Thou Shall Prosper
When it became clear to me that I wasn’t taking good care of my family’s money, one of the changes I determined necessary was to learn more about business and finances. I made a commitment to read at least one or two money and business books a year. One title that kept coming up again and again on the podcasts I was listening to and in the articles I was reading is Thou Shall Prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lapin.
“You have to be a blind beggar from outer Mongolia not to notice that Jews are disproportionately good with money. Now you understand that, if you say that, that’s anti-semitic bigotry, but if I say it, it’s research.”
– Rabbi Daniel Lapin
Despite the Jewish population being less than one tenth of one percent of the world’s population, and only two percent of the United States’ population, they are inordinately successful in business. On any Forbes 400 list, there are between 60 and 100 Jews. And this success is not only true in the U.S. in the 21st century, but in many countries over many centuries.
The premise of Rabbi Lapin’s book is that this success is due to the Jews approaching business and money as spiritual practices. In fact, he claims that coming at business from only a secular (or physical) perspective hampers a person’s ability to connect and succeed. He sets up the core principles of these practices under ten broad headings, which he refers to as the ‘Ten Commandments for Making Money.’ One chapter for each commandment.
- Believe in the Dignity and Morality of Business
- Extend the Network of Your Connectedness to Many People
- Get to Know Yourself
- Do Not Pursue Perfection
- Lead Consistently and Constantly
- Constantly Change the Changeable, While Steadfastly Clinging to the Unchangeable
- Learn to Foretell the Future
- Know Your Money
- Act Rich: Give Away 10 Percent of Your After-Tax Income
- Never Retire
Some of these are commandments for obvious reasons, but others might give you pause. Each chapter reads like a small (or not-so-small) sermon that explores the presented commandment from several angles, and thoroughly explains why it is so important to success in business. At rare times, I found his somewhat meandering style distracting, but this book is so full of practical business (and life) wisdom, that I’m sure to return to it again in the future. There was at least one principle that I came away with that will change my life forever.
I want to go a little bit more in depth with this book. I’ve got enough quotes, notes and thoughts from each chapter that I could write a
short post for each of them. So, that’s my plan. Look for them over the next couple of months, starting with Believe in the Dignity and Morality of Business this weekend.
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