millionaire fastlane summary

The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco BOOK SUMMARY & NOTES

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The Millionaire Fastlane, Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime

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Published: 2011 by Viperion Publishing Corporation

Self-Help | Personal Finance | Entrepreneurship

Buy the Book: AbeBooks | The Book Depository

Quotes from The Millionaire Fastlane

Time isn’t a commodity, something you pass around like a cake. Time is the substance of life. When anyone asks you to give your time, they’re really asking for a chunk of your life. ~ Antoinette Bosco”

― M.J. DeMarco

“There’s a profound difference between interest and commitment. Interest reads a book; commitment applies the book 50 times.”

― M.J. DeMarco

“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it. ~ Thomas Jefferson”

― M.J. DeMarco

“All events of wealth are precluded by process, a backstory of trial, risk, hard work, and sacrifice. If you try to skip process, you’ll never experience events.”

― M.J. DeMarco

About MJ DeMarco

MJ DeMarco is a semi-retired entrepreneur, investor, advisor, and international best-selling author who’s books have been translated in over 15 languages worldwide. He is the current founder of Viperion Publishing Corp., a media company focused on online and print content distribution. He also is admin/founder for The Fastlane Forum, the web’s leading destination forum for start-up, finance, and entrepreneurial business discussions.


Prior to embarking into the world of writing and authorship, he was the former start-up Founder/CEO of (1997-2007), a global ground transportation aggregator and marketplace that he successfully built and grew into a profitable multi-million dollar company, all with no money, no formal training, and with just a few employees. In 2001, he sold the company in an exit event but later reacquired the company via bankruptcy reorganization. He later sold the company again in 2007 to a Phoenix-based private equity company.

By refusing to accept society’s default template for mediocrity (THE SCRIPT: jobs, 401(k)s, frugality, give your life savings to Wall-Street) MJ was able to retire young in his thirties without sacrificing the good life. Yes, that means he isn’t playing Wall-Street’s “hope, wait, and pray” game where you nervously invest all your savings into the stock market, all while commiserating over the Starbucks you couldn’t drink because saving $4.12 was more important. (Do people seriously believe that sh*t?)

Currently, MJ owns a publishing company which produces, distributes, and licenses his work around the world while contributing daily to an entrepreneurial community featuring over 40,000 entrepreneurs. He lives in Scottsdale Arizona and enjoys road trips, softball, travel, fitness and nutrition, working out, and recklessly exploring the Sonoran desert on his UTV.

Conventional Thinking Leads to Conventional Ways

Despite its title, The Millionaire Fastlane by entrepreneur MJ DeMarco is not about some get-rich-quick scheme. It rather focuses on how to build wealth the right and systematic way.

The key message of this book is that there are other ways that are supposed to make us rich more than going to school, get a good job, live frugally, and retire. This kind of mindset takes decades to succeed. There has to be another way.

This is not a shortcut. You have to create a great product or company that produces passive income, even when you’re asleep.

I’m excited to talk about this book because it’s aligned with the way I think about life and about building wealth in general.

Wealth Is Authored Not Only of Money but by 3 Fundamental F’s

You will find true wealth with these three things. 

  1. Family (relationships) – not just your family, but people, community, friends, and God
  2. Fitness (health) – vibrancy and passion
  3. Freedom (choice) – freedom to live how you want to live, what, when, and where. This is where the money comes in. Money is able to buy your freedom.

The 3 Roadmaps People Take in Life

3 roadmaps to wealth 1


Also known as: The roadmap of the poor

Destination: Poverty

“You cannot solve poor money management with more money.”

  • People who don’t have plans in life. They are one step or problem away from being broke; getting fired from a job, having a health issue, etc.
  • Change jobs frequently – usually for small pay raises
  • They earn money but they spend it on unimportant things like new gadgets, new cars, new fashion styles just to be on the trend. They live on instant gratification.
  • For them, time is abundant so they do what they want to do like watching TV all day and deny responsibility.
  • Will wait in line/waste time for small discounts and freebies
  • Have no savings – live paycheck to paycheck
  • Their perception of money is that they don’t need to save because they are paying bills on time and they can buy lottery tickets to accelerate their wealth.
  • Some have huge income like professional athletes/entertainers – but no financial intelligence to maintain/grow this income into old age
  • Their mindset is that after they graduated from college, they won’t learn new things.
  • Sidewalker’s Wealth formula: Wealth = Income + Debt.
  • Make up the majority of the population
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Photo by Lisa Fotios on


Also known as: The lane of mediocrity

“They forsake their youth for the promise of elderly wealth or, wealth in a wheelchair; afterall, $100 invested a month in the stock market for 40 years will be worth $2.5 million by the time you’re 70!”

  • Mindset: “Go to school, get good grades, graduate, get a good job, invest in the stock market, max-out your 401(k), cut up your credit cards, and clip coupons … then someday, when you are, oh, 65 years old, you will be rich.”
  • They save and live frugal and believe that one day they will retire with millions. Unfortunately, if that time arrives, they may be too old to enjoy it. This mindset takes decades to succeed.
  • Slowlane travelers are those mediocre, working their asses Monday through Friday.
  • Have mutual funds, 401ks, etc. They save money for long term investments that will hopefully pay off.
  • Often good jobs like doctors etc.
  • Sacrifice time for money. They have given up control of their financial freedom and have traded time for money. Time for money can’t be scaled very much; there are only so many hours in a day.

6 reasons why normal jobs “suck”:

  1. To trade time is to trade life 
  2. Limitation on experience – you’ll learn more being an entrepreneur in months than years being an employee 
  3. No control – it’s like you’re riding in the bed of a pickup truck. The driver is protected and makes the decisions. You get tossed around and might even get dumped overboard. 
  4. Linda’s bad breath – you don’t get to pick who you work with. Office politics.
  5. A subscription to “pay yourself last” – as an employee, taxes go out first
  6. A dictatorship on income. You’ll never get a 1000% pay raise being an employee

To be wealthy you need to have:

  • Control 
  • Leverage 

Other factors why Slowlane will just end stick in the middle:

  • They might not reach retirement
  • Markets or investments might crash. It may grow or plummet gradually.
  • Inflation might mean that the money they have gained through investments as little to no extra buying power than the money they initially saved

Slowlaner’s Wealth Formula = Job + Market Investments


Also known as: The wealth-building lane

Destination: Wealth

“Business and Lifestyle strategy characterized by controllable unlimited leverage, hence creating an optimal environment for rapid wealth creation and extraordinary lifestyles”. Creating massive wealth quickly”.

  • Create lifetime passive income
  • Spend time once in making a system that reaps financial rewards for years.
  • Seek controllable unlimited leverage Vs slow lane = little control over time and income
  • Have a business and investments instead of a Job
  • Value lifestyle over work and create systems to allow for a lifestyle of freedom
  • Seek rapid wealth creation
  • Realize the more value they provide the richer they will become.
  • First get criticised by people in the slow lane and sidewalk. For example; they will hear things like; get a real job, you should do this/do that, you’re weird, insane etc. and will later hear things like; he/she was lucky, were in the right place at the right time, etc.

Divorce Wealth from Time 

Create money trees. They are exclusive of your time and need little maintenance. 

Money Tree Seedlings

  1. Rentals – property, licensing, patents, etc 
  2. Computer/software systems – code once and distribute to millions. Example: Internet and software companies 
  3. Content systems – YouTube, blogging, digital classes, social media, books, etc. 
  4. Distribution systems – books, podcasts, albums, apps, online courses,
  5. Human resource systems

It is the real get rich quick; hard and smart work is needed in the beginning but creates massive leverage. They create assets and innovative products etc. that will pay them for years to come regardless of whether they are still working on these assets or not.

It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 40.

The wealth formula is [Intrinsic Value (Yearly)] + [Compound Interest (Yearly)].

male employer gesticulating and explaining idea in light office
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

The Law of Effection

The Law of Effection is an effect that will give you real wealth. It’s about the magnitude of your effect on a certain number of people.

Scale translates to units sold. Magnitude translates to unit profit. 

Serve a lot of people in order to make a lot of money. You could either affect a huge number of people or maybe just a few people — but in a huge way.

Your Vehicle to Wealth is You

To Pay Yourself First, You Must Own Yourself

What this means:

  • Your vehicle (you) must be free and clear. Pay yourself first and the government last.
  • Start a corporate structure that formally divorces you from the act of business.

The recommended fastlane business entity is a C Corp, S Corp, or an LLC. 

The author only does S corps, LLCs, and trusts. 

Use Your ‘Life Steering Wheel’

Choice is the most powerful control you have in your life. Therefore, you have to be very careful about them. Even the small choices will affect your results years and years out in the future.

Both success and failure come from the small choices that are made every day and are accumulated over time.

Jim Rohn once said:

“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practiced every day.”

Wipe Your ‘Windshield’ Clean

The windshield represents making better choices.

We have two types of choices:

  1. Choices of perception (thought patterns)
  2. Choices of action (choosing to read)

The following are strategies that will ensure your ‘windshield’ helps you get clear so that you can make the right choices:

Worst-Case Consequence Analysis (WCCA)

  • What is the worst possible consequence of this choice?
  • What is the probability of that outcome?
  • Is that an acceptable risk?

Weighted Average Decision Matrix (WADM)

This means giving different weights to different factors and then calculating the overall score. This can help you make better decisions by clarifying alternatives and their internal factors.

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Photo by Riccardo Bresciani on

Deodorize Flatulent Headwinds

The idea is that the natural state of the masses is to be average, not to be exceptional.

With that, you have to be very careful and cognizant of the people around you. The people in your life are like comrades in a battle platoon. They can save you, help you, or destroy you.

Your Primordial Fuel: Time

Fastlaners regard time as the king of all assets. Time is deathly scarce, while money is abundant. 

Your lifespan is made up of both free time and indentured time. Free time is bought and paid for by indentured time. 

Fastlaners are frugal with time while slowlaners are frugal with money.  

Change that Dirty, Stale Oil

Changing oil means continuously educating ourselves even beyond graduation. We have to refresh or update ourselves by learning new things and getting the ideas in our heads.

Infinite knowledge is everywhere and it’s free. Fastlaner’s educate themselves to advance their business system and their money tree, not to raise the intrinsic value.

Don’t use the “don’t have time excuse.”

  • Driving University
  • Exercise University 
  • Waiting university 
  • Toilet university 
  • Jobbing University 
  • Tv-Time University

Hit the Redline

Interest is the first gear, commitment is the redline.

Hard work and commitment separate the winners from the losers. Some choose short-term mediocre comfort over long-term meteoric omcofrt.

Failure is natural to success. Expect it and learn from it. Failure is the sweat of success. You can’t succeed without failure. 

To live unlike everyone else, you have to do what everyone else won’t. There is no perfect timing. Waiting for “someday” just wastes time.

Read a book once a month. The author reads one per week.

Fastlaners Live by Five Commandments – NECST (pronounced “next”:

NECST is a Fastlane litmus test and validates your road.

The Commandment of Need

Never start a business just to create money. Businesses that solve needs win. Needs can be pain points, service gaps, unsolved problems, or emotional disconnects, instead of money/relying only on a “do what you love” mentality and hope to get rich. 90% of businesses fail because they are based on selfish internal needs.

People do not care about what you love. People care about having their problems solved. If “Do what you love” is to work; what you love must solve a need and you must be exceptional at it. Fill a demand instead of trying to create one. What can you provide for people, not what can they provide for you. Some golden markets include Health, Wealth, Relationships as they all fill needs.

Make 1 million people achieve any of the following: 

  1. Make them feel better. (Entertainment, music, video games)
  2. Help them solve a problem 
  3. Educate them 
  4. Make them look better (health, nutrition, clothing, makeup)
  5. Give them security (housing, safety, health)
  6. Raise a positive emotion (love, happiness, laughter, self confidence)
  7. Satisfy appetites from basic (food) to risqué (sexual)
  8. Make things easier 
  9. Enhance their dreams and give hope. 

The Commandment of Entry

“The world is littered with so-called businesses that have no entry barriers. And that is why they suck and the people who follow them aren’t rich”

Easy access roads carry more traffic. More traffic, means higher competition and lower margins. You’d like some kind of barrier of entry to your business – a certain knowledge that people must possess to participate, large sums of money required for investments, contacts that you need to have, etc.

Higher entry barriers equate to stronger more powerful roads to wealth and less competition. The creators of low entry barrier businesses get rich (e.g. MLM, dropshipping etc.) And the followers? They usually don’t.

You can be a pyramid builder or a pyramid builder. You can be the sheep or the sheepherder.

The Commandment of Control

Fast lane drivers control everything in their business. They create products instead of buying, collect rent instead of paying it, offer programs instead of joining them. They are producers instead of consumers.

Fastlaners control their lifestyle, business and wealth. They are self employed entrepreneurs. They retain control.

You must have control. You don’t own a business if you don’t determine price, marketing, product line, etc. 

Hitchhiking a content distribution platform to distribute your educational videos violates this commandment. People can become rich while not having control but they are not real fastlaners; they are “hitchhikers” and are relying on other companies or people for wealth and don’t have control over what they do.  

Network marketing is powerful distribution. As a fastlaner, seek to own a powerful distribution system, not join one.

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The Commandment of Scale

There are 6 business habitats:

  • Local 
  • County
  • Statewide
  • Regional
  • National
  • Worldwide

Fastlaners are not limited to one area or customer base e.g. restaurant in local town. They can scale their product or service to a large audience. The internet solves this very well.

Your total pool of customers determines your habitat. The larger the habitat, the greater the potential for wealth.

The Commandment of Time

Money is not king, time is.

Fastlaners detach their business from their time and don’t need to always be working to make money. You must create a business system that can survive without any input from yourself. For example; creating a video course instead of having to give classes, creating software that solves a need instead of manually solving the need. They free themselves from their business and make money 24 hours a day. We want passive income. A business attached to time is job.

Rapid Wealth

If all the 5 Commandments of Wealth are met, rapid wealth can be generated.

Today, avenues that can be used in terms of business include:

Potent Fastlane #1: Internet

  • 1. Subscription-based
  • 2. Content-based
  • 3. Lead generation
  • 4. Social networks, communities, forums
  • 5. Brokerage systems
  • 6. Advertising
  • 7. E-commerce

Potent Fastlane #2: Innovation

Two acts: Manufacture and Distribution. Manufacturing is half the process. You need distribution. 

Can beuthoring, inventing, or services

Potent Fastlane #3: Intentional iteration

Taking business and continuously improving it.

Iteration is profitable, singles-based business scaled to home runs. Think franchises. 

The intentional iterator goes into business to cookie-cut his system across many successes. 

Find the Open Road

How to spot open roads? Look for these phrases: “I hate…”, “This frustrates me…”, “I don’t like…”, “Why is it like this…”, “Do I have to…”, “I’m tired of…”, “This sucks…”

You’ve got the idea, but someone is already doing it? So what. Do it better.

This is the same concept explained in Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup, which tells about where the success of any business venture comes from:

  • 5% of the success is from the initial idea
  • 95% is from execution, pivoting and persevering, or simply from the persistence to try until it succeeds

In The Millionaire Fastlane context, the speed of execution, iteration, going after it, and changing lanes as you see fit will determine the success that can be created for you.

Give the Road a Destination

The price of freedom is money. 

Set your destination: Four Steps to Starting

  1. Define the Lifestyle: What do you want?
  2. Assess the Cost: How much does your dream cost?
  3. Set the Targets: Set the money system and business income targets.
  4. Make It Real: Fund it and open it!

Learn all you can about finance. You need to be literate with finances. 

Live below your means; however, increase your means to live a better lifestyle. 

Your Speed (Accelerate Wealth)

The Speed of Success

The strategy for speed: play chess not checkers.

  • The King: your execution
  • The Queen: your marketing
  • The Bishop: your customer service
  • The Knight: your product
  • The Rook: your people
  • The Pawn: your ideas

Execution is King. Ideas are Pawns. 

The speed of success will always lie in execution, not in ideas or planning. Execution divides winners and losers from their ideas. In businesses, execution is a process. Ideas are events. 

Ideas are pawns.Execution is king.
Have potential speedThe real speed

Potential speed is the idea. Actual speed is the idea accelerated and executed. 

Your car has the potential to go 220 MPH but you need to push on the gas. 

Pedestrians Will Make You Rich 

The customers are the pedestrians who will make you rich. Therefore:

  • Provide excellent customer service.
    • Be able to satisfy them the best way you can. Go above your customer’s expectations. 
  • Keep the right people.
    • A company is only as good as the people it keeps.
    • A business partnership is like a marriage

Poor service from another business is a fastlane opportunity for you. 

Satisfied customers will promote your business for free, they’ll repeat business and send you new business. 

Be Someone’s Savior 

If you are too busy copying or watching your competition, you’re not innovating. Study and understand the competition’s weakness and then exploit that weakness.

Commoditization occurs when you get into a business based on a false premise. Don’t just get commoditized. Become someone’s savior.

Build Brands, Not Businesses

Develop your unique selling proposition and rise above the noise. The ways to do this can be as follows:

  • 1. Uncover the Benefit
  • 2. Be Unique – instead of language like “lose fat” use sayings like “obliterate fat” 
  • 3. Be specific and give evidence – “your car sold in 20 days or less or it’s free.”
  • 4. Keep it short, clear, and concise
  • 5. Integrate your USP into all marketing materials
  • 6. Make it real

Choose Monogamy Over Polygamy

This concept discourages trying to start and run a thousand different businesses at the same time. Don’t cheat your focus on multiple things. 

Just focus on one and dig into it. Focus, focus, focus! 

Do as many things as best as you can for it. Once you have it working, then you share your focus on multiple business opportunities. 

The end. There is so many ideas in this book that changed the way that I think.


For me, this is the best finance book. It challenged my view in everything I’ve been taught by my family, other financial teaches, society. I’ve read many investment and financial books before this one but this is a game-changer.

There are a lot of people living with a “sidewalk” mindset. They are frugal with money but not with time — which is supposed to be the greatest asset. If you think working for 9-5 every day and retiring at age 65 is a good idea, read this.

After learning from this amazing book, I commit to reaching my desired wealth destination. I will never have the right time but I have to grab the opportunity right then and there because waiting will empower mediocrity. As I execute and start rolling, I’ll learn a trade and you’ll get better.

This might be a little uncomfortable to read but it’s a strikes home hard. The author swears a lot. But I highly recommend you grab a copy of this. There is so much wisdom, brilliant points, and analogies.

Buy the Book: AbeBooks | The Book Depository

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