Prosperity is far more than simply profitable investment and an ample bank account. It is, as well, a state of mind that puts you in consort with the environment you inhabit. In its furtherance, you’ll want a wide variety of input. Your readings should consist not only of the standard fare—financial data, economic trends, and the like—but publications that can provide background, enlightenment, and revelation.
Here you will find a small number of works, several of which are rarely found on standard reading lists, that are particularly informative or inspiring, each in its own way.
Keys to Investing in Mutual Funds, Second Edition, by Warren Boroson, 152 pages, 1992. The nation’s obsession with the open-end investment company, known as the mutual fund, has propelled it into the choice of 95 million Americans. Most subscribers to this investment have little understanding of what they are buying or why. This compact reference, one of a series of Barons’ Business Keys, covers the rudiments of what you must know to protect yourself in the hostile world of the mutual fund. Retailing for $4.95, it can be purchased from any online bookseller.
Nobody’s Fool: A Skeptic’s Guide to Prosperity, by A. B. Jacobs, 384 pages, 2003. In addition to a unique view on many contemporary problems that plague our society—education, government, social security, health, and personal values—this is a blueprint for prosperity. Priced at $17.95, it may be purchased online through Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Further details on the book may be obtained from Tableau Publishing, P.O. Box 3362, Dana Point, CA 92629-8360, or by telephone, toll-free to (866) SKEPTIC [(866) 753-7842] or locally (949) 661-0012.
A History of Taxation and Expenditure in the Western World, by Carolyn Webber and Aaron Wildavsky, 734 pages, 1986. This masterpiece presents a most comprehensive review of western governments and their principal function—the collection and distribution of the citizen’s resources—over the span of civilization. With a bibliography that extends to 33 pages, you’ll not find a more encompassing work on this utterly intriguing subject. Though it’s out of print, a good used copy can be found online for about $25.
How I Turned $1,000 into a Million in Real Estate—in My Spare Time, by William Nickerson, 544 pages, 1959. Of the countless real estate treatises churned out over the past half-century, this one stands out as truly memorable. An admitted “get-rich-slow” advocate, the late author described in understandable and doable steps exactly how to build a real estate empire, literally starting from scratch. Revised several times, the final 1980 edition’s title changed by inserting the word “Five” before “Million,” it is as vital today as when it was written nearly a half-century ago. Used copies of this treasure that originally sold for $4.95 are available on the Internet for prices between $75 and $400 depending on condition. Most buyers are probably collectors of rare works who will never read a word of it. That’s truly a pity, as the information and inspiration to be gleaned from this work is invaluable.
The Law and The Profits, by C. Northcote Parkinson, 246 pages, 1960. This remarkable book offers a crystal clear view, from the citizen’s perspective, of what organized society is really about. In this work the late Dr. Parkinson, a one-time professor at the University of Malaya, reveals himself as part historian and part philosopher. Anyone seeking enlightenment on the world’s institutions will gain a greater understanding from this work. Though out of print, both Amazon and Barnes & Noble have some copies in the $15 to $20 range.
The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy, by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko, 262 pages, 1998. This easy to read publication neatly describes the life habits that enhance financial success for the seemingly ordinary citizen. It effectively stresses the importance of living within one’s means, together with systematic savings in furtherance of financial goals. Above all, it is a profound philosophical analysis of attitudinal characteristics that lead to success. Published by Simon & Schulster, Inc., the softback edition is readily available from Amazon at $14.95.
The March of Folly, by Barbara Tuchman, 677 pages, 1984. This penetrating review of four decisive turning points in history, each the result of mindless governmental miscalculations, and spanning three millennia, illustrates how the cumulative effects of greed, ambition and moral cowardice changed the course of mankind. More than a mere history lesson, this is an informative treatise on the human condition. A copy is available from Barnes & Noble for $14.40.