Childfree Wealth®

Ep. 39: Think and Grow Rich (Book Club)

August 30, 2023 Dr. Jay Zigmont, CFP® & Bri Conn Episode 39
Childfree Wealth®
Ep. 39: Think and Grow Rich (Book Club)
Show Notes Transcript

​​The Childfree Wealth Podcast, hosted by Bri Conn and Dr. Jay Zigmont, CFP®, is a financial and lifestyle podcast that explores the unique perspectives and concerns of childfree individuals and couples. In this episode, Bri & Dr. Jay discuss Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill for their August book club selection. 


Written by Napoleon Hill and published in 1937, Think & Grow Rich is the original motivation book where many of today’s motivational content comes from. Hill met with millionaires of the time, asking questions such as “What makes a winner,” and discussing how you find one’s definite purpose in life.


Join us for next month’s read, The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John C. Bogle. Have a book suggestion? Let us know!


Resources:

Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John C. Bogle


Be sure to join the conversation by emailing us at podcast@childfreewealth.com, following Childfree Wealth on social media, or visiting our website www.childfreewealth.com!


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Disclaimer: This podcast is for educational & entertainment purposes. Please consult your advisor before implementing any ideas heard on this podcast.

Dr. Jay

Hey, welcome back to the Childfree Wealth podcast and we are back in our monthly book club. Bri and I have been reading random books and I pick them or she picks them. I don't know, this one I picked. We're actually talking about the book, Think Grow Rich. This is an old one, almost 100 years old. 1937 was the original book and I want to see where Bri's going with this because like seriously this is a blast from the past. But the interesting thing on Think & Grow Rich, a lot of the work on motivation, on masterminds, and other things started here. So it's kind of like let's go back in history to come to the present. So Bri, what do you think?


Bri

I was kind of over this book within like three chapters. At one point in my life I was in a very rah rah like woohoo phase of self-help. I am past that phase in my life and I felt like everything in the book was... like all of the books I've read today that are newer are like sections of that book. So I'm like I've heard all this stuff already. There are some good parts but there are other parts where I was just over it.


Dr. Jay

I don't blame you. So here's the whole point where I'm trying to get to. Which is people think a lot of motivation, self-help, all that. There's new gurus. It's not new. Like seriously. And just to give you all a little bit of context. Napoleon Hill was actually writing for his college newspaper effectively. Went out to interview Andrew Carnegie, which was the richest man in the world at the time. And Andrew Carnegie did this whole interview. At the end he said, yep, I like where you're going essentially. I want to encourage you to keep researching this. I want you to find out why people are rich and grow and all that. But I'm not going to pay you to do it. I'm just going to give you introductory letters. And actually, interestingly enough, Andrew Carnegie, even though he was the richest man, besides some basic expenses, never paid for Napoleon Hill to do this. He goes out and interviews these weird people like Ford and Edison and other people that now are like, wait a minute, who what? Where? Rockefeller and others. And there's this part in there. He talks about going to this guy Ford and going to this horse-litched carriage and going underneath and he's coming out in oil. What the heck is this person doing? And now, of course, it's a different world. But the interesting thing is, to me, and I understand why you're over it, but is that the motivation, the mindset stuff is still true 100 years later. Will you please give me that one, Bri?


Bri

Yeah, I was really excited to read this book and it's actually been on my to be read list for a while, but when I started reading it I was like, I've read all of this before in books that have been published now and I'm just like, don't want to listen to hear it again. Like, yes it is true, but I just, I don't need to listen to it a second time.

Dr. Jay

That's fair. I actually encouraged Bri, but I don't know what you ended up with. I actually, when I first read the book, well read, I actually heard, I actually heard it on cassettes. Those things still existed, you know, I'm aging myself. But literally there's a recording of Napoleon Hill in his own voice and he's got this old-timey drawl and it was just kind of interesting. But I think the hard part is like the concepts of, you know, what does it mean to be rich? What does life mean? All that he was talking about a hundred years ago. Who's your favorite current self-help book that's really like based off of Napoleon Hill if we're gonna go that way?


Bri

They all annoy the hell out of me, honestly.


Dr. Jay

It's okay. But like, alright, so give me somebody current, you know, let's do a generational run here. Alright, who's talking about the same thing but just really rehashing what Napoleon Hill did?


Bri

Okay, there's a lot of them. Like Tony Robbins, Mel Robbins, Rachel and Dave Hollis. Those are like the four that I can think of off the top of my head. Those are the ones who are talking about a lot. I've read a lot of their stuff, heard a lot of it, and granted like some of them, you know, did some pretty problematic things and I'm like, I'm just sick of them now. I felt like it was just their books. I think I would have rather read Think and Grow Rich first and then I would have enjoyed it more. I did switch back and forth between reading it and then listening to it and I don't know if I listened to it with Napoleon Hill reading it or not but whoever was reading it kept saying Andrew Carnegie and it was driving me nuts because he was talking about it so much. I'm like, please stop saying that. That's where I landed on this book.


Dr. Jay

Okay. That's fair. And interestingly enough, if you've read Think & Grow Rich, the rest, you're like, it's just a different paint on the topic or a different person talking about it. Let me ask you a couple questions though about this because I had an aha of this one as I talked to you about reading this and sending it, you know, saying, hey, this should be on your reading list. This is all old white men talking.


Bri

Definitely felt like there was a little bit of misogyny or like, you need a man or a man needs a woman. And I'm like, no, I don't. Thank you. Absolutely not. Not interested.


Dr. Jay

This is the old time life plan, the life structure, whatever you want to call it. And it's interesting because, let's be real, in 1937, the rich people were all white men. I mean, that's who he set out to interview. Interestingly enough, as you kind of run through Napoleon Hill's history, he actually ends up working for a whole bunch of presidents and advising them and all that on basic concepts. I'm just wondering. It lets you kind of weigh in on that. Alright, the source is all old white men. Is it still valuable to non-old white men?


Bri

I think people have different life perspectives. Recently I had this conversation with somebody and they said some kind of stuff that frankly pissed me off and it was an old white man and I turned around and I was like, it was about, you know, life and marriage and all those things and I turned around I was like, how many laws this year have been trying to go through and be passed that are against your life and the like your identity as a person and the person you love? And they're like, well I don't know, I'm like zero. Like how many for me? And at the time it was over like 400 I want to say. I don't know what it is today. This was earlier in the year when I looked up the numbers but... So I do think there's just a different perspective because you don't necessarily think about all those things if you don't have to experience them yourself.


Dr. Jay

That's fair. So, okay. Is this book no good to anybody but old white men?


Bri

No, I wouldn't say that. I think you just have to be very aware as you're reading it of who wrote it and when it was written and realize that there's some stuff in there and the way it's presented that is not that great after you learn more about the world.


Dr. Jay

Yeah, it's interesting. So right now we are in August of 2023 and we're in the middle of Barbieheimer, as I think we call it, Barbie movie and Oppenheimer. And I saw both over the past couple weeks. And if you liked Oppenheimer and the history and some of the interesting things in there, you'll probably actually like Thingo and Richard on the history and the interesting things in there and the perspectives. Now you look through today's lens and it's like, wait, what? Like, you know, I think that's the hard part is to look at not the surface, but the structure of what they're trying to say and what they're trying to get to. Is that fair?


Bri

Yeah, I think the structure of a lot of things was really good. I do think it definitely discounted the fact that for some people there are just… they have a harder time in life, period. And it definitely discounts that because it's like, oh, well, if you just desire it hard enough, like you'll get what you want. Well, that's not always true.


Dr. Jay

Yeah, and this is where we get into the difference between, you know, your definite purpose in life, your desires, and the old pull yourself up by the bootstraps routine. There are systematic issues that are... I like the analogy of people just don't have bootstraps. You know, but then again, I grew up broke and I'm on a completely different path myself. If I just said, hey, the system's holding us back, then I never would have achieved anything I could have. So I think the hard part is that balance between the two. What do you think? Do you say, hey, well, you don't have bootstraps or you have to have the desire? Where do you land?


Bri

I think there is a fine line between the two. I know that I've gotten really lucky in life just based off of my achievements, but I've also worked my ass off to get certain places too. And so there is a fine line, but I am actually in a minority group, but I don't necessarily appear that way. If somebody questions me, I just don't really say anything and I continue on with my life. And for the longest time I didn't even talk about the fact that, you know, I am gay and all those things. And I would hide that when I would go out and sell because it helped me get ahead financially and sell more things in the area I was in. If I would have said something about that, I probably wouldn't have done as well because I know how those people were talking to me and it wasn't that great. There's like a fine line there and I do think there are more impacts that we just don't necessarily think about, especially if we can kind of hide that.


Dr. Jay

Yeah, and as the representative white male in the group, I can't change that. But you have to acknowledge your privilege, you have to acknowledge where you've come from, good, bad, and ugly, and then go, okay, what do I want to change? And I'm not saying everybody can change or everybody can be, you know, make a million dollars or whatever you want to do, but I do believe the harder you work, the luckier you get. Like, there is kind of a part of you gotta have, you kind of have to do the work at times.


My argument is, if you are in what we call the rent and ramen phase, you're barely making ends meet, you're barely paying for your house, barely paying for food, it's hard to even think past that. And I get you. That's one phase. Once you get out of rent and ramen...


Now, getting out of Rentin' Ramen can be a hard, hard road. But once you have your basic needs met, you know, Bri keeps track of how many times I tell people to quit their job. I mean, if you don't love your job, you might have to do a different path to get there. I don't know. I'm not a huge fan of the current hustle culture, but that is where Think & Grow Rich started. I mean, let's be real on that. Are you with me?


Bri

Yeah, I'm actually kind of stunned that you said that. We were having a conversation the other day and he was like, oh yeah, I just did this. I'm like, you did what? I was like, it was Sunday. I'm like, just take a day to breathe. And so that just surprises me actually that you're not a fan of hustle culture. I didn't know that.


Dr. Jay

So, okay, let's kind of break this down. I'm just saying that I probably listened to Think and Grow Rich when I was in my late 18, 19, 20, something like that. And it probably did impact some of my thoughts. But I really actually say there's two people that have the most impact on my life. One is Zig Ziglar, and he says it is this way, you can have everything you want to help enough other people that they want. Problem with that is when you get really into the helping world, you want to help people all the time. So we'll come back to that. But the second person I give credit to is Scrooge McDuck from DuckTales. And he taught me work smarter, not harder. You see, hustle culture gets way too much into working harder or being busy, not working smarter. There's a huge difference. I don't want to rise and grind. I want to rise and work smart at something. You know, my wife knows that I say it this way, if I can't double dip, I want to triple dip. You know, I want like everything to have an impact in four different ways. You know, I'm writing a book, but that helps with marketing the company, but that helps with the content and that helps with the press and that helps with speaking. It's got to all come together. So if I can do one effort that helps me in five different ways, that's different than the hustle culture of just you got to get up, you work 16 hours a day just to work 16 hours a day. To me, that's glorification of being busy.


Bri

Agree 100% yeah 1000% there like I'm just a little stunned right now honestly I don't know because you know we have a lot of different conversations and we've got a lot of different things are balancing it seems like there are so many things that are like aiming for and trying to do and I'm kind of like okay like that's great but also I have a life that I need to live outside of it and just surprises me like I think I'm out of the two of us I'm definitely the more like cool but I also have a life that needs to be lived and you're like let's do all these things and then you don't really like talk about that other side of your life so that is surprising for me


Dr. Jay

Well, I mean, I actually, my big win for this year was I set my calendar so I have appointments from 9 to 6 every day and then on Friday 9 to 3.30. And I used to have appointments on Saturday and I used to, and I don't anymore. Why? Because I want to have some balance. But here's the thing, it doesn't stop my brain from moving. I'll be out on the boat and I'm waxing, but I'm thinking about, you know, something or I'm listening to a podcast or, you know, I'm working through. And part of that is because it goes back to that helping question. The way I see it is 25% of the US is childfree. They're getting bad financial advice. I want to fix that. When you get like one of those like causes, it becomes hard to focus on anything else.


Bri

That's very true. Yeah, I agree with that. There are a lot of times I'm thinking about stuff and I'm like, no, like that's not what we're thinking about right now, Bri. Like, try and turn it off. It can be hard.


Dr. Jay

Alright, let's go back to the book for a second. A couple common things that are in there people take out of it. And what we're really talking about is what Hill would call the definite purpose in life. Why were you made? And he's got a little religious spin on it, and you know, a little historical spin, but we'll just go with the concept. And I've had multiple definite purposes in life. I mean, sure, but they all have the same principle of help others.


You know, I always worry about helping other people first, then I'll get the payback, whatever else it is. That's kind of anti-hustle culture, also, because it's really not about putting the hustle or the earning money first. You know, if I really wanted to earn money in the financial world, the answer would be don't help child-free folks, go help people that are, you know, tens and hundreds of millions of dollars and charge them 1% of their asset and just take the money and go. So what do you think about the concept of definite purpose in life?


Bri

I like it. I think it can be hard to figure out what that is. Especially when you know you are told to follow the standard life plan and you're just going doing one thing after the other after the other that other people have told you to do but I've never really stopped to one listen to what you want because no well this is what I did so this is what you should do too or two even allowed you that space to figure out what you want. It can be hard to figure that out and sometimes it takes a while and I feel like I kind of know where I'm at with that but I still don't feel like I have a perfect answer for that question.


Dr. Jay

Well, and I don't think you have to have one. And I don't think it's one and done. This is one of the kind of, I don't know, criticisms, I'll call it, of his approach. Definite purpose in life tends to be like, you gotta have one. So I'm just gonna work on saving the seals for my entire life or something. I don't know. And I don't know that that really is the way people work.


Bri

No. To me that sounds boring, personally.


Dr. Jay

Yeah & you can change too. Yeah. I think I go back to my guiding principles about helping others and working smarter and harder. That stays. That structure stays. Where I'm helping people? I mean I was a medic working in the back of an ambulance. I'm helping people. Guess what? You can't do that forever because your back is gonna explode. It just kind of is what it is. You know now I'm doing finance stuff. Helping people. And I think that this definite purpose in life is at the core of what we call the childfree midlife crisis. Which is you hit your personal, professional, and financial goals and then you're like, now what do I do with my life? And it's the you know the dog that the proverbial dog that caught the car. You know like now what do you do? And I we talk to people all the time about this and I don't have an answer. What I do is hold up a mirror and I'm like what did what you always want to be when you grow up? Yeah what do you want to do? And you know you want to be an astronaut? Let's go be an astronaut. I don't care. Like I don't care what your purpose is. Let's go ahead and do that. It's what matters to you. And I think that is one of the areas that some of the more modern motivational type speakers have been working on is try to help people find it their definite purpose. But let's be real. That's a concept that was from 1937. Yeah. Has any of that changed in your mind since 1937?


Bri

Finding purpose, I think generationally it is more of like we do have multiple things in life now versus like our parents who are, nope this is the one thing we do and we do it till we die that's it. So I think that has changed but it's not the definite purpose it's just the view that you can have more than one and you're not just confined to one thing forever.


Dr. Jay

So I would argue you can have more than one. The hard part is if you do more than one at once, you'll probably get very little done. You have to pick which one you're working on now. Yep. And that's hard because you're like, well I wanna do these three things. I'm like, cool, which one first? Like, no, I wanna do all three. I'm like, no, no, no, we're gonna do one, then we're gonna do the other, then we're... And that is hard, I have problems with it all myself. So everything I do has to connect to the same purpose. I can do some spin-offs or different things, but it all has to connect to the purpose in order to move it forward. Does that make sense?


Bri

Yeah, I agree with that. I think that we have plenty of conversations, like you said, of prioritizing the things you want because I do firmly believe you can have everything, you just can't have everything at the same time. Figuring out what you want to do first and second or third, different things like that is important because, you know, you've talked about like, if you could do anything you'd go be a boat captain and I love what I do now with finance, but at some point I probably won't do finance anymore and I'll do something else. Like, I've already made a career change and you've already made a career change and there's nothing wrong with that. How we express our definite purpose definitely changes and I agree with that.


Dr. Jay

Another principle that's in the book, in different words, but is the concept of a mastermind group. Of surrounding yourself with people that are smarter than you to push you forward. What do you think about that, Bri?


Bri

I love masterminds. I've been a part of multiple ones and it's always been super helpful because the way that you're good at something is not the same way that other people are good at something and so you can learn from one another and I've made good friends through that. I can still like if I have a question even when it comes to our content we put on instagram or different things like that if I have a question I know oh hey I can go ask this group of people and somebody's probably going to have an answer for me on how I can optimize this and do a little bit better just make my life easier as we work on these things.


Dr. Jay

Absolutely, and I tried really hard to surround myself with people are smarter hire people are smarter That's why I hired Bri, you know, she's smarter than me in the marketing and all the other stuff there. I help her on the finances and the financial planning it works. And what happens is if you surround yourself with people are smarter than you You can all grow if you're in the room and you're the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room. But here's the thing that room when you're the smartest person kind of feels cool some days because you're like I know everything and I can teach everybody everything they call it the sage on the stage and I've done those trips and they're fine but the problem is you're not growing. Yeah, you know, you got to be in groups where like people are challenging you And in some way or another where you're like, hey, I got this crazy idea, you know. So I'm in a bunch of different financial mastermind groups and I've got people that have been doing finance for much longer than I have it I'm like, how did it work in the past and I'm like here I have this weird idea is this gonna work or where's it gonna go. The one thing I have to be aware of is often the people that have been doing it forever want to do it the same way they've been always doing it. I'm more on the innovation side. So it's not always perfect, but they can go. Oh, yeah, by the way watch out for this


Or for another great example, I was in a mastermind group of financial planning firms growing at the same rate, and for about two years I've been working on, alright, I need to find somebody that can be an executor and power of attorney, and provide trust-like services for childfree folks. And I threw it out in a mastermind group and the guy goes, you know, I think I might have a way to do that. And I've been working with him now for months trying to figure out how to do this, just out of a random mastermind group going, you know, we might be able to do this. And it's a funny one because like trust services, banks, all that, like, that's old school. Like you want the old gray haired people, that's what they do. And you kind of want that. You want something like that's been there forever and will be there forever. But then how do you make sure it matches the group of childfree folks? That's what I'm working on. So the mastermind group, I think, is one of those you can take away. It still works today, just like the definite purpose in life. Is that fair?


Bri

Yeah, absolutely. I think masterminds are becoming even more popular now as you have access to more people across the world. And I, before I was just like, you had to go down to your local chamber of commerce to get your mastermind. And that's great. And I still do some of those things, but you can meet people from all across the country and the world. And that also has a huge value as well.


Dr. Jay

I just love though, I'm part of a couple different financial groups like, We have this great new idea to do a mastermind group! I'm like, dude, it's 100 years old, alright, you finally caught up with it! You know, all of a sudden it's a special thing. Alright Bri, anything else you took out of the book? I know you've heard it in other words and other formats.


Bri

This one was very much like, make sure you pause and reflect and then pause and reflect. And I think that was emphasized a bit more than in other books I read. They're kind of just like, oh you can read this book and then apply it to your life. It's never read this chapter, pause and reflect. Read this chapter, go back to this chapter now and read that again.


Dr. Jay

That's fair. I think the other one for me is he talks about riches and you know, what does it mean to be rich? And it's not necessarily about money. And I'm with them. When I created childfree wealth, I asked people, what does it mean to live a life of childfree wealth? And it means to have the time, money and freedom to do what you enjoy. That doesn't mean you're rich. Like doesn't mean like your bank account has a whole lot more zeros. It's just that balance between time, money and freedom. And that was influenced heavily by, you know, Napoleon Hill. I give him full credit for it. I have no problem going back to the old school stuff and pulling things out. I actually have more issue when like the new people are like, I have this brand new idea. And I'm like, dude, did you not read? Like this has been around forever. The other thing I think from Think and Grow Rich is very clear. And there's a whole bunch of research on this. This was an external motivation research area for my PhD. Bottom line is you cannot motivate anyone. They motivate themselves. External motivation does not work. You know, it'll work for just long enough to get them to move, but then it doesn't stay. If you're going to make a change in your life, it has to come from within. And that's, that's hard. I think I personally recommend that you read Think and Grow Rich as kind of a starter book to motivation and you know, some of the basic psychology and, and I love the history of it. I'm just a history nerd. If you liked Oppenheimer, you'll, you know, in the history and the biopic type version, you'll probably like this. Sounds like Bri, you're not going to recommend it.


Bri

I would recommend it for people who haven't really read self-help books before. I would say go ahead and read this. If you've read self-help books before I would just give the caution you're probably gonna hear the same things again and if you have the same feelings about self-help gurus today as I do you're probably gonna get a little annoyed with it but otherwise it was good.


Dr. Jay

Yeah, well, self-help actually does work. It's just, you're right. There's a bit too much of the woo woo, like, weird stuff and just making it approachable, I think, is the hard part. Yeah. All right, so next up, we're, so I'm gonna try to keep rotating between books that are like more on the mental side, the psychology side, the, as you said, self-help, motivation, even though Bri doesn't like those, and hardcore finance books. So next up on Bri's list, if you wanna read with us, that works. We are going to go to another old white man, but this one gets credit for the concept of ETFs. This is John Bogle, The Little Book of Common Sense Investing. You with me, Bri?


Bri

No, we agreed on The Psychology of Money and I was so excited!


Dr. Jay

We're gonna do The Psychology of Money next, because you said self-help's too much, so we're gonna rotate to a hardcore finance, then we'll go to The Psychology of Money. It's gonna be the one after.


Bri

Man, I was actually like, I was like ordering this book and I was looking forward to it.


Dr. Jay

We'll do it. So you can't judge me and say that the self-help and psychology stuff I just gave you was no good and want to go to another psychology book.


Bri

Okay, but it's my marketing background that I'm like, I'm really interested in this. Like, I want to know what this book says.


Dr. Jay

We will put that next on the list after the John Bogle little book of common sense investing and Bri will convince me to go to other books I'm sure over time, but I'm gonna try to keep rotating between you know hardcore finance and some of the psychology the mental parts of it is because about 80% of your success with money is the behaviors in the psychology. The hard part is people tune out because of it they actually want to talk about like ETFs and stocks and investing. So let's at least give it a shot To go to the hardcore finance and then we'll come back to psychology that work


Bri

That's fair. I was just super excited for this next book. But yes, I will do John Bogel's book.


Dr. Jay

Here's the thing, whichever book you're interested in, it's probably the other one is the one you need.


Bri

Yeah, that's fair.


Dr. Jay

I mean that's just the reality check of it. But you can join us once a month, we're going to be grabbing a book, reading it through. Now we're giving it in advance so you can read along with us and pick which one of us is right. Maybe team Jay or team Bri I guess is how that works. We don't all read the same books and that's okay. We'll all interpret it differently, that's okay. I get to pick the books just because I want to because this is my idea. But then we'll let Bri pick books for me. I think is what we'll end up doing after a period of time.


Bri

I think that sounds like a great idea.


Dr. Jay

And then what we might have to do, Bri, we might have to do an audience choice once a quarter or something. Like, just like... Yeah. Which book do you wish we would review?


Bri

That would be kind of fun.


Dr. Jay

Alright, we're gonna do that. We got the next two books already done. We got The Little Book of Common Sense Investing we got then we're gonna do The Psychology of Money. We're gonna do a book essentially in three months in the comments and on social. Whatever that is I don't know that stuff, Bri does. Somewhere tell us which book we should read. We will take a look at it and we'll pick the best one that we think will be fun for the podcast and for us to read. Why don’t you give us a title &  tell us why you picked that one. Maybe convince us with just like one or two lines, yeah, I think you two should talk about blank.


Bri

All right, sounds good to me.