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How to Have Dignity in Creating Wealth

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Outlining 10 fundamental “commandments” relating to business and money, Thou Shall Prosper explores the economic and philosophic vision of business that has been part of the Jewish culture for centuries. Rabbi Daniel Lapin explains the essence of each "commandment" and shows you how to use this knowledge to financially prosper. This book is one of Dave’s all-time favorite money books, so he was thrilled to write the foreword for the latest edition. Here's a continuation of what he has to say about it:

"Beyond the work–money connection, Lapin’s overall thesis is fascinating. Some people may not be comfortable with it, but I think history shows it to be true: Jewish people are unusually gifted at making and managing money. It’s not a racial thing; it’s a cultural thing. There is something in the cultural mindset and national experience of the Jewish people that we need to recognize if we want to win with money."

Money Connects Two Dreamers

"In a sense, money connects two dreamers. Think about that. I personally love to ski. I enjoy hitting the slopes and spending that time with my family, and it doesn’t bother me at all to spend money doing that particular activity.

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"I imagine it is another person’s dream to own and operate a luxury ski resort. He is fulfilled and motivated by providing a great service and outstanding accommodations to skiers. So, when I go on vacation, I hand him my money and he hands me my keys and skis. We’re both excited about the transaction, we both get what we want, and both our dreams are fulfilled. In that moment, it isn’t about money. Money is just what facilitated our relationship.

"These days, however, business—and businesspeople—are getting a bad rap. The pursuit of wealth through a successful business is not viewed as an honorable enterprise by some, and I honestly cannot understand why that is.

"One of the things that most irritates me as a successful businessman is the often-stated belief that wealth is a byproduct of dishonesty or moral shortcomings. Some people—whom I not-so-affectionately call “losers”—honestly believe that the only way for one person to gain wealth is to lie to, cheat, or take advantage of someone else. The idea of an honorable wealthy person is totally foreign to many people, and that’s just sad."

Steer Clear of the “Scarcity Mentality”

"A lot of people, including many in the media, propagate what my friend Tim Sanders calls a “scarcity mentality.” It’s like there’s a limited amount of wealth in the world, and one man’s success directly causes another’s failure. Therefore, the only way for me to get more money is to take it away from someone else. What a crock!

"But people from all walks of life buy into this nonsense, don’t they? I often see this at two opposite extremes: greedy poor people and guilty rich people. Now, I’m not saying all poor people are greedy, and I’m not saying all rich people are guilty. However, our society often tries to steer us along one of these two paths. Chances are, you know people who represent both sides.

"The greedy poor people are those who have little ambition, work their 9–5 jobs, go home and sit on the sofa, complain about how the “little man” can’t get ahead, haven’t read a book since high school, and feel like the world owes them something. It may be free healthcare, free college education, free retirement, free insurance, or a total free ride. They think that just because they work their eight-hour jobs, they’re doing all they can. And if they don’t make enough money doing it, then someone else should step in and take care of them.

"The guilty rich people are those who work like crazy people, are mentally engaged in business, think about new and creative ways to service others, know how to turn $1 into $100, fully fund college accounts for their kids, read a book a month, build up a large retirement account—and then feel guilty about it. They listen to the lies about the dishonesty and mistrust of business, and they become ashamed of their success. They give a great deal to good causes, not out of a sense of duty or charity, but out of some misguided notion that their wealth has put others into poverty."

How to Have Dignity in Creating Wealth

"Let me be crystal clear: Both of these groups have missed the mark. There is a dignity to wealth creation through honorable business that is unlike anything else on earth. There is no crime in handing someone a dollar for a job well done, and there’s certainly no shame in accepting it for providing the service. That’s why Rabbi Lapin calls every dollar you earn a “certificate of appreciation” from your customers.

"You see, in business, if you don’t do a good job, no one will give you these little certificates. And if that happens, you go out of business. So, where are all these dishonest, misbehaving, back-door-dealing, wealthy, dirty businessmen? The bottom line is that if you’re a creep, your customers will know it—and you won’t last long.

"The ten commandments outlined in this book are for everybody. You don’t have to be Jewish. You don’t have to be rich. You don’t have to own a business or aspire to become the next Michael Dell. They are simple, practical principles for life and business. They have to do with how you view money, how you treat people, and how you represent yourself in the marketplace.

"Overall, this book isn’t about becoming rich; it’s about adding value—to yourself, your family, and the world around you. Rabbi Lapin shows that when you contribute to the well-being of other people through honorable business and wise stewardship, you win. And it’s not just your victory; it impacts everyone around you. You can actually create wealth in your community, and when you do, everyone benefits." Read more from Dave.

To discover Lapin’s ten commandments for making money, get your copy of Thou Shall Prosper today!

Excerpted from Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money 2nd edition by Rabbi Daniel Lapin. Copyright (2010) by Rabbi Daniel Lapin. Published by John Wiley & Sons. Used with permission.

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