"If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?"
I think that I know the reason, for many of us. It's that we have what I call "the craftsman mentality."
No sexism is intended here: I'm using the term "craftsman" in such a broad sense that it can apply to sales representatives and CPAs and even to some chief executive officers.
By craftsman, I mean a person whose primary concern on the job is to do a very concrete task as perfectly as possible: compile flawless accounts, make an effective sales presentation, design a new kind of computer program, publish a great newspaper, or whatever.
There are craftsmen, of course, who have made megabucks in spite of this orientation because they were so exceptional at their crafts: Bill Bernbach with his ads, for example, and certain movie moguls.
And there have been inventors who have been richly rewarded: Bill Lear with his car radio, autopilot and jets; Edwin Land with his polarizers, films and cameras, and Clive Sinclair with his pocket-sized calculator and inexpensive computers.
But I maintain that these people are exceptions to a rule--which is that, at heart, most business people who make big money are not in the ad game or the aviation game or the computer game as such. They're in the money game.
These are the entrepreneurs with no particular inclination to create this or that product, but they have a burning desire to find a marketing niche of their own.
These are the doctors of sick corporations who sell the mill or the appliance factory and start making widgets instead. They are the people who piece successful conglomerates together.
These are the masters of utilizing personnel, capital equipment and funds.
I applaud them and I admire them. I can't emulate them. Many of us can't. It's as though we love Erector sets and they love chess.