Thou Shall Prosper: Summary Review

This is a summary review of Thou Shall Prosper containing key details about the book.

What is Thou Shall Prosper About?

"Thou Shall Prosper" is a book that offers advice and insights on financial success, prosperity and wealth-building based on the teachings of the Torah and the principles of Judaism.

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There's no better source for both practical and spiritual financial wisdom than the time-tested knowledge found in the ancient Jewish faith and its culture. In the Second Edition of Thou Shall Prosper, Lapin offers a practical approach to creating wealth based on the established principles of ancient Jewish wisdom. This book details the ten permanent principles that never change, the ten commandments of making money if you will, and explores the economic and philosophic vision of business that has been part of Jewish culture for centuries.

Summary Points & Takeaways from Thou Shall Prosper

Some key summary points and takeaways from the book includes:

* "Thou shall pursue a beneficial calling" - emphasis on finding work that aligns with values and purpose.

* "Thou shall remain focused and disciplined" - importance of staying committed to financial goals.

* "Thou shall constantly upgrade thy skills" - need for continuous learning and self-improvement.

* "Thou shall develop thy good name" - building a strong reputation and establishing trust.

* "Thou shall keep thy word" - the value of honesty and integrity in business dealings.

* "Thou shall be kind and giving" - the rewards of generosity and helping others.

* "Thou shall avoid excessive debt" - the dangers of over-leveraging and managing finances wisely.

* "Thou shall not waste" - frugality and wise use of resources.

* "Thou shall protect thy family first" - prioritizing family needs and security.

* "Thou shall strive for win-win solutions" - seeking mutually beneficial outcomes in business dealings.

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* The book provides practical financial advice for individuals and business owners, drawing on the author's extensive business experience and deep understanding of Jewish traditions.

Who is the author of Thou Shall Prosper?

Daniel Lapin is an American Orthodox rabbi, author, and public speaker. He was previously the founding rabbi of the Pacific Jewish Center in Venice, California, and the former head of Toward Tradition, the Commonwealth Loan Company and the Cascadia Business Institute.

Thou Shall Prosper Summary Notes

The Truth About Jewish Success in Business

Despite what many people believe, the reason behind Jewish success in business is not due to some innate “money gene,” superior intelligence, or participation in a secret society. Rather, it is primarily due to a strong emphasis on education that is deeply ingrained in Jewish culture.

Jewish homes are often filled with books, and education is a central aspect of Jewish life. This emphasis on learning has resulted in high literacy rates among Jews and a disproportionately large number of books published every year concerning Jewish themes. In addition to the Torah’s teachings, there are also oral traditions that continue to be passed down from generation to generation, emphasizing the importance of hard work and sacrifice for future benefits.

Contrary to negative stereotypes, Jewish law specifically calls for honesty and fair dealings in business. Any instances of cheating would be seen as a direct offense against God. Moreover, Jews have faced numerous periods of persecution throughout history, and being wealthy did not guarantee survival. Therefore, the idea of a “money gene” is baseless.

Jews have been successful in business because of their education, work ethic, and dedication to their craft. This success is not unique to Jews, and anyone can achieve it with the right mindset and approach. By emphasizing education and hard work, individuals can increase their chances of success in any field.

Jewish tradition upholds business as a morally upright and noble pursuit

Jewish tradition has been stereotyped for many things, and among them is being associated with money, business, and banking. In many instances, Jewish people have been accused of engaging in such endeavors through unfair means, cheating, or greed. However, this stereotype is based on misconceptions that are far from the truth. Jewish tradition emphasizes the importance of education and applying moral principles to all aspects of life, including business and finance. This means that Jewish people consider business as a morally upright and noble pursuit that has the power to create job opportunities, generate wealth, and contribute to charitable causes.

Jewish wisdom teaches that for a business venture to be successful, it must be approved by the community. This endorsement provides the passion and drive behind the endeavor. Furthermore, Jews are urged to be virtuous and ethical when conducting business. This is because honesty and ethics are viewed as essential ingredients for success, and Jews believe that their reputation for integrity is paramount.

Contrary to popular belief, Jews did not join the banking profession to escape oppression. Instead, lending money was seen as a charitable act that enabled people to start their businesses while maintaining their independence and dignity. In Jewish tradition, lending money is considered more charitable than giving money away because it allows the borrower to take responsibility for their own success.

The idea of atonement, or being “at one” with God, is also an important part of Judaism. By atoning for one's wrongdoings, one can learn from their mistakes and diminish the temptation to repeat them. Through this process, one can reset their moral compass and continue to conduct business in an ethical and moral way.

Building Successful Business Relationships with Jewish Customs

Thou Shall Prosper emphasizes the importance of building strong and genuine relationships in business, which can be achieved by following Jewish customs. In traditional Jewish workplaces, coworkers are treated like family, creating a friendly and supportive environment that fosters success. Additionally, personal relationships outside of work can also lead to business opportunities, as demonstrated by the founding of publishing giant Simon and Schuster.

Jewish customs also provide a helpful network of connections, as traditional Jewish prayer requires a quorum of ten men called a minyan. Joining a minyan during travel can provide opportunities to form new relationships, with the network always growing and evolving.

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Furthermore, Mussar, a body of ancient Jewish literature, teaches about self-change, allowing individuals to better understand themselves and how others perceive them. By understanding themselves more clearly, individuals can change who they truly are, improving their relationships on a deeper, even spiritual level.

The Imperfection of Business According to Jewish Tradition

In the world of business, perfection is an unattainable goal. However, the Jewish tradition of ethical capitalism reminds us that while business may not be perfect, it doesn't have to be evil. This idea highlights the fact that people learn the ways of business from others, and that this can lead to corruption. Therefore, it's important to hold individuals accountable for their actions rather than blaming the system itself.

The steel magnate Andrew Carnegie and the railroad tycoon George Pullman are two examples of individuals who contributed to society at a great cost to others. Carnegie is considered a robber baron of the 19th century, and Pullman exploited his workers by charging them higher rates for housing and food. However, Jewish tradition offers a different perspective by emphasizing the need to provide for oneself before helping others, and by seeing business as a source of growth and inventiveness that emulates God's creativity.

Jewish teachings also highlight the fact that most actions in business have both good and bad effects. However, by striving to be moral in business practices, individuals can work towards making the system more just and fair. It's important to remember that business is not responsible for creating inequality; rather, it's the government's responsibility to ensure a just redistribution of wealth.

Key Traits of Effective Leaders, According to Jewish Tradition

What qualities do great leaders possess? According to Jewish tradition, they share several key traits that have helped them succeed throughout history. These traits include the ability to follow, the ability to set and communicate a vision, the willingness to confront when necessary, the use of faith, and a respectful presence.

Effective leaders understand that they must first be able to follow before they can lead. Even Moses, considered one of the greatest leaders in history, had a mentor in God. Leaders also have a clear vision and are persuasive in sharing it with others. For example, God’s vision was the creation of the world, and his goal was the establishment of the Sabbath.

Leaders are not afraid to confront challenges and difficult situations, but they also understand the importance of compromise when necessary. A story from Jewish tradition tells of Judah compromising with his brothers instead of confronting them, which ultimately cost him his role as leader. Leaders also rely on the power of faith, whether it be through prayer or instilling faith in oneself and others to achieve goals.

Finally, great leaders carry themselves with a respectful presence. They earn the respect of others through their regal posture and careful movements, much like the lion is regarded as the “King of Beasts.” It’s important to note that there is no single definition of a leader, and they fill many roles depending on the circumstances.

Embracing Change While Staying Rooted

Change can be daunting and uncomfortable, but it is a necessary part of growth and progress. In Judaism, change is viewed as an inevitable aspect of life and an opportunity for personal and professional development. Success comes to those who embrace change, but who also stay rooted to their core values and beliefs. This is represented in the Star of David, where one triangle represents the fixed entities of God, humans, and the physical world, and the other triangle represents openness to change.

Jewish tradition also teaches that change is easier to accept when it is gradual, as seen in events that honor marriage or death over several days. In the same way, successful businesses stay connected to their core values and mission statements while remaining open to other opportunities. Disney is a prime example of a company that does this well, maintaining its commitment to wholesome family entertainment while also branching out into more adult-oriented fare.

However, it is important to ensure that your roots are firmly planted in your company's values and mission statement rather than external factors such as capital from investors. The cautionary tale of a successful family of jewelers who moved their business to take advantage of the dot-com boom serves as a reminder of the importance of staying true to your roots. When the economy tanked, the family returned to their roots in Montreal, and their success returned with them.

Learning to forecast the future of your business

Uncertainty about the future is a common fear among people, but making accurate predictions about it is not as difficult as it seems. According to the Talmud, being wise means being able to analyze today's events and understand their future consequences. To do so effectively, you must remove your ego and ambition from the equation. For example, Neville Chamberlain's ego prevented him from accurately perceiving Hitler, while Winston Churchill had a clear sight. Accurately forecasting the future involves understanding the factors and trends that directly influence your business, rather than becoming an expert in every trend in the world. For instance, staying informed about regulations that may change how people use the internet if you work for a tech company or paying attention to trade regulations if you work in the auto industry. Careful interpretation of both the present and the past also contributes to making accurate predictions about the future. Steady and stable economies tend to remain that way unless an outside force brings change. Furthermore, keeping an eye on patterns and trends, especially in fashion, can help predict what will sell in the coming year.

Giving and Receiving Money: Understanding the Role of Wealth in Our Lives

Money is an integral part of our lives, and the Talmudic teachings on wealth shed light on how we should approach it. The Talmud emphasizes that everything we possess can be quantified in terms of money, and therefore, money is a part of who we are. It serves as a symbol of reputation and can create a bond of trust. Money naturally moves between people, and using it for charitable purposes can spark the creation of even more wealth.

Giving money to charity is considered more spiritually beneficial to the giver than the receiver. It's the right thing to do and has many practical benefits as well. Giving money away can increase your income as it creates a reputation as a giver, and people want to be involved with charitable causes. However, it's essential to give mainly because it's the moral thing to do, not for personal gain.

Therefore, we must have a healthier relationship with money and recognize its role in our lives. Instead of clinging to every penny, we should be willing to give it away and use it for good causes. Giving money away can also help us gain a better understanding of our relationship with wealth, as it teaches us to be generous and compassionate towards others.

Why Retirement Might Not Be the Best Option

Retirement is often viewed as the ultimate goal of working life. However, Rabbi Lapin challenges this notion and argues that it is not a necessary or even desirable option for many. He asserts that retirement can limit one's potential and stop providing value to society. Instead, one should view life and business as a journey, not a destination, and remain active and productive in their later years.

Jewish tradition teaches that work has value for both the worker and society, and it gives them dignity and transforms the world around them. Moreover, one's productivity is not necessarily limited with age. In fact, people can become more productive as they continue to grow their network of contacts and generate wealth. Additionally, the idea that people are meant to be consumers, not creators, is a lie. Spirituality and creating wealth can go hand in hand, and as we get older, our connection to our spiritual selves only deepens.

Harland Sanders, the founder of KFC, is a perfect example of someone who remained active and productive in his later years. He began his empire at the age of 65 when he was virtually penniless, and he continued working for the next 15 years. Rabbi Lapin encourages readers to follow Sanders' example and not fixate on retirement, which can give a distorted view of life and cause people to slow down before they even get there.

Book Details

  • Print length: 362 pages
  • Genre: Business, Finance, Nonfiction

Thou Shall Prosper Chapters

Chapter 1 :The First Commandment: Believe in the Dignity and Morality of Business
Chapter 2:The Second Commandment: Extend the Network of Your Connectedness to Many People
Chapter 3:The Third Commandment: Get to Know Yourself
Chapter 4:The Fourth Commandment: Do Not Pursue Perfection
Chapter 5:The Fifth Commandment: Lead Consistently and Constantly
Chapter 6:The Sixth Commandment: Constantly Change the Changeable While Steadfastly Clinging to the Unchangeable
Chapter 7:The Seventh Commandment: Learn to Foretell the Future
Chapter 8:The Eighth Commandment: Know Your Money
Chapter 9:The Ninth Commandment: Act Rich: Give Away 10 Percent of Your After-Tax Income
Chapter 10:The Tenth Commandment: Never Retire

What is a good quote from Thou Shall Prosper?

Top Quote: “You dramatically increase your value to others if you always maintain a calm and pleasant manner.” - Thou Shall Prosper Quotes, Daniel Lapin

What do critics say?

Here's what one of the prominent reviewers had to say about the book: "Combining pop psychology, snippet of Jewish lore, homespun homilies and quotations from a daunting variety of sources, Lapin offers a manual on how to make money by succeeding in business." — Publishers Weekly

* The editor of this summary review made every effort to maintain information accuracy, including any published quotes, chapters, or takeaways. If you want to enhance your personal growth, I recommend checking out my list of favorite personal growth books. These books have played a significant role in my life, and each one includes a summary and takeaways to help you apply the concepts.

Reading is Smart. Applying is Smarter:  Apply

Chief Editor

Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.

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