Here is the first of my book summary series! In this series, I’ll be summarizing/reviewing my favourite books (finance or not) and pulling out the best advice from a financial freedom standpoint. I was debating what book to start with for a while, before ultimately settling on one of my all-time favourites: The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco.
I had the honor a few days ago to go on the Business Kids Podcast and chat with Seba and Jesus. During our chat, which you should definitely go check out when it comes out, we talked about a LOT of things. Apart from just the usual finance stuff, we also discussed TikTok, productivity, and curiously enough… reading. We shared our reading strategies and Seba asked an interesting question: “have you ever considered writing book summaries from a financial freedom perspective for people who are too busy to read the actual book?” My answer was no, but I DID promise that my next article would be a book summary. AND that I would consistently write book summaries from now on.
In this post, we’ll run through a quick summary, I’ll share the takeaways, and finally provide my own thoughts. Also, if you stick to the end, I’ll provide some “similar book” recommendations. Without further ado, let’s jump right in!
The Millionaire Fastlane Summary
The main thing that the book revolves around is, you guessed it, the Millionaire Fastlane™. But what exactly is it?
In short, the Millionaire Fastlane is a redefinition of wealth from society’s standards. Most financial advice nowadays sounds something like “invest consistently for 40 years and you’ll be rich.” Which, although might be true, isn’t exactly exciting. (Wouldn’t you rather be young and rich than old and rich?) The Millionaire Fastlane is a path that’s vastly different. Instead of saving and investing for 40 years to become rich, you can become rich by building a successful business.
Business and Growth
Within the book, MJ DeMarco covers various topics such as your financial education, how the definition of wealth doesn’t revolve money, but most importantly, the importance of starting and scaling a business if you want to be part of the “fastlane”.
However, you can’t just start ANY business and expect it to be successful. There are certain rules that your business must follow.
This is the main crux of the book, so obviously it will be impossible to summarize it in a few sentences, but some key points that I derived are.
- There are 5 distinct business systems which are scalable and can give you financial freedom
- Your business much also follow CENTS to be successful
Basically, DeMarco is saying that you can’t just “do what you’re passionate about” and magically get rich. There might be some people for whom that works. But most people need to follow certain guidelines to build a great business.
Another thing that DeMarco mentions is the Law of Effection. Basically, that to make millions of dollars you need to affect millions of people. OR alternatively, affect a few people in a MAJOR way. DeMarco takes a not-commonly-mentioned but brutally intuitive fact and gives it to readers as it is: you need to provide value if you want to make money. If you are only affecting a few people in a small way, you’re not going to make a ton of money and you’re business isn’t going to be very successful.
Financial Freedom Takeaways
There are 3 main takeaways that I took away from The Millionaire Fastlane which I feel are related to financial freedom. There are, in order of importance:
- You need to start a business if you want to achieve financial freedom faster.
- You should focus primarily on how you can help OTHER people and provide value to OTHERs if you want to get rich (rather than constantly thinking about what’s in it for you)
- Execution is king
Start a Business
MJ DeMarco describes quite accurately what a lot of finance gurus sell nowadays. The “invest for 40 years and you’ll be rich!” dogma.
Of course, this is better than nothing (it is much better to be old and rich, than old and poor). But it also means that you’ll spend most of your life (arguably your best years) not being able to spend the money you want. He advocates that on top of investing for the long run, you need to build a business to achieve financial freedom soon.
The 5 most easily scalable businesses that he recommends are:
- Rental systems
- Computer/software systems
- Content systems
- Distribution systems
- Human resource systems
If no part of your business can be ascribed to one of the above, it will be significantly harder to scale in the future and you’ll probably still have to trade your time for money.
Aside from that, DeMarco insists that your business must follow/make CENTS.
C – You must have CONTROL over your business
E – Your business must have high barriers to ENTRY
N – Your business must fill an unmet or poorly met NEED
T – You must be able to detach your business from your TIME
S – You have to be able to SCALE your business
If you follow DeMarco’s advice, you’ll most likely achieve financial freedom way sooner than planned and also own a nice business at the end of the day.
Something I loved about MJ DeMarco’s book is what he said about helping others. The theme of providing value and truly giving to society appears over and over in the book.
This is interesting because most books detach giving and being charitable from making money (as if the two were antithetical). MJ DeMarco, however, believe that they go hand in hand.
If you provide value to people and affect millions of people, you will undoubtedly be rich. This can come in many forms, but a few are:
- Making millions of people look better
- Teaching millions of people something
- Entertaining millions of people
- Helping millions of people achieve their goals
- Saving millions of people time
If you can do any one of these things, according to MJ, you will find it hard NOT to become rich.
This is a message which I totally agree with and would love to relay to ANYONE, not just those seeking financial freedom. The more people you can help in life, the better your own life will be.
The last takeaway which I found immensely powerful is that execution is king.
MJ DeMarco means this in a business sense but I think it applies to all of life. What DeMarco means is that you can have the best and brightest ideas ever, but if you don’t execute on them, nothing will happen.
Execution makes businesses run and fuels the journey to riches. Without execution, everything else is useless.
This is a lesson which applies to financial freedom, working out, learning, and literally any area of life. You can THINK all you want about what you’re going to do, but if you never actually do it… what was the point?
The financial freedom related takeaway would be: don’t just think about investing or budgeting or saving, go and DO IT! Sure, reading blogs like Financial Pupil and filling your head with knowledge is good. But at some point, you need to start applying everything you’ve learnt. Otherwise, all that learning will go to waste.
Conclustion: Switch Over to the Fastlane Life
Most people follow the age-old lessons of “live below your means, invest the difference, and wait 40 years to get rich” but MJ DeMarco turns all that on its head with The Millionaire Fastlane.
To be sure, the fastlane isn’t for everyone, but if you want to achieve financial freedom early, I genuinely think that you’ll need to follow DeMarco’s advice. Either that or work at a crazy lucrative job paying 500k a year and save every nickel for 10 years.
I highly recommend this book, not just for financial freedom seekers but also for everyday 9-5ers. Maybe it will give you new fuel to pursue a life of your dreams or maybe you’ll shy away from it and not take action. Either way, I believe that anyone can glean at least SOME useful information from it.
Finally, as promised, here are books that you might enjoy if you enjoy stuff like The Millionaire Fastlane:
Do you agree with MJ DeMarco? What are some books that you love? Did I miss any crucial takeaways? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading through The Millionaire Fastlane Summary and thank you for following along! If you’re a Canadian Student, check out the Ultimate Canadian Student’s Guide to Personal Finance! To learn more about me, head over to this link here. If you want to get exclusive updates and tips, drop your email in the “get updates” box (might have to scroll up a bit.) Let me know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments!
Jeff is a Harvard 2025 student passionate about making smart financial decisions both in school and in the workplace so that he can spend more time doing what he loves (like playing golf, spending time with family, and travelling). He has experience working in the financial industry and enjoys sharing all things personal finance, academic, and golf-related. Outside of blogging, he loves to cook, read, and golf in his spare time.