Book Review: “The Art of Getting Money” by P.T. Barnum

Book Review: “The Art of Getting Money” by P.T. Barnum

P.T. Barnum is a popular name in American lore. But like so many historical figures, very little is known about him. The Art of Getting Money (1880) provides a nice glimpse into the man. It’s filled with philosophical quips and general advice – I highly recommend it.

Some of my favorite lines were the following.

“Young men starting in life should avoid running into debt. There is scarcely anything that drags a person down like debt. It is a slavish position to get ill…Debt robs a man of his self-respect, and makes him almost despise himself.” 

“The safest plan, and the one most sure of success for the young man starting in life, is to select the vocation which is most congenial to his tastes.”

“The foundation of success in life is good health: that is the substratum fortune; it is also the basis of happiness. A person cannot accumulate a fortune very well when he is sick.”

As you can see, Barnum gives common sense advice. And let’s face it…the world needs more common sense. The book is perfect for young adults. The style is direct and engaging, giving sold advice to the emerging man (or woman).

I find that financial books are helpful in the general sense: i.e. Rich Dad, Poor Dad; The Millionaire Next Door, etc. They keep our mind focused on the attributes of wealth. Specific information is omitted, since the “nuts and bolts” of any industry come with experience and are varied. Therefore, the information remains on the surface for a logical reason.

That being said, it still helps to read the words of wise men. When trying to improve at something, we should listen to those that have experience in such matters. P.T. Barnum fits the bill with regards to wealth – his strategies are common sense tidbits and very important reminders.

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The Money You Spend is Based on Your Value System

The Money You Spend is Based on Your Value System

Financial books are ubiquitous. For example, you have The Millionaire Next Door, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, The Richest Man in Babylon, etc. And of course, millions of lesser-known financial books line the market. The advice is there for the taking: how to invest, how to save, etc. Yet the books never mention something…

The money you spend is based on your value system.

For example, a circumcision can cost around $5,000 in Manhattan. Hasidic Jews—many of which are very wealthy—are happy to pay that money! They could have invested their money in a stock, real estate, a mutual fund, etc. But instead, they spent the money on a mohel (Jewish rabbi) that will suck the blood from the baby’s penis (I’m not making that up…see this link). In short, the Hasidic Jew has a different set of values than Major Styles. And their expenditures reflect those values.

Personally, I would never let a mohel fellate my newborn child. I have a different set of values than the Hasidic Jew. Instead, I would take that $5,000 and buy a ticket for Tahiti or Thailand. If the tickets were sold out, I could find a million more ways to spend that cash.

So what is your value system? Have you thought about that?

You need to have one. If you don’t have a clearly defined value system, then the parasitic media will provide one for you: i.e. feminism, existentialism, socialism, etc. Before long, you’ll find that you’re one of their puppets, dancing for their pleasure.

The money you spend is based on your value system.

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