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Who Wants To Be A Billionaire?

The New York Times Recommended Books For March, 2020. | Image: The New York Times

Who wants to be a billionaire? Well, everyone wants a share of that pie. This must be the reason that Teni’s famous song, “I want to be a Billionaire” topped the music charts and appealed to the hearts of Nigerians. Knowing the secrets to becoming a billionaire has often been placed as a top priority on the to-do list of every Tom, Dick, and Harry. In fact, the thirst for wealth and fame had made Dangote, a household name. It is, therefore, not surprising that many people who have attained the billionaire status frequently give clues to lesser mortals on how to attain the wealth. Right from Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey’s books to read to self-help books, the 21st century is broadening in its search for the next billionaire.

While hovering and trying to decipher the secrets behind billionaires’ status, people go as far as studying the principles or imitating all they do to unravel their wealth-made-easy secrets. People often become more obliged to take recommendations from the billionaires, either through their books or confrontation, to progress in life and to fulfil the quest on how they could become rich and famous.

The advent of the social media has since triggered a new level in the thirst for wealth and fame of people through its continuous broadcast of ‘the rich and famous’ as seen in Forbes list.

Apart from financially breaking the banks, certain elements and traits are learnt by others with the hope of it ushering them through the gateway to billionaire hood. Qualities like reading to learn and open doors.
People are often interested in what billionaires read based on their public declarations from the big guys themselves. With this, many jump at the recommendation of financially reputable individuals becoming a case of “if I say jump, you ask how high?”

Oprah Winfrey, as a way of revealing her secrets to wealth to people, has since begun a thriving book club. Bill Gates, on the other hand, constantly recommends books, sharing their likes in books, and testimonies on how such books have deeply affected his life and others through changing their perspective, leading to effective and positive influence.

Reality TV shows have become a platform that showcases the lives of the rich and famous, also mirroring the quest to reveal the secrets of the rich. However, the more serious-looking billionaires and millionaires do not feature on-air begging the questions, “Are they really hiding something?” or “Are their lives too boring to watch?” because they seem to be good at dishing out books to be read.

<em>Olive, Again</em>, by Elizabeth Strout

In their busy schedule, one would imagine how they can still afford to read books. With Oprah’s book club, she not only makes an impact on her life but also effects endorsement for the authors of the book and this routinely becomes a signed deal to being a bestseller which leads to both class structures scouting for this book.

Gates’s endorses “The Great Influenza” by John M. Barry, reviewing the book as one that resonates with the unprecedented times as it captures the historical 1918 influenza pandemic and also lets us know that we are not the first era to be ravaged by such an experience. Again, he recommends a financial book which he regards as fortunately making economics accessible to the average individual. It is titled “Good Economics for Hard Times” by Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo. This is a practical and reasonable thing to do as we all brace ourselves for a recession, no pessimism proposed but “a man who does not plan plans to fail”.

Bill Gates is not the only Richie Rich that people observe. Oprah Winfrey, with her book club, since 1996, has recommended up to 86 works to people. Oprah often chooses books with meaningful content irrespective of their genre. Ranging from different genres like the winner of Pulitzer prize, Elizabeth Strout in her novel “Olive Again,” to even the renowned biography, “Becoming Michelle Obama.” Oprah once remarked in her book club, “I want the whole world to read this book” as she wants ‘the world to think about your own becoming’. Interestingly, the work of a Nigerian authored book “Say You’re One of Them” by a Jesuit Priest Uwem Akpan has been the only Nigerian fiction to have been chosen as her 63rd book club selection. Without a doubt, it suffices to say that once certain works have an affirmation from the high and mighty, there will be an aura of success, eventually.

Regardless of not being in the Billionaire’s club, a top shot or one of the influential, we get a feeling of being a part of the top shot when we read some of these books knowing they have been recommended by high and famous. You are what you eat, same as you are what you read. Who knows? This might be the first step to making your money into realisable dreams.

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