Habits of Wealth – Book

A Book by One of Sioux Falls’ Great Entrepreneurs

A few weeks ago I was invited to attend the 2014 Governor’s Invitational Golf Event in Sioux Falls. I have attended similar events in the past and one of the “ambassadors” I was paired with was Bill Byrne. Everyone starts with the standard “what do you do” conversation, and Bill was extremely modest about his past, far more interested in what others do. Bill mentioned that he wrote a book many years ago which became very popular, but really downplayed it as just a milestone in his career. He wasn’t being coy, but rather a great listener and leader, as I would find out later.

As many of you know, I’m an avid reader. If someone mentions a book to me, I must track it down and read it, regardless of the subject. So, up comes Amazon and my search for “Bill Byrne” turns up one book, written in 1992 (coincidentally, the year I graduated high school) called “Habits of Wealth.” The book was out of print and no Kindle edition but various used copies are available. I sigh, but order it anyway. About 7 days later it arrives in the mail.

Habits of Wealth discusses many habits of serial entrepreneurs like achievements, personnel, organizational, leadership and new habits. It was amazing to read this snapshot of business habits from over 20 years ago and witness how much has changed and how little has changed at the same time. My favorite comparison was that Bill would take his FAX machine with him on vacation, how cool is that.

Many challenges have changed very little over the years like struggling with the family/work balance, office politics, challenging business partners and the inevitable race to stay modern. The book concludes with an interview with his wife Lynne. It’s amazing to hear her talk about their family struggles and how she supported all of Bill’s excellent adventures and experienced many of her own.

I really enjoy reading successes and failures of great entrepreneurs, especially when it has some local or personal connection. If you do as well, I would recommend snagging a copy for yourself. (I will loan you mine if you promise to return it.) I look forward to meeting Bill again.

By the way, Bill’s an excellent golfer. Me, not so much.