Full chapter from my book: Optimize Your Credit Cards

Ramit Sethi

When I wrote my first book, we spent about a month trying to convince the publisher to send us a PDF OF OUR OWN BOOK SO WE COULD TRY TO MARKET IT. They were afraid that it would leak and magically kill sales. Are you kidding me?

For my new book, I Will Teach You To Be Rich (coming out in 6 days!!!!!), I asked my publisher once and they sent over ALL the PDFs. God I love them.

However, I don’t think they know what I was planning to do with them. I just kept whispering words like “wikis…Twitter…web 2.0.” They seemed to like that a lot.

So instead of trying to sell you guys on a bunch of promises, I’m figured you’d just want to see a few meaty chapters from the book.

No prob. Today, I’ll show you the FULL Chapter 1, “Optimize Your Credit Cards,” where you’ll see things like:

  • Page 24: Call script to use if you miss a payment
  • Page 34: People who waste time chasing bank interest rates
  • Page 35: Section on student/CC debt

The chapter also includes strategies to beat credit cards by (1) picking the right card and (2) negotiating if they try to screw you, how-to tactics for paying off debt, and my most hated pet peeve of all: Why most people focus on minutiae like saving $3 on lattes, but forget *big wins* like optimizing their credit. (See page 17 for an example of how your credit will save you hundreds of thousands of dollars — more than any amount of lattes.)

I’ll let the work speak for itself. Chapter 1 starts on page 13 of the PDF attachment.



BOOK COUNTDOWN: I Will Teach You To Be Rich launches!! order from Amazon or Barnes and Noble and forward your receipt to to get spreadsheets, bonuses, and a way to get your book signed.

Do you know your actual earning potential?

Get started with the Earning Potential quiz. Get a custom report based on your unique strengths, and discover how to start making extra money — in as little as an hour.

Start The Quiz

Takes 3 min


  1. Moneymonk

    I’m not a credit card addict, ( I have no cc debt) however, I enjoyed reading this Chapter. This is not a boring book, it keeps you interested by using practical stories of people in different situations, you don’t gear it to “one size fits all” mantra.

    I never heard of “personal entrepreneurship “, I love it. We all should take heed to it.

    Looking forward to the book.

  2. Kate Kashman

    Thanks for sharing this with us. I’m looking forward to reading the whole book. I’m putting up a link on my site – hope it sends a few readers over.

  3. Liz`

    YOU ROCK! 🙂

  4. TA

    Good book so far Ramit. Looks like something I’d want to continue to read. Don’t know if you are aware of the typo on pg 26, “Bbefore”?

  5. Chapter 1 of I Will Teach You To Be Rich FREE! — the ¢entsible life

    […] he’s featuring the first chapter of his book (same title as the blog) for free on his site. I definitely recommend you check it out. Chapter One is called “Optimizing your Credit […]

  6. Carrie

    Hey Ramit! I’m a big fan.

    For some odd reason, I never even thought about paying more a month for my student loans, just because it was categorized in my mind as “good debt”. I have no other debt either. But debt is debt right? I was wondering if calling a loan servicer like Sallie Mae is even worth it, or would it be better to hold on to the flexibility of having lower payments due, but just paying more each month? It’s on an auto-debit cycle now, but I could always pay more on top of that each month right?

    Many, many thanks!

  7. QOAS

    This is the first time I heard of personal entrepreneurship and I find your book really interesting and definitely worth reading.

  8. Alvin

    Rami – not sure how this happened, but I pre-ordered from Amazon on Feb 20, and I received my book on March 4th – I’ve started reading, but my wife took over and plans to finish it before I get it back. Anyway, I was just confused about the book release still being in the future tense.

    • Ramit Sethi

      Don’t worry, we’re not in a time machine : )

      A few lucky people got it early. Thanks for ordering it!

  9. mapgirl

    One word Ramit: Shoes!

    Barefeet are kind of icky.


  10. Mark Wolfinger

    Ran into same problem with my latest publisher.
    Editor refused to provide a finished copy of my own book.
    Too weird for words.


  11. Stop Getting Cheated

    Excellent, Ramit. Easy to read, humorous, interesting and great practical tips. I always pay off my CC balance, but I still enjoyed reading this section. Count me in for padding your bottom line. I will definitely purchase this book. You have great style, buddy. I hope you make a bundle off this book.

  12. Stephen - Rat Race Trap

    I bought your book for one reason. This paragraph in the free chapter:

    “Why? Because we love to debate minutiae. When we do, we somehow feel satisfed. We might just be spinning our wheels and failing to change anyone’s mind, but we feel as if we are
    really expressing ourselves, and it’s a good feeling. We feel like we’re getting somewhere. The problem is that this feeling is totally illusory. Focusing on these details is the easiest way to get nothing done. Imagine the last time you and your friend talked about fnances or ftness. Did you go for a run afterward? Did you send money to your savings account? Of
    course not. “

  13. Derek DiPetrillo

    Hey Ramit! Great work on the book, I’m loving it so far and will be pre-ordering it tonight. One mistake I noticed though is on page 39, the chart doesn’t match the words above. For example, you said in the text it takes Smart Sally 5 years to pay off the 5k in debt, but the chart says 14 months. Similar mistake for Dumb Dan. Just something to take a look at. Best of luck with everything!

  14. Kim

    Read the first chapter, and five minutes later was on the phone to see if i could get my APR lowered, even though I pay my bills in full — just thought I’d try to see if it worked and if I could suggest this to others. The guy was so happy to do so! Not by 50 percent (only by 30) but not bad for less than two minutes of my time. Great suggestions with reminders about how little time it really takes to get started 🙂

  15. finance deals

    My questions: I am wondering if getting rid of my old cards is better than keeping them when it comes to my overall FICO score? If keeping them is better, is it even better to use each one routinely? Also I’ve heard it can help to get an AMEX card, due to their high qualifying standards and requirements?

  16. Eric

    Hi Ramit,

    Enjoyed the first chapter and looking forward to getting the book. Regarding cash back cards, I know you like to use your PremierPass instead to rack up points for flights. But with the recent horrible downgrades to the Thank You points system, are you rescinding that recommendation now? Are you seeking out a new card? If so, which one?

    I was hoping you would address this eventually but I’m curious to know soon since I have the same card!


    P.S. I noticed that there was a typo on page 26 in the second paragraph under point number 5. Not sure if it’s a big deal to you or not 🙂

  17. Mabinogi

    Thanks for sending this out. I read it yesterday, and really enjoyed it. I pay my credit card off in full every month, but after reading your advice yesterday I got on the phone with Discover and got my credit limit raised by $6000. Pretty sweet!

    I do wish that you’d spent a little more time on the section of student loan debt, because this is something that seems to be ignored by a lot of personal finance gurus, and I *still* don’t know what to do. I have $25,000 in student loan debt at a painful 6.25% interest rate. I just opened a Roth IRA last year and was hoping to fully fund it this year and into the future. But should I be doing so at the expense of prepaying my student loans? Right now I’m making the minimum payments; if I do that forever I’ll be paying something like an extra $20,000 in interest. Ugh.

  18. » Blog Archive » Read the First Chapter of I Will Teach You To Be Rich for Free [Free]

    […] debt management. Share your thoughts on the free chapter, and the topics in it, in the comments. Full chapter from my book: Optimize Your Credit Cards [I Will Teach You How To Be […]

  19. Mike Nash

    Why aren’t you making the book available for the Kindle? Amazon shows its not available – very sad to see that.

    • Ramit Sethi

      There will be a Kindle version in about 2-3 weeks.

  20. Read the First Chapter of I Will Teach You To Be Rich for Free [Free] - 566th Edition | Technology Revealed

    […] debt management. Share your thoughts on the free chapter, and the topics in it, in the comments. Full chapter from my book: Optimize Your Credit Cards [I Will Teach You How To Be […]

  21. Olivia

    Hi Ramit- Loved the first chapter (I will probably be purchasing the whole book). I don’t have any credit card debt but I do have a credit card that I pay off at the end of each month. Right after reading this chapter I called the credit card company to ask for an increase in my credit limit…and they increased it by several $1000 dollars! 🙂 I already have a good/excellent credit score, but a few more points wouldn’t hurt. I might call again later to ask about lowering the interest rate (why not?). Thanks for all your tips…love your website!

  22. Read the First Chapter of I Will Teach You To Be Rich for Free [Free] | Reviews Manual

    […] management. Share your thoughts on the liberated chapter, and the topics in it, in the comments. Full chapter from my book: Optimize Your Credit Cards [I Will Teach You How To Be […]

  23. anonny

    page 43 text cuts off.

  24. DP

    Hey Ramit,

    Love the first chapter, and had a negative balance on my card so I ordered it (although where’s my 29.98% interest when they owe ME money?!), and actually downgraded my Amex Gold card to a Green card with the exact same benefits and a much lower fee. I’ve just gotten out of debt and am excited to see what tips you have in your book about 401ks, bonds and letting money grow. I’ve made a few mistakes early on in the stock market, and am ready to be boring.

    Congrats on the book!


  25. johnmc

    I thought that the text got cut off on p. 43 too, but it looks like it continues on p. 46.

  26. Romyr

    Typo on page 26 Ramit. Before is spelled Bbefore. Good stuff nonetheless. And I already preordered the book.! can’t wait.

  27. Test » Blog Archive

    […] debt management. Share your thoughts on the free chapter, and the topics in it, in the comments. Full chapter from my book: Optimize Your Credit Cards [I Will Teach You How To Be […]

  28. Gary

    There is an error on Page 39 in your illustration. The numbers are mixed up and don’t make any sense. Great book overall.

  29. Practical Financial Advice | Broke Girl's Guide

    […] I admire the fact that you’re currently reading Moby Dick, and I won’t judge if you’re reading Twilight.  But regardless of whatever happens to be sitting on your nightstand, you should set it aside to peruse “I Will Teach You to be Rich: No Guilt. No Excuses. No B.S.” by Ramit Sethi.  You can check out the Introduction and Chapter One (which focuses on credit cards) for free here or on his website.   […]

  30. Link Roundup | Do You Dave Ramsey?

    […] Teach You To Be Rich (great name) is following the Seth Godin model of book marketing and making parts of his book available for free online.  I loved the Intro but didn’t completely agree with his stance on Credit Cards.  I really […]

  31. Brandon

    Brother, I own a coffee shop in Michigan and I LOVE that you are telling folks the truth…that they will not cure their financial issues or get rich by giving up their coffee and lattes. Great stuff, can’t wait to read more!

  32. Mark

    Interesting first chapter. A couple comments:

    1. the section on increasing credit card lines of credit should contain a disclosure that calling your credit card company will likely result in a hard pull of your bureau which may lower your credit score. Perhaps it should also have a discussion of hard vs soft pulls.

    2. regarding debt utilization it would be nice to see a blurb about the impact of no-preset cards on debt utilization and how highest billed balance may be more significant on a no-preset card than the actual credit line as far as impact to the credit score.

    3. regarding the credit bureau a discussion of credit bureau monitoring services might be in order comparing FICO and FAKO scores.

    4. I disagreed with your advice to close credit accounts if you thought it presented too much temptation. Simply destroying the plastic would seem to be sufficient to stave off the possibility of closing an account which may represent your oldest open line on the bureau.

    5. regarding debt utilization it would be nice to know from someone at FICO what an ideal number is. I’ve always heard 90% utilization on any individual account and over 50% on all accounts were negative to your FICO but that also having 0% utilization could be negative. I’ve read less than 35% utilization was positive.

    I appreciate you posting the chapter. I’ll look for it on Amazon.


  33. Darren

    Looks very US-specific. Not sure this would interest Australian readers as much. I suppose the title is designed to sell books, but it really should be “I will teach you money management”. That’s not as sexy though is it. I don’t see any mention of actually MAKING money, just managing it.

  34. Queercents » Blog Archive » Queercents Weekly Roundup:

    […] book was #1 at Amazon after it’s debut, and you can check out the first chapter for free! (Read it at I Will Teach You to Be […]

  35. nau8CO

    Hey Ramit,
    I started reading your book and as I pay off my credit cards in full every month I decided to ask CapitalOne and Discover for credit increases. This comment is to share my experience with other readers. At CapitalOne, I could not get to a customer rep and their automated system politely told me to buzz off (not eligible for user initiated credit limit increase). This for a person with a good credit score (close to 800). My experience at Discover was the direct opposite, their customer rep within 5 seconds bumped up my limit by $4k. So a hit and a miss on this one but I am looking forward to applying the rest of your suggestions. Thanks for a great book.

  36. “I Will Teach You To Be Rich” -First Impressions « Journey to the Automation Age

    […] This will greatly improve my credit score, thus saving me hundreds of thousands of dollars down the line when I need loans for big purchases (wedding, house, car, etcetera).  It will also allow me to efficiently track my spending, and give other benefits of credit card use, such as consumer protection.  To learn more about the benefits (and dangers) of credit cards, you can read the entire chapter for free from Ramit Sethi’s blog here. […]

  37. Justan

    I am in the process of reading your book.

  38. fda approve acomplia

    Gentle estate! Add to favorite

  39. Justan

    I have 5 credit cards in a debt management plan all of which are closed and will remain that way. I have one credit card, a store one, what should I be doing to help me credit. I already pay on all cards and pay extra on the one with highest interest. I just bought a new\used car last week. I would like to help my credit recover. I have 2900$ in credit card debt compared to 5300$ last year. Should I get amother credit card?

  40. Amber Frankhuizen

    I am such the typical 21 year old procrastinator… I just FINALLY got around to reading the first chapter of your book. As a result, I got my ONE late payment fee on my credit card (from 6 months ago) refunded, my APR lowered 6%, and a $2000 increase on my credit line. I am going out to buy your book RIGHT NOW. No more waiting.. I feel like the longer I wait to read, the more money I am missing out on… THANK YOU, THANK YOU so much.

  41. Having Trouble Paying Credit Cards?

    […] Rich, actually offers techniques in his book. You can access the 1st chapter for free on his site here. Another thing you should check is to see if you qualify for a change in status. If you are […]

  42. Financial Guru Review: Ramit Sethi

    […] your credit cards’ interest rates: Going beyond just accelerating debt repayment, Ramit gives scripts on how you can speak with the customer service representative. I had called my credit card company […]

  43. Ben

    From your video interview on CNBC, you say “never take the collision insurance” at the rental car counter because your credit card already gives it to you. This is not true for all countries. You have to call your specific card issuer to find out where their coverage applies or does not apply. Otherwise some people will be screwed if they go to Ireland, Israel or Jamaica thinking they are covered by their credit card’s insurance.