Professors Thomas Stanley and William Danko spent years interviewing individuals with a net worth of USD 1 million. In The Millionaire Next Door, Professors Stanley and Danko present the findings of their research about who the average American millionaire is and what he does (he because more than 90% of the millionaires in this book are men). The millionaires discussed in this book are not movie stars or models and do not buy expensive cars or vacation in luxury homes. Instead, the millionaires discussed here are common people who just do different things, such as living well below their means, investing in building wealth, and avoiding consumption. The conclusion of the book is that even in a country where the average household net worth is a mere USD 72,000 it is possible for anyone to become a millionaire as long as he is willing to live a financially disciplined lifestyle. (You can click here to read the introductory chapter of the book).
Reading this book was like being reminded of many life lessons my grandfather and father taught me when I was young(er) and (more) impressionable: money saved is money earned, it is much easier to spend money than it is to save it so don’t do the easy thing, and simple living is the best living. Professors Stanley and Danko shatter the illusion about the rich people the media has created in our minds, and replace it with the hard reality of life. Of course, as an entrepreneurship professor I was glad to read that most millionaires are self-employed (carefully note that the opposite is not true- most self-employed are not millionaires).
This book is one of those that should be a must read for every young person. I am also curious how generalizable some of the findings presented in this book are to other countries, including my native country of India. So, if you are an Indian or Chinese or Arab or European or African reading this, I would love to hear how if you think the findings about American millionaires generalize to your country.