Friday’s Food for Thought – The Power of a Smile

I meant to post this a long time ago but am just now getting around to it. Back when I was reading Brent Kessel’s book, It’s Not About the Money*, I came across this story on page 226 about the power of a smile:

There is a lovely fable about a man standing on the roadside feeling dejected. A woman walking down the street feels empathy and smiles at him. The man, heartened by the smile, decides to write a letter to a long-lost friend. The friend is so touched to receive the letter that he gives ten dollars to a homeless beggar on the street. The beggar later that day finds a stray puppy shivering in an alleyway, and he uses the money to buy food for the dog and keeps it warm by his fire. The dog follows the beggar, and that night they stop and ask a family if they can spend the night on the porch because it is going to rain. The family agrees. During the night, they are all awakened by the incessant barking of the puppy. The discover that the house is on fire—right near the child’s bedroom. They are able to save the child, who grows up to become a famous medical researcher and discovers the treatment for malaria, saving millions of lives. And it all started with a simple smile.

Pretty cool story, isn’t it? A bit far-fetched maybe, but still a neat story.

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A Review of “It’s Not About the Money” by Brent Kessel

I spent a good portion of the weekend reading Brent Kessel’s book It’s Not About the Money: Unlock Your Money Type to Achieve Spiritual and Financial Abundance*. As the title suggests, this book is about the personal side of money.

The book is divided into three parts:

Part 1 – The Nature of Mind

Part 2 – The Eight Financial Archetypes

Part 3 – In the World and of It

Part 1 opens with an interesting discussion of The Wanting Mind. According to the author, the Wanting Mind is always craving an experience different from the one it currently has and that it insists that things need to change in order for us to be happy.

This concept reminded me of my CD and book collection. No matter how many books or CDs I have, I always seem to want more. I have nearly 1,000 CDs and yet there are times when I can’t find anything to listen to. Yes, it’s silly but I think it also is a perfect example of the Wanting Mind. The problem with the Wanting Mind according to the author, is that it impedes us from enjoying the here and now.

Part 2 then moves on to discuss the eight finanancial archetypes, which are:

The Guardian – is always alert and careful.

The Pleasure Seeker – prioritizes pleasure and enjoyment in the here and now.

The Idealist – places the greatest value on creativitiy, compassion, social justice, or spiritual growth.

The Saver – seeks security and abundance by accumulating more financial assets.

The Star – spends, invests, or gives money away to be recognized, feel hip or classy, and increase self-esteem.

The Innocent – avoids putting significant attention on money and believes or hopes that life will work out for the best.

The Caretaker – gives and lends money to express compassion and generosity.

The Empire Builder – thrives on power and innovation to create something of enduring value.

Each archetype has its positives and negatives, which are explained in detail as each archetype gets its own chapter. According to the author, most people are a combination of the above archetypes—more successful people are a combination of three or four archetypes and the ideal person would be balanced among all eight.

I know from looking at the list, that I am a combination of Guardian, Pleasure Seeker, and Saver. Consequently, I have the biggest problems with peole who are Idealists, Stars, and Innocents. The author even includes a short quiz to help you figure out your archetypes.

Part 3 of the book then goes on to offer planning solutions for the different archetypes as well as a chapter on investing and a chapter on giving.

Overall, I liked the book. I enjoyed learning about the financial archetypes and how they impact our lifestyles. I didn’t much care for the new-age feel to the book, but found that I could easily adapt the book’s findings to my Christian beliefs.

I also appreciated the fact that Brent Kessel is a fee-only financial planner and tells his readers to focus on keeping investment expenses down and to avoid high-fee financial products—very solid advice!

Anyway, if I were to rate this book on a 5-Star scale, I would award it 4 Stars.

For more information, please visit the following links:

It’s Not About the Money: Unlock Your Money Type to Achieve Spiritual and Financial Abundance*

Mind Over Money Series on MSN

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