Joe Ricketts – The Harder You Work, the Luckier You Get

Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade, shares the epic inside story of how a working-class kid from the Nebraska prairie took on Wall Streets clubby brokerage business, busted it open, and walked away a billionaire.

Joe Ricketts always had the gift of seeing what others missed. The son of a house builder, he started life as a part-time janitor, but by the age of 33 he saw the chance to challenge the big brokerage firms by offering Americans an inexpensive way to take control of their own stock trading. Nowadays, we take for granted that Main Street is playing right there on Wall Street, but Ricketts made that happen. His company, begun with $25,000 borrowed from friends and family, took off like a rocket thanks to an early embrace of digital technology and irreverent marketing. But Ameritrade also faced a series of near-disasters: the SEC almost shut him down; his partners tried to force him out because of his relentless risk-taking; penny brokers swindled the company; the crash of 1989 nearly cost him everything; and he was almost shut down again when a customer committed massive fraud. By the time of the dot-com bust, he had proven that his strategy based on frontier values could survive just about anything.

The Harder You Work, The Luckier You Get offers a view inside Joe Rickettss mind, giving listeners a visceral understanding of how entrepreneurs think and act differently from the rest of us – how they see the horizon where we just see a spreadsheet. As unvarnished as the prairie he comes from, Ricketts also talks honestly about his shortcomings as a manager, the career sacrifices his wife made for his business, the complexity of being a father, and the pain of his mentors betrayal and of his brothers death from AIDS. Overcoming these and other challenges, he built a company now worth $30 billion.

A must-listen for anyone whos ever dreamed of starting their own business, The Harder You Work, The Luckier You Get is the ultimate only-in-America story.

Author: Joe Ricketts
Narrator: Danny Campbell, Joe Ricketts – epilogue
Duration: 10 hours 45 minutes
Released: 19 May 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Language: English

User Review:

freelancer parallel

First of all, as a person of entrepreneurial inclination, I found the story of Joe Ricketts and Ameritrade to be hugely inspiring. Not only was it inspiring, but an adventure as well! Listening to the audiobook links your mind to Ricketts’ and opens you up to seeing the world through his eyes. You root for him as he takes you through the ups and downs of his couple of decades long mission to build his company. You think he’s a badass and you want to become like him. In a literary sense, I found the book well structured, paced and sized, and I became quite fond of the narrator Dan Campbell’s voice as well. All in all 10/10!