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Book Report - Killing Sacred Cows
Old 09-20-2008, 04:21 PM   #1
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Book Report - Killing Sacred Cows

I just finished trying to read Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths That Are Destroying Your Prosperity by Garrett Gunderson. I say trying because I could not actually force myself to parse the entire book, so I ended up skimming a lot of it. IMHO it's a touchy feely, significantly less substantive version of Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

The point of the book is that saving and investing is a zero sum game, and very destructive to wealth for most people. Banks take your money and lend it out for more than they are paying you. High Risk = High Return is a dangerous myth, debt is not what you think it is, and the stock market is a pyramid scheme. He talks about the high number of "millionaires" he knows who are far less happy than other people he personally knows who have net worths in the double digits. He talks about the great 401(k) hoax, where people are misled into locking their assets into investments that will ultimately leave them unable to retire or enjoy life.

Instead, you must seek your Soul Purpose, that thing that you are uniquely destined to do, that you would do if you had no worries about finances or your future. This is accomplished by creating cash flow from owning rental property. However, he doesn't really come out and say that, he just alludes to it. He makes analogies such as a gallon bottle of water being potential wealth, versus a flowing faucet representing cash flow, continually cycled and replenished. There is a lot of Power of Positive Thinking, Follow Your Bliss talk.

Gunderson talks a lot about being a producer vs. a consumer, and how investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. He says that focusing on money will make your life miserable. For example, he knows an executive in a large tech company who made 6 figures, and who retired with $1.5M and a paid off $1M home. But he lived like a hermit because he was afraid to spend his principal. He would have been so much happier with a cash flow that he didn't have to worry about. However, there are never any details about how to make this happen. Just be creative and if it doesn't work out, well, you must have done something wrong.

There are some decent discussions of risk vs. reward, although presented in a very slanted way. But anything that makes you question accepted dogma is a good thing.

It's not that I am against creating cash flow, either through rental property ownership or any other method. I actually thought the advice of web selling to create cashflow as shown in The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris was pretty good, even if not for me. My biggest problems with Killing Sacred Cows are the complete absence of any factual or statistical backings for his statements, along with the tendency to repeat the same statements ad nauseum. The book could easily have been a 5 page pamphlet. I could have forgiven the rambling if there had been anything I could have used to make my life better, but there was nothing.

Well, not nothing. There was a single piece of hard advice in the book. Go to the author's website, buy his products and attend his seminars. Maybe that's where he's hiding the good stuff.
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Old 09-20-2008, 05:20 PM   #2
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Thanks for the warning. Scary that it has less info than Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
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Old 09-20-2008, 05:55 PM   #3
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That sounds like a terrible book!!!

You might want to keep it to read, in case you ever doubt your financial strategies. I'm sure it would persuade anyone that whatever they were doing was fine, by comparison.
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Old 09-20-2008, 10:21 PM   #4
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Um. I think I'll just stick with trying to create cash flow by trading.

I have one red paper clip I'll trade...
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Old 09-20-2008, 10:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Want2retire View Post
That sounds like a terrible book!!!

You might want to keep it to read, in case you ever doubt your financial strategies. I'm sure it would persuade anyone that whatever they were doing was fine, by comparison.
Not me. I checked it out of the library. I don't pay for books if I can help it. Unless I've read them and decide they are worth the investment to keep.
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Old 09-21-2008, 12:26 AM   #6
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Thanks, Harley, your review kept my attention all the way through. I check out three or four popular personal finance books a couple of times a year. I only read the parts that pertain to my situation so they go back into the library a couple of days later. The one you describe sounds typical. Zelinski, Ultimate Cheapskate, Clyatt, even Four Pillars are not in the card catalog so may buy and sell them at Amazon.

Umm, I want that red paper clip.
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Old 09-21-2008, 03:46 AM   #7
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It IS seductive, isn't it!!


One set of grandparents of mine lived by renting out 2-3 small inexpensive houses. There's something to the 'stream' idea, but it also requires ongoing work and maintenance, with occasional nightmare tenants or emergencies. Maybe once housing hits a bottom this will again become a reasonable option for folks to become FI.

Good review, albeit of a book I would never have picked up in the first place. Life is too short.. but thanks for your sacrifice on our behalf!
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