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Customer Review

51 of 62 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some good advice, but..., September 9, 2000
This review is from: The Millionaire Mind (Hardcover)
I wasn't a big fan of Stanley's first book, but it did contain some worthwhile advice. Most of it was just good common-sense-- don't spend beyond your means, don't waste money on status-building consumer goods, don't expect Mom and Dad to subsidize your lifestyle if you don't have the money to pull it off. None of it earth-shattering stuff, but worth hearing anyway.
This book rehashes many of the same points made in the first book, along with a few other points that I'm not sure I believe. A previous reviewer disputes the sampling method Stanley uses to pick the millionaires that he surveyed, and I have to agree. He selected neighborhoods with large concentrations of millionaires, and I don't think that's an accurate way to gather the information he wanted. I don't think its a truly represenative sample.
And the points Stanley makes often fly in the face of logic. He says that few if any millionaires inherit ANY money from their parents. Well, what do the parents do with the money? I don't think they give it all away. He also makes the point over and over that people with top grades, super SAT's, and degrees from elite universities tend NOT to become millionaires. He reports that the average undergrad GPA among his sample was 2.9, and that many either didn't get into college or flunked out. He seems to make the point that academic brilliance is an actual hindrance to becoming rich, because smart kids don't focus enough on developing people skills. I can see his point, I just don't buy it. Just because you get straight C's doesn't make you more likely to become rich than someone with straight A's and a 1600 SAT.
The book also focuses incessently on the fact that many of the millionaires sampled own their own businesses. The actual number is only one-third of the sample, yet nearly every positive example given in the book is about someone who owns their own business. While I agree that investing your time and money in your own business rather than working for someone else can be far more rewarding financially, it's also riskier. Stanely does say that these entrepreneurs saw that there was greater finanacial risk in going it alone, but he doesn't mention even once that a great number of small businesses fail, and that is an egregious omission. Just because a small percentage make it does not necessarily make it a good idea to start your own business.
For a book that is supposed to be a statistical survey, there are so many ridiculous anecdotes about millionaire behavior that it really raises doubts about the overall value of the book. They aren't supported with hard data, and so can't really be trusted. It would have helped if the book had given more information about the sampling and even published the data in an appendix or on a web site, because he's making broad statements about millionaire behavior without seeming to examine any professional athletes, media moguls, rich kids, or other niches that millionaires cluster in.
It's not that the book doesn't make some valid points, just that they could have been summarized in a magazine article. Read this book but take it with a major grain of salt. Don't go thinking that it's OK to blow off school, that buying a Mercedes is stupid, or that you're doomed if your parents leave you a tidy pile. The path to riches is convoluted, and if this book shows you how some of the kinks can be avoided, it most certainly is not a map to the pot of gold.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 31, 2013 9:42:29 PM PDT
Austen lover says:
That's because he's pushing a belief not backed by his own statistics that poor students become millionaires. (by his own stats, most millionaires have college degrees.)

He's looking at his millionaire set for poor students - he's not looking at the whole set of poor students and what tiny percentage of them become millinaires.

To illustrate the idiocy, suppose I survey people convicted of murder and discovered 25% of them were Christians - should I then claim that Christians have a 25% chance of committing murder? Or should I look outside the prison population and see how many Christians there are and what percentage of the overall Christian population have committed murder.

You would have thought a professor could have handled a simple stat problem.
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