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The Psychology of Wealth: Understand Your Relationship with Money and Achieve Prosperity Hardcover – Jan 17 2012
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About the Author
Charles Richards, Ph.D., is a Doctor of Clinical Psychology, author, and licensed psychotherapist in private practice. He has trained and coached the senior executives of many Fortune 100 corporations, including General Motors, IBM, Apple, Motorola, SAP, Qualcomm, Whirlpool, Honda, and Sony.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The Psychology of Wealth by psychotherapist Charles Richards attempts to explain how, through consciously understanding our relationship with money, we can become prosperous. This book is written from a psychologist's point of view and puts change in ones behavior squarely on the individual.
Richards defines the psychology of wealth as a sense of comfort and control in ones relationship with money. How individuals spend/borrow money is a complex issue and is a result of many factors...this book illustrates how to become conscious of your spending/borrowing habits and to act accordingly.
It was the 2008 economic crises that got the author thinking about money...he interviewed many successful people in different careers to help him understand what common qualities prosperous people possess. People who possess the "Psychology of Wealth" have the following attributes:
Furthermore, Richards blames "unconscious spending" and behaving inconsistently for getting so many people in trouble financially.
The answer, according to Richards, is that healthy people deal with money consciously. They take responsibility for their spending. (This means that back a decade or so ago, when almost anyone could get a mortgage, the responsible person would say "no" if they couldn't afford it.)
Responsible people, in short, are adults taking charge of their lives. They educate themselves and understand what they can or cannot afford.
Pretty simple stuff...but it all makes sense. In my experience with people who spend more than they can afford, they do so because they feel "entitled."
The whole issue of being "conscious" of what you are spending makes sense...as does the concept of being conscious in order to add prosperity into your life. With all the stimulus surrounding our hectic lives, being conscious of anything can be difficult. That said, I have helped my clients who want to change something in their lives--from finding love to wealth--with simple Feng Shui. The book I always recommend is HARMONIOUS ENVIRONMENT: BEAUTIFY, DETOXIFY & ENERGIZE YOUR LIFE, YOUR HOME & YOUR PLANET because it simply describes how to use a couple of objects to HELP you be conscious of bringing into your life what you desire.
If you define "psychology" loosely, the book delivers. It's an easy read, more like a Readers Digest collection than a book about psychology. The cover promises, "Understand your relationship with money and achieve prosperity."
The book consists of a series of stories about real people who achieved if not wealth, then a trip out of poverty. The stories are loosely tied to principles that are somewhat New-Age-y, such as the importance of service in wealth creation. "Self-esteem" has become a controversial concept, yet the author simply introduces the idea.
On the plus side, a series of success stories can be inspirational and certainly fun to read. On the other hand, it's hard to draw lessons or achieve greater understanding. We know we are given a condensed, upbeat version, so it's hard to view them as case studies. Moreover, it's easy to pick the stories apart. Did these people have some qualities that brought them success or were they just lucky? Without a more scientific approach, we won't know.
To take just one example; on page 163, Richards tells the story of "Deidra," a teacher who was down to her last five dollars before her next paycheck. (Was her check due the next day? In two weeks? We aren't told.) Deidra gave her last five dollars to a raffle for a charity. She won the raffle, getting something she'd always wanted: a ride in a hot air balloon.
I'm reminded of the story (which may be legendary) of Fedex's founder Fred Smith, who earned funds to make payroll by gambling in Las Vegas when the company was new. Like Deidra's story, we can admire, but it's hard to know what to take away.
What if Deidra had spent her last five dollars on a special treat for herself? Why is she livig from paycheck to paycheck with no savings? The story's lesson seems to come right from the New Age: "The psychology of wealth requires trusting that no matter what happens we will have enough." (p. 163).
To be sure, some advice draws on common sense, and often this advice will be useful. For instance,on page 220, the author writes, "Take advantage of what is available now ... Just keep moving in the right direction." That's what I advise career changers myself. However, I'd like to see more of a rationale and clearer examples.
If I wanted to be picky (and sometimes I guess I am), I would say that psychology doesn't require anything; it's a field of study and work that's science-based. It's not unreasonable to ask for a more scientific approach; I've seen academic research articles describing the influence of serendipity on careers! Some of this research could be applied here.
That's my ultimate source of dissatisfaction. If this book had been written by a life coach, with a title like, "Think your way to wealth," I probably wouldn't have chosen to read it; if I did, I'd be less critical. However, when a psychotherapist writes a book with the title "Psychology of Wealth," a reader's expectations will be different. Surely the author has learned a great deal from his clinical practice. Surely he's got some thoughtful conclusions about why some people seem to attract wealth and some are always broke.
1. how life doesn't always get better once you attain a certain income level (often it gets worse)
2. how having self esteem will make you feel rich
3. why passion for your work is critical in achieving true wealth
4. we don't choose what happens to us in life, but we do choose how we choose to respond
5. trusting that we will have enough, no matter what
6. why giving to others makes us feel wealthy
7. having a 'conscious' approach to managing your finances and debt
8. being thankful for what you already have
Even though many of us will recognize these tips, this book provides a useful reminder that there's a lot more to wealth than how much you can earn or can afford to buy.
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