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Getting a job at Google is way easier than starting a large successful software company.

And both are effectively impossible for many people in the world.

His advice is meant to be applicable for people who aren't lucky enough to have either of those options.

The option to invest in income-generating assets over costly status-signalling devices is available to far more people in the world.

E.g. https://www.kiva.org/about/impact/success-stories

So he's arguing buying stock instead of a nice car will make you wealthier? No argument here.

Well yes, buying stock, sure - though a small shareholding in a mature stock is not going to get you very far.

But a significant shareholding in a small-medium business that provides a valuable product/service and ends up generating steady cash flows over the long term seems like the optimal approach in terms of risk/reward, and is something that a lot of people in the world could figure out how to do if they put their mind to it over a long enough period of time.

> though a small shareholding in a mature stock is not going to get you very far.

Sp500 Average real return is 6.5% per year. So If you invest $1'000 per month, you will be a millionaire in today dollars in 30 years with just over 1.1 Million Dollars

That is a save income of around $38'500 per year.

> If you invest $1'000 per month

Sure – if you're lucky enough to have that amount of spare money to invest, that's great. Many people don't. (i.e., they aren't that lucky - remember this is about how to do well without relying on luck).

Some people who do have that amount to invest may want to get better returns and invest in something over which they have more control.

But let's not get stuck in the weeds over the specifics.

Either path is far better than wasting money on costly, depreciating status symbols.

You're talking about a save income that's above/around many people's gross.

How easy is it to go from nothing to a position where you can afford to make a "significant shareholding" in a small-medium business?

If you start a company yourself you own 100% of it.

If you have nothing to invest in it, and if it needs capital to get started, then you need to borrow funds to invest or sell part of the company to an investor.

In the former case your net worth will be the value of the company less the value of your debt. In the latter case you'll own less of the company, but you can still own most of it.

This applies whether you're in a rich western country starting a company that needs big amounts of capital, or in a developing country and starting a small business with micro-loans or micro-investments through bodies like Kiva.

But none of this is about what is easy. It’s never easy to attain something that is prized and scarce.

It's about what decisions will give the greatest probability of the outcome you want, given the opportunities and resources that you have available to you.

One (starting a successful large software business) is still much harder than the other (getting an offer at google, which people like me have got). It's a matter of order of magnitudes of difference

Sure, that may well be true for you, because you're lucky enough to have at least one of those options.

It remains the case that both options are largely/completely out of reach for many/most people in the world.

Naval's advice is applicable for many more people in the world than the few who are lucky enough to be able to get a job at Google or start a successful large software business.

That's the whole point of his list of recommendations.

True, but usual you do not start with a large and successful software company. I think starting a small software company is much easier than getting a job at Google. However, growing a small company into a large and successful one will be significantly harder. If for nothing else, it will take much more time and effort.

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