The first Thai writer to earn over B100 million, Somkid Lawangkool, relates his rollercoaster rags to riches story and explains how his life was changed thanks to reading a funeral book.

My mother wasn’t married when she became pregnant with me and the guy ran away. She had to leave me at a temple when I was 2 years old because she didn’t have enough money to raise me. I was very poor and couldn’t continue my education.

I asked a priest how I could be successful. He told me rich people have to be smart and that I needed to read a lot. So I read every book I could.

A funeral book changed my life. It was a book of self-improvement ideas from Dale Carnegie, a famous American self-help writer, who had also once been poor.

You need to target your weak point. Dale said anyone who wanted to be successful has to have life goals.

I decided I would be a millionaire by the time I was 25 years old.

I tried being a boxer after I saw a famous fighter win several million baht in one fight. I later dropped this idea after my mom asked me to stop. She couldn’t see me hurt.

I came to Bangkok to work as a waiter and was promoted to be a manager. I also studied at school to improve my English. Then I got work at a massage parlor where I was earning B500-600 a night. I actually thought I could have a million dollars this way.

I was addicted to drugs. My mom cried and begged me to stop and I did.

I later became a soldier and a sergeant for years. Then my mom, who worked as a maid for a rich family, got me work for Thai Airways in their kitchen service department.

Being a soldier was quite comfortable, so I thought really hard, because I would start from nothing at Thai. Dale Carnegie said, if you have to make a decision, choose the one that helps you acquire your goal faster. The answer, for me, was to work for Thai Airways.

After 2 years, I decided to go work with Scandinavian Airlines as a cleaner at the new Jeddah International Airport in Saudi Arabia.

I did my job well, and I finally became an Operational Assistant, the youngest executive in the company.

I also achieved my goal. I had a million baht in my account when I was only 24.

I quit because I wanted to marry, but the girl didn’t want to marry me.

I withdrew from the world and went to live in the jungle on 30 rai of land. I tried to grow jasmine but I lost all my money due to flooding.

I realized I had failed because I didn’t have a goal. I made up my mind to have B10 million and to be famous.

I tried to get into broadcasting, but ended up being a human resources guy and then a general manager.

My friends said I would never get rich being an employee. I became a partner at Banana Music records which flopped after the mp3 boom. Then I produced TV programs and talk shows which failed because of the financial crisis in 1997.

I lost everything and was nearly B10 million in debt. I even thought of committing suicide.

Carnegie said you must see the opportunities in crises. While I was looking for things to sell, I found my old talk show scripts, which still made me laugh. I decided to write books based on them.

Ha Sud Kheed (Extremely Funny) became a best seller. I could pay off my debt in 2 years. I’ve since written at least 30 more books which have made me B100 million. That’s ten times more than I first planned.

I actually retired in 2000 but I still do some lectures and write some books. Now I have a goal to make another B100 million.

If I hadn’t been poor, I wouldn’t have had a life like this. I wouldn’t be willful and wouldn’t have fought like this.

I teach my only daughter to be poor. She has to wake up early to work at the cafeteria of her boarding school before going to study.

The practice of dharma is the best science. The trend is reversed now. Normal folk stop practicing dharma because materialism makes them want money. Rich people have returned to dharma because they’ve realized that everything that they ran after cannot bring them real happiness.

Chinese philosophy says that if you strive and fight unflinchingly, god has no choice but to give you great achievement.


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