She sits quietly and looks straight into his eyes, feeding on his fear. Yes, it sounds like a line from a pulp novel, but the truth is, she is relishing the anxiety and suffering she's causing. The psychic damage she inflicts turns her on. The meeting lasts about an hour. They conclude by signing documents. She silently walks out with her all-female entourage of seven attorneys and bodyguards. She just earned over $120 million on this small transaction-a 600% return in less than three years.
Twenty-five years ago ... Russ sits in a rundown box of an apartment with four friends in a strange land. She's there and they're talking about what to do with their lives. While most of them discuss a variety of possibilities, some of them very altruistic, she single-mindedly wants to become rich. But rich to her is not $10 million or $100 million. She wants to be world-class, Forbes 400 wealthy. She wants to be a billionaire. Preferably a billionaire a few times over. Nothing else matters... nothing AT ALL.
She grew up in a whorehouse. She never knew her father. Her mother died when she was about five. Not surprisingly, her childhood is the foundation of her fixation with accumulating massive wealth. She believes that money means opportunities. Money is life. Money is the only thing that really matters. Besides, money is a girl's best friend.
For a pretty smart group, they were awfully stupid, as young adults often are. Not knowing better, they took her lead and decided to get fabulously rich. They slipped into the zeitgeist and quickly picked up on the "rules of conduct" that translate into extreme success and astronomical wealth.
Today ... After following these rules with a burning passion for a quarter century, she's unquestionably a billionaire in command of a little empire dominated by women from the same world she originally came from. We've been periodically privileged, and regularly frightened, to see her in "action."
Our experiences in this milieu haven't been restricted to dealing with her. Over the years, we've ethnographically studied other self-made billionaires as well as many self-made millionaires who have not yet reached B-list status. In evaluating their attitudes, behaviors and actions when it comes to wealth creation, we've identified precise, dominant, persistent patterns-rules, if you will.
This set of rules encapsulates the strategies and tactics that can potentially make a person a billionaire or, at least, phenomenally affluent. Most anyone can follow these rules of conduct and achieve significantly greater personal and pecuniary success. However, it's often most effective for people who have already realized a moderate level of wealth but want to "own the stars."
In this column, we'll discuss these patterns. We're not advocating that you follow them. Even if you choose to do so, we're certainly not advocating that you commit yourself to these rules as our protagonist has. We also want to make it very clear that people have created great fortunes without following these rules. While Russ started down this path long ago, he soon stopped and has since approached personal wealth creation very differently. As with most things in life, there are tradeoffs-just ask Faust.