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Accidental Millionaire: How to Succeed in Life without Really Trying

Accidental Millionaire: How to Succeed in Life without Really Trying

4.6 13
by Gary Fong

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The Accidental Millionaire is the memoir of Gary Fong, would-be slacker who revolutionized wedding photography, inventor of popular photography aids, entrepreneur, contrarian, bon vivant and a man who really, really didn’t want to become a doctor. A first-generation Chinese-American, Gary was raised in one of Los Angeles’ least-desirable


The Accidental Millionaire is the memoir of Gary Fong, would-be slacker who revolutionized wedding photography, inventor of popular photography aids, entrepreneur, contrarian, bon vivant and a man who really, really didn’t want to become a doctor. A first-generation Chinese-American, Gary was raised in one of Los Angeles’ least-desirable neighborhoods and was forced to deal—in his own quirky and often very funny way—with the burdens of poverty, crime and his parents’ relentless aspirations. These issues almost overwhelmed him until he had a dramatic epiphany. Spotting a bumper sticker that read “Since I gave up hope, I feel much better,” Gary promptly did just that.

He stopped trying and started succeeding. At turns hilarious, insightful and instructive, The Accidental Millionaire is Horatio Alger-meets-David Sedaris. Turning the traditional self-help principles upside down, The Accidental Millionaire disdains the goal-oriented approaches of traditional self-help philosophies. Sometimes not knowing where you are going is the best possible way to get there.

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BenBella Books, Inc.
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5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Gary Fong is a globally renowned photographer, inventor and entrepreneur. He is the father of "story-booking," now the industry standard in wedding photography, in which candid shots are arranged in real time to tell a story, as opposed to the archaic method of taking posed, stilted shots. He is also the inventor of the Lightsphere, a specially colored dome that is held in place over the flash unit of a camera. Before long, more than 200,000 units were sold worldwide, thus creating a multimillion-dollar plastics business. Since inventing the Lightsphere, Fong has built a veritable cottage industry around variations on the popular product, including The Origami and The Puffer, all of which have become standard equipment used by most wedding photographers worldwide. He is considered one of the most influential photographers and inventors of his generation.

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Accidental Millionaire: How to Succeed in Life without Really Trying 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, so informative! I have been in the photo industry for a while and Gary is a icon. Absolutely amazing to see the insight on his success. Great Job Gary! Candice Cunningham
MBLevine More than 1 year ago
Gary Fong is a world renowned wedding photographer, inventor, and entrepreneur. In his memoir, The Accidental Millionaire: How to Succeed in Life without Really Trying, Fong shares stories of inspiration from a life that has been lived fully through the good times and the hard times. Oddly enough, Fong's wealth began to grow only after he stopped focusing on a set goal for success. "The Plan", created by Fong's parents, first-generation Asian immigrants, was for Fong to attend medical school and become a doctor. Fong estimated that he would have earned approximately $150,000 a year as a physician. Most of which, he predicted, would have been consumed by malpractice insurance and student loans payments. Fong spent his youth watching his parents struggle. From Fong's point-of-view, his parents lived in constant fear of not having enough, which lead to decisions that only managed to keep their heads just above water, but never propelled them to a more secure or comfortable financial life. Because of his parents' constant financial problems and the creative ways they attempted to manage them, (selling wigs out of their apartment and at weekend swap meets) Fong made a promise to his ten-year-old self that he would be his own parent. "I would be responsible for realizing my full potential. Everything-I repeat, everything-was to be completely up to me from that day forward (12)." This "declaration of independence" was the first turning point in Fong's life. Even as a child, Fong could see that his parents worked too hard but not smart. Fong was determined to have a different life, a better life. This thought process gave Fong the courage to abandon the plan his parents had set for him. After experiencing success as a wedding photographer right out of college and surviving a rather brutal divorce from his first wife, Fong had another life changing moment that taught him to stop pursuing the end result of a goal. This paradigm shift (which occurred when he read "Since I gave up hope, I feel much better," on a bumper sticker) opened Fong to new opportunities as he prepared himself for a life that offered far greater financial stability than his parents ever dreamed of. Fong's ascent into millionaire status was only an accident because it was not his intention to become so wealthy. His brilliant business mind was evident from childhood when he questioned his parents' management of their own entrepreneurial efforts and his father's refusal to take advantage of a prime real estate deal. The author seems to have always had a knack for appropriately valuing a service or product. Fong's skill at managing multiple businesses including lecturing, photography, inventions, and real estate has been the basis for his incredible wealth. This is not your typical "how to get rich" book. This is the story of a man's life; an illustration of the major events that influenced his thinking and behavior. Fong's story includes not only his successes, but also his failures in business and his personal life that drove him to constantly reassess his approach. The Accidental Millionaire challenges the familiar theories of achieving wealth. Openness, preparation, and courage are all factors that helped Gary Fong create a life that so many people dream of having for themselves. This is a book that will shake up your way of being in the world, maybe even crack open a door for a few accidents of your own to
Pacificbookreview More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by: Gary Sorkin, Pacific Book Review Title: The Accidental Millionaire: How to Succeed in Life Without Really Trying It certainly is not an accident Gary Fong has succeeded in life, and has earned millions of dollars. A person of his wit, self-confidence, and integrity exemplifies the "American Dream" in our "Land of Opportunity." Opposed to ego flaunting books of success by guys like Donald Trump, Gary Fong takes the humble route, full of self-mockery and modest remarks, as he casts his fate to the wind to free himself and let life lead his path. He is very unlike the Jack Welch type of millionaire that professes the full control of cognitive evaluation of risk approach, or the scores of books offering money making formulas investing in real estate. Gary Fong calls his auto-biographical book "A Memoir" - I call it fantastic. From his self-awareness of his own destiny as a child, he writes of whimsy incidents of childish buffoonery, and mischievous clowning behavior. What won me over early on in his book was as a kid he writes about taking lint balls off of his mother's sweater while she was napping and carefully dropping them in front of her nose while she inhaled. "Whoosh they were gone," he writes. That slapstick humor brought an outburst of actual laughter to me as his comic timing and use of onomatopoeia were impeccable. Later, throughout the course of his changing career from pre-med student to professional photographer, he generously describes step-by-step the creative process of his genius. He finds a need and fills it. In doing so there normally exists a fine line between conceit and clarification; however Gary Fong leaves no impression of any priggishness. He is very honest, modest and really a funny guy! "The Accidental Millionaire: How to Succeed in Life Without Really Trying" is a must for all young adults, college students, and just about anybody with a desire to learn about taking control of one's life in a freelance sort of way. You don't need to be born with a silver spoon in this country to attain the fruition of success. Gary Fong certainly wasn't. Attitude is everything, and Gary Fong took responsibility for his own life early on, as a child, setting in motion a plan for his survival. As capability comes first, scalability followed. Once he was able to provide for his own needs, his savings account grew, his light-hearted attitude became contagious to those around him, and the world became his oyster. What would not be "an accident" is if his book were to sell millions of copies! There he goes again - another million dollars, without really trying.
Schmidty3147 More than 1 year ago
One word, "Incredible". Gary's life story captures your attention from the first page and keeps it to the end. Thanks Gary!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The other reviewers have mentioned how inspiring Gary's story is from the business standpoint, and there's not much I can add there. The idea that stood out for me is that as a child, Gary was unencumbered by schedules and structured toys. He was free to develop his imagination, and I think that was a help to him later on in life when he understood how to live so fully in the present that he was able to spot opportunities and be so creative. And his writing is laugh-out-loud funny. (Why do I always start reading these books on the train?)
Breeget More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book a lot. I'm the type of person who reads a book in two days and then forgets everything I just read. But not so with The Accidental Millionaire. What I enjoyed most about this book was Gary Fong's humor. His story is that like no other, starting with the hairspray-covered childhood to the unlimited wealth he later acquired seemingly by accident. GF has a down-to-earth writing style that makes the reader feel like he's someone they can relate to. Someone who started out not with priviledge, but began his life like everyone else (with maybe a little more toxic fumes). In addition, it's also an inspiration and his philosophy is a breath of fresh air- stop trying so damn hard and pay attention to what's going on now, because there may be opportunities you're missing by having blinders on. It's unlikely that we're all going to now become millionairs by reading this book- as I think Gary Fong was lucky enough to have a special sense of what will make him money. Nevertheless, it's a great read and would make a humorous and inspiring gift for anyone. Personally, it changed my outlook and I wish I had read it when I was 20!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kaymag More than 1 year ago
Absolutely wonderful read! I read this book in two days time and really do not like to read anymore. Not only is it great inspiration for photographers new and old, but it will also make you think even if you are out of the industry! It has given me a fresh new look at my photography business! Gary does a superb job in telling his story in a way that will inspire you to succeed no matter what path life has taken you! I'm not only a photographer, but also work in outside sales. I have ready many many books in the past dedicated to making you a better salesman. This is the main reason I have pretty much stopped reading over the past two years! They all seem to say the very same thing! This single book has rejuvenated my work habits in both careers!! Gary has taught me to listen more and make thinks work for me rather than going out and setting that unattainable goal and beating myself up for not reaching it... Thanks Gary!! You rock!!
Kimberly_V More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading Gary Fong's, The Accidental Millionaire. Gary's writing is easy to follow, descriptive and entertaining. He shows the reader through his own experience no matter what your background, YOU are responsible for your own destiny and you can make that destiny whatever you want. Very inspiring and uplifting. I highly recommend it to not only other photographers who are familiar with Gary Fong, but also to people who come from unfortunate circumstances and feel their future is out of their hands.
jedgar More than 1 year ago
Working in the photography industry and knowing so much about Gary Fong, the godfather of many aspects of what I do today; I thought a read into his life would be fun. At first I expected Accidental Millionaire to be another boring marketing or business book but I was very pleasantly surprised when I was met with a fun, lighthearted commentary that had me laughing throughout. A great read for anyone with a taste for wit and good humor. Very funny, very cool.
LCrooks More than 1 year ago
A delightful read. Refreshingly humorous,innovative thinking and a most interesting journey thru Gary's life. Left me wanting more and looking forward to his next venture in writting. L. Crooks