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on April 22, 2008
It's difficult to over-estimate the beneficial effects that Tom Butler-Bowdon's books have had on my life. Whether he is discussing Classics in the Self Help, Success, Spiritual or Psychology - and now Prosperity - genres he has entertained, informed and guided my future reading. There are so many books in each area that it can be difficult to know where to turn when you want to take steps to improve your life. If you face this dilemma Butler-Bowdon is here to help, with his useful summaries and commentaries on classic books in each genre.

In 50 Prosperity Classics the writing is as crisp and clear as ever. The summary of each 'classic' is just the right length to give you a flavour of the book being discussed, but never outstays its welcome. While each book is heralded as a 'classic' Butler-Bowdon isn't afraid to note where criticisms have been made. You can read 50 Prosperity Classics from start to finish, you can dip into it at random, or you can follow certain themes. The 'In A Similar Vein' section is your roadmap if you decide to take the latter route. Even if you don't want to investigate the books further - and I'll be surprised if you don't - then 50 Prosperity Classics is enjoyable in isolation. As I read it I felt my mood lift as I was made aware of countless possibilities I had never considered before.

If you are interested in finding out more about property investment then you will enjoy reading about books such as William Nickerson's excellently-titled How I Turned $1,000 into Three Million in Real Estate in My Spare Time. For those that want to know more about investing in the stock market Peter Lynch's One Up on Wall Street: How To Use What You Already Know To Make Money in the Market will be one for you. Elsewhere there are the stories of entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson (Losing My Virginity: The Autobiography) and Felix Dennis (How To Get Rich) and for the Self Help fans out there you get numerous books about 'the law of attraction' (including Rhona Byrne's The Secret).

If you buy this book - and follow the advice given - you are bound to make a profit on the deal. Even if you don't follow the advice you will have been entertained and enlightened. Recommended.
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on May 18, 2008
This book read as if, I was sitting down with the author over a cup of coffee while he told me his insightful and intelligent opinions of books that he has read on the subject of prosperity.

I find his writing style fun and descriptive and the attitude that he delivers is that of someone who is curious and well informed in the subject matter.

The books covered in 50 Prosperity Classics included some that I would have never read for various reasons, but since I was able to quickly gather the essence of those writings, I have discovered some interesting books that I will read in full someday.

At first glance, you might think this to be a compilation of book reviews; I found that it was much more than that. It is informative opinions as well as background on the authors and thoughtful distillation of the subject.

I have read other books by Tom Butler-Bowden and have found them all to be equally useful, informative, and entertaining. I strongly recommend this book for anyone serious about understanding, prosperity from different perspectives.
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on June 13, 2008
Butler-Bowdon's "50 Classics" series is one of the most comprehensive collections of summaries I have come across. This new book, "50 Prosperity Classics" is captivating, filling the reader with both modern and legendary knowledge about the game of wealth. From contemporary stories such the growth of companies like Starbucks and The Body Shop to well known social theorists such as Adam Smith and Max Weber, Butler-Bowdon provides succinct summations that are both engaging and enlightening. On a personal level, this book has changed my perspective towards my finances, career and way of life. I highly recommend not only this book but the series as a whole.
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This is one of five volumes in a series written by Tim Butler-Bowdon. Each of the others also focuses on 50 "classic" sources of information and wisdom provided in landmark books in the fields of psychology, self-help, spirituality, and success. Of course, throughout human history, the subject of this book - prosperity -- has been defined and measured as well as achieved in many different ways. Hence the importance of the fact that Butler-Bowdon offers a wide range of perspectives from the works of an especially diversified group that includes P.T. Barnum (The Art of Money Getting or Golden Rules of Making Money, 1880), Andrew Carnegie (The Gospel of Wealth, 1889), Milton Friedman (Capitalism and Freedom, 1962), Benjamin Graham (The Intelligent Investor: A Book of Practical Counsel, 1949), Orison Swett Marden (Pushing to the Front, or Success under Difficulties, 1894), Ayn Rand (Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 1966), and Adam Smith (An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 1778).

Note: Warren Buffett is also included. His contributions to this volume are from The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America, Second Edition, edited by Lawrence Cunningham, and published in 2008. Graham was Buffett's idol, mentor, and eventually his business partner. If Buffett does not qualify as an "intelligent investor," I have no idea who does.

As in the other volumes in his series, Butler-Bowdon follows a format for each of the 50 chapters: brief representative quotations, an "In a Nutshell" section, a rigorous and remarkably thorough summary of the given source's key points, and then a brief bio of its author. I also appreciate the fact that the book can be read straight through from the first chapter to the last (i.e. James Allen to Muhammad Yunus), or in chronological order, or according to four themes (attracting, creating, managing, and sharing wealth), or by cherry-picking whichever contributors and/or subjects are of greatest interest. As a convenience to his reader, Butler-Bowdon suggests in his Introduction which authors belong in which category. Here are a few of his comments about some of those whom he discusses:

"Contrary to the image of Barnum as an over-the-top impresario, this book [i.e. The Art of Money Getting or Golden Rules of Making Money] is actually a solid success manual. Some of the points may seem obvious, but it does not hurt to be reminded of them, especially the idea that personal virtue is the foundation of wealth. Without honesty and reputation, fortunes can disappear overnight; with these things, an enterprise or a service can create prosperity for all involved." (Page 32)

"Some have viewed Carnegie's attitude as altruistic. Yet he honestly believed that individuals, including himself, counted for little in relation to the progress of humanity overall...Carnegie set the modern standard for big-time philanthropy, and beyond the millions of lives enlightened by his libraries and other institutions, this is perhaps an even greater legacy." (Page 67)

"Countries fashioned after the ideas of Adam Smith and Friedman should in theory be monsters of selfish consumption. But as Friedman pointed out, people want to be free not just so they can get rich, but to live according to deeply held values. Prosperity is not just about making money, but about the freedom to live the way you want." (Page 115)

"In the Introduction to the original 1949 edition, Graham candidly notes the risk that his book `may not stand the test of future developments,' any more than a finance book written in 1914 would be relevant to investors of the 1950s. In fact, The Intelligent Investor is considered by many people - despite many references to companies that have now faded into history - to be quite timeless. His humility only makes you trust him more, and he has a calm style and does not talk down to the reader." (Page 13)

"The usual accusation leveled at Rand and her followers is of extremism. A more intelligent view is that she was a supreme rationalist who valued personal freedom to the highest degree. Capitalism to her was not just a system for people to get richer, but was the only system in which people were free to act according to their best interests. Today, because we take our comfortable lives for granted, we take capitalism granted as well." (Page 237)

"The simplicity and common sense of Smith's delineation of government's role has largely stood the test of time. Today, governments have a tendency to grow large and bloated, moving into areas that are not really their business, but in time this inevitably makes the public poorer overall. Though they often believe in their ability to `pick winners' in terms of subsidizing particular industries to create jobs, Smith warns that such investment tends to corrupt the natural tendency of a society to allocate resources in the best way." (Pages 264-265)

As I work my way through the material in one of Butler-Bowen's books, I realize again that Henry Ford was right when he asserted that "whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right." However different the contributors to each volume are in terms of who they were, when they lived, and what they accomplished, all of them seem totally convinced of the importance of believing in one's self, especially when no one else does. To them, the term "self-help" correctly suggests the importance of assuming full responsibility for one's values, attitudes, decisions, and (especially) behavior. That said, there is much of value to be learned from others who have achieved what Butler-Bowen characterizes as "authentic and lasting success" that has enriched their own lives as well as the lives of others by utilizing "the resources of the world to the greatest effect and with the minimum of waste."

He realizes that he is providing "only a taste of the literature (the main ideas, context, and impact of each title)" while urging his readers to "feast on the real thing." What he offers is by no means a buffet of entrepreneurial "hors d'oeuvres." On the contrary, the content is solid and skillfully presented. I am convinced that many of those who read this book will then be encouraged to read (or re-read) "the real thing." If Butler-Bowdon's efforts accomplish nothing else, that will indeed be sufficient to earn the praise I think he has earned...and rightly deserves.
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on April 27, 2008
I chanced upon this book during my usual lunchtime browsing through bookshops in Singapore. Tom has done a great compilation of all the great books and ideas on the "wealth (about money)" and "prosperity (about life)". And he has presented these in a very readable and easily understood manner.

I will definitely recommend this book to all my friends.
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on August 1, 2013
50 Prosperity Classics is not quite as good as 50 Self-Help Classics. This book examines literature from a vast array of fields: prosperity, finance, business and self-development. So you get a review, summary and key points from 50 different books in about six pages. It's not quite as detailed as some of the other books in the 50 Classics series. Bowdon reviews the work of Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Conrad Hilton, Suze Orman, Donald Trump and many more. Perhaps the business leaders were stingy in their advice because it doesn't come across as particularly insightful in the reviews. Perhaps business is something better learned through experience than books because many of the quotes seem cliche and not as motivational here. I was somewhat disappointed that fairly standard quotes and anecdotes were used. In Butler-Bowdon's 50 Self-Help Classics he provides some good insights but here it seems pedestrian. It just didn't get me very excited to read more about the books under review. Nor does the text do a great job of summarizing or describing all the books.

Check out 50 Self-Help Classics by the same author.
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on November 14, 2008
50 Prosperity Classics: Attract It, Create It, Manage It, Share It - Wisdom From the Most Valuable Books on Wealth Creation and Abundance

Summaries of great books on prosperity from 1907 to the present day. Some of the names will be immediately recognized. Others are not household names, but each of them is in the book for a reason. They have real value to share, expertly summarized by Mr. Butler-Bowdon, who is gifted at getting to the heart of things in this book and in the others in his "50 Classics" series. I have learned a great deal from the reading of this book, and his other ones, and have shared many of these concepts with my management students.

This book is loaded with wisdom, about life as well as about making money and being successful:
* "Prosperity is always personal, resting squarely on the degree to which you have refined and bettered yourself." - James Allen (1907)
* "Don't be afraid to be different. On entering any new field or an industry, aim to really shake it up and provide new value." Richard Branson (2002)
* "Innovation will always be a risk, but it becomes less risky when you remain open about how, and by whom, your innovation will be used. People do not buy products, but what the product does for them. The purpose of innovation is to provide satisfaction where there was none before." Peter Drucker (1985)
* "Poor people don't have a results outlook, and as a result, prefer to get a guaranteed amount for their time only. No matter how much you get paid an hour, you only have a certain number of hours...Rich people,in contrast, create things or systems that can earn money for them independently of their time input." T. Harv Eker (2005)
There are literally dozens of gems like these that just pop off the page as you read them.

Conrad Hilton's story demonstrates how we should never be discouraged by adversity and how we are never too old to prosper.

Donald Trump's story is equally instructive from "The Art of the Deal": "Sheer persistence is the difference between success and failure"... "The worst thing you can do in a deal is to seem desperate to make it. You need leverage: Find out what the seller needs or wants and give them this in addition to the purchase price." His story also shows that just because you're down you don't have to stay there, and he didn't.

The story of Muhammed Yunus, the "banker to the poor" in Bangladesh showed how microloans made to the poor really made a difference in lives. It is also one of a number of summaries in the book showing what a difference can be made in the lives of the giver and the receivers by sharing the largesse.

The book concludes with five pages of "Prosperity Principles" and recommendations for fifty additional propserity classics. It's a real winner.

Lawrence J. Danks, Author - "Your Unfinished Life": The Classic and Timeless Guide To Finding Happiness and Success Through Kindness
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on May 27, 2008
Although many good business books come and go, those writings summarized in this book are writings that will endure when all has shaken out. The authors are from the pool of the truly great who can "Walk the talk".
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on October 17, 2009
Attract it, create it, manage it, share it. Wisdom from the best books on wealth creation and abundance. Anyone interested in achieving an understanding of true prosperity and demonstrating a high level of of fulfillment should read this book. 50 prosperity classics is a treasure chest of golden nuggets to use in realising a life we more abundant: (1). ATTRACT IT - Master the inner game of wealth and abundance; (2).CREATE IT - Succeed with the secrets and strategies of wealth creators and profit from the wisdom of economists; (3). MANAGE IT - Discover the best strategies of personal finance and investing; and (4). SHARE IT - Understand the flow of wealth and how to give something back...A terrific compedium of the best ever books written on the sources of prosperity, from famous classics to off-beat unknowns, distilled to the point of joyous clarity. This book consists of approximately 100 prosperity principles, which are worth the cost of the entire book itself.
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on July 4, 2010
Worth well over the purchase price Before this one i had listened to 50 self-help classics, it was good, but this one was great! While i did not enjoy all 50 there is atleast 50%-75% of books that i will be looking into further. For those of you who have never done the 50 classics series it's like cliff-notes for 50 books in that genre. I think one reason i liked this one so much: 1. Great book selection 2. Great info (notes) on the books 3. Had some up-to-date books (in the year 2000's) Overall if your looking to make more money and have prosperity in the future this is a GREAT place to start, make sure you have a note pad with you! Great work! p.s. i'm now working on 50 Psychology classics
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