Excerpt: maxim founder felix dennis on the fallacy of big ideas

In addition to being a publisher, poet, planter of trees and polyamorist, Felix Dennis, founder of Maxim and The Week magazines, is simply one of the most entertaining people you could hope to converse with. I recently spent two hours plumbing his thoughts for an interview in our current issue. Our conversation covered far more ground than I was able to squeeze into a page and a half of print, so I’ll be posting an extended version Monday. In the meantime, here’s a chapter from Dennis’s new book, “The Narrow Road: A Brief Guide to the Getting of Money.”

Chapter 45: On the Fallacy of the Great Idea

There is a fallacy rooted in the minds of many who wish to become rich – the fallacy of the great idea. Having a great idea is not enough. It is the manner in which ideas are executed that counts. Implementation will always trump ideas, however good those ideas are.

Good ideas are like Nike sports shoes. They may facilitate success for an athlete who possesses them, but on their own they are nothing but an overpriced pair of sneakers. Sports shoes don’t win races. Athletes do.

I have lost count of the number of men and women who have approached me with their “great idea,” as if this, in and of itself, was their passport to instant wealth. The idea is not a passport. At most, it is the means of obtaining one. In some instances, a fixation on a great idea can prove hazardous, distracting your attention from the perils and pitfalls
You will inevitably encounter on the narrow road.

If you never have a single great idea in your life, but become skilled in executing the great ideas of others, you can succeed beyond your wildest dreams. They do not have to be your ideas – execution is all. When confronted with a great idea, your reaction should be to scrupulously analyze its commercial potential in the context of your own ability to transform that potential into triumph.

Ideas don’t make you rich. The correct execution of ideas does.

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Excerpt: maxim founder felix dennis on the fallacy of big ideas