Book Review: The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco

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This review feels like the most complicated review I’ve done to date…because I don’t know how I feel about this book.

Going through my notes on this book, it seems my main issue was a feeling of hypocrisy originally. The author mentions that institutional education is a “slowlaners” path, while real life education/street smarts are the path to success in the “fastlane.” de Marco mentions seeing a woman with a sign that says “I have a 4.0, $90,000 in student loans, and no job – where’s my bailout?” and ridicules her for falling for the scam of institutional education and says she should take responsibility for her actions, missing the point. No mention of the banks taking responsibility.

With regards to debt, he brings up an idealist way of thinking of things: slowlaners use debt for aspirational purchases, while fastlaners leverage debt to further their business for maximum profits. But, in my own experience, I think that they can really be one in the same, especially for small business owners who are trying to facilitate faster-than-organic growth in their business. Wouldn’t taking on debt for a new product release so that your business can grow be considered aspirational? That’s what my old credit card statements would show!
I also kept getting a little bit of a cult-y vibe in the book with things like “everyone else you’ve ever read is wrong” “don’t listen to your friends or family” “quit your job, it’s not getting you where you want to be” (and mentions that maybe you should mop floors for awhile while trying to grow a business quickly) “if your significant other thinks it’s crazy, leave your significant other.” Dianetics or Millionaire Fastlane?

I like the idea of putting the 5-for-2 idea into perspective: Leverage 5 days of work for 2 days of leisure. Why have we allowed ourselves to agree to working 80% of our week for 20% of it to be free?

I was feeling so wrong about this book that I went out and did more research on this book than I have for others, because I just felt I was missing something. Reading the positive reviews on Amazon left me in the dark. (And, frankly, made me worried a little about writing this review as his fans are RABID and can be quite nasty to those who don’t love this book) This book was on hold for MONTHS in my library and was impossible to renew. It was so in demand…what the hell was it in this book that was so promising to everyone? The thought that there’s a formula to becoming a millionaire quickly?

I listened to de Marco’s interview on the Smart Passive Income and realized what was bothering me the most about The Millionaire Fastlane was that his basic ideas were nothing new or revolutionary: spend within your means, focus on making your business a priority, use debt only if you know how to use it wisely. He had some punk rock statements in the book that I enjoyed; business plans are useless until you’re ready to sell, stop visualizing your future and just do it, etc. He was able to take these basic business ideas and add a “screw what you’ve heard about how to do it” spin on it…but I think it might be a dangerous set of ideas that could get someone in serious financial trouble if they follow these steps blindly without skepticism.

Would I recommend? I’ve gone back and forth on this and…no? Maybe? EH.

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