Vol.XIX No.V Pg.8
July 1982

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

A friend of mine, with the best of intentions, offered me a book entitled "How To Get Rich" (or words to that effect). I thanked him, but told him I really wasn't interested in being rich, and maybe he should give the book to someone else.

He ridiculed my statement, saying, "Everyone wants to be rich. You are just conditioned by the Protestant Ethic to reject riches and extol hard work as a virtue." I told him I did not like work particularly, but really did not want riches either. When he continued to insist, I told him I already knew the contents of the book even though I had never read it.

He challenged me on that one, so I tried to produce. "The first chapter probably tells us we have far greater potential than we suspect — may even fail to prosper because we believe we are going to fail. We must believe in ourselves, in order to tap this great unrealized strength. Right?" He says, "So, what's wrong with that?"

"The second chapter probably deals with goals — the importance of having specific ultimate aims — so that each transaction or facet of our life can become a contributing factor to the desired achievement. How am I doing?"

My friend allows that is not bad — in a general sort of way — "but isn't that good advice?? And in later chapters he shows you how to save, invest wisely, and build, step by step, to your goal. It sounds good to me!"

And it sounded good to me, also. The self-confidence, positive thinking, goal setting, and coordination of total effort advocated in the book will work wonders in a man's life. But that was not my objection. This book advocated such all-out effort in the pursuit of bigger barns; and a better book tells me that when the bigger barns are built and filled, my soul can take flight and leave them. I don't want to be rich because it costs too much. I want to go to heaven, and I know I cannot have two ultimate aims, one temporal and one eternal, and give priority to both.

He gave me the book anyhow; and I gave it to a fellow who wanted to be rich, traded the book for a bottle, and thought he reached his goal.