The Harder You Work, the Luckier You Get

An Entrepreneur's Memoir
Length: 10 hrs and 45 mins
5 out of 5 stars (66 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade, shares the epic inside story of how a working-class kid from the Nebraska prairie took on Wall Street’s clubby brokerage business, busted it open, and walked away a billionaire.

Joe Ricketts always had the gift of seeing what others missed. The son of a house builder, he started life as a part-time janitor, but by the age of 33 he saw the chance to challenge the big brokerage firms by offering Americans an inexpensive way to take control of their own stock trading. Nowadays, we take for granted that Main Street is playing right there on Wall Street, but Ricketts made that happen. His company, begun with $25,000 borrowed from friends and family, took off like a rocket thanks to an early embrace of digital technology and irreverent marketing. But Ameritrade also faced a series of near-disasters: the SEC almost shut him down; his partners tried to force him out because of his relentless risk-taking; penny brokers swindled the company; the crash of 1989 nearly cost him everything; and he was almost shut down again when a customer committed massive fraud. By the time of the dot-com bust, he had proven that his strategy based on frontier values could survive just about anything. 

The Harder You Work, The Luckier You Get offers a view inside Joe Ricketts’s mind, giving listeners a visceral understanding of how entrepreneurs think and act differently from the rest of us - how they see the horizon where we just see a spreadsheet. As unvarnished as the prairie he comes from, Ricketts also talks honestly about his shortcomings as a manager, the career sacrifices his wife made for his business, the complexity of being a father, and the pain of his mentor’s betrayal and of his brother’s death from AIDS. Overcoming these and other challenges, he built a company now worth $30 billion. 

A must-listen for anyone who’s ever dreamed of starting their own business, The Harder You Work, The Luckier You Get is the ultimate only-in-America story.

©2019 Joe Ricketts (P)2019 Simon & Schuster

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Just great!

First of all, as a person of entrepreneurial inclination, I found the story of Joe Ricketts and Ameritrade to be hugely inspiring. Not only was it inspiring, but an adventure as well! Listening to the audiobook links your mind to Ricketts' and opens you up to seeing the world through his eyes. You root for him as he takes you through the ups and downs of his couple of decades long mission to build his company. You think he's a badass and you want to become like him. In a literary sense, I found the book well structured, paced and sized, and I became quite fond of the narrator Dan Campbell's voice as well. All in all 10/10!

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Borderline self-deprecation --> business success

Joe Ricketts tells a pretty clear story of how hard work, extreme frugality, and often settling for less, eventually led to his and his wife's intertwined business success.

He makes it clear that he has never fit in with the high-society folk, and admits to numerous transgressions, including driving home drunk from Friday work parties on more than one occasion. He admits to his and his company's transgressions, but compares them to much worse, and often hidden, transgressions of his competitors.

He never takes the moral high road, and gives what appears to me to be a straight account of how an average Joe made it big in life. Well worth the listen. The narrator does a great job, too.

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Wow!

If you listen to the entirety and then the epilogue you will break down in tears. Tears for Mr. Ricketts. Then, great understanding will wash over you and you will feel even more determined in your endeavors. If you do not feel this then you do not understand the book or are using it for a different purpose. I would like to think this is what was intended.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-25-19

solid business non-fiction with narrative.

solid narrative business non-fiction. if you liked shoe dog by phil knight this will appeal.