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Risk & Grow Rich

11/01/2006 12:00 am EST


Nancy Zambell

Editor, Wall Street's Best Investments and Wall Street's Best Dividend Stocks

Kendra Todd, the first woman to win Donald Trump's The Apprentice, reality television show, made her first million by the time she was 27 years old.

How? Through investing in real estate, one of the oldest professions in the world

And while her book, subtitled How to Make Millions in Real Estate, does, indeed, hand out some pointers for successfully investing in real estate, almost all of Ms. Todds suggestions and advice can apply to making money in almost any field.

Her focus and one in which she is clearly passionate about is this: the fear of risk and risk-taking will prevent most people from ever becoming wealthy. But she tells us that obstacle is not insurmountable. We can achieve untold satisfaction and monetary success simply by redefining the definition of, and altering our response to, risk.

That just makes sense to me. Yet, Ms. Todd faces two obstacles: one, she is young and skeptics might wonder what she could offer at her tender age. And two, common thought is that of course, younger people can be bigger risk-takers; after all, they have a lot of years ahead of them to make up for their mistakes.

But her work ethic, experience and considerable thought and research on this subject negate the first concern and make the book an interesting read. Additionally, she mentions example after example of folks no different than you and I at the outset of their lives who went on to fame and fortune, by virtue of their daring, curiosity and refusal to be deterred many of whom were a little long-in-the-tooth at the time of their triumphs.

For proof of this, she cites older entrepreneurs like Mary Kay Ash, the founder of Mary Kay cosmetics, Anita Roddick, creator of the multimillion dollar retailer, the Body Shop, and Wally Amos, of Famous Amos cookies, as tremendous examples of the success you can achieve at any age, if you are only determined enough. The winning entrepreneurs on Ms. Todds list all have one trait in common: the ability to work with and profit from a healthy attitude toward risk at any age.

She recommends the three ates, tasks to help you embrace risk: calculate (plan, learn), initiate (act first and fast) and mitigate (benefits to be gained even if the stated goal is not achieved) and notes how each will make you successful in the long-term. Next, she debunks 10 popular myths about risk, including the belief that risk takers are born, not made. In fact, Ms. Todd believes that anyone, at any time, can reach their goals; you only have to change your attitude about risk.

She invites readers to take on manageable risk and minimize risk by following her thirteen personal rules of risk that will turn risk into opportunity.

Her recurring themes are critical for success in any endeavor: education and persistence. Educate yourself about your market, yourself, and your competition. Then be determined in your goal. And very importantly, have a system for recovering from failure. After all, most successful entrepreneurs have one or two spectacular failures before achieving their riches.

Ms. Todd spends the majority of the book discussing risk, a prelude for the last few chapters as to how she and her partner made big money in real estate. And it's easy for the reader to see that she passionately believes in, and followed the dictates she has outlined in her book to pave the road to her successes.

I think her attitude toward risk is critical to success and one that budding entrepreneurs would do well to embrace. As for her suggestions to make a killing in real estate, her recommendations are interesting, but do require a healthy dose of daring and moxie, with an aggressive approach to using leverage that may intimidate some. Yet, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

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