Sunday, 6 June 2010

The six habits of the rich and famous

A book with a title of “The Protestant Work Ethic: Psychology of Work Related Beliefs and Behaviours” may not sound like every HR Case Studies reader’s cup of tea, but this somewhat scholarly work by Adrian Furnham (published in 1990) nevertheless laid the foundation for other “How To Be Incredibly Successful” books such as Steven Covey’s multi-million selling “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”

A significant number of authors have attempted to identify the secret ingredients which lead to successful individual performance by comparing recognised high achievers with merely average performers.

In his review of some of the vast selection of books on the rich and famous, Furnham found consistent themes such as:
Perseverance: tenacity, single-minded determination and concentration.
Ability: especially in creating and exploiting opportunities.
Contacts: knowing the right people.
Self-reliance: striving for independence.
Thinking big: but taking moderate risks.
Time management: making the best use of time, and planning progress.
Tantalisingly, Furnham does state that , “It cannot be assumed that these factors caused the success, indeed they may have been a consequence of success” but at least his list gives those use who wish to progress from mediocrity to magnificence a good route-map to guide us.
  • Today’s question: is there anything blindingly obvious that’s missing from the list?


  1. Other than supportive (or at least understanding) friends and family and copious amounts of stimulants, it looks pretty comprehensive to me!


  2. A fascinating list as it matches the majority of characteristics of entrepreneurs. What is significant is that as individuals move from employee mentality to entrepreneur those that have the SIX will make better progress.
    My research has always confirmed that entrepreneurship is learned behaviour-entrepreneurs are made not born but id you practise the six habits you will be more likely to succeed.

  3. I think that perhaps belief should be added to the list? If you don't believe in what you set out to do then it will always be more difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.

    I do think that belief surrounds and supports the other 6 attributes.

  4. What Iain said got me thinking.

    I know I guy who you would describe as an entrepreneur. And, knowing his life experience, I would say that he was born not made. Whilst there are some of the six things he doesn’t have, what he has in spades is ability and a belief in himself. So ‘wheniwas8’, I absolutely agree that belief should be up there with the others.

    When thinking about my friend I am not sure whether I would say he had self belief, eternal optimism or is just the most pig headed guy I know. But whatever it is it works.