Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Book Review: How to be rich

You probably don't feel rich. Rich is the other guy. Rich is having more than you currently have. But you can be rich and not feel it. And that's the problem. Andy Stanley is convinced that most of us are richer than we think. We just aren't very good at it. It's one thing to BE rich. Andy wants us to be GOOD at it!

Andy Stanley is a pastor, communicator, author, and the founder of North Point Ministries (NPM). Since its inception in 1995, North Point Ministries has grown from one church to five in the Atlanta area and has developed a global network of 30 churches.
Each Sunday, more than 36,000 people attend NPM's five Atlanta-area churches: Browns Bridge Community Church, Buckhead Church, Gwinnett Church, North Point Community Church, and Watermarke Church.
Andy's books include How To Be Rich, as well as Deep & Wide, Enemies of the Heart, The Next Generation Leader, and How Good Is Good Enough? Andy and his wife, Sandra, live in Alpharetta, Georgia, and have three grown children.

I picked up this book because my family is in a rough place. We had it good--so good--until we didn't. At the time, my husband and I were both working and pulling in about $1200 a month. We felt rich. My husband lost his job. I picked up extra hours. Our monthly income: $800. We still felt okay. Richer than when we first moved into our apartment.

Then I had my baby and lost my job. Suddenly there was no income coming in. I picked up a nannying job: $400 a month. It covered rent, but we needed more if we were going to eat and keep the Internet.

We swallowed our pride and turned to the state. Now we have enough for a month's worth of food if we eat ramen and hot dogs for the last week, and enough for a can of formula if my daughter hits a growth spurt that my body can't quite keep up with.

I read this book for the same reason anyone in my position would--I want to be rich again. When Stanley said most Americans considered 37K a year to be a pay cut, I laughed. I'd be happy with 24K a year--about $2000 a month to cover necessities and start a savings account for our daughter.

Then I read more. I have a microwave, even if only the left side of it works (don't ask). My husband and I are both healthy if you ignore his broken collarbone. We are fed and we are warm and, while a little uncomfortable, we're happy. I still don't feel rich. But I do feel less poor. But there's more.

I discovered that when we were rich, we were bad at being rich. I knew it at the time, like when my husband bought a TV instead of a crib or an xbox instead of a breast pump set. But even beyond that--we weren't helping anyone. We could have gone down the street and gave money to the food pantry that had helped us out before. We could have taken advantage of the 10 for $10 deals at our grocery and made a whole bunch of sack lunches for the homeless downtown. We didn't. I spent my money on my sister, which is a certain kind of selfishness because I love her. Or I bought video games (to bond with my sister).

I'm kind of new at being Christian--I'm still figuring it out. But this book is honest practically to the point of being revolutionary, and everyone should read it.

star rating: 4.5 of 5

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