The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles

Summary

  1. “There is a Science of getting rich, and it is an exact science, like algebra or arithmetic. There are certain laws, which govern the process of acquiring riches; once these laws are learned and obeyed by any man, he will get rich with mathematical certainty.”

Key Takeaways

  1. Fundamental Propositions
    1. There is a thinking stuff from which all things are made, and which, in its original state, permeates, penetrates, and fills the interspaces of the universe. A thought, in this substance, produces the thing that is imaged by the thought. We must grasp the truth that every thought held in this substance becomes a form, and that man can so impress his thoughts upon it as to cause them to take form and become visible things. When we realize this, we lose all doubt and fear, for we know that we can create what we want to create; we can get what we want to have, and can become what we want to be. Man can form things in his thought, and, by impressing his thought upon formless substance, can cause the thing he thinks about to be created.
    2. Thought is the creative power, or the impelling force which causes the creative power to act; thinking in a Certain Way will bring riches to you, but you must not rely upon thought alone, paying no attention to personal action. That is the rock upon which many otherwise scientific metaphysical thinkers meet shipwreck—the failure to connect thought with personal action.
    3. Your personal activity must be such that you can rightly receive what you want when it reaches you.
    4. If you act in the present with your mind on the future, your present action will be with a divided mind, and will not be effective. Put your whole mind into present action… You must use your thought as directed in previous chapters, and begin to do what you can do where you are; and you must do all that you can do where you are. You can advance only be being larger than your present place; and no man is larger than his present place who leaves undone any of the work pertaining to that place. The world is advanced only by those who more than fill their present places.
    5. It is really not the number of things you do, but the efficiency of each separate action that counts. Every act is, in itself, either a success or a failure. Every act is, in itself, either effective or inefficient. Every inefficient act is a failure, and if you spend your life in doing inefficient acts, your whole life will be a failure. The more things you do, the worse for you, if all your acts are inefficient ones. On the other hand, every efficient act is a success in itself, and if every act of your life is an efficient one, your whole life must be a success.
    6. Remember that successful action is cumulative in its results. Since the desire for more life is inherent in all things, when a man begins to move toward larger life more things attach themselves to him, and the influence of his desire is multiplied.
      1. Compounding your efforts, learning
    7. You will get rich most easily in point of effort, if you do that for which you are best fitted; but you will get rich most satisfactorily if you do that which you want to do.
  2. Helping Self and Helping Others
    1. An ounce of doing things is worth a pound of theorizing. The very best thing you can do for the whole world is to make the most of yourself.
    2. To become really rich is the noblest aim you can have in life, for it includes everything else.
    3. There is nothing wrong in wanting to get rich. The desire for riches is really the desire for a richer, fuller, and more abundant life; and that desire is praiseworthy. The man who does not desire to live more abundantly is abnormal, and so the man who does not desire to have money enough to buy all he wants is abnormal.
    4. A man’s highest happiness is found in the bestowal of benefits on those he loves; love finds its most natural and spontaneous expression in giving.
    5. To set about getting rich in a scientific way, you do not try to apply your will power to anything outside of yourself. You have no right to do so, anyway. It is wrong to apply your will to other men and women, in order to get them to do what you wish done.
    6. To get rich, you need only to use your will power upon yourself. When you know what to think and do, then you must use your will to compel yourself to think and do the right things. That is the legitimate use of the will in getting what you want—to use it in holding yourself to the right course. Use your will to keep yourself thinking and acting in the Certain Way.
  3. Creating vs. Competing (Positive vs. Zero-Sum)
    1. Every person naturally wants to become all that they are capable of becoming; this desire to realize innate possibilities is inherent in human nature; we cannot help wanting to be all that we can be.
    2. No one is kept in poverty by a shortness in the supply of riches; there is more than enough for all.
    3. You must get rid of the thought of competition. You are to create, not to compete for what is already created. You do not have to take anything away from any one. You do not have to drive sharp bargains. You do not have to cheat, or to take advantage. You do not need to let any man work for you for less than he earns.
    4. You are to become a creator, not a competitor; you are going to get what you want, but in such a way that when you get it every other man will have more than he has now.
    5. Riches secured on the competitive plane are never satisfactory and permanent; they are yours today, and another’s tomorrow. Remember, if you are to become rich in a scientific and certain way, you must rise entirely out of the competitive thought. You must never think for a moment that the supply is limited. Just as soon as you begin to think that all the money is being “cornered” and controlled by bankers and others, and that you must exert yourself to get laws passed to stop this process, and so on; in that moment you drop into the competitive mind, and your power to cause creation is gone for the time being; and what is worse, you will probably arrest the creative movements you have already instituted.
    6. What he wants is that you should make the most of yourself, for yourself, and for others; and you can help others more by making the most of yourself than in any other way.
    7. When you rise from the competitive to the creative plane, you can scan your business transactions very strictly, and if you are selling any man anything which does not add more to his life than the thing he gave you in exchange, you can afford to stop it. You do not have to beat anybody in business. And if you are in a business which does beat people, get out of it at once. Give every man more in use value than you take from him in cash value; then you are adding to the life of the world by every business transaction.
    8. Look out for the temptation to seek for authority, to become a “master,” to be considered as one who is above the common herd, to impress others by lavish display, and so on. The mind that seeks for mastery over others is the competitive mind; and the competitive mind is not the creative one. In order to master your environment and your destiny, it is not at all necessary that you should rule over your fellow men and indeed, when you fall into the world’s struggle for the high places, you begin to be conquered by fate and environment, and your getting rich becomes a matter of chance and speculation.
    9. The universe desires you to have everything you want to have. Nature is friendly to your plans. Everything is naturally for you. Make up your mind that this is true. It is essential, however that your purpose should harmonize with the purpose that is in all. You must want real life, not mere pleasure of sensual gratification. Life is the performance of function; and the individual really lives only when he performs every function, physical, mental, and spiritual, of which he is capable, without excess in any.
    10. Every man who becomes rich by competition throws down behind him the ladder by which he rises, and keeps others down; but every man who gets rich by creation opens a way for thousands to follow him, and inspires them to do so. You are not showing hardness of heart or an unfeeling disposition when you refuse to pity poverty, see poverty, read about poverty, or think or talk about it, or to listen to those who do talk about it. Use your will power to keep your mind OFF the subject of poverty, and to keep it fixed with faith and purpose ON the vision of what you want.
    11. It is not your part to guide or supervise the creative process; all you have to do with that is to retain your vision, stick to your purpose, and maintain your faith and gratitude. But you must act in a Certain Way, so that you can appropriate what is yours when it comes to you; so that you can meet the things you have in your picture, and put them in their proper places as they arrive.
    12. There is never any hurry on the creative plane; and there is no lack of opportunity. When you get out of the competitive mind you will understand that you never need to act hastily. No one else is going to beat you to the thing you want to do; there is enough for all. If one space is taken, another and a better one will be opened for you a little farther on; there is plenty of time. When you are in doubt, wait. Fall back on the contemplation of your vision, and increase your faith and purpose; and by all means, in times of doubt and indecision, cultivate gratitude…As you go on in the Certain Way, opportunities will come to you in increasing number; and you will need to be very steady in your faith and purpose, and to keep in close touch with the All Mind by reverent gratitude. Do all that you can do in a perfect manner every day, but do it without haste, worry, or fear. Go as fast as you can, but never hurry. Remember that in the moment you begin to hurry you cease to be a creator and become a competitor; you drop back upon the old plane again. Whenever you find yourself hurrying, call a halt; fix your attention on the mental image of the thing you want, and begin to give thanks that you are getting it. The exercise of gratitude will never fail to strengthen your faith and renew your purpose.
  4. Focusing on What You Want vs. What You Don’t Want
    1. If you want to become rich, you must not make a study of poverty. Things are not brought into being by thinking about their opposites. Health is never to be attained by studying disease and thinking about disease; righteousness is not to be promoted by studying sin and thinking about sin; and no one ever got rich by studying poverty and thinking about poverty.
    2. To think health when surrounded by the appearances of disease, or to think riches when in the midst of appearances of poverty, requires power; but he who acquires this power becomes a master mind. He can conquer fate; he can have what he wants.
  5. Other
    1. The reader who would dig to the philosophical foundations of this is advised to read Hegel and Emerson for himself.
    2. Do not boast or brag of your success, or talk about it unnecessarily; true faith is never boastful. Wherever you find a boastful person, you find one who is secretly doubtful and afraid.
    3. You must so impress others that they will feel that in associating with you they will get increase for themselves. See that you give them a use value greater than the cash value you are taking from them. Take an honest pride in doing this, and let everybody know it; and you will have no lack of customers. People will go where they are given increase

What I got out of it

  1. A precursor to The Secret and “The Law of Attraction.” I don’t think there’s anything too woowoo about it. Simply be very clear about what you want, stay focused on it, think about it, act on it, and you can’t help but make your way towards it, making the most of opportunities, moving from a competition to creation mindset, and situations as they arise so that you move towards what you want. This book almost turned me off a bit with how materialistic it was. Yes, you can best help yourself and others when basic needs are taken care of but this came off too much like a gospel for wealth.