The moment I read the title of this book I knew it was going to be interesting. It may have been normal at the time it was written, but now it just sounds funny.
I found this book while scrolling through the Standard eBooks website. All the books on this site are free.
It was written in the late 1800’s by P. T. Barnum, as you see in the quote below.
A few years ago, before kerosene oil was discovered or thought of, one might stop overnight at almost any farmer’s house in the agricultural districts and get a very good supper, but after supper he might attempt to read in the sitting-room, and would find it impossible with the inefficient light of one candle.
from The Art of Money Getting by P. T. Barnum
Barnum was a very interesting fellow and quite the showman. Of all the things I have heard of him I did not see anything in this book that promoted this.
It was fun trying to decipher what some phrases meant, but the information was extremely valuable.
He begins with personal income and spending less than you earn. He really touches on not trying to impress others or keeping up with the Joneses.
“it is the eyes of others and not our own eyes which ruin us. If all the world were blind except myself I should not care for fine clothes or furniture.”
This is just as useful today as is was then. First and foremost we must spend less than we earn. In addition to this we must avoid getting caught up trying to impress others. He speaks of avoiding debt and living modestly.
He then goes on to give advice on finding a career path and setting up your future.
From there he transitions to the qualities one must need to be successful. Again, I must emphasize the timelessness of this information. P. T. Barnum was a very successful man of his time. The same qualities needed then are the same needed today.
He takes the career path to the successful qualities then moves to creating a business for oneself. He spoke a lot of being honest and developing trust. This is ironic to hear from him since he is known for his unbelievable claims he made with the Barnum and Bailey circus.
After reading much of the current books on finance, I find the older books have the same information. There is not much that has changed over time. It’s always wise to spend less than you earn, avoid debt, work hard, invest wisely, and learn something new everyday.
Barnum speaks directly and does not add any fluff to add more pages to the book. He will use a few paragraphs get the idea across instead of pages of repetitive information. The simple way he explains things reminds me of The Richest Man in Babylon.
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