Life

If Habits of Riches were a treatise…

  When you read books and articles on “how to get rich”, do your eyes light up? Even the blood boils, the heart beats faster? I recently read a book called “The Habit of Wealth”, and I was excited again. However, after calming down, I couldn’t help but reflect, is this kind of book really useful? More or less. In my opinion, the thinner the book, the easier it is to sell. However, thinness can be short and lean, or it can be shallow and frivolous. As the sages said: “It is better to have no books than to believe in books.” If you lack critical thinking and blindly listen to “experts”, you may be harmed by the book. The author can barely be regarded as a scholar, and I hope to use this to alert myself.
  This article first briefly introduces the main points and highlights of this book, and then “approves” it from head to toe according to the evaluation standards of academic papers. I saw a sentence on the Internet, which is particularly interesting, saying “5% of people can think, 10% of people think they are thinking, and 85% of people die without thinking.” Don’t know which section you belong to?
Summary and Highlights

  The author of this book, Thomas Corley, is a certified public accountant in the United States. The first edition of the original book was published in 2010, revised in 2016, and the Chinese version was published in 2018.
  The author claims to have spent five years using a 20-question questionnaire to investigate the daily habits of 233 millionaires (177 of whom were multi-millionaires) and 128 poor people, and found huge differences between them.
  The book is divided into two parts. The first part first talked about 4 cases of “counterattack” of ordinary employees from poverty to wealth. They are an insurance salesman, a secretary, a car dealer and an accountant. This kind of narrative style is a typical way to create conflicts and tantalize people first, and then give systematic solutions in subsequent chapters. It fits perfectly with the “routine” of storytelling and is skilful. The selected case is very close to life, it is easy to enhance the appeal and persuasion, and it can attract attention and touch people’s hearts. Readers will inevitably compare themselves with the protagonist of the story, and the conclusion may be: “No matter how bad I am, it is better than him (her).” In this way, the confidence in using these “rich habits” will naturally increase.
  The second part is divided into 4 chapters and 4 issues are discussed.
  The first is the formation and influencing factors of habits. The bad news is that many of your habits are unknowingly influenced by your parents, teachers, etc., and are also subject to your innate genes and acquired growth environment, which are deeply ingrained and difficult to change. The good news is that reading books, adding life experiences, and reflecting on setbacks can change your habits. We can call it experience and experience. Beliefs and emotions can also influence habits. In order to clarify your dreams and goals in life, the author suggests that you imagine yourself in the future, write a letter to your present self, or write an obituary for yourself.
  The second is the consequences of habit. This includes 5 aspects: whether you have happiness, wealth, health, intelligence and good interpersonal relationships. To illustrate why good habits make you “financially successful,” the author gives 10 tips for spending less and saving more. For example, buying second-hand goods and living in a small house. Obviously, not everyone can accept the practice of wronging oneself so much. Still, they at least tell you another option.
  Why do good habits make people smart? Because you sleep well, eat well, and are willing to try new things. Here, “smarter” is just a by-product, and may not be the goal that was originally pursued. Being smart or not is actually not the most important thing, but being able to eat and sleep is. Moreover, being able to eat and sleep will definitely affect happiness and health. In other words, this is a multi-causal relationship. In short, good habits are really good, just remember this.
  The third is the 26 habits of the rich, and the 10 habits of the poor. This part of the content is the core of the book, occupying more than 50 pages, and it is difficult to briefly summarize.
  The fourth is how to change habits. The first step, you need to record your habits, how do you spend your days? Only careful records can help you perceive clearly. Of course, it may be controversial whether to record how much you eat for each meal as mentioned in the book. Anyway, I can’t do it. On this basis, the second step needs to be evaluation, to put a “check” and “cross” on various aspects of your life and work, and evaluate whether it is good or bad. Finally, use 6 shortcuts to take action, including: merging habits; limiting interpersonal communication objects; changing the environment; APP available); increase the difficulty of bad habits.
What habits make you rich?

  Next, the author pretends to enter the “paper review mode” to talk about the shortcomings of this book. Putting aside the methodological issues first, let’s talk about the list of good habits listed in the book alone. The list in the first part of the book has 10 habits, while the second part lists another 26 habits. This is at least self-repetitive, if not self-contradictory. In the writing of a thesis, this will give people a sense of “making up the length”, taboo! If the following 26 are the expansion or extension of the previous 10, then the relationship between them needs to be clarified. But the author doesn’t. This one also.
  Second, when we state a bunch of parallel phrases or sentences, we usually need to organize them to form an overall framework. In other words, mechanical stacking is not enough. Because you cannot guarantee its integrity. What if something is missed? For example, in the analysis of corporate strategy, there is the five-force model proposed by Michael Porter; in internal control, there is the five-element framework proposed by COSO. All of them can be displayed in a graphical way, and show the internal logical connection between individual items.
  And the list of habits in the book doesn’t do that. what to do? As a responsible “reviewer” of a thesis, one should not only be a referee and point out the deficiencies of the paper, but also be a coach and point out ways to revise it. After some sorting, the author divided the 10 (core) habits listed on page 71 of the book into three categories.
  The first category, about self-control and self-control, has 3 items. To put it simply, it means: cultivate your own habit of daily wealth, and do it every day; live in moderation; control your thoughts and emotions. The original book is listed as Articles 1, 6, and 10, but if they are put together, is it more reasonable?
  The second category, about the specific direction of a habit, has 5 items. We might as well use one word to represent one article, and use the following 26 articles to further explain. It is not guaranteed to be complete and accurate, but only to provide a framework.
  Heart: “Living with the thinking of getting rich”. Have goals, dreams, blueprints, and missions; develop daily habits; live life with positivity, enthusiasm, and optimism; do things without procrastinating, use lists and deadlines for time management; avoid negativity; take moderate risks.
  Brain: “Enhancing Self-Worth”. Read at least half an hour for self-study every day. The author adds that you can also consider learning a new skill or hobby every year.
  Body: “Pay attention to your own health”. Do at least half an hour of aerobic exercise every day, such as running and swimming; make sure you get enough sleep and get up at 5 o’clock. The author added: Anaerobic strength training is also good; a reasonable, balanced and varied diet is also very important for health.

  People: “Build and maintain sustainable human relationships.” Help others and dare to ask for help; seek life mentors; actively seek feedback, but do not follow the crowd; pay attention to etiquette and self-image.
  Things: “Every time you receive your salary, take out 10% for savings.” Find ways to earn multiple incomes.
  In general, the first three are personal internal affairs, while the last two are external.
  The third category, related to the time dimension, has 2 items. That is: I will tell myself “do it now” and complete the tasks of the day on time; I will set daily, monthly, annual goals and long-term goals, and then devote myself to pursuing my goals.
  After such a reorganization, has the sense of integrity and overall view been improved?
fake-science?

  If the above is still a “high standard and strict requirement”, and it is just a polite comment, then it has to be straightforward and outspoken to denounce and criticize.
  The first is the theme and core ideas. Whether it is an article or a book, if the topic is not chosen properly, no matter how clever the writing is, it will inevitably become inferior. When it comes to how to get rich, the underlying logic is of course “it’s nice to be rich”. Intuitively, it does. That’s why the title of the book is so intriguing. Unfortunately, life is not just a choice between “poor and rich”.
  To be rich, you always have to give, except in special circumstances like inheritance, lottery wins, etc. The most obvious contribution is time and energy. If you “wake up earlier than chickens and sleep later than dogs”, no matter how rich you are, you may not be happy. In other words, we need to strike a balance between benefits and costs, between wealth and leisure. The functional relationship between wealth and happiness is certainly not linear, but steep at first and then flat. This has also been concluded in the relevant literature.
  Furthermore, even if we get something for nothing, it may not be the life we ​​want if we are bedridden for a long time or are alone. Positive psychology has taught us that happiness requires multiple elements, including good health and good relationships. According to the “barrel theory”, we need to make up for “short boards”. Although “no money is absolutely impossible”, but “money is not everything”. The problem is, there are often conflicts between multiple goals. For example, if you spend more time earning money, you may not be able to take care of fitness. This is very similar to diminishing marginal utility and production possibility frontiers in economics. Because resources (whether production factors or time) are limited, fish and bear’s paws cannot be maximized at the same time. To avoid paying attention to one thing and losing another, you must have something to give and something to gain.
  Therefore, the goal of being rich alone is, if not wrong, at least narrow. A more appropriate and comprehensive goal is happiness.
  The second is the research method. The author claims to rely on questionnaires to discover the differences in habits between the rich and the poor. The characteristic of the questionnaire method is to collect first-hand data, quantify the subjective problems through scoring, and use this to carry out statistical analysis. However, the book seems to have some “research”, but in fact it hardly mentions its research design and research process at all, which involves the following five aspects.
  First, the choice of interviewees is not explained in the book. If only the habits of a small number of special groups of people are used as a sample, it will inevitably lead to a logical fallacy of overgeneralization. For example, in experimental research in psychology, professors often recruit MBAs to serve as volunteers, but their research conclusions may not apply to others. Therefore, this kind of research is jokingly called “MBA psychology”. The world is so big, relying on a sample of hundreds of rich people, can it prove that their habits are useful?
  Second, what the questionnaire looks like is not explained in the book, so readers cannot judge the completeness and rationality of the questionnaire design. If it is a dissertation, it will usually be included as an appendix. What habits are involved in the questionnaire is not taken for granted, but needs to be sorted out based on relevant theories and existing research. This is a process of putting forward hypotheses. If this step is wrong, the consequences will be disastrous. For example, attributing wealth to a constellation or zodiac sign would not make sense even if it were later found to be correlated. Of course, the success of Ma Yun, Ma Huateng, and Musk cannot be attributed to the surname Ma, right? The so-called “magical logic” is like when you sneezed, there was a thunder in the sky, and you cannot say that there is a certain connection between the two.
  Third, the recovery status of the questionnaire was not mentioned. The recovery rate can help readers judge whether the interviewees’ answers to the questionnaire are serious and sincere. If the recovery rate is too high, it may be pandering, and if it is too low, it may be perfunctory. You collect a bunch of lies and it’s impossible to find gold in the trash.
  Fourth, the details of the questionnaire responses are still not disclosed. The questionnaire survey method is not as easy as it seems. There are professional evaluation methods for the quality of the collected data, namely the so-called reliability and validity, which are skipped here.
  Fifth, there is no mention of statistical analysis. If wealth is the dependent variable, then the various habits involved in the questionnaire are the independent variables in the function. Whether there is a correlation or a causal relationship between the two needs to be tested by parameters. Its significance level, that is, how reliable it is in a probabilistic sense, also needs to be shown.
  In short, high-quality research, from the design, distribution, recovery, and analysis of questionnaires, needs to be carried out step by step carefully and carefully. Given the complexity of the problem, how can such research be easier said than done? To discover the habits of the rich, one should first clarify the scope of the survey and the characteristics of the survey subjects, including gender, age, occupation, and so on. Then, quantitatively describe their various habits, and then examine the influence of various habits on the degree of wealth, and examine the statistical significance of this effect. As a result, the importance of each habit will be found, and some habits will be eliminated due to lack of significance, or the original hypothesis will be falsified. The conclusions in the book almost fell from the sky. How reliable it is is unknown.
  Therefore, when we look at other people’s successful experience, we are often very excited, but we can’t do it anyway. Because oranges grown in Huainan are oranges, and oranges grown in Huaibei are oranges. Some people ask, “Why do you read a lot of books and still have a bad life?” I guess the reason may be that either you are reading “fake books” or you are just pretending to be reading. As the ancients said, “Learning without thinking is nothing.”
  The third is formal specification. The typesetting of this book is loose, and sometimes the layout is wasted. This will increase printing costs and the burden on readers. Also, there are no references listed at the end of the book. Originally, the topic of wealth has attracted a lot of attention, and the relevant literature can be described as overwhelming. Regardless of case-based, story-based reports, or large-scale surveys of some consulting agencies, or research results of academic circles, they are all worthy of reference. Some documents help us broaden our thinking, some allow us to avoid repetition, and some can also confirm each other. I haven’t read a few books myself, so I rolled up my sleeves and started working. Is the book written in this way reliable?
to reflect

  In short, this book has flaws, big or small, in terms of theme, method, and form. This makes people wonder why most “success studies” are unsuccessful. Books of this kind are notorious for not being able to provide any real help to the reader except for the author’s royalties or fame. A far-reaching example is Tang Jun’s “My Success Can Be Replicated”, but this gentleman was later pushed to the forefront because of his “education gate”. In the TV series “Ode to Joy”, there is a character who is a “soft, cute, silly, white and sweet” who is not deeply involved in the world, and was once stunned by “successful learning”. Another example is the “Rich Dad Poor Dad” series. Maybe some people don’t like to hear it. Let’s imagine, if everyone “builds pipelines” as mentioned in the book, that is, making investments, who will start a business, do practical things, and become an investor?
  Socrates said: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Similarly, the unreflected book is not worth reading. An ancient poem says, “Reading books breaks through ten thousand volumes”. Most people value “ten thousand”, but ignore “bro”; they pay attention to the quantity of reading, but ignore the quality. Little did he know that there were not only golden houses in the book, but also many pitfalls!
  The usual tone of book reviews on the market is only praise, not scolding. People who sell books, if they sell and boast, we can understand, because the profit dictates it. But because of this, we will not fully believe those “fools” and will discount their boasting. Another way is to listen to a third party.
  In this way, there are some people or institutions who recommend books. The trouble is, are they independent, objective, and impartial? At least not all of them. For example, whether it is an independent auditor or an independent director, only when they are “independent” enough can they truly perform their duties. So, they all have a tenure or rotation system. Book reviewers lack this mechanism. If the book review turns sour and becomes a “spokesperson” for the “platform” of selling books, it is a conspiracy and a partnership to deceive readers. Therefore, don’t be careless.

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