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Book Review: The Richest Man Who Ever Lived by Steven K. Scott

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Review: The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: King Solomon's Secrets to Success, Wealth, and Happiness

Each year hundreds of books hit the market designed to help you achieve greater success, get richer, and find happiness. You would think by now there?d be nothing new to add ? that all possible wisdom on these subjects had been recorded long ago for anyone willing to learn it and practice it.

Author Steven K. Scott would probably tell you that all the wisdom has already been recorded, and can be found in a handy old book you may have heard of (although not necessarily digested cover to cover): the Bible. Using the Proverbs of King Solomon, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived offers a new guide to wealth and success based on wisdom that?s not so new. In fact, it?s downright ancient.

Scott begins by relating that, 30 years earlier, psychologist Dr. Gary Smalley challenged him to read a Proverb each night to see if it might improve his success in life. Millions of dollars later (much of it made by writing and producing direct-market infomercials), Scott is a believer, and maintains that keeping to Solomon?s edicts is the road to riches, while straying from Solomon?s words will bring you poor results, if not leading to your ultimate demise (as straying eventually did to Solomon).

While the book?s title suggests specific wealth-building tools, you?ll have to look elsewhere for those. In Scott?s interpretation of Solomon?s teaching, wealth (as well as other markers of success and happiness) is a byproduct of action and attitude. What the book offers are the do?s and dont?s in deciding on actions to take and attitudes to cultivate.

In this way, The Richest Man isn?t much different than other personal success books. Create a vision, make a plan, work the plan, and try to avoid pitfalls that commonly trip us up on our way to a better life. Nevertheless, there are a few pointers that jump out. Scott strongly emphasizes partnering, whether it's an informal mentor-mentee partnership or a real business partnership, in order to gain wisdom and perspectives no one person can have, and also have someone to help shoulder the risk. He also stresses the need for diligence, to overcome adversity or just plain laziness by consistently plowing ahead -? it appears Solomon was already saying ?Just Do It? many centuries ago.

A quibble with The Richest Man Who Ever Lived? Sometimes Scott loses his point, or squeezes the point to fit some words of Solomon, even when it?s not particularly appropriate. A couple examples: In discussing partnering, Scott uses this heading to describe one of the consequences of choosing not to seek help: ?You Will Experience Financial Loss and Personal Humiliation.? (Yikes.) Almost as ominous is the heading ?You Will Fall? in which Scott brings up the death of Dr. Robert Atkins (of the Atkins Diet), who died after slipping and falling on ice. Not sure of the connection ? is Scott saying Atkins would still be around if he?d sought a helping hand to get down those stairs? That?s about all I can come up with to explain this tidbit?s appearance in the book.

All in all, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived delivers a solid guide for getting on the path to success. You may not find a ton of new ideas here (and how could you, they?re thousands of years old), but if you need a kick in the pants to get you on the right track, you could do a lot worse.

Published 09/07/10 (Modified 12/09/10)

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