Secret to Growing Wealth: Automate!

This is a Book Reivew by Jeff Tompkins, Jr.  The opinions expressed herein are the reviewer’s own and meant only for informational purposes.

The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach

Reviewer: Jeff Tompkins, Jr.

Let’s face it, unless you’re a Marine, you’re probably not that crazy about the word “discipline.” It smacks of rules and constraints. Most of us just aren’t that keen to always do even those things that we know are good for us. Particularly in our financial lives. We know we should save more, spend less, invest smarter. We should be disciplined in these areas to achieve financial security.  So how do we get disciplined? According to the The Automatic Millionaire, by David Bach, we automate .

Bach focuses first on the idea of paying ourselves first. By this he doesn’t mean setting aside a couple of twenty dollar bills under your mattress each payday.  That would require discipline and the central theme of The Automatic Millionaire is that no one is disciplined enough to regularly save that way. Instead, Mr. Bach argues that the only way to get around our lack of discipline is to automate paying ourselves first, effectively taking our lack of discipline out of the equation.

Automating ones savings is becoming more and more prevalent in a tech-dominated world. It’s automatic, because once you set it up you don’t have to do a thing each month for it to continue putting funds into your 401k account or other savings vehicle. It’s the first money out so before you do any spending at all, you are saving.

Good Intentions or Intentional Living?

Several years ago, I had the outstanding opportunity to be one of the speakers at the Willow Creek Association Leadership Summit. I wasn’t nervous until I realized I’d be sharing that stage with world-class motivational speakers including Bill Hybels, John Ortberg and John Maxwell.

The entire conference marked a highpoint in my career, but it’s the kindness, authentic appreciation and personal encouragement of John Maxwell that I will never forget.

I left that conference far better than I’d arrived, having been truly motivated and inspired by all of the speakers, but mostly by the simple wisdom of John Maxwell. What an amazing communicator!

You can imagine how happy I was to learn that our book reviewer, Jeff Tompkins, chose John Maxwell’s latest book for this month’s review.


Book Review: Intentional Living by John C. Maxwell

Reviewer: Jeff Tompkins, Jr.

Welcome to 2017 my fellow readers! I hope this finds you having enjoyed your holiday, and ready to tackle a new year. Following my review of Smarter Faster Better last month, which focused on simple ways to up our game in terms of productivity, I found that Intentional Living by John Maxwell provides the perfect complement to helping us start the year off right.

If you haven’t heard of John Maxwell, he is a prolific leadership and management guru (writer and speaker) who started as a pastor and has now written over 50 books on leadership, worked with over 80 nations on leadership skills, and helps Fortune 500 companies with their leadership and management needs (including groups like the NFL, West Point and the CDC).  In 2014, Inc. Magazine named him the number one leadership and management expert. Needless to say, Maxwell knows what he is talking about when he wades into a topic like living intentionally.

Intentional Living focuses on the difference between simply living with good intentions (defined as the desire to do something; wishful thinking, thinking “someday”, living passively or in fantasy) as opposed to intentional living (defined as taking action, living with purpose, thinking “today”, strategizing, and applying discipline to our daily lives). While Duhigg’s book last month gave us the tools to be more productive, in Intentional Living Maxwell gives us more of the how—how do we use those tools intentionally to get the most out of our lives?

In Intentional Living Maxwell tells a good bit of his own story; where he started, how he got to where he is, and the triumphs and pitfalls along the way. This style resonates with me, as I am a big believer in the fact that stories are how we relate to one another. One of the most effective ways in which we learn and remember things.

Start 2017 Smarter Faster Better

I have always disliked partings. I dread having to say goodbye. But most of all I hate being the one left behind. Tomorrow, I’ll be saying goodbye to 2016. It’s been a really good year, which could make this a sad parting. But wait! I’m the one leaving—and I’ll be heading straight into a beautiful New Year filled with endless possibilities and new beginnings. That makes it tolerable—even joyful!

With all of this in mind, and knowing this day was coming, I asked our resident book reviewer, Jeff Tompkins, to review a brand new, highly popular book that relates so beautifully to how all of us can make 2017 the best year ever.


Reviewer:  Jeff Tompkins, Jr.

I can’t be the only one thinking about possibilities in the New Year. For me, it’s with a certain amount of ambivalence, something with which you may identify: We make promises to lose weight, to be wiser with our money and our spending choices; to be more productive in our home and work lives. Promises made without much of a plan. Then, as if on cue, the good intentions fizzle out somewhere in early February.

Having just read Smarter Faster Better—billed to contain the “secrets of being productive in life and business”—I am hopeful  that 2017 will be different.

A Simple Way to Be Smart About Your Money

Join us in welcoming avid reader and reviewer, Jeff Tompkins, Jr. Jeff’s thoughtful yet entertaining Book Reviews will appear on selected Fridays, starting today. You can meet Jeff up close and personal in his biography, below. 

The One-Page Financial Plan (Portfolio / Penguin 2015) by Carl Richards
Reviewer: Jeff Tompkins, Jr.


My mother often describes my personality as microwave. I have little patience for the slow cooker; I want it now and with as little effort as possible. And by it I mean anything that is important at the moment.

When a book touting a “one-page financial plan” was recommended to me, you have to know it sounded like a match made in heaven. What I got from The One-Page Financial Plan wasn’t a magic key to a life of champagne and caviar. I got a very smart and simple reminder of the first step we all have to take as we wade into financial planning: relax.

Walk through Barnes & Noble, browse Amazon or even turn on any number of cable TV shows and you will quickly see what the author refers to as the massive financial entertainment industry—the countless “experts” barraging us with hot stock tips, the smartest money moves; the fool-proof places to put our money.