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Read time: 14 min

Imagine that you want to get from point A – your current financial situation to point B – financial freedom. Now, also imagine that you want to do this while you’re still young, healthy, and vibrant of energy, then you’d want to do this as fast as possible, am I right?

As you want to get there as fast as possible, would you rather choose to walk there? Without a map? To drive there in a slow tractor? Or would you rather drive a Formula One car, with the top speed of 372 km/h?

I thought so.

However, most people do not act like this in real life

Most people do not choose Fastlane, but the Slowlane or even the Sidewalk

In this summary, we will learn how to reach our financial goals faster, much faster. This is a top-five takeaway summary of The Millionaire Fastlane.

The book is written by MJ DeMarco, who made a really impressive fast lane journey himself

Once he chose the Fastlane road he went from a depressed 26-year-old living in his mother’s basement to a millionaire at the age of 31.

free summary and audiobook of The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco on StoryShots

About the Author

MJ DeMarco is a semi-retired entrepreneur, investor, advisor, and international best-selling author who’s books have been translated in over 15 languages worldwide. He is the current founder of Viperion Publishing Corp., a media company focused on online and print content distribution. He also is admin/founder for The Fastlane Forum, the web’s leading destination forum for start-up, finance, and entrepreneurial business discussions.

Prior to embarking into the world of writing and authorship, he was the former start-up Founder/CEO of (1997-2007), a global ground transportation aggregator and marketplace that he successfully built and grew into a profitable multi-million dollar company, all with no money, no formal training, and with just a few employees. In 2001, he sold the company in an exit event but later reacquired the company via bankruptcy reorganization. He later sold the company again in 2007 to a Phoenix-based private equity company.

By refusing to accept society’s default template for mediocrity (THE SCRIPT: jobs, 401(k)s, frugality, give your life savings to Wall-Street) MJ was able to retire young in his thirties without sacrificing the good life. Yes, that means he isn’t playing Wall-Street’s “hope, wait, and pray” game where you nervously invest all your savings into the stock market, all while commiserating over the Starbucks you couldn’t drink because saving $4.12 was more important. (Do people seriously believe that sh*t?)

Currently, MJ owns a publishing company which produces, distributes, and licenses his work around the world while contributing daily to an entrepreneurial community featuring over 40,000 entrepreneurs. He lives in Scottsdale Arizona and enjoys road trips, softball, travel, fitness and nutrition, working out, and recklessly exploring the Sonoran desert on his UTV.

Takeaway #1: The Sidewalker, the Slowlaner, and the Fastlaner

In order to understand what the sidewalk, the slowlane, and the fastlane represent, we will have a look at three stereotypical characters from each group. We have:

  • Sidewalk William
  • Slowlane Steven, and
  • Fastlane Frank

Now, here is what they might say about a few topics. I encourage you to do an honest evaluation and think about which beliefs that you identify with the most.

Primary income:

  • Whatever pays best today, I’ll take it!
  • My only source of income is my Fortune 500 employer
  • Business systems and investments


  • Spend it! Carpe Diem!
  • Money is scarce a dollar saved is more than a dollar earned live below you means
  • Money is everywhere and it’s abundant. Money is simply a reflection of how much value I’ve been able to create and deliver to my fellow man. Live below your means, but with the intent to expand those means


  • Time is abundant, but I don’t feel like doing today. I can always do tomorrow.
  • I am happy to trade my time for money and I’m happy to trade many years of my life at college to get a higher salary
  • Time is my most valuable asset by far. I must detach my income from my time spent

Destination and goals:

  • What??
  • I’m going to retire financially secure at age 65
  • My goal is to create a lifelong passive income through businesses or investments


  • Live today! No regrets!
  • I’ve given up on big dreams. I’m a realist, you know, but if I live frugally and don’t take any unnecessary risks. I will retire with a million one day
  • I will pursue my dreams no matter how crazy they may sound

I know that I’ll need time and money to make them a reality. So let’s get this going!

Do you recognize yourself in the beliefs of Fastlane Frank? Please comment “Fastlaner!” down below.

Our beliefs form our actions. If you identify yourself with many of the slowlane, or perhaps even the sidewalk beliefs, it’s very probable that you are currently not on a highway towards wealth.

Let’s see why and let’s see how you can change that.

Takeaway #2: The Mathematics of Poverty and Mediocrity

Depending on which road you choose, you are predisposed to end up at a certain financial destination. And, as you probably already have guessed the sidewalk is predisposed towards poverty, the slowlane towards mediocrity, and the fastlane towards wealth.

Let’s have a look at the wealth equation of each of these to see why that is so.

The sidewalker believes that wealth is created like this:

Wealth = Income + Debt

Yes, the sidewalker actually believes that debt can be used as a tool for wealth building, and that’s because he’s got the wrong perception about wealth. He believes, like the majority of our society, that looking wealthy means that you must be wealthy. As his credit card can allow him to buy that new Armani suit, it must mean that it makes him wealthier, right?

Unfortunately, the sidewalk doesn’t care about how much money you make, because poor money management cannot be solved with more money.

Onwards to the slowlaner’s wealth equation, which looks like this:

Wealth = Job + Market Investments

Let’s break these two down:

Depending on how you are paid, the wealth that stems from your job can look like this:

A: Job = Hourly Wage + Hours Worked

Or, like this:

B: Job = Yearly Salary

The problem with both of these is that they are bound by time.

For A, you can only increase your wealth by switching into a job that pays a higher hourly wage or by working more hours.; Work 12 hours a day instead of 8 and you’ll earn 50% more, but you’ll also burn out in the process, guaranteed.

For B, You will have to go to college to get a higher annual salary, or to climb the corporate ladder, both of which takes a lot of time.

Ever seen a 20-something non-startup CEO?

The market investment equation is not linear like the job equation is:

Market Investments = Invested Sum * ( 1+ Yield ) ^ Time

We’ve heard it before, and Albert Einstein calls it the eighth wonder of the world: Compound Interest

However, it is bounded by time too, because the equation only starts to work drastically in our favor once we have big numbers.

Fastlaners love compound interest too, however, their goal is to skip the first 20 years and start where the real fun begins.

Let’s see how.

Takeaway # 3: The Mathematics of Wealth

It’s simple as this: to escape the slowlane you must dump your job and start a business.

If you want to learn how to get rich as an entrepreneur in a low-risk way, you may want to check out our summary of The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, after this.

Now, let’s look at the fastlane wealth equation

Wealth = Profit + Asset Value

We can break down the profit that you make in your business into two parameters: Units sold and profit per unit

Here’s where the power of the Fastlane shows: Both of these variables are possible to leverage

You can sell something that gives $10 in profits, or you can sell something that gives $10,000 in profit. You can sell a hundred units, but you may as well be able to sell a hundred thousand.

Let’s go back to the slowlaner’s wealth equation for a second. Do you think that you can ever become rich earning $12 per hour and working 40 hours per week? NO. That’s because small numbers have a strong gravity towards mediocrity.

Can you get rich by profiting $10 per unit and selling a hundred thousand of those units? You most certainly can, and really fast too.

Asset value will help you reach your financial goals even faster. If you own a good business system, people are typically willing to buy it from you, and they will typically pay way more than one year profit for it.

Just look at the stock market and the price-earning multiples there! But, let’s be a bit more conservative. Say that you can get five times the yearly earnings by selling your company. Still, this is pretty incredible compared to a normal job. Imagine walking up to your boss and proclaiming: “I quit!” and then he responds:

“I see. Just wait a moment while I’ll write you this ginormous check. Shall we say him at five times your yearly salary, perhaps?”

Note that this doesn’t guarantee anything.

This sidewalk who wins the lottery will undoubtedly become wealthy, and the slowlaner can become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. But the odds are not in their favor. We want odds in our favor, and therefore we want to start a Fastlane business.

Takeaway #4: The Five Fastlane Commandments

Okay, so we’ve established that, to reach financial freedom fast, you need to quit your job and start a business. But not any type of business. This is not a “do what you love” or “be your own boss” advice. No, a business should fulfill as many as possible of “The Five Fastlane Commandments” to be worthy of pursuing.

The Commandment of Control

If you’re not in control of your business someone else is. For instance, hitchhiking a content distribution platform to distribute your educational videos violates this commandment.

Another example: there are lots of businesses that earn good money from Google’s Adsense program, but you know what The company which brings in the great bucks is Google itself. Ouch.

The Commandment of Entry

If the road you are choosing is crowded with other people you can count on being stuck in a traffic jam. You’d like some kind of barrier of entry to your business – a certain knowledge that people must possess to participate, large sums of money required for investments, contacts that you need to have, etc.

The Commandment of Need

Doing what you love is a flawed strategy. People do not care about what you love. People care about having their problems solved. Selfish motives like “doing what you love” is a free ticket to the road with a traffic jam again, because if you love it, chances are that everyone else loves doing it, too.

It’s quite simple really: Offer the world more value and you’ll become rich. Affect millions and you’ll make millions.

The Commandment of Time

Somewhere down the line, you must be able to detach yourself from your own business. You must create a business system that can survive without any input from yourself. We want passive income. Otherwise, you’ve just created yourself a job in disguise.

Money is not king, time is.

If you want to learn more, check out our summaries of The E-Myth Revisited, The 4-Hour Workweek, and Virtual Freedom after this.

The Commandment of Scale

MJ DeMarco talks about something he calls “The law of affection”. And this is so important in my opinion that I’d like to make it into its own takeaway.

Takeaway #5: The Law of Affection

Basically, you can become a millionaire by having either magnitude or scale in your business. Magnitude is how much value you provide per person you affect. Scale is how many you affect.

If you do not have either, you do not have a millionaire fastlane.

Let’s take a few examples:

Slowlane William opens a lemonade stand outside of his garage. He profits one dollar for each drink sold, so he does not have magnitude in the business, and what about scale? Is it possible for William to sell ten thousand drinks from his garage? Nah, probably not. William’s business fails the commandment of scale, because he’s got a ceiling attached to both the magnitude and the scale of his business.

Fastlane Frank is a doctor and he starts a private clinic for plastic surgery in Hollywood with his best friend. Just like William, Frank has attached a ceiling to his business in terms of scale. He cannot provide value for, say, more than ten people today. But he does have magnitude. Delivering upgrades in looks provides a lot of value and doing so to some of the richest people in the world means that he can become rich too.

Fastlane Fiona discovers some type of new beauty product for young women. Yes. It really isn’t possible to saturate this market!

She profits only three dollars from each product sold, so she does have a ceiling in magnitude just like William. Unlike William, she doesn’t try to sell this from her local garage. She decides to partner up with a few influencers and distribute the product online.

During the first year, she sells 100,000 units. During year two: a million. If you sell 1 million of anything, you can be sure you’ll become rich.

If you manage to combine both magnitude and scale, we’re talking Billionaire Fastlane rather than Millionaire Fastlane.

That’s it! Time for a summary.

Final Summary

  • Your beliefs form your actions. Try to change your attitude to that of a fastlaner and you will see results in your personal finances down the road.
  • The sidewalk is mathematically predisposed towards poverty. The slowlane is predisposed towards mediocrity, and …
  • The fastlane is predisposed towards wealth. We want to stack the mathematical odds in our favor.
  • A fastlane business should fulfill as many as possible of the following five commandments: control, entry, need, time, and scale.
  • Provide value in scale or magnitude to become a millionaire

If you want to ignite a fire in your gut, I can highly recommend this book. Get the paperback here or the audiobook for free here if you want to support StoryShots.

If you liked this summary, and you can already feel that fire, have a look at our summary of The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. There, we’ll explain how to start your own Fastlane business, using your time as efficiently as possible and without risking your neck doing it.

Quotes from The Millionaire Fastlane

“Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now. There are only so many tomorrows. ~ Michael Landon”

― M.J. DeMarco

“Time isn’t a commodity, something you pass around like a cake. Time is the substance of life. When anyone asks you to give your time, they’re really asking for a chunk of your life. ~ Antoinette Bosco”

― M.J. DeMarco

“There’s a profound difference between interest and commitment. Interest reads a book; commitment applies the book 50 times.”

― M.J. DeMarco

“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it. ~ Thomas Jefferson”

― M.J. DeMarco

“All events of wealth are precluded by process, a backstory of trial, risk, hard work, and sacrifice. If you try to skip process, you’ll never experience events.”

― M.J. DeMarco

“Instead of digging for gold, sell shovels. Instead of taking a class, offer a class. Instead of borrowing money, lend it. Instead of taking a job, hire for jobs. Instead of taking a mortgage, hold a mortgage. Break free from consumption, switch sides, and reorient to the world as producer.”

― M.J. DeMarco

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