Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

Book review: Killing Sacred Cows

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Killing Sacred Cows

Killing Sacred Cows

Without writing anything else about this book, the title should at least have your attention. The disclaimer on the first page reads: “No actual cows were killed or harmed during the creation of this book.” The purpose of this book is to help you take a deeper look at the beliefs to which you’ve subscribed and determine which ones are true and which should be thrown out. The expressed purpose of this book is: “to defeat myths about money and prosperity that are severely limiting human power, creativity and production.”

Killing Sacred Cows was written by Garrett B. Gunderson and is now a New York Times Best Seller. Gunderson discusses nine “myths” that have “crippled our nation for generations:”

Myth 1-The Finite Pie: He describes the commonly held view that the world has limited resources. If you want something you need to take it from someone else. In reality, he says, there’s enough for everyone, and the more people work the bigger the pie gets; there will be more for everyone.

Myth 2-You’re in it for the Long Haul: Gunderson addresses what he calls “the 401(k) hoax” proposition. Most people look at the wealth they are accumulating to use “some day” and most people are afraid to use it even after they retire. He says that cash flow is a better measure of net worth. This topic gets quite deep and controversial; it will make you think.

Myth 3-It’s All About the Numbers: He claims most people think wealth is all about their bank balances and investments. Wealth is really about doing what you enjoy.

Myth 4-Financial Security: Gunderson says that most people think financial security comes from a paycheck and benefits. In reality, he says, true security can only come from within.

Myth 5-Money is Power: Many people think that the more money they have the more powerful they become. This myth is destructive because it’s not about the money itself, but the value it represents. People who put more value on the money itself than the people who create the value will self destruct.

Myth 6-High Risks = High Returns: Garrett says that believing high returns can only come from taking risks is a myth. He describes the importance of investing according to your Soul Purpose, which will provide lower risks and higher returns. He emphasizes the importance of investing in ourselves.

Myth 7-Self-Insurance: Most “experts” on insurance tell you to spend as little as possible on insurance. Gunderson recommends getting as much insurance as possible.

Myth 8-Avoid Debt Like the Plague: Most people are taught to avoid debt. Gunderson distinguishes between debt and liabilities, and good vs. bad liabilities. If you borrow in the right way and for the right things you create tools that will help you prosper.

Myth 9-A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned: The myth here boils down to spending money for value. If you skimp on quality to get a better price you end up paying more. When you spend money on products and services you are actually voting for them. You should buy the things that based on their value, not their cost.

One of the great things about his book is it’s chock full of quotes. Some of the quotes are used to illustrate specific myths and how they are perpetuated over time. Many others add credibility to the author’s assertions. Together with the quotes and anecdotes, the pithy ideas presented offer a soul-searching re-examination of why you do what you do. You will take a hard look at your behaviors and tendencies, and will likely make important changes as a result.


The Product Management Perspective: Product managers do not typically deal with financial matters in their company; however, the ideas promoted in this book apply nicely. Product managers need to regularly review how things are going and make changes. What are some of the “sacred cows” we worship in product management that we might need to kill?

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5 thoughts on “Book review: Killing Sacred Cows

  1. Nice Site layout for your blog. I am looking forward to reading more from you.

    Tom Humes

  2. Thanks for bringing this book to my attention. I know in some part of my brain that wealth is not about money but it is a daily struggle to hang onto that belief. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer some years ago and lived happily on no money but no one around me had any either. There was no measurement of one’s worth based on how much money or how much stuff one had. One of my fears in coming back to the US was that I would be sucked in again and indeed I have been.

    I love the killing of these sacred cows. Maybe we could replace them with sacred butterflies and be intentional about what we put in place instead.

  3. I appreciate Michael’s blog post here since I recommend this as reading for all of my Freedom Fast Track (Garrett Gunderson’s company focused on teaching clients to create wealth through Soul Purpose and sound financial strategies) clients who struggle with these limiting beliefs. When I worked in the traditional financial industry and taught each of these myths to my clients, I was never able to create wealth in my life until I challenged MY beliefs. For more specific details on some of these myths, you can read my blogs on http://www.fireyourfinancialadviser.com where I provide evidence why Americans CANNOT retire the way they want using traditional retirement vehicles, like 401(k)’s and IRA’s.

  4. Pingback: Fire Your Financial Adviser - By Dale Clarke and Chris Miles

  5. I think i love this write ups, we believe its educational to our readers. so much things to grab and i hope you continue write informative stuff on this post. thanks

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