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The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy Hardcover – October 28, 1996

4.2 out of 5 stars 2,031 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

How can you join the ranks of America's wealthy (defined as people whose net worth is over one million dollars)? It's easy, say doctors Stanley and Danko, who have spent the last 20 years interviewing members of this elite club: you just have to follow seven simple rules. The first rule is, always live well below your means. The last rule is, choose your occupation wisely. You'll have to buy the book to find out the other five. It's only fair. The authors' conclusions are commonsensical. But, as they point out, their prescription often flies in the face of what we think wealthy people should do. There are no pop stars or athletes in this book, but plenty of wall-board manufacturers--particularly ones who take cheap, infrequent vacations! Stanley and Danko mercilessly show how wealth takes sacrifice, discipline, and hard work, qualities that are positively discouraged by our high-consumption society. "You aren't what you drive," admonish the authors. Somewhere, Benjamin Franklin is smiling.

From Library Journal

In The Millionaire Next Door, read by Cotter Smith, Stanley (Marketing to the Affluent) and Danko (marketing, SUNY at Albany) summarize findings from their research into the key characteristics that explain how the elite club of millionaires have become "wealthy." Focusing on those with a net worth of at least $1 million, their surprising results reveal fundamental qualities of this group that are diametrically opposed to today's earn-and-consume culture, including living below their means, allocating funds efficiently in ways that build wealth, ignoring conspicuous consumption, being proficient in targeting marketing opportunities, and choosing the "right" occupation. It's evident that anyone can accumulate wealth, if they are disciplined enough, determined to persevere, and have the merest of luck. In The Millionaire Mind, an excellent follow-up to the highly successful first analysis of how ordinary folks can accumulate wealth, Stanley interviews many more participants in a much more comprehensive study of the characteristics of those in this economic situation. The author structures these deeper details into categories that include the key success factors that define this group, the relationship of education to their success, their approach to balancing risk, how they located themselves in their work, their choice of spouse, how they live their daily lives, and the significant differences in the truth about this group vs. the misplaced image of high spenders. Narrator Smith's solid, dead-on reading never fails to heighten the importance of these principles that most twentysomethings should be forced to listen to in toto. Highly recommended for all public libraries. Dale Farris, Groves, TX
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Longstreet Press; 1st edition (October 28, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1563523302
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563523304
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,031 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
Most people have it all wrong about how you become wealthy, according to the author-researchers of The Millionaire Next Door. Their 20-year study of how people become wealthy involved focus groups and personal interviews and accompanying statistical tables on where they shop, cars they drive, and the daily work they do. I found the statistical tables of mild interest, but insights into their views and beliefs were surprising and revealing. The target group studied have net worths of one to ten-million dollars.
The majority acquired their wealth in one generation and followed these factors of wealth accumulation: *Live well below your means. *Spend your time, energy and money efficiently in ways that build wealth. *Believe that financial independence is more important than social status *Their parents didn't help. *Their adult children are economically seW-sufficient. *They know how to pick market opportunities. .They chose the right occupation.
As a group, they all have supreme confidence in their own ability. If you thought ancestry had much to do with it consider this: The highest concen-trations of millionaires by ancestry in order of rank are Russians; Scotts; Hungarians; Latvians; Australians; Egyptians. Self-employment is a major correlate of wealth.
They are frugal and their spouses even more so. Not only are they planners and budgeters, they don't shop where you might think; their two favorite stores are J. C. Penny and Sears. Most answer these questions the right way: -Does your household operate on an annual budget? -Do you know how much your family spends each year for food, clothing, shelter? -Do you have a clear, defined set of daily, weekly, monthly, annual and lifetime goals? -Do you spe'd a lot of time planning your financial future?
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Format: Hardcover
I used to be one of those people who spent all or at least most of my money and thought I was doing okay with the little savings I had in the bank earning 2% (wow).I always bought brand new cars, new clothes, went on vacations 6-8 times per year and partied. I had a great time! One day my company shut down and I was forced to live on 50% OF MY INCOME. My savings dwindled to nothing and I had a hard time making car and credit card payments. I came to the realization that I was "renting" my "lifestyle" all of which was encumbered with debts and false belief in "job security" A friend loaned me a copy of "The Millionaire Next Door" and I had to painfully admit that I had been a fool. I met a really nice old couple in their '70's who never made much over minimum wage in salary, but were debt free and had 100's of thousands to retire on and were living better than the flamboyant fools like me who spent through their incomes. This book turned me around. I would also recommend "9 Steps to Financial Freedom" and 'More Wealth without Risk" to add to your library, or at least borrow from a library. I am now living better, earning 20-25% in mutuals, contribute to my new companies 401 (k), have a IRA and am DEBT FREE with the exception of my mortgage which will be paid off in five years (or less).
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Let us get one thing out of the way. This is NOT a bad book. In fact, it is a well-done, interesting, and much needed study that gives us all new insights about what millionaires are really like as opposed to people's misconceptions of them. If this was merely a study of what millionaires are like, I would give it five stars.
The problem begins when people see this book as a recommendation: "most millionaires are frugal, hard-working, well-educated, and diligent investors - so if I will act like that I will be a millionaire". This is simply not true - and for a very simple reason discussed below.
Indeed, most millionaires ARE like that. Indeed, it is good advice to be frugal, hard-working, and well-educated as opposed to the opposite. It is also gratifying to see that sometimes "doing the right thing", the protestant work ethic, and the "nose to the grindstone" attitude sometimes pay off not only in "being a better person", but in concrete monetary success. Apparently good guys DON'T finish last after all.
But the book suffers from a double survivorship bias. "Survivoship bias" is what happens when one only pays attention to those who survive a certain activity, peril, or risk, and makes ungounded conclusions about cause and effect from that. One famous example is Neitzsche's famous saying, "what doesn't kill me makes me stronger". It is based on the survivorship bias that those who survive terrible calamities tend to be stronger than other people. But it doesn't mean the calamity MADE them stronger - it might mean simply that only those who were strong to begin with survived the calamity.
What survivorship bias do we see here? First, it interviews ONLY millionaires.
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52 Comments 1,438 of 1,589 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
I can certaintly understand the controversy regarding this book. When I first heard of this book, I thought it was some ripoff book and approached this book with ambivalence. So I checked it out from my local library first and was so impressed that not only did I go out and buy my own copy, but also give it as an accessory gift for special occasions and recommend it to everyone I know.
I also recommend "The Millionaire Mind" which is different from this book. That volume allows you to peek inside the minds of millionaires; shows you how the millionaires think.
One caveat of these books is that they are dependent on income. You won't find anything in here on creating cash flow. For that I recommend "Rich Dad Poor Dad" whose ideas on staying debt free are somewhat similiar to what is recommended in Millionaire Next Door, but also provides ideas for creating wealth through additional cash flow. It is a book that should be written in addition, not in place of The Millionaire Next Door.
Also recommend More Wealth Without Risk and Financial Self-Defense which offer actual strategies on creating wealth, reducing expenses and investing.
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