Monday, 19 October 2009

The Millionaire Mind by Thomas Stanley, and vocation

I have recently re-read "The Millionaire Mind" by Thomas J Stanley, partly to refresh my memory about this very interesting book, and also with a view to reviewing it here. I realised, however, that it addressed so many themes that I would prefer to write about a few of them in turn. If you have not encountered this book before then I do recommend it; following on from "The Millionaire Next Door", by the same author, it covers the characteristics of those who become wealthy in America.

Contrary to what you may expect from the title, and my description above, this is not a self-help book, and there is nothing gimmicky about it, but instead it is a very detailed academic analysis of how those who become wealthy do so, and the factors in terms of personality, profession, and financial approach which contribute to their success. (The author is an academic and university teacher.)

On re-reading, I was particularly struck by what Dr Stanley says about the importance of vocation for those who become wealthy. I have sometimes felt that one seems to have to choose between earning a good salary and doing enjoyable and interesting work. I have recently concluded, and this was reinforced by what I read here, that it might actually be unwise to stick with a career one does not love, quite apart from the unhappiness involved in doing so, because of the need to compete with others who are more genuinely motivated and enthusiastic, which over time would begin to tell.

I found it very interesting and encouraging to read the probably obvious-to-everyone- else fact that those who are financially successful in their work generally have great enthusiasm for what they do, not purely as a means of making a living, but as a vocation which uses their talents and suits their interests fully. It was also good to read the story of one highly successful sales man who left, or was dismissed from, 9 sales jobs before finding one to which he was ideally suited, and in which he was highly successful and contented.

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