If you enjoy books that are full of wisdom, and brilliant insights then you will love Thou Shalt Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money by Rabbi Daniel Lapin. This book provides solid, ethical principles that guide the reader in understanding how prosperity is a blessing from God, that there is great value in hard work and how the generation of wealth is a natural by-product of approaching business from a servant’s perspective.
Rabbi Lapin points out there is a disproportionate amount of Jews among the world’s most successful business leaders and makes the emphatic point that it’s not by accident, or some other genetic indicator, but by creating a culture that believes in the inherent value of ethical capitalism that is reinforced generation after generation that is responsible. This is an incredibly compelling book rich in detail and robust in content. Rabbi Lapin shows how traditional Jewish culture and values reinforce and breed a belief that business is not only moral but that the fair exchange of goods and services make the world a better place leaving both the seller and the buyer better off than prior to the transaction
It will become more apparent as you go through the book, but it seems in traditional Jewish culture they are taught the value of work and money at a very young age and it’s reinforced throughout their lives. This belief in the inherent value and morality of work and wealth creation is reinforced also in the Hebrew bible (Old Testament). Just a glance at many heroes of the OT will show that they were richly blessed with material wealth in addition to their spiritual wealth – Abraham, Moses, David amongst others.
Lapin talks about wealth being a natural by-product of serving. When one has created a product and/or service that results in making the lives of both parties better, it’s a natural thing that such an enterprise would grow to be more available to make more lives better.
He talks about the value of relationships, how essential they are to success in life and says that you need to find opportunities to make friends. I really love his description of Jewish communal life and starting each day at a synagogue for a morning service. Talk about living your faith! But just as important it’s part of the culture of being connected to others – and getting connected to others.
Think about those that you’ve felt most comfortable around – what was it about them? How can you emulate that in your own life? Lapin’s story of Aron Leifer is a great one.”He’s very comfortable dealing with everyone.” Rabbi Lapin speaking at a meeting of Dan Miller’s Eagle’s Group was inundated with questions and and he said one question he gets frequently is this: Does God want us to be rich? Lapin says, God wants us to be obsessively preoccupied with the needs of others.
That last statement is really what this book is about at its core – building a culture of meeting needs of others. That’s why businesses are successful. Of course there are the bad ones who stain the reputation of business as a whole, but they’re the exception and not the rule.
I can’t recommend this one enough. Buy it, read it and study it. Your eyes will be opened and I think you’ll be refreshingly surprised at how God views money and finances.