Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Train Your Brain to Get Rich (or not)

I’m a victim of marketing. The title of the book Train Your Brain to Get Rich by Aubele, Freeman, Hausner, and Reynolds caught my eye, but the title is misleading. The additional words on the cover, “the simple program that primes your gray cells for WEALTH, PROSPERITY, and FINANCIAL SECURITY,” just add to the misdirection. This book isn’t really about money.

As I read through the first quarter of the book, I kept waiting for the financial aspects to begin, but by the hundredth page I suspected that they never would begin, and as I finished the last page, my suspicion was confirmed.

This book is really about brain health and the benefits of such things as a positive attitude, meditating, exercise, sleep, and healthy eating. The superficial financial parts of the book could just as easily be replaced with “train your brain to play better tennis.”

The financial references actually seem as though as though they were added after the fact by a different writer. It’s as though someone took a completed book and added variants of “to get rich” and “your way to wealth” to all the chapter titles. The financial references inside the book are equally superficial.

There are many examples of this financial superficiality within the book, but I’ll give just one. A section that discusses the brain benefits of dreaming is titled “Dream Yourself Rich”. I would have preferred “Dream Yourself to Killer Abs”.

In an effort to say something positive, I found two things. In one section the authors recommend a focus on buying experiences rather than material things, which seems like very good advice. They also quoted studies showing that while caffeine boosts simple mental processes, it does not seem to help with creative pursuits or “thinking beyond the basics.”

Don’t get too positive about what you might learn, though. The reader is also treated to the following claim: “When you’ve identified an intention, focused on it, and made a clear, committed decision to act upon your intention, your mind will open up the universal floodgates, bringing all the resources you need, sometimes in seemingly mysterious or impossible ways.” Thanks for that.

I can imagine a whole series of books about different subjects: “train your brain to make people like you,” or “train your brain to find a girlfriend.” The great thing is that it would probably take only 15 minutes to replace the financial buzzwords to create each new book.

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