A Hustler’s Bible by Gayton McKenzie [Book Thoughts]

A Hustler’s Bible is a cut above the usual repetitive ‘success literature’. It’s filled with plenty of practical advice from a South African who’s achieved incredible things despite adverse circumstances.


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It’s been challenging for me to write this blog post because A Hustler’s Bible is very different to much of the ‘success literature’ that I’ve read before. For starters, Gayton McKenzie isn’t the typical rich man who’s ‘figured out’ the secret to making money and now wants to sell it to you. No, this is a man who finished school and then spent 7 years in prison for robbing banks before emerging into the world in his thirties with no qualifications and not a cent to his name.

It thus seems absolutely remarkable what McKenzie has accomplished in the last 10 years after swearing to never again return to crime. Since his release, McKenzie has gone on to become the highest paid motivational speaker in Africa, has built and sold several businesses, has written two best-sellers and owns a mining consultancy that has served some of the largest mining companies in the world. When you consider that all of his has been done by a man constantly haunted by his criminal record and who started out selling vegetables on the side of the road in a country that’s often lambasted for having no jobs and no opportunities, it really does inspire you to take a long hard look at yourself and aspire to do more.

The book itself also differs from the usual grain. There’s no secret plan to make you from rich or fortune-cookie advice like ‘all you have to do is believe in yourself’. On the contrary, it’s a down to earth manual that doesn’t follow any kind of narrative structure. It’s written as a collection of independent chapters, both short and long, on various topics that McKenzie feels are worth talking about. There are quite general chapters, for instance on working hard and dressing to impress, but McKenzie also gets into specifics like hiring staff and the ups and downs of involving family in your business. There are even chapters on dealing with betrayal and how drugs and affairs can ruin your career if you’re not careful. Through each chapter, McKenzie takes you through his personal experiences, the successes he’s achieved, the mistakes he’s made and some anecdotes that he finds inspiring.

It turns out to be a book that you can delve into or read in short bursts, but either way there’s plenty of practical advice and food for thought. I also found that I enjoyed McKenzie’s openness in his writing. He come across as humble and hard-working, but also brutally honest and ruthlessly pragmatic; he’s not afraid to say that certain kinds of people are parasitic or that if you really have to betray someone, then make sure they’re unable to retaliate.

In the end, it’s an entertaining read that stood out for me among other books of its kind just because of how usable it is; there’s a lot more to the book than appearances would suggest and I already feel like I’ve made use of some of the lessons. Regardless of what you think of the man and whether or not you agree with his views, I’d still recommend it as a read if you’re a South African with big dreams. It’s nice to be reminded once in a while that despite all the negativity that we face in this country, there really is the potential to do great things.

A Hustler’s Bible is a cut above the usual repetitive ‘success literature’. It’s filled with plenty of practical advice from a South African who’s achieved incredible things despite adverse circumstances.

See you next week

Follow Gayton McKenzie on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/G_XCON

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