Michael W. Sonnenfeldt is the founder of Tiger 21, a community of more than 500 entrepreneurs and investors who collectively manage $50 billion in personal assets. He is also chairman of MUUS & Co., a private investment company focused on alternative energy. He speaks with Worth about his new book, Think Bigger: And 39 Other Winning Strategies from Successful Entrepreneurs.
Q: Why is the lesson of your title, “think bigger,” so critical?
A: If I were going to distill everything I’ve learned from successful wealth creators, I figured I should lead with one of the most important takeaways. Before they meet one ambitious goal, they are already formulating the next. The most successful people—in every walk of life—just seem to naturally think bigger.
You say entrepreneurs can often be lousy investors. Why?
Many successful entrepreneurs have never had time to master personal finance. When it comes to investing outside their company, they may search for the outsized returns they achieved from their firms, and that can lead to bad choices. And after selling their business, many entrepreneurs forget to look for places where they have an edge. For example, if they made their money in real estate, they might have an edge buying real estate, particularly an individual purchase they can underwrite.
“The key to raising children with wealth successfully? Communication. Communication. Communication.”
What blind spots do you often see among entrepreneurs?
We all have a tendency to overrate our abilities. Just because you know a lot about one area does not mean you know a lot about another, and some have been successful because of luck more than anything else. This can put you at a disadvantage when you are competing in arenas where others know more than you do. WILEY, $30, 240 PAGES