Wealth is not the same thing as money. If you want to create wealth, it will help to understand what it is.
Wealth is the fundamental thing. Wealth is stuff we want: food, clothes, houses, cars, gadgets, travel to interesting places, and so on. There is not a fixed amount of wealth in the world. You can make more wealth.
People think that what a business does is make money. But money is just the intermediate stage— just a shorthand— for whatever people want. What most businesses really do is make wealth. They do something people want. Money is a comparatively recent invention.
A surprising number of people retain from childhood the idea that there is a fixed amount of wealth in the world. There is, in any normal family, a fixed amount of money at any moment. But that’s not the same thing.
Suppose you own a beat-up old car. Instead of sitting on your butt next summer, you could spend the time restoring your car to pristine condition. In doing so you create wealth. The world is— and you specifically are— one pristine old car richer. And not just in some metaphorical way. If you sell your car, you’ll get more for it.
In restoring your old car you have made yourself richer. You haven’t made anyone else poorer. So there is obviously not a fixed pie. And in fact, when you look at it this way, you wonder why anyone would think there was.
I took the liberty of de-Paul-Graham-ifying a bit of this to make some of the central points more clear.