Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Book Review: The Millionaire Mind

Recently, I read the book, The Millionaire Mind, by Dr. Thomas Stanley, who also wrote the book, The Millionaire Next Door.

The book is the result of his studies of many people with millions in net worth. Their habits. How they got rich.  And for those who want to market to them, their buying patterns.

Sample Size:

Dr. Stanley makes a distinction between millionaires, and deca-millionaires. When the book was published in 2000, the average household net worth over all the respondents was 9.2 million. The average annual household income of the respondents was $749,000.

Top Success Factors For Millionaires:

What did millionaires attribute to their success? 

Ranked, according to the percentage responding Very Important. The percent are those reporting the quality as being either Important or Very Important. 

1: Being honest with all people         95%  
1: Being well disciplined           95%   
        (tied with Being Honest) 
3: Getting along with people 94%
4: Having a supportive spouse 81%
5: Working harder than most people  88%
6: Loving my career/business 86%
7: Having strong leadership qualities: 84%
8: Having very competitive spirit 81%
9: Being very well organized: 85%
10: Having an ability to sell my ideas: 82%
10: Making wise investments 76%

Superior Social Skills Over Superior Intellect:

What factors did these true millionaires attribute to their success? Most all put a major emphasis on social skills, rather than on superior intellect. 

Ranked in the number one position, was " Being honest with all people", tied with "being well disciplined" at 95%.  

Next, was "getting along with people" at 94%. 

By contrast, only 20 percent ranked "having a high intellect" as very important, which ranked 21st.  

However, 90% of the millionaires had college degrees, and 52% had advanced degrees. 


Making Character Judgements:

Most millionaires are a very good judge of character.

They will say that one of the most important things they learned in university was to make accurate judgements about people.

This judgement is very evident in their choice of a spouse.


Three kinds of Intelligence: Analytical, Creative, and Practical:

The book references the work by Robert Sternberg, Successful Intelligence. There are three kinds of Intelligence: Analytical, Creative, and Practical.

Unfortunately, the school and university systems are only geared toward analytical intelligence.  But to become rich, this is clearly not enough. Many PhDs are not rich. Not only that, he notes cases of some scholars that broke the law, and went to jail. Not the smartest thing to do.

As they say, you can't legislate common sense.


How Did Millionaires Choose Their Vocation?

Most millionaires have a great intuitive ability to see and understand a great business opportunity. 46% of all the millionaire business owners, and 39% of all the millionaires indicated that intuition was an important discovery factor. 39% also studied the profitability of their business.

Only 14% found their vocation through a standardized aptitude test.
Less than 6% found it via the college placement office.
Only 3 percent were led to their vocation by a headhunter or a career counselor.
Only 2% discovered their business idea at an opportunity or franchise fair.

81% of millionaires felt that their vocation allowed them to make full use of their aptitudes and abilities.



Most first generation millionaires are the products of loving, caring, and well adjusted parents who were rarely in the divorce court. Most of the parents' marriages lasted the full term. Their parents were not abusive and the home was not a pressure cooker environment.


The Spouses Of Millionaires:

Millionaires have an uncanny ability to choose the right mate for life, long before they were millionaires. 

Of all the millionaires in the book, 92% were married. Only 2% had never married.  

Most millionaires have been married for a very long time. The average time married in the sample was 28 years. One in four had been married for 38 or more years. 

Only 55 of 1317 (about 4%) respondents believed that their spouse did not play an important role in their economic success.

The millionaires almost never consider marrying someone merely for "physical attractiveness" alone. 

Qualities that initially attracted millionaires in their spouses: Intelligence, Sincere, Cheerful, Reliable, Affectionate. 

Important Qualities for a successful marriage for both millionaire men and women: Honest, Responsible, Loving, Capable, Supportive.  For all respondents, at least 91% of the time.

Millionaire women, 49% of the time, also attributed the success of the marriage on the man being a high income earner.

The couples make trade offs, investing in the business, rather than new cars and luxuries. Wives supported, and stay with their husband, while he left his job and started his business.

Dr. Stanley concludes that there is a highly significant relationship between a successful marriage and net worth.

Spouse Selection by Non Millionaires:

In contrast, Dr. Belinda Tucker of UCLA did a survey on the selection of mates. Average, non millionaire men considered physical attractiveness more than any other dimension. Then, earning potential.  Average, non millionaire women rated salary and earning potential highest, more important than attractiveness, education, or occupation. 

"Satisfaction with your partner's earning contributions is strongly related to how you feel about your relationship and whether you feel you will stay in the relationship."  

Both non millionaire men and women would consider divorcing a spouse who lost their job.  

This is so diametrically opposed to the attitudes of millionaire couples. 


Only about 19% of millionaires engage in "do it yourself" activities. Dr. Stanley finds an inverse relationship between these activities and wealth.  



This book was a great eye opener. Some things I already knew, or suspected. And others surprised me. 

So much did not fit the stereotypes of some rich people such as you see on TV shows: Lifestyles of the Rich And Famous. How Did You Get So Rich? Donald Trump on The Apprentice.

Perhaps some parts explain why I'm not a millionaire yet. My career has been influenced by recruiters. I take on a lot of "do it yourself" activities, and so far, haven't married. Hmm. 

On the other hand, I'm very honest. Often my intuition, and judge of character is very good. So maybe ...

It is a great book to read.  Highly recommended. 

Note:  This book by Dr. Stanley is different from Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, by T. Harv Eker.  Which is also recommended.


  1. What exactly is a 'do it yourself' activity?

  2. HI Ted,

    Do it yourself examples could be: Mowing the lawn, painting the house, fixing or waxing the car, refinishing furniture, putting up shelves. Things like that.


  3. Hi Rodger, Great post. I too was wondering what a "do it yourself" activity was. Guess I should stop with the crafty projects and focus more on other things hehe...
    - Leanne

  4. Here is another review of the book here, iwth lots of details.