Plenty of attention and click-bait content has been devoted to analyzing the apparent personality traits of the world’s wealthiest entrepreneurs.

Some appear outgoing, while others are introverts. Some lean right, others left. Some are flashy. Others are monk-like with their money. 

The diversity of this cast of characters leads to an obvious conclusion: there are no universally essential personality traits among successful founders. 

Rather than trying to understand who they are, let’s look at what they do. 

Here at Acumen, we’ve walked alongside and sharpened many business owners, often playing a role in their businesses’ exponential improvements in value. As such, we have a unique vantage point from which to observe owners who achieve significant financial success. This point of view has allowed us to observe three things that most successful owners do differently: 

1. They read business books. 

Our most successful partners are voracious consumers of business content. When a new business book hits the bestseller list, most make a point of reading it – or at least a comprehensive summary – as soon as possible. 

It’s not just the printed word. Many get information through audiobooks, webinars, or podcasts, others via YouTube. The actual medium is unimportant to these successful founders. What’s consistent is their continuous learning pattern and the desire to leverage other people’s smart ideas and put them to work in their own company. 

2. They Join Masterminds

In the absence of having a board of directors or a boss, successful founders often use a peer board to hold themselves accountable and gain an outside perspective when they’re stuck. 

Initially popularized by Napoleon Hill in his class book, Think & Grow Rich, a mastermind gathers a small group of peers to act as one another’s board (not unlike Acumen’s council system). Often led by a chair, these groups become lifelines for owners as they navigate big decisions in their businesses and personal lives. 

3. They Ask Questions.

The character trait that makes successful entrepreneurs inclined to read business books and join peer groups is their natural curiosity. They have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. No matter how successful, they never get full. 

You may be surprised not to see the stereotypical attributes of successful entrepreneurs on this list. Many founders are also action-oriented, competitive, tenacious, etc., but all those common personality traits are who they are. Our interest is what they do. 

Actions are the measure of a person. Take a look at what a founder does to stay sharp, and you’ll see a consistent pattern among the most successful entrepreneurs you know. 

(Interested in learning how Acumen can support your growth on all three of the points above? Read about our resources, community, and commitment to sharpening your curiosity here.) 


Elizabeth Shandy
Post by Elizabeth Shandy
March 9, 2023
Elizabeth Shandy graduated from Washburn University with a Bachelors in Public Relations. In addition, she received her Masters in Leadership from Grantham University. Her deep passion for leadership came from her role as a peer advisor for nontraditional and military students while studying for her Masters. Elizabeth is the Growth Marketing Specialist enhancing our brand awareness, content management and supporting regional and team marketing. She has several years of marketing experience as well as skillsets in recruiting and advising. Her favorite thing about being part of our marketing team is getting to make a creative impact every day. She has several certificates in digital marketing including social media, graphic design, sales support, and content management. Elizabeth and her husband, Nick, have one daughter and attend Prince of Peace. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring wineries, crafting, playing keyboard, and spending time with her friends and family.