Who Stole the American Dream by Burke Hedges: Book Review

I just finished re-reading the book Who Stole the American Dream by Burke Hedges. I first read the book in 2003, while I was an Amway distributor. Since then, I have read the book several times. It’s one of my top two or three favorite books to give to my prospects.

Who Stole the American Dream: Book Review

Who Stole the American Dream is simple, to the point, easy to read and easy to understand. It is 142-pages long and takes just a couple of hours to read. It was first published in January 1992. As of date, there are more than 500,000 copies in print.

Overall, I give it 4 of 5 stars and think every network marketer should read it. I own the InterNet edition, which was published by InterNet, one of the largest Amway Motivational Organizations.

This book is a great resource to share with your prospects. It can help open their eyes to the possibilities of network marketing. It’s also a great read for new and experienced network marketers.

Who Stole the American Dream provides an in depth review on pyramid schemes, to include lotteries, chain letters, the airplane game and other ponzi schemes. Burke Hedges also reviews legal pyramid schemes such as social security, charities, Wall Street and more.

What’s funny is when you compare the legal and illegal schemes, there isn’t much difference (just who’s running them, LOL). He also reviews what network marketing is, why it works so well, and why you should consider joining a network marketing company.

One aspect of the book I really enjoyed was how Burke Hedges shared his experience about working as a laborer building boats, working as a waiter and then owning a regular business.

He explains that he made a million dollars with his traditional small business, but it cost him $1.2 million to make that million dollars. He also provides plenty of real world success stories of people who have achieved financial independence via network marketing.

One of the most enlightening things about his book is the “common misconceptions” of network marketing. He reviews why many people are misinformed about our industry, and why so many traditional businesses hate MLM."You’ll never create real and lasting wealth trading time for money." ~ Burke Hedges

Top Burke Hedges Quotes from the Book

Here are some of my favorite Burke Hedges quotes from the book. Each quote is in bold and italics. After each quote I will share my own two cents on it. They are listed in no particular order.

# 1: Did you know that 90 percent of all small businesses fail in their first year… and 80 percent of the survivors close their doors in the next five?

Most businesses have high failure rates. The beauty of network marketing is that there is very little financial risk involved. You can get started for a few hundred dollars (or less) and your monthly overhead is around $100 per month (auto-ship).

Most businesses are much more expensive than that to start, maintain and grow. In addition, you can start your network marketing business part-time while you keep your day job.

# 2: What good is having anything if you have to give up everything else to get it?

At the end of the day, your time is valuable. Time is your most precious asset. It’s the only thing you can’t get back or get more of. The key to living well is making enough money to provide the lifestyle you want while having the time to do things with the people who you want to. Most people either have a lot of time and no money, or a lot of money and no time. Few people have both. Network marketing can give you both!

# 3: There’s  nothing wrong with something have a pyramid structure.

All businesses and organizations in the world are shaped like a pyramid. The government is shaped like a pyramid. So is your church and your job. I’m not sure why this is anything new to people.

The real beauty of network marketing is that everyone starts at the top and has to fill in the bottom. Promotions and rank advancements are based 100% on your results. There is no discrimination, office politics, or butt kissing. It is a true level playing field."You know, 80 percent of all bankruptcies would be prevented if people had as little as an extra $250 per month." ~ Burke Hedges

# 4: An illegal pyramid scheme is a money-making scam where the people at the bottom put money in, but value doesn’t flow back down to them.

There must be VALUE given to everyone from the products and services that they buy. In network marketing, no one gets paid just to sign people up. Distributors get paid based upon the legitimate movement of products. The more products their organization moves, the more money they make. No product movement = no money!

# 5: There’s neither security nor freedom in having a job.

When you have a job you have no control, even if you think you do. You can be terminated at any time for any reason, or your employer could go bankrupt or merge with another company. Or, you could wake up tomorrow and have a new boss that doesn’t like you.

Even government employees don’t have job security. Even worse, when you have a job you are told what to wear, when you can take time off, what time you have to arrive at work, what tasks you have to do each day, and when you can go home each day. How is that freedom?

# 6: I don’t know about you, but I’d rather run a profitable business in an unconventional industry than an unprofitable business in a conventional industry.

As long as a business is profitable, ethical and legal, it doesn’t matter what industry it is in. That’s how I see it. People get so hung up about “what type of business to have.”  Many people don’t even think of MLM as a real business, because you don’t need a designated office space, employees or inventory.

At the end of the day, what matters is this: “is my company profitable?” The real beauty of network marketing is the low start-up and ongoing costs. It’s quite simple to be profitable compared to most traditional businesses.

# 7: Success in our business depends on a lot of people doing a little bit each.

Leverage is the real beauty of network marketing: having an organization with hundreds, even thousands of people, all doing a little bit each. When you add up all those “little bits” it can add up to something huge. Ultimately, you want a team with tens of thousands of people all doing a little bit each consistently, month after month.

# 8: You’ll never create real and lasting wealth trading time for money.  

If you have to keep physically working to keep getting paid, you have a problem. If you get hurt, or no longer want to work, you lose your ability to make money. Now, there’s nothing wrong with having a job, but why not create a part-time residual income, so you can have options one day?

# 9: You know, 80 percent of all bankruptcies would be prevented if people had as little as an extra $250 per month.

One of my favorite things about this industry is the “little money.” Very few people ever talk about this, but an extra $200 to $500 per month would be completely life changing for most people. If you can help people on your team make an extra few hundred dollars per month, you would anchor them into the business and minimize attrition.

who stole the american dreamAbout the Book

The first edition of the book was published on December 24, 1992. It features 142-pages and was published by the International Network Training Institute. The ISBN is 978-0963266705. As of June 2015 the book has 24 reviews on Amazon with an average 3.9 rating. BUY THE BOOK ON AMAZON.

About Burke Hedges

Burke is a successful author, trainer, consultant and speaker in the MLM Industry. He’s published several books and he is a successful distributor in his own right. He is a true ambassador to our industry.

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Final Thoughts

In my opinion, Who Stole the American Dream by Burke Hedges is a must read for any novice or experienced network marketer. It is a great book to give to your new downline distributors, or prospects.

The book is a quick read, about 2-3 hours, and is jam-packed with great information about the network marketing industry. It talks about the many advantages to starting your own MLM business, and what you need to do to succeed. Overall, I give it 4 of 5 stars. If you haven’t read his book yet, you should.

What are your thoughts? Have you read the book before? If so, did you like it? Also, what is your favorite quote from Who Stole the American Dream? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.

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4 thoughts on “Who Stole the American Dream by Burke Hedges: Book Review”

  1. Chrystlyn Edwards

    I am interested in reading “Who Stole the American Dream” by Burke Hedges, because I am curious to learn more about the vital information printed in this article about this book. I am really interested in seeing how the author explains how legal and illegal pyramid schemes work, and how they are similar in nature. This book seems as it would be a valuable resource to add to my book collection in the near future.

  2. Wow, definitely a timely read given the economic circumstances across the globe today. I don’t know how closely you followed the most recent Presidential primaries in the US but there was a lot of controversy regarding characterizing Social Security as a pyramid scheme by the talking heads in the media, but it seemed an apt description to me! I’ll definitely be picking this up to learn more about the legal versus illegal setups, as well as getting some more insights (and hopefully rebuttals) on the common misconceptions.

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