The Million Dollar Idea: Different ways of making money by This American Life

Before we start, I really want to draw your attention to one of my favourite blogs:

Must Read: Whoever has the gold, makes the rules. I couldn’t have said it better than the Girl with the Red Balloon.

She is inspirational and absolutely right.

That same semester I was sitting outside Mom’s office waiting to go to lunch when I overheard her say that she and my father expected me to be more independent than I was. And she and her coworker laughed. To my 18 year old self, it didn’t sound like a joke but instead an insult.

She probably wouldn’t even remember that conversation now, but I remembered it. After that first semester, I no longer accepted financial help from my parents for tuition, books or bills. Last year was the first year I’ve been able to accept gifts (in the form of our two shopping trips) without logging the dollar amount and paying her back.

I realized that, if I wanted to live my own life with my own rules and be able to hold my head up as an “independent” person, I’d have to take on the responsibility of paying for it myself. I took on a part-time job, which then became a full-time job. School was partly sacrificed in the process, but having the freedom to do it all on my own was worth that sacrifice.

Read more here.

Moving on!

If you don’t already listen to This American Life, you should give it a shot.

They release new podcasts every week and for the most part they are funny and interesting.

Here’s an episode you can stream and listen to for free, or buy for $0.99 to download to support This American Life.

I really want you to listen to the Prologue, which was an interesting story (for me) about business in general, and copycatting.


Hanco’s and Henry’s are two restaurants in Brooklyn that sell Vietnamese sandwiches and bubble tea.

Their menus are identical, down to the order of the items, the layout, the fonts.

Ira Glass investigates, and finds out about Henry’s million dollar idea.

I also liked Act Four (the last story) about Michael Larson (whom I had never heard of before).


Shawn Allee tells a story of the oldest kind of million dollar idea, the scam.

Or was it an honest venture?

Back in the 1980s Michael Larson made the most money ever on the game show Press Your Luck.

And it was no accident.

Larson had a plan to get rich that surprised everyone.

Big thanks to Stacking Pennies for reminding me that you don’t have to buy the MP3 if you don’t want to, you can just stream it.

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.