Usually I wait until the end of my book reviews to say whether a book is a good pick or not, but in this case, I’ll say it up front. “Does Your Bag Have Holes” by Cameron Taylor is a definite MUST BUY. Why? Well not many non-fiction books capture my attention enough to make me want to keep it on my bookshelf to read and re-read again in the future. However, “Does Your Bag Have Holes” does make it onto the short list of keepers, in my honest opinion. Oh, and it comes with an abridged audio CD!
Now let’s get into the meat of the review so I can explain why.
Creating a Solid Moral and Financial Foundation
Here at CleverDude.com, my tagline is “Family, Marriage, Finances & Life”, but there’s one major item missing that really precedes all four of those: God.
I have purposely tried to keep religion out of my articles for the simple fact that I know many people get distracted by controversy and would lose the core material I’m trying to convey. I know other fellow personal finance bloggers successfully insert religion into their writing, but I just haven’t felt confident enough in my beliefs to do so myself. But after reading “Does Your Bag Have Holes”, I’ve realized that one major thing that was missing in my writing to link everything together and provide a solid foundation for making the right decisions.
In the book, Cameron successfully avoids the “preachy” tone that normally dissuades many readers from truly grasping the principles, methods or teachings that the writer is trying to convey. Through metaphors, parables, Biblical and other literary citations, and plain life experience, Cameron relates mankind’s true place in the world. He outlines the proper role of the government in supporting society and our freedom to choose. I’ve already commented on what Cameron states about government and welfare programs (including social security), but I still don’t think I described it as well as he does in his book considering he devotes at least an entire chapter to the topic.
The 4 Principles of Prosperity
Cameron first describes how “prosperity” differs from “wealth” or “richness”, and then proceeds to identify four main principles that must be followed to be truly prosperous:
- Our Creator Gives Us All Good Things
- Liberty is Given to All Men by Our Creator – Of course this is meant as “all mankind”, not just men
- Consequences are the Results of Our Choices
- Government is Created by the People to Protect Our God-Given Rights
Just by reading the title of each principle, you can understand where Cameron is going with his book. The source of our freedom and talents is God. Mankind then uses those gifts to create things in this world, such as wealth and institutions like governments. And finally, because we have the ability to choose (i.e. “free will”), we are responsible also for our actions. However, as you’ll read later, we don’t have the ability to decide the consequences of our choices, but we should have a clear understanding of the range of probable outcomes.
The 6 Choices of Prosperity
And since we have “free will” from our Creator, we also have to look at the good and bad of our decisions:
- Blame or Responsibility
- Pride or Humility
- Hypocrisy or Integrity
- Idleness or Industry
- Debt or Ownership
- Greed or Charity
Again, each of these list items is self-explanatory, but keep in mind that one choice is self-centered while the other is based on God’s laws. And then finally sprinkled throughout the book, well really the core of the entire book, are
24 Financial Myths
I’m not going to list all of them here, but just enough to tempt you to get the book and learn more. Each myth has its own chapter which discusses each in length:
- Myth 1: Faith is a crutch for the weak
- Myth 3: I am not worthy or deserving of prosperity
- Myth 4: I can only succeed at the expense of others
- Myth 5: Bad things should not happen to good people
- Myth 7: The Constitution calls for the separation of church and state
- Myth 11: The grass is always greener on the other side
- Myth 16: It’s not personal. It’s just business
- Myth 18: Everything is the result of luck
- Myth 19: Failure is bad
- Myth 20: If I can make payments, I can afford it
- Myth 24: That’s their business, not mine
With only reading some of the myth titles, it might look like Cameron is simply trying to justify why being rich isn’t bad. However, I must point you to read the entire book to see the full length of his answers on each myth.
One of the myths is “Everyone is entitled to a high standard of living”. In that chapter, Cameron highlights hard work, ethics and determination as the paths to wealth. That is, you have to work if you want to earn an honest living. And by being industrious and earning more money than you need to survive, you should then be (wisely) generous with your extra income. You shouldn’t hoard your money. That’s not being rich, that’s being greedy and sinful.
No one is entitled to be wealthy or even have a high standard of living. God or our fellow man can take it all away from us in an instant, and I sense that Cameron is teaching that if all you have is a sense of “I deserve it”, then how could you ever support yourself on your own if disaster struck? If all you do is complain about how the government owes you a living, or be envious of people living comfortably while you’re struggling to survive, then you’re probably robbing yourself from living your own prosperous life.
I can’t find one part of the book that didn’t keep my eyes glued to the pages and pondering my own life. It’s not often that I run across a book that makes me reflect so deeply on both my faith and my understanding of worldly principles (including finances), but I found it with “Does Your Bag Have Holes”.
If you couldn’t tell by now, I recommend buying the book. I also recommend getting it directly from Cameron’s site, DoesYourBagHaveHoles.org. Normally I give an Amazon referral link, but Cameron is offering his book for $5 less than Amazon (only $12.95) AND he’s personally autographing each book. You probably don’t get that through Amazon!