The Harder You Work, the Luckier You Get: An Entrepreneur's Memoir (Hardcover)

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The Harder You Work, the Luckier You Get: An Entrepreneur's Memoir By Joe Ricketts Cover Image
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Staff Reviews

Store owner Mike Russo also teaches Small Business Entrepreneurship for KHSD. He enthusiastically recommends this title for those interested in the entrepreneurial mindset.

— From The Small Business Celebration Bookstore


Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade, shares the epic inside story of how a working-class kid from the Nebraska prairie took on Wall Street’s 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 thirty-three 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 $12,500 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 Ricketts’ mind, giving readers 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 splitting with his mentor and of his brother’s death from AIDS. Overcoming these and other challenges, he built a company now worth $30 billion.

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

About the Author

Joe Ricketts is the founder, former CEO, and retired chairman of online brokerage TD Ameritrade, and the author of The Harder You Work, The Luckier You Get.

Praise For…

"Good reading for budding businesspeople."
- Kirkus Reviews

"[Joe Ricketts's] story of building his business through acquisitions and by adopting new technologies from the 1970s until its merger with TD Waterhouse in 2006 will give the reader a candid look at an entrepreneur in action."

"As inspiring as it is instructive."
- The Federalist
Product Details
ISBN: 9781501164781
ISBN-10: 1501164783
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: November 5th, 2019
Pages: 336
Language: English