Book Review: “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” by T. Harv Ecker

Hey Folks,

Welcome back to part 3 of my “foundational books” review blog post series. I just made that name up right now, I feel pretty awesome about that. I should go back and edit my old blogs and make myself sound like a genius. Haha, no thanks. No covering up for me!

OK, onto the review. I’ll warn you outright; this book will try to get you to come to his weekend workshop. It also involves a lot of what I call “magical thinking” which probably won’t work for you and seems really hokey. However, if you can figure out what he’s trying to say the book is entirely gold.

First, the reason I think this book is pure gold is because it goes into the beliefs that we have about success and money. As you all know, from my other posts, that I am a big believer in changing your beliefs. This book gives you a huge swath of beliefs to choose from, to start digging into, and for me that is incredibly valuable. More often than not as I was reading this book I was thinking to myself “holy shit I actually believe that one.” Acknowledgement that you believe something is CRITICAL to changing it.

Ecker calls it the “money blueprint.” A set of beliefs that you have that all of your financial decisions stem from (including who to marry, what job to get, when to have kids, ON TOP OF all the stuff you buy). This is the bottom of your belief structure and while it might take you a long time to get there, once you start examining those beliefs you will come out on the other side transformed.

Yeah, I used the “t” word. I love that word! It’s awesome. For me, transformation is so much more important than simply “changing” or “fixing”. Changing and fixing approaches the problem as if it’s the actual problem. Transformation says “ok, what if the problem wasn’t in fact the problem, but something else was the problem?” It’s like trying to trim weeds by cutting the flowers. Eventually you know you have to try something different.

Ok, let’s get back to magical thinking. Simply stating out loud “I will be a millionaire someday” will not get you to be a millionaire someday. This is a lot of what Ecker says to do in his book. It might work for some, but for most it’s like trying to put whip cream on top of a plate of shit. You can’t heap nice things on top of shitty things and expect the shitty thing to be different. You have to get rid of the shit altogether. If you have one of the beliefs he talks about, such as “I just have to fix this next problem and I’ll finally make it!” then you will never make it no matter how much you say “I will make it!” You have to have a completely different attitude, something like “wow, this is a great opportunity” and THAT will be the way to make it.

I have to give Ecker credit though; doing this kind of belief work in a book is very challenging. It requires a lot of trust on the part of the person examining the belief and I only know how to do it in person after establishing a lot of trust. Coming up with a way to do it in a book is pretty awesome, even if it does come across as hokey and makes people who believe transformation is a cult leave bad reviews on Amazon.

When I finally make it as a coach (hahaha) I’m going to give all three of these books to every client of mine. They really form the trifecta of what I view are the three most important aspects of money; managing it, having a good attitude about it and having a long term goal with it. I’m really grateful for the authors (Ramit, Joe and Harv) having written these books and laid out such amazing groundwork for me to work from.

As always, please send me an email or leave me a comment here if you would like to discuss!

Book Review: Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin & Joe Dominguez

Hey Folks,

Thanks again for coming to read my blog. It really means a lot to me. Today I wanted to share with you a book that dramatically shaped how I think about money and the world. I have had a lot of trouble writing this post because I don’t want to just summarize the book because all of it is so dramatically important. Therefore, I’m just going to talk about my favorite parts and how they shaped my life and my coaching practice.

First, this book lays out a very clear argument about the direction we are headed as a consumer culture. Mind you it was written in 1992 (updated in 2008) so its awesome that people were thinking about it even back then. There is a very clear, finite amount of resources on the planet and at our current rate we are consuming more than our planet can regenerate. This is not a sustainable course of action and the solution the book presents is not a new solution, but it lays out practical advice for how to live simply and frugally.

If you take the lessons from the book, you will completely detach all status and value from money. You will live according to your needs and the needs of your community. Needing a bigger sports car or new furniture or a greener lawn will pale in comparison to the happiness that is generated from living a more authentic life.

The author doesn’t use the word “authentic” but I do. When you remove yourself from what society thinks you “should” do, suddenly you are left with a startling question: what do I actually want to do? What would make me happy? The “rat race” is a collective delusion; everyone thinks that since it’s what everyone else is doing, I should be doing it too. Nobody stops to check and see if we should actually be doing this. This book is a wake up call to get out of that race, live simply and give your gifts generously.

Now, maybe it’s because I live in an expensive city but the primary focus of the book didn’t hit home as feasible for me. The primary focus being “financial independence”, the point at which the money you make from your investments exceeds the amount you need to live. In SF, that number is astronomical. It did force me to think critically about this though: do I want to have to earn an astronomical salary each year in order to make ends meet? However, if I was living outside of SF, the number would be much more feasible.

The process of finding your “FI” number is actually backwards from what you think. In the book, they run you through exercises on “how little do you actually need to live?” Rather than “if I make more, I’ll finally be happy” they have the attitude of “if I just reduce my expenses, I’ll be happy.” Fancy that!

Once you have reduced your expenses to the bare minimum, you should be able to earn enough money on top of that to start putting away significant savings. If you are having trouble earning more money, read my blog post about “the education of millionaires” that will give you some good tips. Putting away significant savings, with the help of a good financial planner, should eventually allow you to reach what the authors call “the crossover point”. This is the point where the money you make on interest is higher than your monthly expenses. With the way the economy has been lately that might not seem so feasible, but if you are making enough money you should eventually be able to reach it!

There are a lot of other really important lessons in this book. For example, you will only make a certain amount of money in your lifetime. Therefore, every time you purchase something you are trading off something else. You cannot simply “make more money.” There is a finite amount. Think of it monthly: you cannot simply pay for something next month because you can’t afford it this month. You only have a finite amount of money that has to come from somewhere. It will either come out of your savings or from reducing expenses somewhere else. This has been an important lesson for my clients; the idea of having to make trade-offs is critical to achieving financial competency.

They also cover tracking and learning from your habits. This is another fundamental part of my practice; getting people set up on easy to use financial tracking software so that they learn exactly where their money is going. Then they can learn what their habits are and can actually say “ OK, if I want to afford that phone that’s $300, where is that money coming from? What exact spending will I cut out to afford that? Its two trips to the bar, three evenings out at a restaurant and one date night. Am I willing to make that compromise?” If so, make the transaction.

For the authors, financial independence comes from reducing your spend to the bare essentials. There is an exercise where you go through every piece of spending and determine if that spending is in line with your actual values. Given the cosmic scope of all your money in your entire lifetime; is spending so much on upgrading your phone each year really worth it? Probably not.

The last piece I want to talk about is the feeling of “enough”. As you might have noticed, having a low meaning of “enough” will take you MUCH further than constantly feeling like you have to earn more, or shop more, or have more, or do more in order to be happy. The authors spend a lot of time on this, helping you figure out “what is enough so that I have what I need?” A great exercise on this I learned from Tim Ferris, the Author of the 4 Hour Work Week. Ask me about it sometime, I’ll share it with you.

Ultimately, I just want people to be happy. I want people to stop worrying about money. For me, that means having simple systems that are easy to manage. It means earning enough to cover your expenses and put away some for savings. It means spending your time feeling an inner peace, a peace that comes through doing good things with friends and feeling love from your family. It means being able to buy things that seem useful and fun but not needing to buy anything if you don’t want too. This book has helped me greatly with that, and I am indebted to the authors. I highly recommend that you read it, or reply to this blog, or talk to me in person because this is a subject that I am highly passionate about and I would love to learn more from your perspective!

Book Review: I will teach you to be rich

The next three posts are going to be book reviews because I want to share with you guys some amazing money resources.

I learned a lot from this book. It covers the basics really well and I really credit it with filling in some gaps that I had in my own practices. Specifically I implemented new methods of handling my checking account, 401k and ROTH IRA.

Up until this point I had been self taught in terms of managing my money and there were things that I simply didn’t know. For example I used to leave all of my money in my checking account. Now, I move almost everything into a higher yield savings account and leave a certain amount in my checking. This forces me to pay attention to how much money is in my checking account before I make a large purchase. Do I need to move money from savings? If I do, do I really want to do that? These are important questions and helped me curb some behavior that wasn’t supporting my goals. Also, I now earn more just by having my money in the bank.

Additionally, I had not really paid attention to my 401k before reading this book. I had paid into it but I didn’t know much more than that. I know I’m supposed to be the expert, but I have my own money shit I need to handle! This was a great primer on how to think more comprehensively about your 401k. Compound interest is amazing and that’s why everyone recommends getting started with your 401k right away.

I had stopped contributing to my 401k because I was feeling the squeeze from cost of living increases (SF is expensive!) and I learned through this book (and some helpful advice from friends) that I just need to suck up the living increases and keep paying my 401k because I’m costing myself my retirement. I now need to pay more per month into my 401k than I used too so I could make up the difference and I’m diverting some of that money into a ROTH IRA based on the advice in this book as well.

This book provides good advice for which funds to put your money in but the specifics are going to be left up to your own personal choice. Additionally, since it’s a moving target I suggest talking to a professional to get the latest and greatest information.

This book also introduced me to the idea of a ROTH IRA. If you’re interested in starting one please see a licensed expert, but my general understanding of them improved greatly with this book. The bottom line is that you put money into them after taxes, so they grow over the year’s tax free. If you put $5000 a year into it for 30 years you will earn ~$30k in interest which you can take back out at retirement and not pay taxes on. You can only put so much in and you can only put money into them if you’re in certain income brackets, but it was a lifesaver for me especially since I was already contributing a lot to my 401k and I wanted to contribute more.

This book also gave me a handy calculation to figure out if my expenses are in line with the national average. 30% rent, 20% bills, 10% 401k, 10% savings, 30% fun. How are you doing on that? Some clients of mine are paying exorbitant amount in rent, almost 60%, and this really helped them reevaluate.

This book also has good advice on how to deal with your credit score. This is a tricky one, because it’s a lot of moving balls and a seemingly good step can cost you. For example, I wasn’t using a credit card so I cancelled it, thinking that it would be good for me. Turns out it wasn’t; it was my oldest credit card and my credit history went from 11 years down to 2 years. Oops, there goes the credit score. Lesson learned! A good website for this is, its free and it will let you check your credit scores and see the breakdown of what’s influencing it. Going into the mechanics of credit score will require a full blog post so I’ll just leave it up to Ramit to go into the details

What Ramit doesn’t cover, which I think is important, is keeping the habits going. Once you set it up, it’s not fire and forget. You will need continual maintenance. Are these systems working for me? In figuring out that question, you will get a deeper understanding of your money. Also, he doesn’t cover this in his book (but continues to discuss it more on his blog) is the emotion of money. How do you relate to money? What do you actually think about money? How does that influence you? This is the second half and arguably more important half of getting your money shit handled and its not covered in his book.

Bottom line, this book is a great primer on the facts of money. If you have been having any trouble with it up until now it’s not going to help you but if you find money easy and just need to fill in some gaps this book will do wonders. If you are having trouble, then you have a emotional story about money that’s making it difficult. For that emotional side, my next topic is going to be about “your money or your life”, a book by Joe Dominguez.



Hey folks, thanks for reading. Back in April I wrote the two preceding blog posts but since then my business has been booming so much I haven’t had a chance to post them. A little sunday evening break and here we go!

5 Ways to Kick Ass in Your Life: What I Learned from Michael Ellsberg

A lot can be learned from Michael all over the internet, but his book “The Education of Millionaires: It’s Not What You Think and It’s Not Too Late” is his primary manifesto.  You can find him at and you can find his writings in the NYT, Forbes, WSJ and on Amazon.

First off, wow talk about clicking into something that I have been thinking about for years. His attitudes on higher education, and the fact that we are making a $50k – $200k investment up front without any idea how we are going to eventually use that education to pay back that money, are very similar to mine.

His book made a real impact on me in relating to how much strain debt puts on people because I get how much Michael feels betrayed by society. Managing that debt and the fears around it are going to be a critical part of my coaching practice.

Full disclosure. Michael Ellsberg is my friend, which is how I got exposed to his work. I’ve known Michael for years, meeting him in 2007, but I had fallen out of touch with him since he moved to NYC and have lately just followed his career on the internet.  I paid full price for his book and only told him that I read it when I told him about this blog post (Hi Michael!).

These 5 steps are what I took from his book.

Step 1 of Kicking Ass: Find your Purpose

Purpose. It’s a word that gets thrown around all the time, but what does it mean? I finally figured it out when I found mine, “to be a stand for our happiness.” It led me directly to launching my coaching practice. It is the thing you do effortlessly and brings you an incredible amount of joy.

Michael argues that we are way too risk adverse and too conformist and to take a risk doing something big. Purpose is BIG and most people shy away from it for this reason. This is what I’m doing, to take a risk at something big, and I appreciate that Michael is helping people figure this out. It also made me realize that I was taking this part too lightly because I had already found my purpose. It’s incredibly important to find your purpose and think big and I am grateful to Michael for reminding me.

Michael believes, as do I, that everyone has as purpose and can manifest it in the world in a way that makes them fulfilled spiritually and worldly. He has some very helpful tips which I won’t spoil because people still have to be able to buy his book when I’m done with this post.

Step 2 of Kicking Ass: Get Inspiring Mentors

Mentors are incredible because they lead the way for you. When you’re on purpose, you often have no idea what you’re doing because your exploring unknown territory within yourself. Of course, I know what I’m doing when it comes to offering coaching but in terms of pushing my edges, getting out of my comfort zone, it’s amazing to have people showing you the way. Once you have found them, find a way to contribute to them that’s very valuable. Michael does this by offering his copywriting experience among other things. This practiced inspired this blog post because I realized that Michael are already on the path that I want to go on and it’s important for me to contribute to him. I hope he reads this post and get something out of it and I look forward to being more inspired by him in the future and contributing more to him in the future.

Step 3 of Kicking Ass: Know how to Sell & Get the Word Out About Your Purpose

Next up, getting the word out. You have found your gifts, found the people to light the way; it’s time to do it. However, there is a significant roadblock here. “Selling is dirty!” you say. “I hate being sold!” you say. Get over it. If you can’t fully enroll people in what you’re up too, nobody will care. Michael turned me onto “SPIN Selling”, which is how I have been talking to people about what I do and it’s nice to see other people believe in it as well. I’m not trying to sell, I’m trying to authentically understand my clients needs and if I have value to provide. If it’s a match, I provide it in a way that’s beneficial to us both.

The final nail in this “Selling is dirty” coffin should be this: By not getting your message out there, you are denying the world your gifts. If you can’t find the people who your gifts would help, and you can’t work with them to figure out that your gifts would benefit you both, then fix it.

I also appreciate how Michael provides a tremendous amount of value in this chapter by telling you exactly who he has learned from in these fields and enabling you to learn from them as well. I have about 20 new RSS feeds now and I am literally drowning in more information. When it comes to delivering extra value, this chapter fucking delivers, especially from a book I only paid $15 for. Thank you Michael!

Step 4 of Kicking Ass: Have a Unique Personal Brand

OK, now you’re on purpose, you have mentors, and you can get your word out and help people. The way to true rock stardom is your brand. A lot of people focus on their “career” by focusing on choosing the right companies to work for. This works incredibly well up to a point, but think about the rockstars in your industry. You know them by name, right? Focus on getting yourself out there, as you, and no boss can take away the power that you get from that. Whether you work for yourself or for large companies, being well known is the key to an amazing career.

I have to thank Michael a lot for this chapter. Specifically, you are reading this post on and not because of this chapter. After reading this chapter I immediately signed up for @brianmdriscoll on twitter & this blog. It echoed many other great thinkers about “personal brand” and pushed me over the edge into action.

Step 5 of Kicking Ass: Focus on Contribution, Not Entitlement

Michael calls this the “Entrepreneurial Mind Set.” I struggled with this because I desperately wanted to be in the “Entrepreneurial” mind set with my current job but I realized I was in the employee mindset. I was playing small, trying to protect the work that I was doing & only doing what was requested instead of looking for more work and trying to make my current work obsolete. I looked at the people who had been promoted in my company and saw that they did exactly what Michael was outlining. It was an important wakeup call and I need to be continually reminded of those things. Even running my own business, I need to focus on these things as they are habits I have acquired from my full time job.

However, his “focus on contribution” part was particularly intriguing because it’s actually a significant point and he could have spent a whole chapter on it instead of just a little bit here and there. This is where I get the energy to live my day, in contribution. This is why I give my gifts, because it is effortless for me and provides significant energy back to me.

I’ve been having a lot of discussion with my girlfriend about “excitement” and “joy” and other related words. What brings joy into the world? What makes you excited to wake up in the morning? For me, and for everyone I know who has discovered it, its contribution.

I have a lot to thank Michael for and I am deeply indebted to him for his work on this book. Thank you!

Again, I appreciate you being on this journey with me and I hope that this post has inspired you to take new action in your life. I’d love to hear about it at or as a comment on this post!

5 ways to Make a Rockstar Amount of Money: What I learned from Bill Baren

I took Bill Baren’s “Big Shift Experience”, which is an amazing weekend and I truly believe Bill when he says that his mission is to help small business add six figures a year in revenue. I walked in the front door of the hotel with the name of my practice, “help people get their money shit handled” but nothing else. Bill had helped me figure out that kickass name and it was solid gold so I figured if I got something equally valuable from the weekend I would be incredibly happy. I was mainly looking for details on what the right vehicle would be for the results I wanted to deliver. Wow, details, a plan and inspiration were delivered.


First off, full disclosure. I’ve known Bill for about a year, but just socially and never really knew what he did for work outside of being “a business coach.” When he invited me to his big seminar weekend I sent him an email asking him if it was right for me given the place I was in starting my business (essentially just a postcard with an idea written on it) and he said yes it was a good fit. I paid full price and he didn’t ask for this post, but I hope he reads it (Hi Bill!)


The workshop was back in March, and i’ve been sitting on this post as I get the rest of my blog sorted. My entire business has been a result from this weekend and I really appreciate it!


Rockstar Idea #1: Charge what your worth, and provide the value to back it up


The first major takeaway I had is how to be comfortable asking clients to pay me what I’m worth. Too often we have limiting beliefs about how much impact we can have in the world and first and foremost among those is how much value we can provide. The big idea is: if you had to charge $20,000 per year, what is the value you would provide such that after looking at it, your client goes “that’s a no brainer of course I’ll sign up.” This was very important to me because I kept thinking to myself “How could I ever charge more than $100 an hour?” By thinking the opposite way, “What value would I have to provide to charge $500 an hour?” I suddenly had the keys to the kingdom. I haven’t quite figured out what I could do to charge $500 an hour, much less $20,000 per year, but I’m getting there.


Rockstar Idea #2: Work  backwards from your goals to create a business plan


This is actually something I kinda knew for a while but it really crystallized here. By figuring out what end results you want (how many pounds, how many clients, how much money, whatever), the path becomes much clearer. If you need 10 clients, how many conversations do you need to have to get 10 clients? 100? What’s your plan to have 100 conversations? Reach 1000 people. How do you reach 1000 people? Etc, etc.


There are several ways to do each of these steps and he laid out several different ideas. I now have a 4 page document laying out exactly what my immediate next steps are, what my core offering is, what my big questions are, what business questions I have, what my business plan is and who my partners will be.


Rockstar Idea #3: Invest in your human capital first


Another important thing I got from Bill, which was also echoed in a significant way in Michael’s book, is investing in yourself. Investing in my own human capital is the significant way I’ll improve my business moving forward. I’m in a fortunate position that I have a day job, so my basic monthly money needs are met through that and I can afford to pay for sales classes or for 1 on 1 time with a marketing guru. This was a big shift for me because I had expected to do fun things with the revenue from my business, but I see now how important it is to invest in business skills. Therefore all the profit I make on my business for at least the next year will be put into improving my “human capital” as Michael puts it.


Rockstar Idea #4: Enrolling people in your vision is the key to success


Bill also showed me what the importance of enrolling is. “Enrolling” doesn’t mean the same thing that you and I think it is. It has nothing to do with signing up for classes in college. Enrolling, in Bill’s universe, is getting the listener to be inspired by your mission. After I got done listening to Bill’s big pitch for his ongoing coaching services (which cost way more than I’m in a position to pay right now) I was completely inspired by his desire to help me. I was also convinced about how he would help me, but that was a result of the entire weekend not just the big pitch moment. It showed me that an emotional connection at a human level, not just a quick “buy buy buy” message, was the key to really finding the people who you want to help and the people who want you to help them.


Bill’s weekend seminar was such a complete package that I’m doing it a disservice by only outlining these takeaways, but rather than just a review of the course I wanted to let you know what impact it had on me.


Again, I appreciate you being on this journey with me and I hope that this post has inspired you to take new action in your life. I’d love to hear about it at or as a comment on this post!


The Creative Age

I’ve been thinking a lot about college and how people learn lately. Specifically thinking about my friends who have $50k in college debt and are barely making it at a $10/hr job. I’ve got a lot more to say on this topic, but for now I’ll just link to this amazing post by Hugh Macleod.