How to get Rich
This post is all about a book, How to get Rich ! but it is not what you think. It is not a self help book in the normal sense, what it is, is a blue print of how to achieve wealth and all that brings, both good and bad ! but it is more than that, it is an autobiography of , in my opinion a truly great man, Felix Dennis.
Felix Dennis was an English publishing magnate who made and spent tens of millions of pounds. He built a huge empire and lived life to the very extreme. Felix Dennis’s career started in 1967 as a street seller, selling copies of the underground magazine Oz on the streets of London’s Kings Road. The magazine printed stories and discussions on drugs, sex and contentious political stories. As a spotty youth of fifteen, I bought it all the time
Felix passes out and moves in !
After passing out at a friend’s party, he woke up in a flat shared by several young beautiful women in Walsingham Mansions on the Fulham Road and moved in, paying rent by cleaning the flat. What would become a massive collection of ’60s and ’70s graphic art began in a small way with the posters of Martin Sharp, one of the originators of Oz magazine in that flat.
The infamous Oz Magazine
In 1969, Felix wrote a world exclusive for Oz, the first ever review of the legendary Led Zeppelin‘s debut album.
Felix was quickly promoted to co-editor and became involved in the longest conspiracy trial in English history over the infamous “Schoolkids Oz” issue. While Richard Neville was on holiday, Jim Anderson and Dennis had invited 5th and 6th-form kids to edit the issue. They included a sexually explicit and very funny Rupert the Bear cartoon strip , which proved too much for the authorities and resulted in the arrest of Anderson, Neville and Dennis, who were charged with “conspiracy to corrupt public morals”. The Oz offices in Princedale Rd, Notting Hill and the homes of its editors were repeatedly raided by Scotland Yard’s Obscene Publications Squad.
Felix talks about that at length in his book, How to get Rich, and how the squad was totally corrupt themselves. they saw Felix and his friends as an easy target, and also taking the heat from the real Pornographers of Soho London, who had many of this squad on their payroll.
Dennis even recorded a single with John Lennon to raise money for a legal defence fund.
At the conclusion of the trial, the ‘Oz Three’, defended by John Mortimer the famous Barrister and author of Rumpole of the Bailey, were found not guilty on the charge of “Conspiracy to deprave and corrupt the Morals of the Young of the Realm”, but were convicted on two lesser offences and sentenced to imprisonment.
Sentenced to Gaol !
Dennis received a more lenient sentence than his co-defendants because he was, in the opinion of the judge, “much less intelligent” and therefore less culpable. Little did that Judge know ! These convictions were later quashed on appeal.
Dennis later told author Jonathan Green that on the night before the appeal was heard, the Oz editors were taken to a secret meeting with the Chief Justice, Lord Widgery, who told them that they would be acquitted if they agreed to give up work on Oz. It is alleged that MPs Tony Benn and Michael Foot had interceded on their behalf. In 1973, following acquittal by the Court of Appeal, Dennis went on to found his own magazine publishing company.
Bruce Lee dies and Felix makes a fortune
With the rising popularity of martial arts with the film Enter the Dragon, Dennis’s Kung-Fu Monthly became a success just two years after the Oz trial, making over £60,000 in its first year. A fortune at the time
Dennis was the second publisher of Personal Computer World which he later sold to VNU, and established MacUser which he sold to Ziff Davis Publishing in the mid-eighties. In 1987, he co-founded MicroWarehouse, with Peter Godfrey and Bob Bartner, a company that pioneered direct IT marketing via high quality catalogues.
The computer mail order company eventually went public on the NASDAQ in 1992. At the time it had 3500 employees in 13 countries with worldwide sales in 2000 of $2.5 billion. It was sold to a private investment group in January 2000.
This created the bulk of Dennis’ personal wealth. Dennis launched further successful IT titles Computer Shopper and PC World. Both still in print today.
In 1995, Dennis Publishing created Maxim, a title that began on the back of a beer mat and became the world’s biggest selling men’s lifestyle magazine and global brand. In 1996, Dennis acquired a majority stake in what is now Dennis Publishing’s flagship brand The Week which is published in the UK and US and translates to a global circulation of over 700,000 (ABC audited). Over the following years it purchased the remainder of shares from original founder Joylon Connell and Jeremy O’Grady. 2003 saw the purchase of IFG Limited (I Feel Good) from Loaded founder James Brown.
The purchase involved titles Viz, Fortean Times and Bizarre being added to the Dennis Publishing stable. In June 2007, Dennis sold his US magazine operation which published the magazines Blender, Maxim and Stuff to Alpha Media Group for a reported $250 million USD although exact details were never disclosed. In 2008, Dennis Publishing established digital magazines igizmo, iMotor and Monkey along with the purchase of The First Post from the Kensington based First Post Group for an undisclosed sum.
The award winning online magazine which gained a D&AD nomination for viral marketing was headed-up by former Telegraph editor Mark Law and Evening Standard editor Nigel Horne. This title later morphed into The Week. In 2013, Dennis remained the sole owner of Dennis Publishing, with offices in both London and New York City. It currently holds over 50 magazine titles, digital magazines, websites and mobile sites
I urge you to buy this book ! – I could not put it down !
Felix also wrote many other books and here is a selection all available at Amazon
This is the follow on book to How to get Rich, and once again is a brilliant insight into the quest to find wealth !
Another book by Felix, that is well worth the read !
The Life of Felix Dennis from the author Fergus Byrne