Over the last couple weeks, I’ve been reading 50 different books. Actually, I’ve been reading about them in Cliffs Notes fashion in the new book “50 Prosperity Classics: Attract It, Create It, Manage It, Share It (50 Classics)” by author Tom Butler-Bowdon. While you may wonder why in the world you would buy a book about other books, let me give you a few reasons.
Butler-Bowdon distills the major points of each book across 3-5 pages each. He also writes from his own point of view and weaves the reviews in with each other. By doing so, he continually drives home the key ideas about attaining prosperity. Some of these 50 books aren’t the easiest of reads, but Butler-Bowdon condenses the material down to a very user-friendly format
What is Prosperity?
Prosperity is not wealth or riches. According to the author:
Whereas wealth is simply the possession of money or assets, or the process of getting more and keeping more for ourselves, prosperity is the state of “flourishing, thriving, or succeeding.” In short, wealth is about money but prosperity is about life, taking in the wider ideas of good fortune, abundance, and well-being.
Per the full name of the book, Tom (yeah, we’re on a first name basis now) identifies four paths to prosperity:
- Attract It
- Create it
- Manage it
- Share it
But these ways to prosperity are not independent of each other. As I mentioned, the author ties in the principles of each book into an overall theme. The main starting point to prosperity, though, is definitely reinforced in many of the book selections: attracting prosperity through positive, intentional thoughts and actions. I myself bagan my own mission towards prosperity by enacting one of the ideas presented in the classic “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” by deciding to stop complaining for 7 days. It’s been over a week now, and I’m still maintaining my “no complaint” attitude, and it’s rubbing off on people around me too.
If you’re wondering what types of books are included, I’ll list them all for you below, but I will state that they range in topics covering investing, the “law of attraction”, entrepreneurship, money management, debt and many more topics that form together to create a powerful tool for creating and living a prosperous life.
The 50 Classic Prosperity Books
So without further ado, I’ll list out each book in the appropriate “prosperity path” category, and then include the short summary from the author included at the beginning of each chapter for that book:
Books for Attracting Wealth
The whole “law of attraction” idea is new to me, and I think it has promise. However, Tom did admit in his commentaries that some of the books were a bit “New Age” and may be hard to stomach for some readers. But at least his commentary states that and you can decide on those specific books. Overall, though, the author’s summaries of each book are a great launching point for attracting wealth:
- The Path To Prosperity by James Allen (1905) — You will only become truly prosperous when you have disciplined your mind and subjugated your negative emotions. Paradoxically, wealth (and happiness) comes most easily to those who forget the self in the service to others.
- Your Invisible Power by Genevieve Behrend (1921) — What we visualize tends to come into being. Use this invisible, but logical, power to turn any desire into reality.
- The Secret by Rhonda Byrne (2006) — You are a powerful magnet, attracting into your life the equivalent of whatever you are strongly feeling or thinking about, including thoughts of lack or prosperity.
- Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker (2005) — To obtain desired outer results, you must first master the inner game of wealth.
- Prosperity by Charles Fillmore (1936) — All wealth begins and ends with the spiritual Source, therefore gratitude for what we have is the master key to prosperity.
- Ask And It Is Given: Learning To Manifest Your Desires by Esther and Jerry Hicks (2004) — As long as you are in a state of mind and being that is ready to receive, you can have whatever you want.
- The Master Key to Riches by Napoleon Hill (1965) — The basic law of prosperity is that to receive, you must first provide something of great value.
- Open Your Mind To Prosperity by Catherine Ponder (1971) — In transforming your beliefs about spirituality and wealth, you can welcome great well being and prosperity into your life.
- The Abundance Book by John Randolph Price (1987) — Life is in part a test to see if we can learn the laws of abundance, specifically the law of ‘all sufficiency’.
- Creating Money: Keys to Abundance by Sanaya Roman & Duane Packer (1988) — If you know the universe to be an abundant place, you won’t fear not having the resources to pursue your purpose or mission in life.
- Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow by Marsha Sinetar (1987) — Though we can’t control when, the decision to do what we love sooner or later pays off.
- The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism by Max Weber (1905) — The spirit of capitalism is not greed and consumption, but the creation of order and the best use of resources. For those with a ‘calling’, there is no problem in reconciling the spiritual and economic aspects of life.
Books for Creating Wealth
I’m finding that I love reading books about how people made it big, and this section has some big winners. Stories about, or directly by, such people as Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Conrad Hilton and Donald Trump are must-reads for any budding business person. You’ll also find information about creating multiple streams of income, investing in real estate, and understanding capitalism:
- Multiple Streams of Income by Robert G. Allen (2005) — The prosperous do not depend on only once source of income, but grow orchards of ‘money trees’.
- The Art of Money-Getting by P.T. Barnum (1880) — There are no shortcuts to wealth, aside from right vocation, good character and perseverance — and don’t forget to advertise.
- Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson (2005) — Don’t be afraid to be different. On entering any new field or an industry, aim to really shake it up and provide new value.
- How To Get Rich by Felix Dennis (2006) — Be willing to fail in public, and you have jumped the hurdle holding most people back from getting rich.
- Innovation and Entrepreneurship by Peter Drucker (1985) — The purpose of entrepreneurship is to deliver new satisfaction and value, and is built on ‘unexpected successes’ that are quickly capitalized upon.
- Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman (1962) — The free market, not government, ensures protection of individual rights and standards of quality, and delivers extraordinary prosperity for those who seek it.
- The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century by Thomas L. Friedman (2005) — Technological advance is creating a ‘level playing field’ in which previously marginalized people and countries can play a competitive role in the world economy.
- Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire by James Wallace & Jim Erickson (1992) — In your field of work, see what can be achieved by ‘setting the standard’. With a big, clear vision in place, you can make the most of any opportunity that comes your way.
- The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E Gerber (2001) — The key to real prosperity in business is to work on your enterprise, not in it.
- The One Minute Millionaire by Mark Victor Hansen & Robert G. Allen (2002) — All who become wealthy in the modern world know the power of leverage: using other people’s resources and technology to multiply the effect of what they do.
- Be My Guest by Conrad Hilton (1957) — Having a dream and thinking big are the basic elements of all great enterprises and fortunes.
- The Lazy Man’s Way To Riches by Joe Karbo (1973) — Mental conditioning is the foundation of wealth; once your goals are programmed in, success comes easily.
- The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki (2004) — Before anything else, the fundamental purpose in starting any new enterprise is to create meaning. Start off catering to a small market, and if what you are doing is worthwhile, other opportunities will emerge.
- God Wants You To Be Rich by Paul Zane Pilzer (1995) — God designed the universe as a super-abundant place, with technology as the engine that delivers the greatest benefits to the greatest number.
- Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand (1966) — In capitalism, wealth is created by free, individual minds with no coercion involved. This makes it a moral system of political economy.
- Business As Unusual: My Entrepreneurial Journey by Anita Roddick (2005) — When starting a business, do the opposite of the established industry. Make your business a powerful force for social change.
- Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time by Howard Schultz (1997) — Nothing great is ever achieved without people making frightening leaps of faith. Huge enterprises can be built by giving people a small moment of joy in their day.
- The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith (1776) — The wealth of a nation is that of its people, not its government. Wealth is achieved through the division of their labor and the ever-greater specialization of their skills. The foundation of all future prosperity is current savings.
- The Art of the Deal by Donald Trump (1987) — To succeed in business, balance boldness and promotion with patience, caution and flexibility.
Books for Managing Wealth
So you think that once you have money you don’t have to worry? Well the wealthy would definitely argue otherwise. The rich don’t stay rich by spending needlessly or not watching their finances, and you won’t either. The books in this category identify ways to live within your means, budget, invest wisely, and save. They’re books about the basics, but are in no way elementary. You have books by John Bogle, Benjamin Graham (Warren Buffet’s mentor), Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey:
- The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach (2004) — There is no easier or surer way of attaining wealth than through the habit of ‘paying yourself first’ through automatic deductions.
- The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John C. Bogle (2007) — If you invest in stocks at all, put your money in a fund that automatically owns a little bit of every company listed in a stock market. Over time, it is a sure and almost worry-free way to accumulate wealth.
- The Essays of Warren Buffett edited by Lawrence Cunningham (2003) — Don’t invest in stocks — invest in the businesses behind them. [Read Buffett’s letters to shareholders for free online.]
- Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin (1992) — By living on less, you can actually enjoy life more.
- The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham (1949) — Don’t be someone who ‘knows the price of everything and the value of nothing’. In stock investing, consider yourself part owner of a company, not a trader.
- Cashflow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki (1998) — The mindset and income patterns of the rich are totally different to those of the poor and middle class.
- One Up On Wall Street by Peter Lynch (1989) — Alert investors who focus on the fundamentals and do not get swayed by market sentiments can outperform the professionals.
- Investing In Real Estate by Andrew McLean & Gary W. Eldred (2006) — Buying rental properties is one of the lowest risk and best performing forms of investment.
- How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt & Live Prosperously by Jerrold Mundis (1988) — Your debts may seem insurmountable, but there is a well-worn, reliable path that can rescue you from despair.
- How I Turned $1,000 into Three Million in Real Estate — In My Spare Time by William Nickerson (1969) — Over a 20-year period, it is difficult not to get rich from real estate if you follow a simple formula.
- Women and Money by Suze Orman (2007) — To ensure their financial freedom, women need to have new respect for their relationship to money and defy cultural conditioning.
- Financial Peace Revisited by Dave Ramsey (2005) — More than money itself, what most people need is peace of mind. If you don’t take control of your finances, they will control you (no matter how much you earn).
- The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley & William S. Danko (1996) — Most people become millionaires not by inheritance or winning the lottery, but earning a good income from work they enjoy, living well below their means and investing their savings.
Books for Sharing Wealth
This section is probably the hardest for people to comprehend or accept. How do “becoming wealthy” and “giving away your money” mix? Well, many people feel that by giving back to the universe, the universe returns to you in kind (and maybe multiplies it). I don’t doubt this concept as we’ve been blessed with more income and prosperity with each year, while we’ve been donating more and more to charity. We’re far from the 10% tithe standard, but reading these books gives you a hint into why it’s important to share your wealth:
- The Gospel of Wealth by Andrew Carnegie (1899) — The wealth creator has a moral obligation to enrich the lives of others in whatever way they can.
- The Foundation: How Private Wealth is Changing the World by Joel Fleishman (2007) — Private wealth in the form of foundations is a valuable ‘third force’ in changing the world.
- Natural Capitalism: The Next Industrial Evolution by Paul Hawken, Amory B. Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins (1999) — Genuine prosperity is not won at the expense of the Earth.
- The Billionaire Who Wasn’t by Conor O’Clery (2007) — Building a fortune can be exciting, but seeing it put to good use while you are alive brings even greater satisfaction.
- The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist (2003) — Generating, using and spending money in a way that is consistent with our deepest values has a healing effect not only on ourselves but the world.
- Banker To The Poor by Muhammad Yunus (1998) — If given the opportunity, the poorest will do what it takes to become prosperous.
Well, that’s all 50 Prosperity Classics. So which one are you going to read first? Keep in mind that your local library will have a copy of most of these books, but I’ll admit that it’s good to have some of these books handy for reference. They’re called “classics” for a reason!