• Show Notes
  • Transcript

Scott Galloway is an entrepreneur, professor of marketing at NYU Stern School of Business, podcaster, and author. In his fifth and latest book, The Algebra of Wealth: A Simple Formula for Financial Security, Galloway shares insights on how to succeed in the United States’s current economic system. He joins Preet to discuss how to build wealth, the difference between being rich and being wealthy, and the importance of investing in relationships.

REFERENCES AND SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS 

  • Scott Galloway, The Algebra of Wealth: A Simple Formula for Financial Security, Penguin Random House, 4/23/24¬†

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Preet Bharara:

From CAFE and the Vox Media Podcast Network, this is Stay Tuned In Brief. I’m Preet Bharara. The United States, as you know, faces some significant economic challenges. Income inequality is the highest of all developed nations. College tuition has increased annually since the ’80s, and millions of Americans worry about affording their rent, let alone buying a home. So how can Americans begin to think about building wealth when the system seems so stacked against them?

My guest, Scott Galloway, has founded nine companies. He’s a professor of marketing at NYU Stern School of Business, and a fellow podcaster at Vox Media. He’s also written five books, his latest book, The Algebra of Wealth: A Simple Formula for Financial Security, came out last week and offers readers advice on how to build wealth and succeed in today’s economy. Scott Galloway, welcome back to the show.

Scott Galloway:

The dreamy Preet Bharara, finally, finally, you bring me on.

Preet Bharara:

You’ve been on. You’ve been on. You’ve filibustered here before.

Scott Galloway:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. All right, just a real quick story. Someone asked me what I was most proud about a few weeks ago on a pod and I said, “Well, my kids and graduating college,” blah, blah, blah, and I said, “Also in the last three years, three people have called me late at night and they start with, ‘I’m in jail.'” And why am I proud of that?

I’m proud that when my friend’s kids and occasionally a friend thinks, “This shit’s real. I got to call someone that I trust is smart, has resources and can help me figure this out,” that they called me. I see that as a huge compliment. Anyways, do you know who my number is? Who I plan to call should that happen to me?

Preet Bharara:

I hope it’s me.

Scott Galloway:

You are my number. So my brother, keep your phone on at night because there’s a non-zero probability I make some really stupid…

Preet Bharara:

I’m surprised that you haven’t called me many times already given what I know about you.

Scott Galloway:

I am not joking, if that ever happens to me, I have your number. I’ve just pulled it up now. I’m not going to obviously say what your number is, but you are my call, Preet.

Preet Bharara:

All right, well, I appreciate that. Can I start with a simple question? Your book, The Algebra of Wealth, why algebra? Why not calculus? Why not the trigonometry of wealth? This is my first question.

Scott Galloway:

I don’t know. It sounds cooler. It’s really an equation. You don’t like algebra? I think it’s cool. I actually just signed a three book deal, I’m about to, for The Algebra of Masculinity, The Algebra of Work, and The Algebra of Mating. I like to try and attack what I think are complicated concepts and trying to distill it down to a few behaviors that people can hold onto. So I use the term algebra and I try and distill it down to an equation.

Preet Bharara:

Do you think life is given to equations?

Scott Galloway:

Well, no, but I think humans have an easier time holding onto things when they have a construct. In my class, I’ve taught 5,500 students, and whenever I see alumni, they pull out the clock model, the thermometer model. I have all these models for brand management and strategy around how to make decisions. And humans have been using constructs and metaphors and visualization to hold onto ideas.

So for me it’s trying to turn it into an equation such that you have this tool you can pull out of your quiver and say, “All right, if I practice these four or five things or remember these principles, I’ll be able to achieve X, Y, and Zed.” So it’s just a means of trying to help people actualize or make these concepts actionable.

Preet Bharara:

You say X, Y, and Zed because you spent time in London, I take it.

Scott Galloway:

There you go. Yes, yes, that’s right.

Preet Bharara:

Do you say Gen Z or do you say Gen Zed?

Scott Galloway:

Gen Zed. I guess I say Gen Z. I don’t know.

Preet Bharara:

I’m going to give you some principles of syntax maybe that you can use. We’re going to get to your formula because I think it’s very interesting that you talk about in the book. But before we do that, can you lay bare where we are at this moment?

You say in your book, “The median home price in the US is six times the median annual income. 50 years ago it was two times. And the share of first time buyers is barely half the historical average and the lowest on record. Medical debt is the leading cause of consumer bankruptcy. Half of American adults would not be able to cover a $500 medical bill without taking on debt. Marriage…” You go on and on and on. How bad of a position are individual Americans in at this moment?

Scott Galloway:

Well, it depends who you’re talking about. So if you have a college degree, probably life is pretty good if you the right certification. Keep in mind, only one in three Americans achieves a college degree. Every economic policy I see is essentially just a thinly veiled transfer of wealth from the young to the old. People over the age of 70 are 72% wealthier than they were 40 years ago. People under the age of 40 are 24% less wealthy. The two biggest tax deductions, capital gains and mortgage interest.

Who owns homes and makes money selling stocks? People my age who are wealthy. Who earns their money from current income and rents? People younger. The $35 billion child tax credit, the expansion gets pulled out of the infrastructure bill. But the $135 billion, 9% cost of living adjustment and social security flies through Congress. The great intergenerational theft of the last century was COVID, specifically the CARES Act where we took $7 trillion, flushed it into the economy.

85% of the people who received it didn’t spend it. So it ended up in the markets which sent housing prices and stocks skyrocketing, which is great for the incumbents of people like me who already own stocks and homes, but terrible for new entrants. Young people have given up on owning a home. Between 2019 and 2024, the average cost of American home went from 290,000, about 410. The mortgage rate has gone from $1,100 to $2,200 because of an increase in interest rates.

So we’ve gone from two-thirds of Americans can afford a home to less than one-third. So education skyrocketed, housing skyrocketed, and their average wages on an inflation adjusted basis have actually gone down. So for the first time in our nation’s history, a 30-year-old man or woman isn’t doing as well as his or her parents were at 30. And I think that’s the ultimate incendiary turns every problem we have from a cut into an opportunistic infection. Young people are upset and they have every right to be because they see prosperity everywhere that they’re not sharing in.

Preet Bharara:

How’d that happen?

Scott Galloway:

We elected the cross between The Golden Girls and The Walking Dead and they do a great job of representing seniors. The largest transfer in history of capital happens every year from young people to old people called social security. And I’m not suggesting…

Preet Bharara:

Well, look, it’s interesting that you’re positing that as a negative. Other people would say that the most successful anti-poverty policy in the history of the country was the creation of social security because you had people who were older in this country who were in abject poverty and didn’t have a social web to catch them. Are you saying it’s gone too far?

Scott Galloway:

It is the most successful program in history and give me $1.5 trillion a year to shove at anything and I’ll make it the most successful program in history. The question is where do we go from now or from here? Seniors are the wealthiest generation in history. I’m not suggesting… What I’m suggesting is social security should be based on who needs it, not on whether or not you have a catheter. You and I should not get social security, Preet. They call it social security tax.

This is veering in a slightly different direction, and I understand means testing and I understand all of that. I also understand that programs remain popular when they’re universal, not when they’re means tested. So there’s a political aspect to this and I wonder how you think about that.

Scott Galloway:

Look, I got Pell Grants. I think Pell Grants are a hugely popular program. It was means tested because I came from a household that was in the lower quartile. We means test food stamps. We means test a lot of things. Just as I don’t think the right litmus test for affirmative action is race, I don’t think the right litmus test for the greatest transfer of capital… Think about the amount of money here, $1.4 trillion, 115 million households. So say 30 million households lowest quartile are really struggling.

What is that, $40,000 you could give to each of the lowest quartile of households? And instead, a lot of people that need social security, they should get it. But for a lot of people, it’s an upgrade from Carnival Cruises to Crystal. I don’t understand why young people… Here’s a stat, Preet. In 1990, we spent $1 on kids for every three we spent on seniors. And you think, “Oh my god, that’s crazy. We’re spending $3 on seniors for every one on children.” Fast-forward to 2019, it’s eight to one.

In 10 years, we’re going to spend more money on the federal government on seniors than anything else. They’re going to take over 50% of our budget. And the reality is seniors are expensive and unproductive. So if you stop investing in youth, where does the country go from here? You have young people who are enraged, depressed, obese, prone to self-harm, but seniors are doing great. And I’m not suggesting we should do away with social security. I believe in the transfer of wealth, but I think that the upper quartile of seniors that quite frankly just don’t need it shouldn’t get it.

I’m not only about means testing, I’m about redistributing that capital. One in five households has a kid that is food insecure and we have seen child poverty go up. So this is a question of priorities. The question is, should the criteria for a transfer of wealth be age or be needs-based? And I think it should be the latter.

Preet Bharara:

Do you have a view, given what you’re saying, about the universal basic income as a solution to poverty in some places? It sounds like you would be against it, right?

Scott Galloway:

I just spoke at TED and Andrew Yang was there and I consider myself a friend, and I liked that Andrew… I think Andrew had a big impact normalizing that conversation. Because if we’d had a conversation about UBI four years ago, people would immediately call it the s-word. They say it’s socialism. We transfer wealth all the time or capital all the time. I think he screwed up in terms of branding. I think he should have called it a negative income tax. And that is I think below a certain income level of household should just get help.

And so I’m not for universal basic income. What I’m for is basic income. He should have called BI or a negative income tax. But the bottom line is, in the wealthiest nation in the world where we can grow the economy by a quarter of a trillion dollars in the five minutes post the earnings call of NVIDIA, there’s just no reason for people to live in poverty. There’s no reason for people to be homeless. And there is definitely, it is inexcusable for any child to be hungry in this nation. And the sad part, Preet, is that we have the resources.

The incumbents will plead complexity that, “Oh, these are network problems or globalization.” Every one of these problems has been fixed in other nations with fewer resources than us. We’ve just decided that people of my income and my age should pay an average tax rate of 17%, which has been my tax rate for the last 10 years, while we continue to keep minimum wage at $9 for young people and not give them child tax credits. This is a purposeful transfer of wealth from young to the old.

Preet Bharara:

Look, I don’t think it’s a function of complexity or resources, but more a function of will and that doesn’t get talked about as much.

Scott Galloway:

Okay, does Speaker Pelosi really, really relate to the issues facing a young man on a gambling app or a 17-year-old girl that’s getting extreme dieting tips from Meta when she’s 5’7, 95 pounds? And this is ageist, but biology is also ageist. When Speaker Pelosi had her first child, Castro declared martial law in Cuba and two-thirds of households didn’t have a color television. And I’m suggesting that the oldest elected populace in the world perhaps doesn’t relate to the challenges facing young people.

And also kids and young people don’t vote. So we continue to transfer wealth from the young to the old, and it’s a self-fulfilling downward spiral. It is mutually assured destruction when young people are unhappy and enraged. It’s not sustainable to have the basic social compact is that if you play by the rules, your kids are going to do better than you. And for the first time in our nation’s history, that compact has been broken.

Preet Bharara:

So may I pivot? May I use that term with you, Scott?

Scott Galloway:

Loosely. Promiscuously.

Preet Bharara:

Pivot for a moment because you talk about wealth, what’s your definition of wealth? What’s the difference between making a lot of money and being rich?

Scott Galloway:

Well, so on a very basic definition, the definition of rich is the following. Now I have a close friend who runs a 700 person division at a large investment bank. He makes between five and $9 million a year. Between really high tax rates in New York where the workhorses who make all their money from current income get taxed at 50 plus percent, between his ex-wife alimony, master of the universe lifestyle, Flexjet card, home in The Hamptons he spends almost all of it. I would describe him is poor.

My father, between his Royal Navy pension and social security and the money he collects from washing machines, he owns a few washing machines at trailer parks, he makes $58,000 a year, him and his partner, and they spend 48. He’s rich. He’s got passive income greater than his burn. That’s the definition of rich. So rich is really a function of just not having to worry at night that the music might be turned off and that you get to a point where you can support your lifestyle without working.

The difference between, what I’ve found, between wealth and extreme wealth is quite frankly is character. And that is key to maintaining wealth and growing it to extreme wealth is not losing money. And the fastest way to lose 60% of your net worth is something I went through and that is divorce. In addition, show me a smaller or medium-sized law firm or a business that goes from doing really well and thriving to blowing apart and it’s usually a professional divorce, usually the partners are not getting along.

So wealth is a full person project. And that is if you don’t bring character, forgiveness, love, empathy to your personal and professional relationships, it’s unlikely you’re going to be very wealthy. And this trope, this Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren like mythology that all billionaires crawled over people to get to where they are is entirely untrue. The majority of very wealthy people, unless they were born wealthy, got there because they collected allies along the way. They were good people.

And one of the keys to wealth is to try and be as generous and as a high character a person such that people put you in a room full of opportunities even when you’re not there. So you want to be really wealthy? Bring forgiveness and generosity to your relationships.

Preet Bharara:

Look, that was one of the most interesting things and points from your book and you just uttered a version of it. I’ll read what I thought was fairly striking in the book. “Stoicism is not just about remaining calm in the face of temptation. It means, and you said this a second ago, it means having good character.” And this is the line that struck me, “Succeeding in life is much easier if other people want you to succeed.” How true that is and why do we forget that?

Scott Galloway:

Greatness and wealth is in the agency of others. I’ve had a lot of businesses fail. I had a marriage fail. One key to my success is the ability to endure rejection and get up and not lose my enthusiasm, but a close second or maybe first is that I like to think I was a good friend, a good business partner, a good person to invest in even when I lost their money, and people were always willing to help me out. You got to have people who are thinking about you. You got to have people who want to help you.

You got to have people to give you the benefit of the doubt. And the way to aggregate those relationships is an investment. Little investments early in your life, reaching out to people, being nice. You hear about a job opening and you think, “Oh, Lisa would love this job,” and you try and do her a solid. And when I was young, I don’t think I was inclined to help other people out. I don’t know why. I just think I was so focused on me all the time. And similar to investing, if you make those little investments in people, over your life they compound.

And you wake up and then when you need these people the most, they’re just so there for you. So make investments. Put a little bit of money away in your 401(k) and in stocks when you’re young, but also try and make investments in other people and try and help them out and try and show that you’re a good person. Forgive them. They act like a jerk sometimes. Forgive them. They’re going to remember that. So I think that this is, like I said, you’re never going to accomplish anything in isolation.

The cartoon of Monty Burns, an introvert who’s not nice to people, who runs the nuclear power plant, who becomes a billionaire, that’s just not accurate. Show me someone who made a lot of money on their own. I’m going to show you someone who’s collected a lot of allies along the way. Greatness and wealth are in the agency of others.

Preet Bharara:

But just to be clear, and I have some experience in this in my prior life, there are people who become wealthy or who are wealthy who are grasping nasty and scheming too, right?

Scott Galloway:

Yeah. Look, and this gets deeper, but I think at a certain point, if you’re not careful, if you don’t have people around you who keep you grounded, question you, tell you the truth, it’s easy to start making incremental decisions that are suspect. And that can lead to a very dark and ugly place. But look, the point of the book is if you want to be wealthy, you need to start investing in other people. Making investments, but start investing in other people. That’s the quickest way to get there.

And then there’s a whole other talk show around trying to ensure you stay grounded. Don’t believe your own press. Don’t surround yourself with yes people who will nod and pretend that some of the decisions you’re making that might be immoral or even illegal are somehow okay. Because to that point, everyone’s nodding because you’re rich and for no other reason.

Preet Bharara:

Let’s talk about the algebra. As you said earlier in the conversation, you think formulas are good. You have a formula here. Is it an actual formula? Tell us what the formula is and why it makes sense.

Scott Galloway:

Well, the first is focus. I think your 20s are about workshopping and finding something you could be really good at. And don’t mistake hobbies for passions. I always say find your talent, not your passion. What do I mean by that? You want to find something you think you could be great at, and that’s not easy. But once you find it, make sure it’s in an industry that has a 90 plus percent employment rate. A lot of people think I want to be an actor. I want to be in movies.

SAG-AFTRA, which has 180,000 most talented creatives and actors in the world, 87% of them don’t qualify for health insurance because they make less than $23,000 a year. Hopefully lean towards an industry that has a 90 plus percent employment rate, commit to the BS, the breaking through hard things, the certification, just the endurance to becoming the top decile.

Because what creates passion is mastery, because mastery creates wealth, relevance, camaraderie, the ability to do things and have experiences that you never thought possible. And that will make you passionate about whatever it is. So find your talent and then commit to being focused on it and getting in the upper decile. I found that taking care of my parents is I’m passionate about it.

That taking care of my kids is joyous. And then I play golf and I’m a DJ on the weekends. So find something that you’re good at that has a 90 plus percent employment rate. The next thing, I call it stoicism, but it’s really just discipline. Get a savings muscle developed when you’re in your 20s. I’m not suggesting you need to save a ton of money, but at least learn how to spend less than you make. Because once you enter your prime income earning years, if you don’t have the savings muscle, it doesn’t matter.

You’ll spend all your money. I know a lot of people make a lot of money who spend it all. And there’s a lot of very talented companies trying to hit you at the right moment to convince you that an upgrade from economy to economy comfort to business class is an investment in yourself, and you should do it right now for the low, low price of 200 bucks. So try and live a little bit below your means. Be a little bit of Stoic. Recognize that no one’s as concerned with your stuff as you are.

Preet Bharara:

Can we pause on that for a second, Scott? Because you and I were having a conversation before we hit the record button. Could you address the issue of patience and compounding? Because I was telling you the story, which you thought I should repeat here, that when I was young, starting out in government and started having children, three kids pretty quickly while I was a line prosecutor in the federal government, and I thought I needed every dollar that I made, and I probably did because we had a lot of bills.

And my dad from the old country impressed upon me very, very strongly, and he’s probably going to be listening to this, so thanks dad, he said, “You should max out in whatever the retirement plan is with the federal government,” which is the TSP plan. And my recollection is it was you could put up to 3% aside pretax and then the government would give you another 3% in matching funds, so it’s free money from the government. I thought I needed that money. I debated my dad.

He said, “Please just do this.” And I did. And I spent 17 and a half years in the government, and I never missed those few dollars every week because it wasn’t a ton. But as I mentioned to you before, 20 something years later, 24 years later, I get my income statement, I get my balance statement, it’s a lot of money. So talk about compounding in patience.

Scott Galloway:

Well, that’s the next part of the equation is time. One of the flaws in our species, because for 98% of our time on this planet, we haven’t lived past 35. The human brain has no ability to calibrate how fast time will go. And if you’re 25, you’re probably going to live right now another 80 years. And also, I mean, you and I can attest to this, it goes really fast.

So if I had a magic box for you and if you put $300 a month in this box from the age when you graduate from college and maybe get your employer to match it, and there’s a lot of those types of programs and a gross tax deferred and you don’t look at it, when you’re our age, I’m not exaggerating, you have millions of dollars. So the question is, would you make the requisite trade-off to be able to put money into this magic box?

And also you need to recognize that although it’s impossible to grasp, the next 30 or 40 years are going to go really, really fast. So do what Preet did. Any opportunity to invest in something, round up for savings taken out of your paycheck so you never see it, and anything where someone else, a corporation or the government, will match it and then let it grow tax deferred, oh my god, that’s champagne and cocaine when you’re older. Go far.

Preet Bharara:

Are you on that right now, Scott?

Scott Galloway:

Not yet. That was last night, Preet. That’s why I looked the way I do.

Preet Bharara:

Is that the whole equation?

Scott Galloway:

No, and then the last thing is diversification. And where I screwed up, Preet, is I always went all in. I’ve always made a lot of money, but I used to go all in on my businesses or one stock or one sector. And that works really well when it’s working. But in 2000 with a dot bomb crash, I’ve always been in e-commerce, I woke up and had negative net worth. And then I’m like, I’m still a relatively young man. No problem. So I worked my ass off for the next seven or eight years, again, all in tech.

Great financial recession comes along and I lost everything because I wasn’t diversified. And that was about the time my youngest son came marching out of my partner. And I remember being so nauseous in the delivery room and it wasn’t because of the experience, it was a recognition that I had failed my son day one. I could have just so easily diversified a little bit and had a lot of money, but I was always like this company, my e-commerce company that’s going public, it’s going to be huge.

And I just went so all in. Diversification is your Kevlar. You can get hit by a bullet in the chest. You can have any one investment go to zero. But if you’re diversified, it hurts, but it doesn’t kill you. I serve on a lot of boards right now. Whenever we do a financing, I’m the guy that tells management, “Sell some stock, take some money off the table, and put it in something that is totally unrelated to this.” Diversification is risk-free growth. And a lot of young people don’t appreciate just how powerful and how boring it is.

If you have only one opportunity to invest in any one asset, people ask me all the time, what’s the one thing I’d invest in, it’s SPY, low-cost index funds, where you’re not trying to find the needle, just buy the whole god-damn haystack. Because the wonderful thing about America is with population growth and with innovation, over the long term, the market is up and to the right. It’s returned 11% since 2008. That sounds meddling to a young person. That means every 21 years your investments are going up eightfold. Diversification is the last one.

Preet Bharara:

Look, you’re making me feel better about my conservative and youthful economic decision. So the TSP retirement program. And then any money that I had over the years, which wasn’t a lot until I reentered the private sector recently, is in the S&P 500. I mean, what you think about now, with interest rates being higher, you can get a decent yield on a money market or in a CD. Is that sufficiently diversified?

Scott Galloway:

Yeah. So this is where a robo-advisor or if you have a lot of money, a paid financial advisor, but essentially the alternative investment is community. Those people advertising on CNBC or in Barron’s, it’s a grift. And that is if you look at all mutual funds, hedge funds and you bucket them all, they have underperformed the S&P by the amount of their fees. So the smartest thing you can do on a risk-adjusted basis is just to go into low-cost diversified index funds.

And you will know somebody who was smart enough to invest in NVIDIA, made a ton of money, or takes pictures of their screenshots of Dogecoin when it goes up 30 fold. Assume you are not that person and recognize no one’s taking pictures and posting to social their losses. If you pick any one stock, it has a 50.1% chance of going up that day. If you picked any five stocks in the S&P and you held onto them for 10 years, no one has ever lost money in the history of the markets.

Time diversification are just really, really powerful. So I say in the book, the good news is I know how to get you rich. The bad news is the answer is slowly. But don’t make the mistakes I made. Be Preet. Recognize that time is going to go fast. Be boring. Low-cost diversified index funds. Because you know what’s awesome, Preet? Is being our age, maybe being able to step in and help out our kids or help our parents or stay at the Almond in Utah.

I mean, that is really a lot of fun. And to not be able to do those things at this age would be, quite frankly, soul crushing. And just with a little bit of discipline, a little bit of maturity at a young age, you can get there.

Preet Bharara:

It’s interesting. It sounds like we’re talking about two things, right? One is you have your job, you have your career, whether you’re a teacher or a police officer or a lawyer or a doctor, whatever you are. How do you take care of your finances over the long haul? Do you use this Scott Galloway formula equation or not? But then there’s another class of people, and you belong in both classes.

People who are in life and in their career trying to make businesses and be entrepreneurs and make money as their main job as opposed to trying to take care of their wealth management on the side. With respect to that second group of people, what’s the lesson to them? Isn’t the American spirit about taking lots and lots of risk and trying to money fast because you have a product that you believe in or a service that you believe? In other words, how do you square this advice generally to the population about conservatism and diversification versus the entrepreneurial spirit kind of thing?

Scott Galloway:

Look, when you’re young… I’ve gone all in on businesses. I’ve started businesses, and it’s a fun conversation to tell your partner who just had two babies, “I know I’m working 60 or 80 hours a week and can’t see our kids. But guess what? I need another $100,000 of our life savings. I’m paying the company to work there right now.” And it paid off for me. One of our core competences as Americans is how risk aggressive we are.

Having said that, what I tell kids or anyone I work with who has the benefit of making a little bit of money early, as soon as you can, diversify. I own 20% of a publicly traded company, Preet. If I had just sold 25% of it and put it in boring index funds like you, when my first kid came along, I would’ve been fine. But instead, I’m like, no, we’re going to the moon. Can I lever up and go all in here and show commitment and I’m a baller?

And recognize a lot of this is not in your control. Market dynamics will always trump individual performance. Occasionally, you will get hit hard if you’re in the market long enough. So by all means, be risk aggressive with ideas and concepts and entrepreneurial. But the moment you have a little bit of money, hope you’re wrong and sell some of the stock in your company that you’re so excited about.

And then hope you’re wrong, hope the thing goes to the moon, but take a little bit off the table and put it in different things. Always have a plan B3. Always have a plan B, because six out of seven businesses don’t work. And every stock, the markets go down. And if you’re not in a position such that… Let me put it this way. Why wouldn’t you have a plan B that ensures it?

Maybe you don’t sell a best-selling book, maybe you don’t have an album that goes triple platinum, maybe your app doesn’t go public, but just in case any of those things don’t happen, you’re still fine and it doesn’t take a lot. Just diversify a little bit. Takes them off the table.

Preet Bharara:

What’s one more piece of advice for folks from your book that we didn’t get to?

Scott Galloway:

The key to success in my view is to forgive yourself and be humble. Preet, my story used to be raised by a single immigrant mother and I overcame all these winds in my face to be a baller and be economically secure. And then as I got older, I realized I was born on third base. Being born a white heterosexual male in the ’60s meant access to free education, 76% admissions rate at UCLA, 1,200 bucks a year, born into the internet economy. I just look back on it and I’m like, okay, maybe I wasn’t born in the 99.9%.

I was born in the 99. So when you’re doing really well, be humble, realize a lot of your is not your fault, and try and be a good person and diversify. You’re never more prone to a big mistake as when you are after a big win because you start believing your own press and think, “Oh, I’m good at picking stocks, or any business I start will work. I’m going to put all my money into my next business.” Also, forgive yourself. When you get shot in the face, business goes out of business, you have someone break up with you.

You get divorced. I’ve had all of these things happen to me. I’ve had a company go chapter 11. I’ve been divorced, and I thought, okay, I’m never going to be able to make money again. I’m never going to find a relationship, have someone to share my life with, and recognize a lot of that is not your fault and that the key to success is to mourn and move on and to find the people and the meditation or the physical activity such that you can look in the mirror every day and say, “I’m the answer to a company’s problems. I will make someone very happy.”

Life is not about what happens to you, it’s about how you respond to what happens to you. Move through failure with a sense of enthusiasm. Mourn and move on.

Preet Bharara:

Mourn and move on. That’s a good final point, Scott. Congratulations again on the book. Everyone should pick it up and give it a read, The Algebra of Wealth: A Simple Formula for Financial Security. Mr. Scott Galloway, thanks again.

Scott Galloway:

Thank you, Preet. My number, take my call. 4:00 AM. You hear that phone, take it up, my brother. Pick it up.

Preet Bharara:

I’m not cheap.

Scott Galloway:

Sure.

Preet Bharara:

For more analysis of legal and political issues making the headlines, become a member of the The CAFE Insider. Members get access to exclusive content, including the weekly podcast I host with former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance. Head to cafe.com/insider to sign up for a trial. That’s cafe.com/insider.

If you like what we do, rate and review the show on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen. Every positive review helps new listeners find the show. Send me your questions about news, politics, and justice. Tweet them to me @PreetBharara with the #Askpreet. You can also now reach me on Threads, or you can call and leave me a message at 669-247-7338. That’s 669-24-PREET. Or you can send an email to letters@cafe.com.

Stay Tuned is presented by CAFE and the Vox Media Podcast Network. The executive producer is Tamara Sepper. The technical director is David Tatasciore. The deputy editor is Celine Rohr. The editorial producer is Noa Azulai, and the CAFE team is Matthew Billy, Nat Weiner, Jake Kaplan, and Claudia Hern√°ndez. Our music is by Andrew Dost. I’m your host, Preet Bharara. Stay Tuned.