I have a dirty little secret. I love self-help books. Particularly motivational books. And most especially, Tony Robbins books! It had been a long 20 years since he had published a book, so when I saw Money: Master the Game, I about fell out of my chair. I knew I had to read it. Now I know that everyone should read it.
I feel a personal connection to Tony Robbins. His work changed my life. We both came from humble origins, so I trust that he worked for what he has. (Also true of Suze Orman, another hero of mine). People often say, “If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?” To me, it is a more interesting question to say, “If you are so rich, are you smarter than me, and if not, how did you do it?” This is the premise of modeling, something extremely important that I learned from Robbins’ earlier books. Find out what a successful person does, and then copy it. Whether that’s learning to be a great bowler, public speaker, musician, or money manager, there’s always someone more experienced who is getting better results. Our job is to find those people and learn from their examples.
Part of Money: Master the Game is about the nitty-gritty, specific details of investing. Part of it is about clarifying our financial goals, how much we need and want, and how to maintain focus. Part of it is about the maddeningly corrupt aspects of the finance industry, and why wealthy people would take the time to share what they know with ordinary folks. There are a few sections that only apply to “qualified investors” who have at least $1 million to invest, or a $200,000 salary, and I know most of us will choke with laughter about that. Most of the book is sound advice for regular people.
The personal finance section of the public library was a huge help for me. I read everything I could find on the subject, for years, and some of the advice directly contradicted some of the other advice. Some of it must have stuck, though, because I broke even in 2008. (Actually I was up about a quarter of a percent). I nodded along through much of this book. The advice here is very similar to what I was fortunate enough to have put into practice. I would summarize it as, Always keep Future Self in mind, and minimize potential losses. If you only read one personal finance book in your life, this would be a great choice.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.