Book Review: "The Behavior Gap"

What's my rating for "The Behavior Gap"?

I gave the book a 4 out of 5 Rockstar rating.

Financial decisions are almost always life decisions. Before you decide on your financial goals, you need to choose your life goals.
— Carl Richards, "The Behavior Gap", p. 64.

I once heard a great saying: “Only trust the expert who can explain a complex concept in a way a five-year-old can understand.” To me, that expert is Carl Richards. In this book, Richards explores the ways in which we can be our own worst enemy when it comes to money, and his illustrated examples drive his points home with face-palm clarity.

What I like best about the book is the Sharpie diagrams he includes throughout. They should come as no surprise, as that’s what Carl Richards is known for. Where appropriate, he also often couples these diagrams with a story. His style is similar to Greg McKeown’s “Essentialism“, as they both stress the importance of simplifying everything we do in life down to what matters most. 

Richards' main message is that the decisions you make with your money should be based on your goals and values and nothing else. If you’re clear about both of these, you’re less likely to be swayed by bad advice, knee-jerk reactions, fear and/or doubt.

Along with that main message, the author acknowledges that getting clear on what it is we really want is HARD, and that it’s the primary reason most of us shy away from seeking the answer to that question, despite its importance.

Here are some of the main topics he addresses in this book:

  1. Successful planning focuses on the overlap between life (what you want) and money (how to get most of what you want)
  2. Focusing on what we can control is what counts, everything else is a distraction
  3. Fees and hype are the biggest sources of portfolio loss over time
  4. Nearly everything we do in life is based on our perceptions and emotions
  5. Slow and steady is the more attractive way to go over the long term

To find out more about the book and my thoughts about it, read my full review.

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