy bragged about how he got this billionaire to say chase him by refusing his request. He said it was a cool trick since they’re always used to getting their way.
You get the point.
It reminds me of how pick up artists talk about the hottest girls: “They always get what they want so you will stand out by rejecting them.”
While there may be a grain of truth to that (stereotypes are there because enough people actually satisfy them), it de-humanizes them.
I have a completely different perspective on what billionaires are like.
I think it comes from actually learning about their life. When you watch enough interviews and speeches from hundreds of billionaires and you read enough books about their humble beginnings and how they grew up, you realize that they’re people.
They’re humans just like us.
Common stereotypes about billionaires seem to include that they always get their way, they always wear suits, they’re always on private jet planes, they have extravagant lives, they are the top elite dogs in the world, they’re handsome, they’re men, they’re arrogant, and they’re greedy.
Most of these are wrong.
Many have devoted 50% to 99% of their wealth to charity. It really sucks when I look in the comments online and you see average, ignorant people complain who have never donated a cent to charity, and call them greedy.
These people worked really hard. They’re not lazy. If you look at some of these people complaining, you can probably catch them wasting a couple hours a day doing pointless, unproductive things online.
Many aren’t in suits, which is also very surprising. Sam Walton was out in his stores and out in the field every day.
There are more and more female billionaires.
Many are humble.
Many had tough beginnings with little money. John Paul DeJoria was homeless for many years, with a kid.
I think these stereotypes exist for 2 big reasons.
There’s people who fit them. When you have over 1,000 billionaires, they tend to come in all shapes and sizes. There are bound to be more flamboyant billionaires who fit the stereotype who are more in the limelight. Hollywood and media will exaggerate these images in movies and articles.
The second reason is because no one wants to spend the time to really learn about them. They don’t have the time, energy, or interest to read their biographies. If they do, they read one or two and quit.
One of the things I am doing is reading all the books by billionaires. I called it the Billionaires Book Club. I have done a few videos on some of the ones I have read. Turns out there are hundreds of books. I’m starting from the top down.
So far, I’ve gone through about a dozen. All of their stories are quite incredible.
I realized that millionaires often still have a lot to learn about business. There could be things that they are teaching that are wrong. So might as well start at the top if I’m going to learn from anyone, right?
Here are the book titles I can remember that I’ve gone through so far. I might be missing a few.
Books Written By Billionaires I have Read:
Made in America by Sam Walton, Grinding it Out by Ray Krac, Business @ the Speed of Thought by Bill Gates, Lean In For Grads by Sheryl Sandberg, Simply Rich by Rich Devos, Getting There (not written by a billionaire but features very recent interviews of quite a few specifically for the book), Zero To One by Peter Thiel, The Essays of Warren Buffett, every book by Richard Branson, What I Know For Sure by Oprah, and books by Donald Trump
Books I have partially read:
The Start up of You by Reid Hoffman, The Snowball (Warren Buffett’s biography written through extensive detailed interviewing of the man himself)
Books I am eager to read:
Ikea’s founder’s book (this guy has been in the top 50 consistently for a while. Really want to read his book), The Everything Store (Amazon.com is an incredible company, Jeff Bezos has been in the top 50 for a LONG time), the Chic Fil A founders book, the Home Depot founders book, Conscious Capitalism (Whole Food’s book. This company is doing SO well), The Sport of Business by Mark Cuban, Elon Musk’s biography, Steve Job’s biography, Howard Schultz’s books (Starbucks) and hundreds more (I have them all documented waiting to be read).
What I have learned so far
I’ve learned a lot. Tons of business lessons throughout. These things can really save you years of heart-ache, money, and time. Having said that, I’m not going into specific business lessons here. That would take too long. I’m better off doing one for each book.
I’ve also learned that the best businessmen are not always the best teachers. With all due respect, some of the books were not the easiest of reads. Although this can be fun, it’s not always the most effective use of my time.
I will go straight to science-based books on things I want to develop like habit formation and happiness like Power of Habit or The How of Happiness. Although Napoleon Hill is not a billionaire, he studied 200+ of the wealthiest people in the world for 20+ years and is a better teacher with his words. I prefer his book Laws of Success to some books by billionaires.
My favorite has to be Sam Walton’s book. His book is useful for almost any businessman or businesswoman. Some of the other ones may be less helpful to you. The more biographical ones like The Snowball or Simply Rich, you may have to really read between the lines to learn something just by observing how they lived and grew up.
I recommend Essays of Warren Buffett over the Snowball as his essays go straight into business advice written specifically for the reader.
Some of the books like Sheryl’s (one of the first female billionaires and one of the first to get on Facebook and Google) was more about general career advice in the professional world and a LOT of talk about woman’s equality. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it could be surprising if you went in there expecting something else.
I’ve also realized I should take notes and re-read some of the books. I forget a lot of what I read and should probably re-read them in the future. Many are that valuable. Jeff Bezos apparently carries Sam Walton’s book and consults it often.
There are thousands of books to read so I must be very picky when considering the opportunity cost.
Therefore, my priority list may look more like this:
- Career-themed books: What Color Is Your Parachute? The Start-Up Of You?
- Happiness books
- Fitness/Health books
- Once I start a business: Validating an idea book (Will It Fly? by Pat Flynn)
- If I need help with marketing: Books by Jay Abraham and Dan Kennedy (marketing leaders)
- Management books -> Peter Drucker
- Having problems with leading people -> Leadership books like Creating Magic
- Have a thriving business -> Then start looking to growing a business books and eventually books by billionaires
Most people are rather absent-minded with who they take advice from. I haven’t fully figured it out myself but I do have a more strategic approach than most people.
In the back of my mind, I understand that millionaires, especially if they’ve just made their first million, still have a lot to learn about business strategy. That’s why I would rather turn to a billionaire in most cases.
There’s only a limited amount of time on this earth and tens of thousands of books. In order for me to figure out what’s most important to read next, I assess its relevance to my biggest goals, what’s most important to me in the long term and short term, and who can deliver that best to me (who’s made the most and who can teach it best).
Consider greatest importance for long term and short term goals: For many people, you’re happy enough with an above average salary and are more concerned about dating since you understand that your youthful years are limited in number and quickly expiring. You would probably prioritize a course or book like Mate by Tucker Max higher than wealth creation books or billionaire biographies.
What are your priorities? Choose what comes next.
While billionaire books are great, I understand that they’re not always the best fit. It’s often great for just higher level understandings of the business world.
Consider relevancy: If you’re interested in becoming the best, most followed Youtube channel in the world, it’s probably more relevant to read or learn from the best Youtubers in the world rather than a book by a billionaire who made his money in wheat.
Same goes for podcasts. Maybe listening to John Lee Dumas and how he build a podcast empire is better for you if you want to start a podcast than reading an article about how this guy made $10 million in hoverboards or through internet web design consulting.
If you’re interested in getting into the coffee business, please tell me you have read Howard Schultz’s books on how he struggled to build Starbucks and please tell me you are NOT reading or watching or listening to a millionaire who made his money in the financial business or real estate.
A book about how Whole Foods grew its empire is great for you if you’re in that stage of growth in a similar industry and situation. But what if your main concern right now is marketing? You know that marketing is what will make or break your business. Perhaps, you should read some Dan Kennedy or Jay Abraham instead. They’re not billionaires, but specifically, it’s more helpful and relevant.
Who can deliver this the best to me?
Again, this comes down to if it serves as the best teacher and/or if they’re the best in the field.
There’s tens of thousands of books by millionaires and there’s quite a few on my list. They’re useful as well, but they have their time and place. Many people fail in not considering books written by those more successful. Some people don’t even know they’re out there.
Bringing it all together
I just wanted to bring it all together with some more examples:
Let’s say you’re unemployed -> Books and courses on finding a job are probably more important than learning about how Chic Fil A or Steve Jobs succeeded. Unfortunately, not any by billionaires. The best ones may or may not be even by millionaires (it’s undisclosed) but they have thousands of success stories. They’re great teachers with proven results.
Let’s say you got a job but it’s not too fulfilling -> Perhaps books and courses on networking to learn of new job titles or fields you’re unaware of and how to get there. In fact, there are some great ones by billionaires this time: The Start Up of You by Reid Hoffman.
Let’s say now you have a fulfilling happy job but lack friends -> Again, in this case, success stories and great teachers win out. How To Win Friends and Influence People and Never Eat Alone are great.
Let’s say you have friends and a great job but you suck in dating -> Dating courses and books.. You get the idea.
Let’s say you have started a business on the side, it’s grown to be fairly successful and now want general business strategy -> Books by billionaires (some suck though. I’d recommend Made in America)
You want specific help with management -> Peter Drucker and plenty of books by billionaires on management
You want help with hiring and understanding employees -> Tons of books by billionaires on this (Richard Branson is a good starting point)
Let’s say you’re super rich and have it all on the outside but still seem to be lacking -> Man’s search for meaning, The How of Happiness, etc.
In conclusion, books can be incredibly helpful. But they’re not a guarantee of success on their own. Generally speaking, as the people I have studied make more money, they tend to read a lot more relevant books on a daily basis.
Having said that though, not all of them are frequent readers.
Knowledge alone is pointless if you don’t take action on it. Having a ton of book knowledge without using it properly is a waste of time. The right book might just revolutionize your business however. I believe there’s hundreds of these gems.
Billionaires are a great resource that most people don’t learn enough from. Nor should they be treated like foreign superior beings. Many of them had humble and tough beginnings. Some remain still very kind-hearted and friendly.
Not all billionaires are created equal. Some should be avoided. I respect Charlie Munger a lot over Donald Trump, as Munger has taught me a ton about life values and how to live that Trump violates repeatedly. Munger doesn’t like Trump at all himself.
Keep in mind that even at this level, they have their different opinions. Bill Ackman and Carl Icahn are 2 billionaires that have had big fights in the past. Same goes for Mark Cuban and Trump. A billionaire is great at making money, but that doesn’t always mean he or she is great at numerous other areas of life.
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