Rich People Are Nonconformists and Outliers


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Rich people are not average. To become rich and successful you must do what average people are unwilling or afraid to do. This typically involves taking some financial or career risk and devoting most of your time to ensure that that risk pays off.

In society, we are conditioned into believing that the path to success lies in a college education. But my research says otherwise. It’s not enough to get a college degree. College degrees most definitely do help you find a job but they are now a pre-requisite or commodity, not something that makes you stand out. According to the Census Bureau, between 32%-36% of working adults have a college degree.

Getting a college degree does increase your chances for becoming rich – 39% of the self-made millionaires in my Rich Habits Study didn’t have a college degree. And, according to a 2014 CareerBuilder survey, 51% of all jobs in the U.S. do not even require a college degree.

The true, sure path towards unlimited success and riches can only be found in pursuing a dream or something you are passionate about that you can monetize and then committing yourself to this dream or passion for the rest of your working life. In other words, you stand a better chance getting rich if you start a business. That’s where the real world learning takes place. You learn by doing. Real world learning is far more valuable than classroom learning in a capitalist society. And America is a capitalist society.

Some of the wealthiest most successful people in the world were business owners who did not have a college degree: Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Andrew Carnegie (US Steel), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Steve Jobs (Apple), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Larry Ellison (Oracle),  Like Ingvar (Ikea), Leonardo Del Vecchio (Luxottica eyewear), Michael Dell (Dell Computing) and Ferrero Rocher (Ferrero Chocolates) are just a few examples. I could fill up this entire page with millionaires and billionaires who started a business without the benefit of any higher learning.

How did they do it?

They took a risk on themselves and then spent every waking moment devoted to some business that added value to the lives of others. Through self-education, relentless practice and persistence they eventually became experts in their fields. And society rewarded them with enormous riches and success.

Calculated risk, devotion and commitment to their business eventually paid off. For most, the payoff took many, many years. For some, it took much less time. But the common denominator was taking a risk and starting a business.

Most people are conformists. They are unwilling to do what it takes to become rich – take a risk on themselves, start a business and spend the rest of their lives trying to make that business a success. Conformity is the norm and nonconformity makes you an outlier.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley understands the difference between being rich and poor: at age nine, his family went from being multi-millionaires to broke in just one night, due to a catastrophic fire that destroyed his Dad's thriving business. For fourteen years they struggled with poverty. There were eleven in Tom's family, and they lived in constant fear of losing their home.

Driven by the desire to unlock the secrets to success and failure, Tom spent five years studying the daily activities of 233 rich people and 128 poor people. He discovered there was an immense difference between the habits of the rich and the poor. During his research he identified over 300 daily activities that separated the “haves” from the “have nots.” Tom decided to write a book to share what he learned. That book, Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals (1st Edition), went on to become an Amazon Bestseller in the United States forty times over a three year period. To give you some perspective, in order to be a true Amazon Bestseller in the United States, where you actually receive a specific Bestseller designation from Amazon, you need to be in the top 100 of all books sold by Amazon in the United States in a given day. Rich Habits did that for nearly thirty straight days, rising as high as #7, eclipsing such Bestselling authors such as Stephen Covey, Robert Kiyosaki and J.K. Rowlings. Imagine that - an unknown, first-time, self-published author selling more books than J.K. Rowlings!

Tom now travels the world, sharing his Rich Habits and motivating audiences at industry conferences, corporate events, universities, multi-level marketing group events, and global sales organizations’ presentations and finance conferences. He has even spoken on the same stage with famous entrepreneurs and personal development experts, such as Sir Richard Branson, Robin Sharma, Dr. Daniel Amen, and many others.

Tom has shared his insights on various national and international network, cable, and Internet television programs such as CBS Evening News, NBC News, Yahoo Financially Fit,, India TV, Australia, and a host of others. He has been interviewed on many prestigious nationally syndicated radio shows, including the Dave Ramsey Show, Marketplace Money, and WABC.

Tom has been featured in numerous print magazines—such as Money magazine, Inc. Magazine, SUCCESS Magazine, Entrepreneur magazine, Fast Company magazine, More magazine, Epoca Magazine (Brazil’s largest weekly) and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine—and various online publications, including USA Today, CNN, MSN Money,,, and the Huffington Post. Tom is a frequent contributor to Business Insider,, and a few other media outlets.

National publicity has garnered international media attention for Tom and his Rich Habits research spanning 23 countries. Broadcast media, online publications, and television throughout Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the United Kingdom, and Central and South America have shared his powerful message.

In an effort to help parents, grandparents, teachers and adults become success mentors to the younger generation, Tom released his second book, Rich Kids: How to Raise Our Children to be Happy and Successful in Life in 2014. This book was the self-help category winner of the 2015 New York Book Festival and Runner-up in the prestigious 2015 Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards Contest. In 2016 Tom released his third book, Change Your Habits, Change Your Life. This book provides the latest science on habit change as well as more of Tom's unique research on the specific habits that helped transform 177 ordinary individuals into self-made millionaires.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, and hold a master’s degree in taxation. As president of Cerefice and Company, CPAs, Tom heads one of the premier financial firms in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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  1. Anonymous says:

    Love your blog Tom.
    I have already pre-ordered your book (and all your other books) and been reading everything you share. What is fascinating that I have seen in my region is that people want that fancy car and that dream vacation forever but they are not willing to put the time and effort to reach those goals.
    Keep up the great work.

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