“Rich Habits” by Thomas C. Corley is by far one of the most influential books of this decade and yet there are still countless people who are not familiar with the concepts therein. As I write this, Tom Corley’s book has hit #14 overall on Amazon Books and #1 in Personal Finance. Finance and Business are good categories, but this book goes well beyond finances and material things, though that may be the initial hook for most. Rich Habits is a book about transforming your lifestyle and being more effective in all our pursuits. As such, this book is very similar to what “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey shares though I would say Corley’s guide is much more actionable, practical, and concise. This is a lifestyle book that transforms our perspectives and strengthens relationships.
What’s interesting to me as an online entrepreneur, writer/blogger, social media specialist, and content marketer, everyone points to books like “Content Rules” (which I felt was highly over-rated and mostly regurgitated rhetoric), but such books mainly circulate the same tactics and strategies everyone else is sharing. What’s worse is that these books do not address the root causes behind common issues. As a whole, personal development books skip the initial struggle and everyday person perspectives, jumping straight to the assumption of “you’ve made it already but now you can make it further”.
Dino Dogan of Triberr said on the #NJAB – Not Just Another Business – Podcast (I believe episode 3.75 or 3.99), and I paraphrase, “The successful [bloggers] share outdated advice that does not apply to those joining the game now.. They had timing on their side and, for the rest of us, success is a grind.”
Rich Habits shares similar insight by eliminating the excuses and obstacles we often make for ourselves. It’s no longer merely about having good timing or [random] good luck. Tom Corley stresses the importance of developing daily habits that will help us create our own opportunities and increase the chances of having really good luck.
Likely the biggest reason Rich Habits holds such a high rank in my rather massive book collection is not because Tom is my client (which he is) but simply because this book cuts all the junk out and focuses on what really matters. Tom sees the urgency in making changes immediately so he gets straight to the point. More importantly, the stories and lessons are relevant to anyone from any background, so long as you are serious about really making a change in your life. This book empowers the lower and middle class in ways few other books have ever even attempted.
At first glance, the notion of rich habits and the lessons thereof are rather commonplace. The major focal areas Tom advises us to work on are as follows:
- Time Management & Goal Setting
- Personal Development & Health
- Good Luck & Success
- Networking & Relationship Building
- Positive Mindset & Winning Attitude
Each of the ten rich habits falls into one or more of these areas. The overall topics themselves seem like more of the same until you dig deeper and see that this is more than the usual obvious advice. What’s more is that Tom spent over five years observing the wealthy and the poor, so these are not mere assumptions or personal reflections: the habits are borrowed from real-life experience and wealthy individuals!
There is lots to love about this book but I found that there were two underlying themes that really hit home for me:
- Even if you have really rotten “random luck”, it is still possible to turn around your financial situation and life as a whole.
- Don’t look at people as prospects, sales, or transactions – meet new people and nurture relationships every day because no one makes it alone.
Perhaps the most revolutionary notion is that we do have control over luck. This is where Rich Habits really sets itself apart from comparable books. Thomas Corley goes as far as to break down luck into four categories and reveals that we can create opportunity luck by prioritizing, cutting out distractions, and building life-long relationships. What makes this so special?
Rich Habits completely throws excuses out the window. If you don’t know anyone (lacking real friends and deep relationships), feel overwhelmed (there’s never enough time), or feel like you have the worst luck ever, Tom shares secrets straight from the wealthy on how to turn all those things around!
This aspect alone makes this book a real game changer; after all, you can have all the know-how in the world but if you exercise bad habits, you’re not getting anywhere. I’ve always believed in addressing root causes and the rich habits are all about just that. For those that want tactics and practical application, there’s that too.
Roughly half of Rich Habits is dedicated to examples of success habits at work and the other half shows them in action with stories we could all relate to. I love the balance in this book because we all know that facts may tell but stories are what sell. More importantly, good storytelling helps new knowledge really stick because we become more emotionally invested.
If I had to gripe about one thing, it would likely be that there really should be an introduction, preface, or foreword to open things up. The current edition of Rich Habits opens up with four separate yet related stories but you don’t really get into the meat and potatoes until the middle of the book. I feel that this may lose quite a few people since, sadly, reading is on steady decline, especially when it comes to non-fiction. I also feel that all books on “how to think/live like the wealthy” focus too much on the material wealth; fortunately, Tom placed a very big focus on the importance of deep, meaningful relationships, not merely “consumer arrangements” (you give me X, I will give you Y). The ultimate goal is to be [financially] secure and deliberate in all that we do, which is why Dave Ramsey and other thought leaders promote this book.
Who is this book for? Well, as I said before, this book would be useful for anyone, but particularly those of us looking to break the cycle of living paycheck-by-paycheck or feeling like we are simply running in place and getting nowhere fast. More specifically, this book is for anyone who feels they are disciplined and focused yet they never have the time, energy, or money to build a better financial future and support their lifestyle.
What I particularly appreciate is that Tom Corley is not your typical “lucky rich guy”. He was born into money but then adversity hit, his family lost it all, and he had to build up his own wealth. Tom understands what it is to experience really bad luck and struggle. He also understands the importance of working smart so that we may be able to provide for our families and have more quality time with them. This is a perspective I find seems to lack with many books, seminars, and workshops, as we know the challenges of being in a financial rut or having a family (especially if you work from home like me) introduce new variables that make things even tougher. The advice found in Rich Habits does not by any means assume ideal situations; instead, the habits are things everyone can put into practice.
Learn more about what the rich do differently from the poor on Yahoo! Financially Fit.
Yahoo! Financially Fit released a powerful video series which shares some of the rich habits, along with some statistics that further illustrate the significant differences between the wealthy and the poor. Show host, Farnoosh Tarobi, opens up the series by stating, “If you think becoming rich is about luck think again. It may have more to do with how you spend your day, beginning with the hour you wake up.” This really sets the stage for the rich habits, but it only scrapes the surface…
Redefining & Creating Luck
When we look at any popular success story, the temptation may be to think it was all luck and that it was an overnight success. We rarely see the journey there, the price that had to be paid for success. In Rich Habits, Tom confirms that it really is all about luck but we need to transform how we view luck. The average person may wait around for random good luck, but this leaves too much up to circumstances and adversity. The wealthy have mastered ways to create their own opportunity luck, which is an empowering thing to know. No longer do we need to feel that we are victims of adversity.
One of the taglines for the Rich Habits book is “Achieving Wealth by Creating Opportunity Luck in any Economy”, which really sums it up well. Opportunities only come about if we make consistent efforts and focus on the right things. You see, many of us are very focused and have an established routine, but we dedicate too much time to the wrong things. With good habits followed daily, we increase the chances of good luck.
Use Daily To-Do Lists
To-do lists may seem like a mundane task or extra work but Tom’s research has shown that the wealthy use daily to-do lists and aim for 70% completion or better. This discipline makes long-term goals more achievable and puts us in a “do it now” mindset. By extension, this insight shows us how procrastination and lack of organization can be detrimental to our potential for success and wealth. The practice of daily to-do lists helps us visualize success and make progress more tangible.
Need help mastering effective to-do lists? Check out my do’s and dont’s of to-do lists.
Build Relationships Daily
In business, it is easy to treat people as sales prospects and referral sources. This short-sighted view on the value of people makes relationships more transactional, whereas it should be more about mutual support, emotional empowerment, and reciprocation. Tom urges us to meet people often and nurture relationships daily.
The wealthy show us that everyone matters and we should not think about a person’s immediate value or what we can gain from relationships; instead, we should focus on building life-long relationships and empowering others around us. Observe any truly successful person and chances are they have friends and colleagues they have known for years. Truly, success is often about who we know, not what we know. No one “makes it” alone.
It’s interesting to see that Tom focused on television above any other distraction. This comes from the five years of dedicated research and observation, but it also speaks to a greater truth:
Many of us are indulge in things that reduce our productivity and long-term value by 10-25%!
Tom advises that we limit television viewing to no more than one hour a day and try to avoid reality television, which has the least redeeming value. If you watch three or more hours of television a day, this already gives you two hours more to connect with people, do more personal development, prepare for the day ahead, and get some rest.
I would say that television is much like books and video games: they are not bad in themselves so long as we do not allow them to consume us. Of course, in creative fields such as television production, fictional writing, and game design, such consumption can provide creative prompts for us and give our minds time to unwind a bit. The key is to focus more on production than consumption. Not surprisingly, moderation is another major theme in Rich Habits.
I love that Tom made this a major point in one of his Yahoo! Financially Fit videos (link below). Gossip is one of my personal turn-offs because I see how it leads to some of the most self-destructive behavior. Tom’s research reveals that 79% or more of the poor engage in gossip while 6% of the wealthy or less do so. The key difference for this gap is that the wealthy treat their relationships like gold. Here are some reasons gossip is bad news for everyone…
- Gossip Breeds Jealousy – When we focus too much on the good fortune and success of others, it is easy to become envious. We may gossip to say successful people are just lucky. This puts us in the position of waiting for good luck or merely living vicariously through others, which is certainly not productive.
- Gossip Stops Productivity – Those who engage in gossip frequently eventually stop trying to make positive changes in their lives. They look at the more successful and wealthy as people they do not wish to become because of their flaws. This puts us into a gear of excuse-making rather than result-driving.
- Gossip Hurts Relationships – Eventually, gossip makes us so bitter and jealous that we become toxic to others around us. This leads to isolation and more resentment. This vicious cycle is hard to break because it feeds off itself.
If you have loved ones who engage in gossip, hold them accountable and point them towards Rich Habits. Let them know how toxic and self-defeating the behavior is. It really is for their own good! One recommendation Tom makes is that gossip-prone people try to learn more about people and avoid judgments. Some wealthy record up to 35 facts or data points for each contact or friend they have so they can consistently make life event calls and build common ground. This is very different from making assumptions and gossiping!
Rich Habits In A Nutshell
Rich Habits calls us to take inventory of ourselves and reform bad habits. By acknowledging our strengths and weaknesses, we can truly reinvent ourselves for the better. Even if you are already successful, the ten daily rich habits can help enrich your life. The ultimate goal is to turn destructive behaviors into productive ones while making us more proactive rather than reactive. In this manner, we become masters of our destiny, creating more opportunity luck every day!
For more on the rich habits in practice, check out Yahoo! Financially Fit with Farnoosh Tarobi for a simple 5-step plan for Financial Health as soon as 30 days – with tips on goal setting. In this follow-up video, Thomas C. Corley makes a crucial distinction betweem goals and wishes. Keep your dreams alive and work towards them today!
Rich Habits is on sale through July 31st, 2013 for 20% – use promo code RICHHABITS on MyBookOrders.com.