A Smart Approach To Risk
In his latest book, Risky is the New Safe, prosperity guru Randy Gage offers a fast-paced, high-energy take on the future and what will be required to succeed. Gage, who turned around a life of drug addiction and jail to become a multimillionaire, can be at once inspirational and infuriating — and he probably likes it that way.
For Gage, being a contrarian is one of the keys to future success. "The reality is most people today are automatons, blindly following the herd through the motions of life," he writes. Instead of being afraid of being contrarian, you should be afraid if you’re not, he continues. "Not only is risky the new safe in the new economy," he writes, "weird is the new normal."
Trained Monkeys and Puppy Clones
Gage launches the book with two personal experiences of the weird. In Thailand, he stumbles onto monkeys trained to harvest coconuts. In a San Francisco airport lounge, he meets a couple with a cute puppy — that happens to be cloned (the couple’s story is confirmed at final destination, where they are met by a gaggle of press). These two strange examples portend the future of work and jobs, he writes. "There are millions of jobs that can and probably someday will be performed by monkeys — or dogs or cats or dolphins," he writes. And perhaps someday, Jones & Sons Hardware on Main Street won’t need to hire employees since Mr. Jones Sr. can clone all the sons he needs.
Mobile Apps and Financial Debacle
From the weird, Gage moves to predictions based on the vast changes that technology will bring — changes that outpace even the changes brought on by the Internet. Gage foresees a future that ranges from screens on glasses and lenses to the replacement of traditional broadcast networks with individually tailored networks called The My Network (TMN), which will be watched on a vast array of devices from smart phones to wristwatches, and to the explosion of virtual reality applications, some more tawdry than others.
Gage also predicts a global financial debacle caused by governments and a mass hatred of the rich. Sadly, Gage’s suggestions, such as buying real estate, putting your retirement money into several currencies and buying gold, may be out of reach for most readers.
Tribes and Ego
Gage is on more engaging ground when he describes the potential that continued developments in technology and social media create for marketing and customer service, allowing companies to turn their customer base into — to use Seth Godin’s term — tribes. A proud "parrothead," Gage describes in detail how singer Jimmy Buffet pioneered the creation of tribes. In the same chapter, Gage predicts the retail world will be rocked by the explosion of network or multilevel marketing (think Amway), which he calls "social media on steroids, in 3-D and living color."
In the final two chapters, Gage urges his readers to harness their egos for success and to be selfish. Extolling the virtues of Ayn Rand and Objectivism, Gage explains that the danger for most people is "when you see serving and helping others as more important than helping yourself. It’s a sure sign of low self-esteem, worthiness issues, and harmful mind viruses — and that is the fastest way to a life of victimhood, resentment and frustration."
Whether or not you are a Rand fan, Gage’s core theme — that there are opportunities for anyone willing to think differently and take risks — is one that all should take to heart.