Simple, inspirational pointers on how to manage money and discover the true meaning of wealth.
After being diagnosed with thyroid cancer, Harper (Letters to a Young Brother, 2007, etc.) boarded a train for a meditative, cross-country journey. Along the way, he encountered a number of fellow passengers who inspired him. Here he recounts their stories, alongside his own journey and a few resonant history lessons. All this combines to provide readers insight into what it means to be wealthy in contemporary America. Despite adding his own practical tips on how to manage finances, from prioritizing spending to the pitfalls of credit cards, the author encourages others to seek out wealth beyond money—in relationships, in health and in pursuing one’s passions. He defers to his uncle on this point: “If you are making any decision solely based on money, then it’s the wrong decision.” It’s a motto Harper has applied to his own life; the author, who earned a law degree from Harvard and stars in the TV series CSI:NY, writes extensively about his decision to act instead of practice law. Although much of the advice is useful and has practical applications, his writing abounds with clichés and often feels stilted—but it’s not without its merits. The strongest parts are the historical biographies, including those of Pullman Porters and the “Real McCoy.” In the end, the author underwent a successful surgery and remains cancer-free.
Money helps, but it’s not a panacea. Harper demonstrates how redefining wealth can make readers all the richer.