Have a wild imagination? Or none at all? This could be your road.

Can you invent an endless stream of future income? I don’t mean by inventing—though that can work. Here you make an annuity-like future cash flow from something you create, own, or patent that just keeps spewing cash. A gadget, book, song, movie, or even experience.

Ever thought, “If only such-and-such existed, life would be better”? Then someone invents such-and-such, changes the world, and gets rich! Why them and not you? The big money is in getting rights, licensed or patented, for future reuse and generating reuse. This is how a very few writers get rich, or how successful song writers do it via publishing rights, like our Chapter 4 hip-hop friends.


Yes, there are true “inventors”—folks who create things so earth-shatteringly life-changing you can’t imagine life without them, like the PC or polio vaccine. There are also mundane, everyday things. The trick is patenting it, so you collect every time your gadget is used or sold.

Everyone wrongly cites the guys who invented Post-it Notes (Arthur Fry and Spencer Silver) as classic successful inventors—striking it big with a mundane idea. Fry, a 3M chemist, wanted bookmarks to stay put in his choir hymnal. He used his buddy and coworker Silver’s adhesive—sticky enough, but not so much as to tear the page when removed—voila! A pop-culture icon was born.1 But they weren’t income inventors. Being 3M employees, their creation was a “work product”—they couldn’t own it. They probably got a nice bonus but didn’t invent a future revenue stream for themselves. Just “inventing” may not hack it.

Invent? Market? Do Both!

Nor will a patent. Lots of people hold patents—tens of millions! To create future income, you must have broad adaptation like our Post-it friends, but you must also maintain control of the future. Successful income inventors have an entrepreneurial soul and can market their ideas. If you can’t preach the benefit, you go unnoticed—marketing is key. You must have broad reach and a compelling story—or a compelling personality, like the father of inventors, Ron Popeil. Ron haunts late-night TV, still pitching products energetically to insomniac audiences.

As a teen, Popeil frequented Chicago’s West Side flea markets—not to shop, but to watch the hawkers. He built flea market skills to sell kitchen and household wares at Woolworth’s, making $1,000 a week—huge for a 1950s teenager selling blenders (about $8,800 today—$358,000 per year!). Remember from Chapter 7—learning to sell is powerful. Next, Popeil set out on his own to sell his own kitschy inventions at flea markets and carnivals, honing his midway barker style.

Then he turned to TV, still a new medium then. With $550, he made his first commercial. In 10 years, Ron was pure TV. He founded Ronco in 1964 and dedicated himself to inventing and selling. He created Veg-O-Matic—boasting it chopped onions perfectly with no tears. He did the Pocket Fisherman—a fully equipped fishing pole that folded down for those crucial moments you’re driving past a trout pond and think, “Dang! If only I had a pole handy!” (My mother bought one and then another each for me and my brothers.)

Popeil invented slews of goofy products—an Inside-the-Shell Egg Scrambler, the Smokeless Ashtray, the Electric Food Dehydrator, and the Cap Snaffler. I have no clue what “snaffling” is, but apparently you do it to caps. As Ron would say, “It really, really works!” He invented goofy products, but also invented or synthesized catchphrases now common to infomercials. He teased, “But wait! There’s more!” He urged buyers to rush because “operators are standing by.” He told housewives they could “set it and forget it.” He touted his bargain prices by asking, “NOW how much would you pay?” He enticed shoppers with low installment payments. A Cap Snaffler may not seem worth $160, but who can’t afford four easy payments of $39.95?

His real invention was the infomercial—Popeil is synonymous with long-form TV commercials, an insanely profitable marketing vehicle. His products, while cute, weren’t world changing. Who really needs a big, bulky onion-chopping gadget? Don’t knives do that—and fit neatly in a drawer? But Ron’s genius was in making the mundane exciting. His persona was famous enough for Dan Aykroyd to satirize him on Saturday Night Live when he put a fish in a blender and touted the vitamin-boosted benefits of liquefied bass. Aykroyd called it the “Bass-O-Matic.” Laraine Newman purred, “That’s good bass.”

His net worth exceeds $100 million.2 The best way to emulate Ron’s success is to focus on finding the next efficient way to market something—anything. You can even create your own catchphrase and be parodied on Saturday Night Live.


Most successful writers don’t get rich. Few books sell many copies—most less than 10,000. At that, if it’s a $20 book, royalties may be $2 per book. The author makes $20,000 for much of a year’s work and remains poor. A tiny percent sell better. Take stock market books, which are mostly what I’ve written. A real monster stock market book may sell 200,000 copies in its life. There are maybe two of those a year at most, and they will make the New York Times Best Seller list, like my 2007 book did. But $400,000 in royalties isn’t enough to get rich on. And that’s before expenses associated with promoting it.

Writers who succeed keep cranking out best sellers to maintain income and then go down the Road More Traveled (Chapter 10). Broader category monsters like James Michener are statistically and simply way out on the bell curve of success. You’re as apt to become the next Babe Ruth. Long-term top-10 selling romance novelists accumulate $5 million to $30 million in their lifetimes. I know, because two of them are my clients. But that’s it. Nice—but not mondo huge.

That is, unless you morph otherwise. For example, Stephen King will collect endless cash from royalties on The Shining—the movie, not the book—and subsequent remakes, prequels, sequels, remakes of prequel/sequels, reissues, special-edition DVD box sets, and so on. Ditto for Christine, Stand by Me, Pet Sematary (yes, it’s spelled incorrectly intentionally), Shawshank Redemption, and The Green Mile—to name a few. He could have quit writing 20 years ago and been excessively rich. His book royalties were OK, but he earns exponentially more on licensing rights whenever another of his macabre tales is used as movie or TV fodder and then endlessly streamed on Netflix. Did he intend to write books that translate easily into two-hour movies? Don’t know. But he sure evolved to it.

King may be king, but JK Rowling is the queen (and, incidentally, is richer than Britain’s queen). JK “Jo” Rowling invented Harry Potter’s magical world and a magical income stream. The film series alone has grossed $7.7 billion so far. Rowling’s currently worth about $1 billion.3 Her books keep selling. In a rather genius move, she kept the Harry Potter e-book rights and distributes them on her own, exclusively. Instead of $1 or $2 per book, she keeps most of the sale price, raking in millions annually.4 Her other bucks come from movies, DVDs, endless Harry Potter lunchboxes, sneakers, backpacks, action figures, skateboards, wallpaper, pencils, Halloween costumes, paper plates, pajamas, you name it. Not to mention Universal’s theme parks in California and Florida, which both have entire sections masterfully designed to make her invention a reality. If it’s inanimate and kid-oriented, it’s been stamped with Harry Potter’s mug—and Rowling collects every time. A plain lunchbox retails for about $5. Embossed with Harry and pals, it’s $25. That’s monetizing your creation.

If you will write—and want riches—think lunchboxes. After this book I’m starting my next—a made-for-movie adventure novel based on 10-year-olds who embezzle money from their neighborhood bad guys, get caught, flee, and become international spy sensations, saving the world from crooks and having implied (but not depicted) sex with other kids who look sexy to prepubescents. Named The Ten Roads to Recess, I’ll smack it on every lunchbox in America with clip-on action heroes. Only kidding! But, seriously, your chance for big bucks skyrockets if you think “lunchbox” and plan an ongoing after-market.

You needn’t be a Rowling-scale success. Helen Fielding went big with a little book based on a book by another writer who never got rich in her lifetime—Jane Austen. Yet, Fielding will collect on Bridget Jones books, movies, and Netflix residuals for years. No Rowling, but she’s rich by most folks’ standards. For most authors, writing is a labor of love, not a road to riches. For me, I’m already rich. I love my day job, which is how I got rich. I write because I like to. That’s the right reason for most writers to write. (I’m brutally blunt to help direct you to a more lucrative road.) Simply no one but JK Rowling made the Forbes billionaire list by writing alone. That doesn’t mean you can’t write and get rich—but writing alone won’t make you huge.

Money for a Song

Songwriting beats performing. Just cobble together some rhyming couplets and a catchy tune. Performers get paid once for an album and collect on ticket sales while touring. They need endless talent (see Chapter 4) and don’t get future income. This is why even mega-stars like the late Whitney Houston can end up destitute (the drug habit didn’t help) and why Barbra Streisand dusts herself off every few years to tour. They lack future income.

Some performers write music, too. Dolly Parton comes to mind, still prolific (and worth $500 million)5 at 71 years young. But many wealthy songwriters don’t perform at all (or not much), don’t suffer the personal strain celebrities undergo, and have longer shelf lives than performers do—and may not even have any more talent than book writers who never make much money. For instance, Denise Rich, née Eisenberg, never performed. But Rich is rich and more so than almost all nonsongwriting performing artists. Admittedly, she captured money from two roads—her songwriting career and her married-well divorce (Chapter 5) from mega-rich Marc Rich (net worth $1 billion when he passed on in 2013).6

Aside from her former marriage to Mr. Rich (the Clintons’ commodities trader friend and onetime fugitive who fled America to avoid tax evasion charges, pardoned by Bill Clinton on his final day in office),7 she has a huge career as a Grammy-nominated songwriter. She’s written for Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige, Celine Dion, Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Luther Vandross, Marc Anthony, and Natalie Cole, to name a few.8 More recently, she cranked out hits for early-twenty-first-century starlets like Mandy Moore and Jessica Simpson. Her songs get recorded, re-recorded, covered, sampled, and still get radio play every day. Every time, she gets paid. The singer gets paid once! It’s better to write than sing.

What can you earn as a songwriter? Our government mandates songwriters get paid 9.1 cents per unit sold. So, write one song on an album selling a million copies, you get $91,000. If you write all the songs—maybe 12—that can be over $1 million. Songwriters also get paid when the song is played on radio, used on TV or in movies, or downloaded.9 Every time! From Denise Rich’s first number one hit, “Frankie,” recorded by Sister Sledge, through awards at the American Song Festival, she evolved to be worth $125 million.10 (Aspiring songwriters can find resources at—the site details contests, festivals, and agents to whom you submit songs to win money, acclaim, or both.)

This doesn’t require being a performer or other talent. It requires simple skills at creating simple melodies and poetry-like prose that’s catchy. Then it requires the selling skills to sell to those who may record. Like on so many roads, the sticky point is the selling. Then, once a talent records it, you have to sell it over and over again for future residual usage. Songwriters who monetize income are as much sales agents as anything else.

They have long careers. Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein didn’t perform but created some of the twentieth century’s most memorable songs. Irving Berlin, Jerry Herman, Stephen Sondheim, and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber (net worth about $1 billion)11 all built huge careers (and piles of dough) writing. Yes, Neil Sedaka performed some of his songs but was bigger and better paid for his decades-spanning songwriting career that included hits like “Love Will Keep Us Together” by Captain & Tennille. Carole King, like Sedaka, performs some but writes more—huge hits for artists like Bobby Vee, The Drifters, Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield, and Barbra Streisand, and “You’ve Got a Friend” for James Taylor. Then she remonetized all of them into a Tony-winning jukebox musical, now touring internationally. The soundtrack sold like hotcakes and a movie is in the works—all more royalties for Carole.

The songwriting career is more business-like, infinitely less self-destructive, more lucrative, longer lasting, and more predictable to plan and build. My editor thought this section should go with the talents in our Rich and Famous chapter. I disagreed. Few are so famous (unless they cross over to reality TV like former American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi), yet are often much richer. You needn’t start so young and need no performing talents. This section had to go somewhere and to me, it’s better here—these folks are perfect income creators.

Cloning Cash

On this road, no one tops the Jedi Master income-inventing skills of George Lucas, worth $4.6 billion.12 Lucas also qualifies as a founder-CEO who bootstrapped his way up. After his Oscar-winning success with American Graffiti, Lucas did a switcheroo. Yes, he did Star Wars. But here he went down our road, something directors hadn’t done before—he created an income stream. To get 20th Century Fox to do Star Wars, Lucas waived his director’s fee for 40 percent of the box office and merchandising rights. For Fox, if Lucas’s kiddie space film flopped, it wouldn’t hurt much. And who cared about merchandising rights? No one made money merchandising. So Fox bit, and the Force was strong with Lucas.

Lucas created Yoda, the Death Star, and the Wookiee—but also something more valuable: movie merchandising. The toys, lunchboxes, action figures, and gimmicky tie-ins were small change before Lucas and Star Wars. Lucas (with buddy Steven Spielberg, net worth $3.7 billion) saw how to monetize characters no one fathomed before. They realized kids would want to reenact their movies with 4-inch plastic dolls and their very own plastic lightsabers. This is the essence of what income inventors do. It’s what Rowling and King do, it’s what Popeil did, what Denise Rich did—they create an experience folks will pay to own a piece of. If you’re creative, you can do this. Just figure what you can monetize that hasn’t been yet.

You can go the conventional routes of inventing, songwriting, or book writing for movies. You do what many have done before, just slightly differently, and make sure you keep all future rights. James Dyson ($4.9 billion) was always more of a tinkerer than an inventor, and savvy enough to make everything in-house and own all the rights.13 Brains and business smarts built an empire of vacuums, fans, dog grooming tools, and now hand and hair dryers. Or you can go nonconventional and do what hasn’t been done before like Lucas did, maybe on the Internet, cell phone, or next platform we haven’t fathomed. That’s for you to figure, not me.

The possibilities are endless. My advice: Aim for as broad an audience as possible—as wide an adaptation as possible. If not that, then something unique but vital to something else widely and broadly needed or desired. The narrower your scope, the narrower your road, and the smaller your riches.


Want a really wide audience? And invented income without any economic linkage? Try politics! Run this fork well and taxpayers hand you wealth . . . for nothing! Fact: In aggregate, politicians show no ability or competency for actually contributing to our economy. With the obvious exception of Donald Trump, most have never taken any road to riches (except marrying for money, and a few as pirates). Few have built, invented, created, led, generated, managed, improved, or innovated. Yet most end up wealthy—invented income.

I don’t expect you to become president, but take the Clintons. I want you to see how it worked for them. They were flat broke leaving the White House but are now worth $110 million.14 How? Their life pre–White House wasn’t very lucrative. Bill never did anything economically remarkable. Hillary was a modestly successful backwater lawyer whose career was intermittent, tied to Bill’s campaign schedule and cut short by the White House. Her final law year saw income of only $200,000.15 Bill’s governor salary was just $35,000.16 If they saved half their pretax income (a stretch) and invested wisely, at best they’d have had only about $3.6 million entering the White House.

As president, Bill got $200,000 a year, plus benefits.17 But they had legal fees stemming from Clinton’s impeachment battle, his ongoing female troubles, the botched Whitewater land deal, Hillary’s suspiciously profitable foray into cattle futures, Travelgate, Filegate, and about 127.72 other “gates.” They left office with about $12 million in unpaid legal fees.18 If they saved half Bill’s salary and invested wisely, adding that to our previous stretch assumptions, at the very best, after their legal bills, they’d still be over $3 million in the hole!19

The answer is obvious—they saved some of the $153 million they earned on books and speaking fees since 2000.20 There are few careers more profitable than “past president.” You get paid $150,000 a pop just to talk!21 And taxpayers load you up.

Presidential Income—Follow the Money!

Congress passed the Former Presidents Act (FPA) in 1958, giving past presidents an inflation-adjusted lifetime pension—currently $205,700 annually—tax free!22 Tax-adjusted, that’s $391,000. To generate that, you need a well-managed portfolio close to $10 million. Then they get “protection” and lifetime “office allowances”—a staff and “suitable” space (i.e., posh). That’s cash. For 2015, it was $3.2 million to cover all FPA-related costs.23 Said otherwise, our then-four former presidents were paid $800,000 each! Tax free!!! That’s over $1.5 million tax-adjusted, requiring a well-managed portfolio over $37 million—each!

Then, past presidents get “transition” expenses to ease reentry to “real” life. How much? In 2001, Congress approved $1.83 million (TAX FREE) on top of their usual haul for the Clintons.24

But former presidents have other income sources. You can be on paid boards of directors—as many that want you. Gerald Ford was huge at doing these (as well as paid speeches—it’s amazing how someone who was voted out of office and no one much wanted to hear as president is suddenly in demand after). You can be a paid adviser with consulting contracts, as Clinton did with billionaire Ron Burkle (net worth $1.5 billion).25 Hiring a past president is a thinly veiled attempt to pay for lobbying links. No one has better connections than a past president. Let me summarize. The Clintons went from being at least $3 million (and probably more) in the hole in 2001 to being worth $110 million 15 years later. (But maybe be careful if your spouse wants to run for president later on, and make sure your post-presidency connections withstand scrutiny.)


But few have the chops to run for president and win. Still, you aren’t precluded from a lifetime of invented political income—become a member of Congress! Starting pay is $174,000 a year (as of 2015).26 Not huge, but you’re in America’s 90th percentile while building your real wealth.27 And you don’t need to do anything in Congress. Of course, for bigger bucks you hustle. Get a leadership role and income bumps to $193,400. The Speaker of the House collects $223,500.28 Nice for Paul Ryan! Also, they get an annual cost-of-living adjustment. And they receive health benefits and a rich retirement plan that currently you’d need at least $1.5 million to equal—to which they’re entitled after only serving five years (just three elections).29

For fun, you can review any congressperson’s financial disclosures at the Senate Appropriations Committee website ( It’s a hoot. They must only report “ranges.” Some disclosures run 300-plus pages as they excuse and offload wealth to spouses, presumably to seem more populist. Why can’t they own up and not make wealth seem unseemly? To avoid mind-numbing obfuscation, visit another gem of a website, To see who’s funding whom and who gets money where, this website follows the money for you. It summarizes personal financial disclosure forms for these politicians, along with other titillating details.

Inexplicable Political Wealth

One ever-nagging question lingers—how did they get their money? Many never had any job outside politics, yet they amass fortunes. Most never directly contributed to GDP, but they’re rich. There are exceptions. Take former Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin), worth about $630 million.30 His came largely from Kohl grocery and department stores—businesses he helped build. Or Mitt Romney, with $230 million.31 He started and sold a successful consulting firm. Darrell Issa, currently the richest congressperson, made most of his $254 million from his consumer electronics business, which brought us everyone’s favorite cheesy auto-theft deterrent, The Viper (it even talked to would-be thieves in Issa’s voice).32 We know how Secretary of State John Kerry got money. He married it—twice! It’s common for them to marry wealth. Former House member Jane Harman (D-California, worth up to $450 million)33 also took the married-well road, as did John McCain.

But most are career politicians or former lawyers. Example: Former Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico, net worth $10.8 million upon his retirement)34 was a lawyer before becoming senator in 1983. It’s unlikely he could have socked away much of that from his short legal career. He graduated Stanford Law in 1968. Ten years later he became New Mexico’s attorney general—been in politics ever since.

Former GOP presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani spent most of his adult life as a government employee. He had a brief career as a prosecutor before being appointed to the US Attorney’s office at 26, and eventually Associate Attorney General—the number three spot in the US Department of Justice. He then became a US Attorney for New York’s Southern District and, of course, New York City mayor—with a salary of $195,000. Nice, but Manhattan’s cost of living is killer. How on earth did he get a net worth of $45 million?35 (Go reread the previous again and believe it.)

Former Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine, net worth $14.6 million)36 entered public office at age 26. Not only did she make an inexplicable fortune, but she married a fellow politician . . . twice! Or former Senator Bob Graham (D-Florida)—in public office since 1966. First, the House of Representatives, state senator, governor, US senator, then US presidential candidate (failed). Never, ever contributed to GDP—yet his worth is $8 million.37 Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama, net worth $10.9 million)38 entered politics in 1963 and hasn’t worked an honest day since. Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-New Jersey, net worth $24.7 million)39 comes from a long line of folks slopping off the public trough. Most mind-boggling is former vice president Al Gore. He reportedly left office with $2 million. Somehow, between 2001 and 2008, he made enough to invest $35 million—liquid—in various hedge funds and other private investments. He’s worth a reported $200 million!40 He’s got the Clintons beat!

I begrudge no one money. By now you’ve figured I’m no fan of politicians of either party. My 2007 book went over why, so I needn’t retread that turf. I’ve known hundreds of congressmen and governors. They do well for themselves.

I couldn’t have built or run my firm if it weren’t for capitalists like Bob Noyce and his creation of the integrated circuit or Bill Gates with Windows—or so many more. Even Jack Kahl with Duck Tape! But I can’t think of any subset of the politicians I’ve known or read about in my lifetime that I couldn’t have done without. They only foil each other in aggregate and suck off the public trough. It is truly amazing that politicians can win plaudits for vilifying CEOs as rent-seekers (jargon for “overpaid economic leeches”).

How to Succeed in Politics

But it is a lucrative road—no matter how inexplicable their wealth is. Beware: The key skill is lying well—to yourself and others. (It’s easy to tell when politicians lie—any time their mouths move. I wish that were a joke.)

So how to get elected? Like other roads, start small. Locate an area where political turnover is high. Move to a medium-sized city there—small enough not to be a backwater and big enough that most people don’t know everyone else there. It’s good if their senior politicians are old or if term limits are imposed. Study what they espouse and what the citizenry believes. It’s easier in an area that leans heavily toward one party—doesn’t matter which. Hence, you need memorize and regurgitate only one set of lies at first. It helps to study what the opposition party says so you can tell lies that ridicule them, too. Your voters will love that.

Get your lies down cold, then run for city council. Tell them what they want to hear. Blame the opposition party for everything evil. Claim you are the future—that you can see the future. Claim you did something important where you came from that you didn’t do, but they can’t prove it. At this level of politics, the people you run against aren’t skilled. They probably mean well and have their community’s interests at heart. So it helps that you don’t. In this book, it is only here where dishonesty pays.

Three years later, run for county supervisor. Same game, same idiots, more incompetence, bigger venue. Six years later, run for Congress. The whole time you’re working off memorized lines based on what you know they want to hear. This is far easier than succeeding as a legitimate actor because the audiences aren’t as discerning. And they must elect someone. You may not believe this, but basically it’s right. Follow these steps, and you don’t have to do a useful thing the rest of your life. It is invented income and beats robbing banks!


An offshoot of political income is starting a think tank. It’s a different way to invent income politically. Think tanks are those not-for-profit organizations starring one or two charismatic individuals—championing some “cause.” The think tank takes “nonprofit” donations so the leader (or leaders) can think and write noble thoughts about their chosen crusade, and pay themselves huge salaries. Maybe they do “research,” which consists of questioning other like-minded people about their views, and then concluding the think tankers were right all along. The key: It’s a nonprofit but pays a future revenue stream—to you.

The think tank’s purpose is to institutionalize a cause by like-minded people and build credibility by creating a corporate-like structure around it. Those funding think tanks think they’re contributing to some greater cause—that their think tank will make a difference with pondering, research, and publishing. But really, they create an annuity for think-tank founders and selected partners.

Think tanks champion an infinite variety of causes like free markets or helping the oppressed, but at the root they’re similar. Take, for example, Reverend Jesse Jackson. Though Jackson once claimed an annual income of $430,000,41 he keeps his financial status a closely guarded secret. Part of his mystery is because several of his nonprofit organizations are religious, so they don’t file tax returns. It’s his prerogative to be secretive—it’s nobody’s business! (Well, perhaps the IRS thinks it is.) But why should people be ashamed of big income?

Jackson’s nonprofits include People United to Serve Humanity (PUSH) and the Citizenship Education Fund (CEF). And in 1996, he founded Rainbow/Push as a for-profit.42 His foundations are meant to attract corporate capital for minority- and women-owned businesses as well as provide various other services. Over the years, various groups (including the Department of Education) have griped that Jackson’s groups are lax in reporting how their funds are spent. Jackson’s been in and out of legal strife on tax reporting.43 The think tank structure, no matter how lofty its cause, is about money—inventing an income stream.

Nonprofits and think tanks come in all stripes. On the liberal side is John Podesta, former Bill Clinton chief of staff, and his Center for American Progress. Another Clinton staffer, Bob Reich, cofounded the Economic Policy Institute. Both promote a “progressive” agenda and “shared prosperity.” Conservative, but similar, are William Bennett and the late Jack Kemp who, through their Empower America, long paid themselves more than a million a year each. The list is long. Jim DeMint, famously the Senate’s fourth-poorest member when he resigned in 2012, massively upped his payday at the Heritage Foundation.44 You can find all the think tanks you want on Google. You can tell I don’t like this approach, but it makes money.

In closing, let me say my editor didn’t think I should write about politicians because many readers have ones they love and hate and I’d likely offend some of you. Fact is: This book is about getting rich, not about what doesn’t offend you. I admit political creation of future income streams isn’t quite like the others in this chapter. But it can and does guarantee a lifetime of sometimes huge income for those willing and appropriately constructed to go after it. I had to put these guys somewhere, and the only other place I could think where they should go was to hell. So here they are.

So if you want to invent income while contributing to the world, invent a new vaccine for a disease, a new marketing phenomenon, or even write songs or books for movies. If you just want to suck the public trough, politics is always waiting for you. Either way, keep all the rights.


To set it and forget it—like Ron Popeil—and get guaranteed future income, do a bit of homework first. These books can help you build your own annuitized stream of forever money.

  1. Patent It Yourself by David Pressman. If you have a surefire idea that could provide income the rest of your life, make sure no one steals it from you by reading this book and then getting patents.
  2. The Complete Guide to Direct Marketing by Chet Meisner. A good how-to primer on how to be like Ron Popeil and take your message straight to the masses more cheaply and efficiently. This book shows you direct-marketing means and methods.
  3. If you want to write, read The Screenwriter’s Bible by David Trottier. Books are fine, but the money’s in lunchboxes and action figures. So write or adapt your own movie script, then sell it. This book shows you how.
  4. For political bucks, you must be able to convincingly lie. For that, read How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff. A gem—it shows how easily statistics can be manipulated. Then take otherwise unalarming stats on the economy, for example, and twist them for your own perverted gain.


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