I also knew that several actors, including John Wayne, no less, had lost their money by trusting the wrong people as business managers to invest for them. In fact, I ended up starting a business—an incarnation of which I run to this day—to help artists with their investments and money management. Today, there are many more CPAs who act as legitimate management firms, so there are fewer stories of actors being defrauded. In any case, if I failed, I didn't want it to be because some other guy took my money. If I was going to lose it, I decided I would be the author of my own demise.
I have never read a business book; therefore, this will not be a conventional business book. I often see "how-to" manuals for every type of business and books on how to "win" in business. I have no interest in telling you what you should or should not do or in giving you lessons about how to get involved in a business, start a business, or run a business. I have no step-by-step plan for success or surefire tips to becoming a millionaire. Instead, I will tell you what has worked for me in business over the past four decades, what has not worked, and why. I hope that from some parts of the book you will learn something that is useful to your business, that contributes to your broad-based knowledge, or that simply makes for good cocktail party conversation. In other places, perhaps you will discover situations that are analogous to those in your own life and work. But, in all cases, what I write about is what has worked for me. It might work for you; it might not. So take from it what you will.
The subtext of much of these experiences is my interest in ideas and the exploration of those ideas, how they affect the small businessman, the free market, and society as a whole. Today most of our leaders—indeed most people—do not study history, having been persuaded that homage to past experience should be overcome by bowing to academic concepts born of the desire to do something "different," "forward looking," and "modern." This antipathy for looking back is best characterized by the esteemed Spanish philosopher George Santayana: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
When you bought this book, you took a financial risk, albeit a small one. It may provoke you, positively I hope. If you read the book and find nothing at all of interest in its pages, then you can give it to somebody you think might enjoy it—or perhaps resell it online. If you thought about that risk, then you think somewhat differently than I do because I am interested in ideas and the exploration of those ideas. Perhaps reading ideas contrary to your own will prove valuable. If not, there is always the trash can.