Michael Lee-Chin’s Tips for Success

April 28, 2009

Michael Lee-Chin is the billionaire entrepreneur behind the very successful Canadian investment company AIC. (That’s C, not G like the disaster-ridden American insurance company.) He’s incredibly inspirational—a true rags to riches self-made man. Here are some notes from a talk he gave today at the University Club in Toronto.

  1. Principles. Have principles and stick to them.
  2. Passion. Be passionate about what you do. With passion, you can outwork anyone who isn’t as passionate. Having strong principles makes it easier to be passionate.
  3. Patience. Success comes slowly. Five years of hard work is a bare minimum. Having passion makes it easier to be patient.
  4. Perseverance/Perspiration. Expect to work hard. All of the above make it possible to work harder.

Every successful businessperson does the following five things:

  1. Owns just a few businesses.
  2. Understands these businesses thoroughly.
  3. These businesses are in industries that are positioned for long-term growth and profit.
  4. Holds these businesses for the long term.
  5. Use other people’s money to enhance the rate of return.

On a personal level:

  1. Build a good reputation and let nothing touch it.
  2. Differentiate yourself. Do not become a commodity.

He believes in “Do well, do good.” That is, it’s not enough just to be personally successful. One must also give back to society.

Another big lesson is to ask for what you want, no matter how unreasonable it might seem.

Some key quotes:

“Danger = Crisis + Opportunity” (from Chinese)

“Risk more than others think is safe, care more than others think is wise, dream more than others think is practical, expect more than others think is possible.” (of unknown origin)

“To invest successfully over a lifetime does not require a stratospheric IQ, unusual business insights, or inside information. What’s needed is a sound intellectual framework for making decisions and the ability to keep emotions from corroding that framework.” (from Warren Buffet)


4 Responses to “Michael Lee-Chin’s Tips for Success”

  1. Ali de Bold Says:

    This is great! You remembered all of the stuff I couldn’t remember yesterday when I got home and wrote something about it. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. rxin Says:

    Is he the guy that donated a large sum to ROM?

  3. aran Says:

    @rxin: Yeah he is, he’s quite the philanthropist.

  4. Taimur Says:

    nice! thanks for this post

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