BOOK REVIEW: Can being selfish and selfless make you wealthy?

Written by Rebecca O'Connor on 18th October 2017

I’m not a massive fan of books that tell you how you can become rich. The “tricks” of the ultra wealthy that if you too know, you will be able to replicate and join the international jetset. I don’t really like any book that promises anyone their life will change after reading it.

Yet, in Rob Moore’s latest book, Know More, Make More, Give More, out today in paperback, he does offer up something a bit different, a bit more realistic and tangible than many of the “copy me and you can be rich” books out there.

He has combined a kind of spiritual capitalism, made famous by Deepak Chopra: “money is like water, it needs to flow, you need to give to receive” type wisdom, with a kind of northern hard-work ethic, plus a few economics lessons and a good deal on the need to embrace technology if you want to be rich.

What comes out is a perspective that is very pragmatic but also quite big picture – you have to understand the nature of money, and your own attitude towards it, if you want to have more of it.

This book could be particularly helpful for people who have mixed feelings about money – who feel that they want it, but that to want it is greedy; who think that people should in general be happy with less, despite wanting more themselves, and that society is too money obsessed, while at the same time always dwelling on their own lack of it. Rob makes it ok for selfless people to also want to be wealthy themselves. Our culture has got it wrong, thinking that the two must be mutually exclusive.

Rob is unequivocal – money can and does make people happy. It’s refreshing to read that kind of candour, for our society tends to either be self-castigating for wanting personal enrichment, or constantly aspiring and coveting the stuff that only money can buy.

He’s quite comfortable with paradox- the idea that it is possible, in fact desirable, to accept both your selfish and your selfless side and to keep them in balance, honouring both, is key to his theory of wealth. “If you are too greedy, you won’t sustain growth. Society will de-throne you. If you are too philanthropic, you will self-negate.” As a convert to this kind of enlightened capitalism, that’s a message that feels quite natural to me, even if, in our typically binary way of seeing people: “rich v poor”, “haves v have nots”, it takes a bit of getting used to.

Rob’s relentless energy and positivity comes off the pages – he is really passionate that everyone can be wealthy. It is perhaps a trait of the self-made to think that “if I can do it, anyone can”.  I’m an entrepreneur, so perhaps am more receptive to his message than someone on a fixed, not-quite-enough salary, who looks into the distance and sees only incremental rises in their income ahead. When you work for yourself, it’s easier to imagine large future increases in earnings occurring simply because you got a bit more assertive and positive about your abilities.

We can’t all be entrepreneurs, though, and Rob admits his message won’t be absorbed by everyone. But I’d be willing to bet that anyone reading it would re-assess and maybe change at least one thing that is holding back their own ability to manage their finances or create wealth, even if it is as small as the realisation that they haven’t been going for pay rises because they mistakenly believe they are pre-destined to be a have-not.

It’s a lively and inspiring read. It might not make you rich straight away, because really, what book ever would? But if you want to change your relationship with money – to see it in a more benign, empowering way, it’s definitely going to point you in the right direction.

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