“Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” -Andy Warhol
For those of you who don’t know, the Ferengi are a fictional alien race from the Star Trek franchise. Originally meant to function as the main adversary to Humans ( and others in Star Fleet), they were too comical and goofy for audiences to take seriously, so they were replaced with more imposing races like Klingons and Romulans. Since then, they have become a comic foil and my favorite alien race. They are incredibly capitalistic in all aspects of their culture, including religion. They live by a code known as “The Rules of Aquisition” with over a hundred different sayings concerning the generation of wealth. Here are ten of the best, handpicked by me.
- #27 There’s nothing more dangerous than an honest businessman.
I like this rule because I think inherently all businessmen are somewhat dishonest. Why? Because they are selling you something which perhaps you ought not to buy, and they don’t concern themselves with it. They don’t know if you’re on your last dime, or if you can’t pay rent. Then don’t know if you should be spending money on school supplies for your children or on a wheelchair for your mother. It would be an interesting world if the businessperson looked out for your interests. Even if you think the art of selling involves communicating and identifying the positives of a product to a customer, you knowingly don’t disclose it’s negatives.
- #35 Peace is good for business.
I’d suggest one check out my article on opportunity cost for this. People think the industrial complex is a good thing because it creates jobs, and thus spurs the economy. Be it cannons, tanks or Intercontinental ballistic missiles (IBM’s). And we’ve seen economies grow around times of conflict for that reason. But an increase in production doesn’t have to make weapons and chemicals used to kill people. We could instead pay those engineers and industrialists to make rockets for space travel, more efficient solar panels, or cures to childhood illness.
- #34 War is good for business.
It reminds me of the battle at Concord during the Revolutionary War where a mentally ill man served hard cider to the soldiers. In the middle of the whole battle. It just goes to show there are always opportunities for the enterprising individual. Who wouldn’t want to get a little buzzed with the threat of death musket fire around?
- #62 The riskier the road, the greater the profit.
Again, I’ve already written a post on risk. It’s Finance 101. Even alien civilizations from outer space know this.
- #76 Every once in a while, declare peace. It confuses the hell out of your enemies.
My mother is the type who seems drawn into a good argument. Once her and I both shared one of our most effective strategies to “win” an argument with someone that is dreadful. Just simply out of the blue say “Oh your right, I hadn’t thought of it that way” and walk away. Problem solved. Shuts em up quick.
- #97 Enough … is never enough.
How true. How many people do you know who thirst for money and once they get a certain amount just stop. Email me or comment below because I’d like to talk to them. On Wall Street we often hear that to the wealthy making money becomes a game, where $’s is the score. The Forbes list of richest people the scoreboard. What makes someone stop other than a life crisis, or a strong importance placed on something else, like time with your family or scuba diving? And why would you not want more money? More to donate to your favorite charities, more delicious food to eat.
- #103 Sleep can interfere with profit.
I was reading or watching something about Elon Musk, a very famous and successful entrepreneur who co-founded Paypal, and started Tesla, SpaceX and helped start Solar City. I’ve read that he sleeps 6 to 6 1/2 hours everyday on average. Like Thomas Edison he doesn’t sleep as much and works instead, saying something like, “every hour spent working while your competition is sleeping gives you that much more of an advantage” (paraphrasing). I like my sleep, perhaps that’s why I’m so poor.
- #117 You can’t free a fish from water.
I don’t even know really. I assume there’s something to do with a forced removal of something from its natural element. With “free” being a loaded word here. Just some Ferengi wisdom to chew on.
- #236 You can’t buy fate.
There are still some things money can’t buy, but don’t worry too much because it can buy a lot really. We can change what we look like with it, we can pay for education with it, criminals even pay hitmen with it. It’s powerful stuff money. But fate has the upper hand here. It’s a humbling lesson for us all.
- #285 No good deed ever goes unpunished.
I just think it’s funny that Elphaba is belting the 285’th rule.