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.

See Related Article: Short Story Review: “The Lake” by Ray Bradbury

Divide Your Resolutions into Categories

Divide Your Resolutions into Categories

Divide your resolutions for the new year into categories: i.e work, health, financial, etc. Attack a variety of goals. Move in on multiple positions. Make sure that every section of your life is excellent…don’t settle for anything less.

A man is not happy with a solitary victory – he always wants more. For example, you can become a millionaire; but if your romantic life is a failure, then you won’t be complete. You can have an amazing body; but if you’re financial failure, then you won’t be fulfilled. Just look at Robin Williams. He had more fame than a man could ask for…and yet it wasn’t enough. He committed suicide, leaving a wife and children behind.

So divide your resolutions into categories. And be sure to write them down. Goals that are not codified become dust in the wind…

2018 stands before you. Are you ready to attack?

See Related Article: There’s a Difference Between Being Content and Being Happy

Hope is Contingent on One’s Ability to Overcome an Obstacle

Hope is Contingent on One’s Ability to Overcome an Obstacle

I don’t sell hope.

Instead, I provide people with advice on how to overcome obstacles. In addition, I listen to advice from others on how to overcome obstacles.

Let’s me give you two examples:

  • A woman wants to lose weight. She can listen to a self-help guru, telling her  to “just believe in herself.” Or, she can listen a personal trainer that provides a comprehensive fitness plan: a man willing to kick her ass every day with rigorous training. A man willing to push her to greatness, to fight through pain and sweat. The first individual is providing hope; the second is helping her to overcome an obstacle.
  • A man wants to become rich. He can listen to an enthusiastic speaker, telling the audience to “reach for the stars.” Or, he can read from the wisdom of millionaires: i.e. The Millionaire Next Door, The Art of the Deal, etc. Books that take away time from his pleasure-filled weekend. Books that force him to re-examine his wasted life. The first individual is providing hope; the second is helping him overcome an obstacle.

You get the point.

I refuse to be a “hope dealer.” I don’t sell the crack of platitude, the needle of self-help. I don’t peddle the cliche. I’m not here improve my self-esteem by telling pretty lies. I don’t need the Facebook likes or Retweets. I prefer the truth.

I refuse to sell a Pollyanna principle. Rose-colored glasses are too small for my face, too blinding for my vision. I’m not here to misdirect or to obfuscate. I don’t need a book deal, a record contract, or a tenure-track position. I speak the truth.

May the children of tomorrow hear my cry! And may they say one thing alone – he was a man that spoke the truth. He broke the chains in Plato’s cave, he pointed to a naked leader and yelled: “The Emperor wears no clothes!”

What can I say? Nothing more than what Nietzsche already gave us:

“…it is my ambition to say in ten sentences what everyone else says in a book — what everyone else does not say in a book.”

I prefer to help one person than lie to a thousand.