Today in the United States we’re celebrating Independence Day. This is a special time because it represents the efforts of great leaders, in the late 1700s, who risked everything to form a new country where people could pursue their dreams. Those men were not only great leaders in their day, but their influence continues to inspire others—all around the world—to step up and do great things.
I’m not a historian, but I have read enough about the US Founding Fathers to understand their vision that forming a country where people were free to pursue their dreams would lead to innovation, industry and prosperity. They knew that given the opportunity, individuals would rise up and do great things. They were right.
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.”
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?