Book Review – Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money by Rabbi Lapin

Most financial books are written by businessman and other people who either have educational or street credentials. Personally, I would rather read and learn from someone who has street credentials. These are the people who have applied their philosophies to succeed in their personal finances. The book, “Thou Shall Prosper: The Ten Commandments For Making Money”, was written by a Rabbi. Not just any Rabbi, but a Rabbi who has a successful business. He practices what he preaches.

This is one of the best books on personal finances I have read. Its practical lessons incorporates Jewish teachings and current topics to reinforce his lessons (or commandments) on making money. His perspective on using the Jewish faith to discuss about money is intriguing and effective. Unfortunately, in our present culture, money is looked upon negatively. Even though people pursue it everyday (by going to work or business), it is generally accepted to just have enough (e.g. scarcity) rather than a lot (e.g. prosperity).

The first commandment and principle is to believe in the dignity and morality of business. There is true dignity and morality when you do your business dealings properly and ethically. Most of the time you will hear from our media about the negative aspects and effects of business. You will hear about the fund manager who swindled his clients billions of dollars.

You will hear about the banker who cheated customers on millions of dollars. You will hear about a retail store overcharging (and under delivering) to their customers. It would seem that these are common and generally accepted business practices. This could not be further from the truth. As Rabbi Lapin demonstrates in his book, there is more dignity and morality displayed in a prospering business than an “efficient” government program.

There are nine more lessons or commandments that are helpful to become a prosperous person. These include about being generous with your charity, extend your network, know thyself (Socrates would love this lesson), know your money, and never retire (very important to practice). Most people are trained to work for several decades then retire. Retirement is a state of mind. When you are working and being productive, you will be prosperous. Just like exercise and proper diet, you want to continue to work and become prosperous. This will give you longevity in your life. Also, it will give you a quality style of life and life style.

This is an important book to read on your personal finances.