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What It’s Like to Hang with Millionaires

A few weeks ago I was in Russia to speak at a conference. I spent a lot of time with a really impressive group of guys. I’ve joked in the past that I am “moderately rich”. These guys were much richer than me.

It was a fun and interesting experience and I thought I would share some of the insights I gained being around them. (Also check out what I learned on my trip to Cuba.)

Noah Kagan in Russia

1. They do not ask for permission.

In Russia, the trip organizer rented a house in a remote area. A few of the guys didn’t like the 1.5 hour commute and lack of internet access. Rather than complain and bitch, and ask if they could stay elsewhere, what did they do? They got a hotel downtown.

Successful entrepreneurs don’t wait for someone else to solve their problem. They take action.
(click to tweet)

2. They look at value, not cost.

They value their time and focus on the things they are exceptional at. Instead of figuring out where to eat dinner one night, one guy asked his assistant to figure it out.

An example in business would be the “marketing person” trying to learn to code even though he should be focusing on marketing and outsourcing his development.

3. They are Authentic.

How many people do you know that start businesses just to make money? They likely don’t know shit about the industry or field and end up quitting. This group of guys created and built businesses they were really interested in.

Two of the guys who sold out for 8 figures talked about how they rewarded their users for actions on the website. Think about how some sites focus on ads, more pageviews, upsells and other monetizations which all benefit the owners. These “good guys” genuinely appreciated people using their website and made the experience reflect that.

Authenticity is the moment your business is the same as your life. It’s pure, unadulterated, clean and truly what you want to represent in the world. These people live that.

Ultimately, being around these millionaires made me examine myself to see where I want to improve.

Before you delete or archive this email ask yourself this question:

How do you feel about these traits in yourself?

Stop and Evaluate.

It was a great trip with a great group of guys + lots of vodka shots.

Noah “your comrade” Kagan

P.s. Leave a comment with your favorite fiction book.

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152 responses to “What It’s Like to Hang with Millionaires”

Gavin Fosker
July 20, 2018 at 3:20 am

Who Moved The Cheese

January 22, 2015 at 7:34 am

I really thought the bit about not asking permission is them rich people throwing their weight around, which turned out to be just the opposite. Such trait is definitely impressive.

steive@green lotus trekking
September 18, 2014 at 2:06 am

Albert Camus – The Outsider

Joao Reis
February 12, 2014 at 10:49 am

Favorite fiction book ? Easy ! “Brave New World”, from Aldous Huxley

February 12, 2014 at 10:09 am

Albert Camus – The Outsider

January 8, 2014 at 2:25 am

“Successful entrepreneurs don’t wait for someone else to solve their problem. They take action.” Awesome! It’s all about getting shit done!

August 8, 2013 at 2:28 pm

The Little Prince

Sean Oliver
July 19, 2013 at 9:31 am

Nexus by Ramez Naam

Dana (Dottie)
July 19, 2013 at 9:16 am

Fav book for just brain candy, because I don’t really read fiction that much; Jenna Jameson, Make Love like a Porn Star. I just like her style and am completely jelaous that I am not as hot as her.

Great post. Thanks for the inspiration.

July 18, 2013 at 12:45 pm

One hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is imagination on high.

July 18, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Cormac McCarthy’s The Road – How to move with purpose while embracing mystery. The rhythm of the words, alone, captivate.

Lex Luther
July 18, 2013 at 1:49 am

My favorite fiction book is “The School for Good & Evil” by Soman Chainani.

Eva Petakovic
July 11, 2013 at 9:06 am

House of Sand and Fog, by Andre Dubus. A little depressing, but in a good way.

July 10, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Thanks, Noah, for such an inspring post. I think I need most work with #1, because I tend to be a people-pleaser. But during the times when I just dgaf and show the real me, people are shocked and pleasantly surprised. Ties in with #3 and being authentic.

Love you man! 😀

Crazy sexy fun traveler
July 10, 2013 at 3:19 am

I always say you gotta be active yourself and do what you want. Nice tips!

July 9, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Anthem – Ayn Rand

July 9, 2013 at 10:04 am

Ender’s Game

July 6, 2013 at 8:57 am

Hey, great minds think alike (I added Enders Game, too!).


July 6, 2013 at 7:47 am

Hard boiled wonderland and the end of the world by haruki murakami

July 6, 2013 at 7:15 am

I’ve always loved all of Flannery O’Connors and her complete works fit in one volume. Noone has captured the American south and psyche like her. Amazing read and great to return to since I first read her thirty years ago.

Sample: “She would of been a good woman,” The Misfit said, “if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.”

Ben Holt
July 5, 2013 at 10:49 am

Easily “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury. Powerful writer, that one.

July 5, 2013 at 7:23 am

Unbearable Lightness of Being by Kundera will make your brain do a back flip.

Read it.

Noah Kagan
July 5, 2013 at 9:29 am

Thanks Josh. You won Powtoon. Email me your AppSumo email and I got you 🙂

July 4, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Favorite fiction book: “Pride & Prejudice.” Of course!

But “Guilty Pleasures” and the rest of the first five Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series are a lot of fun too.

July 4, 2013 at 9:51 am

Fiece Invalids Home From Hot Climates by Tom Robbins.

How many of these traits are because they are rich, and not why they are rich? I will give you authenticity. But not asking to pull up stakes and stay at another hotel is much easier when you have a nearly unlimited supply of money.

If the next Bill Gates is currently a broke college kid, he’d be sitting next to you on that long drive.

July 4, 2013 at 9:40 am

Assassin of Gor by John Norman

Nadja Petranovskaja
July 4, 2013 at 8:36 am

As a Russian I am proud you got some very good points about my home country! thanks for this post, Nadja

July 4, 2013 at 7:40 am

The Vintner’s Luck, by Elizabeth Knox

Joel Carruthers
July 4, 2013 at 5:01 am

Although lately most of my reading is non-fiction, Pillars of the Earth and World Without End by Ken Follett are probably my faves.

But is it weird that I listened to Jeremy Irons read ‘The Alchemist’ while I was running an ULTRA-Marathon and really enjoyed it???

Evan Thomas
July 3, 2013 at 11:05 pm

‘The Invention of Solitude’ by Paul Auster. At his essayist best on fatherhood, memory, space and time. It’s incredible. And ‘Libra’ by Don DeLillo, an epic dramatisation of the life of Lee Harvey Oswald. So. so good.

July 3, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Ender’s Game, hands down.

Noah Kagan
July 5, 2013 at 9:32 am

SUCH a great book. You win Powtoon, email me your AppSumo email to claim.

July 3, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Honestly… Other than the lesson “don’t complain about something you can change/fix yourself”… this was the first useless post I’ve seen from you. I don’t have a marketing assistant and I have to BEG people to help me with code because I haven’t made my first dollar yet. Yes, yes, I’m complaining about something I can do something about.. I need to buy your damn program; I know, I know!

Luke Freeman
July 3, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Favourite fiction book is hard so I’ll pick just a recent favourite: “Wake” by Robert J. Sawyer.

Also, I love the “click to tweet” that you’ve been including recently. I can’t help but click it 🙂

Noah Kagan
July 5, 2013 at 9:35 am

Thanks Luke. It was my friends Tyler’s idea. Seems to be working well.

July 3, 2013 at 7:41 pm

The Alchemist: the lesson for me- dont be afraid to start over again.

As far as the post, I think it fair only fair, Noah, to mention how much being rich might make you better able to absorb costs and inconveniences of switching hotels / locations, costs of outsourcing things, and less sensitive to how “authenticity” or brute honest can come across to people (stakes can be lower).

Stuntin is a habit,

Noah Kagan
July 5, 2013 at 9:42 am

Hey Matt

I’ve noticed spending on things is a function of net-worth and what each person values.

Recently I saw a guy from MIT join our course which at first I was happy and then surprised. He’s spending a lot on college already….

Why would someone from MIT join another program for learning???

But after chatting with some friends it dawned on me they look at that learning and investing in themselves differently than most people.

That’s likely what’s made them successful.

Hoo Kang
July 3, 2013 at 7:40 pm

Homer’s Illiad. Harry Potter Series.


Is there anyway you can post about how you ended up rubbing shoulders with these types of people and how we can too?

Thanks in advance and everything that you do.

Noah Kagan
July 5, 2013 at 9:43 am

You know I went to 6 of the 7 opening nights for Harry Potter at the movies 🙂

I got invited through a friend in NYC to speak at the conference in Russia.

July 3, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (a 1976 novel) by Tom Robbins answers questions about life, the universe, and everything.

July 3, 2013 at 4:31 pm

I’m not a reader but I recall really enjoying Call of the Wild by Jack London when I was a child.

July 3, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Skepticism Inc. by Bo Fowler.

There’s two parallel story lines in the book. One is about a man who opens metaphysical betting shops. The other follows a shopping cart with artificial intelligence that becomes self aware. Only to spend eternity looking for its god. Hilarious book and not well known enough.

Alexandre Viveiros
July 3, 2013 at 3:35 pm

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

July 3, 2013 at 2:56 pm


Very hard choice to pick one. I’m huge fan of science fiction, so I will say that maybe Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson is the one.

I love almost eveything from Jacek Dukaj, but he isn’t translated from polish to english yet.

Kyle Legare
July 3, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Slaughterhouse V by Kurt Vonnegut

Nate Dodson
July 3, 2013 at 2:14 pm

The Monkey Wrench Gang By Ed Abbey.

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