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It's Not about the Money

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  578 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
What do the latest financial thinking and ancient spiritual teachings reveal to us about financial freedom? Top financial advisor Brent Kessel insists financial success and security is not about the money. Rather, it's about what's inside us--first understanding your emotional relationship to money, and only then taking action. It's Not About the Money expertly and compass ...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 2008)
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Aug 06, 2008 Dawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If your main money concern is "Oh my God, how do I get out of debt?" try something by David Bach. However, if you're wondering why you can't seem to make peace with your own attitudes and behaviors about money, this is the book for you. Brent Kessel identifies eight financial archetypes (and you are sure to recognize yourself in at least one of them), and gives tips on how each can balance its strengths and weaknesses.

I originally read about this book in Yoga Journal, and was a tad hesitant it w
Jun 09, 2009 Trish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So far, I love this book. It's like no other personal finance book I've read. I'm learning why I think the way I do about money. It's not a "how to" book, but delves more into your own personal money philosophy. Insightful!

Update: This is by far my favorite personal finance book. The first part of the book focuses on "The Nature of the Mind." From understanding the Buddhist principle of The Wanting Mind which is " always craving an experience different from the one it currently has", to truly r
Brian Johnson
“Don’t get me wrong. I am by no means saying that you can’t be both wealthy and happy. But whether you have a seven-figure trust fund or a pile of unpaid bills on your kitchen table, the path to freedom requires that you focus more on your inner life than on your outer financial circumstances.”

~ Brent Kessel from It’s Not About the Money

If you, like me, have struggled with integrating your spirituality with your economics, your self-awareness with your bank balance, and all the rest of the chal
Feb 09, 2015 Tara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pay-yourself, 2015
This book combines self-discovery with practical money advice. For starters, you get to know your "Core Story" - you know, that story you have about money, that influences a lot of your decisions. It might be a story about "there's never enough" or "spend it when you have it" or "money is for having fun!" matter the story, when it stays hidden it impacts your decisions, often in an unbalanced, unknown ways. Once you've identified your story, you find your archetype (how your story influence ...more
Jan 26, 2011 Quinn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good. It's a book that covers a range of attitudes towards money and the pros and cons of each attitude. It was plesantly spiritual for a financial book. The book was a pretty quick read, the last chapters cover the basics of investing (if you've read them once you've read them a million times) so I skipped through them.
Jan 08, 2011 Marla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference
Fascinating! I'm learning so much. Finally a book about money that I can relate to. Coming at a very serendipitous moment in my life, too!
David Rickert
Jun 03, 2013 David Rickert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jan 19, 2011 Kimberly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I tried... really tried to get into this book. Just couldn't do it.
from the library

Table of Contents

Introduction xiii
It's Not About the Money xv
Financial Planner by Day, Yogi by Dawn xvi
Why This Book? xviii
Financial Freedom for Your Soul xx
Part 1: The Nature of Mind

You Will Never Have Enough
The Wanting Mind
Wired to Want
If Only
In the Flow
But It Feels Good!
The Financial Toll of Wanting
Diminishing Returns
The More We Want, the More We Want
12 (1)
Financial Planning and Great Investment Advice Won't Get You ``There''
13 (3)
Wanting Bette
Oct 18, 2015 Gavin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Personal finance guides typically offer a one-size-fits-all approach to having a good financial life. Although such general guides may contain sound advice, they mostly ignore the psychological barriers that can get in the way of following that advice. That is where this book comes in.

The heart of the book is a description of eight "money types," which are like personality types for the financial aspects of life. By identifying and understanding your dominant money type, you can become more awar
Experience Life
Feb 18, 2010 Experience Life rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Money has a way of provoking powerful gut reactions — ranging from giddy butterflies to acid reflux — in most of us. According to author and financial planner Brent Kessel, these responses have as much to do with a lifetime of conditioning as with any objective financial reality. Everyone has a “money story,” he explains. That story has a huge influence on our financial decisions, and a huge capacity to wreak havoc from the psychological sidelines. To that end, It’s Not About the Money teaches y ...more
Jul 02, 2012 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmmm...well just saw that he has written two other books since 2008....the one in 2011 w/ CD's and cards....will try not to focus on the Wanting Mind and wanting to read more:) Thought some very good insight and fit nicely with other book was reading concurrently "In Praise of Slowness"--similar messages about meditation, yoga, spiritual connectedness and mindfulness in decision making vs. just playing out our "core" story as it relates to money, or really other areas of our life. Again think th ...more
Mar 09, 2009 Cheri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hands down one of the best books I've read about personal finance as it get to the root of our relationships with money rather than just going into "how to get out of debt" or "how to save for retirement".

Brent Kessel breaks out 8 financial archetypes, and how they relate emotionally to money:

1) Guardian: Alert & careful (i.e. worries) about $
2) Pleasure Seeker: Lives for today
3) Idealist: Values freedom, creativity, social justice etc. over $
4) Saver: Seeks security & abundance throug
Mar 26, 2016 Sherri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A different way of looking at finances and what defines success. The personality types Kessel describes are not absolutes, most people will be a combination of two, maybe more depending on the day or circumstance.

The exercises and questions help define a person's type and how to change negative reactions into more positive ones. The usual
single-minded methods of how to save, invest and set strong financial goals most advisors advocate are missing here. The different pitfalls that face the Ideali
Mar 05, 2012 Jill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book started with a lot of promise. I certainly "unlocked my money type", but I'm still waiting to achieve "spiritual and financial abundance"! The author really delved into the idea of The Wanting Mind and tapping into your unconscious "issues" (e.g. Core Story) that are dictating your financial life. There were good exercises in the book to assist you with this self-examination. The second half of the book was dedicated to helping you balance your harmful unconsious habits with your innat ...more
Oct 05, 2010 H added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: money
Eight Financial Archetypes:

Gifts: alertness, prudence
Pitfalls: worry, anxiety

G: enjoyment, pleasure
P: hedonism, impulsiveness

IDEALIST (prioritizes creativity/compassion/social justice/spiritual growth)
G: vision, compassion
P: distrust, aversion

G: self-sufficiency, abundance
P: hoarding, penny-pinching

STAR (spends to be recognized)
G: leadership, style
G: pretentiousness, self-importance

INNOCENT (life will work out for best regardless of money)
G: hope, adaptability
P: avoid
I finally found a book that approaches finance the way I deal with other areas of my life. Who knew you could deal with money with a similar problem solving set? The author has been a financial adviser/meditation devotee for something like 20 years. In this time he collected what he calls the "8 money types." Presumably you relate to one of two of these. It helps get to the heart of fears we have concerning money. Once these fears are identified you can find a more balanced path. Sort of resting ...more
May 02, 2008 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Borrowed from library.

Saw that Kessel had spoken at Kripalu and met several people who really enjoyed his seminar, so picked this up. It reminded me some of George Kinder's "Seven Stages of Money Maturity".

The financial advice he presents in the book was good, but I already knew most of that. I found the archetypes more interesting, personally.

Apparently, I'm a Saver/Guardian/Empire Builder type, with a tendency to hoard/save/worry about money. Kessel suggests these types can learn from more ge
Feb 18, 2012 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting perspective on your "financial archetype". Emphasizes putting your money towards what is truly important versus material items (takes a spiritual approach). It also has very specific investing advice. It speaks specifically about investing passively or through index funds and diversifying asset classes. Needing stocks, real estate and bonds (depending on age).
US Large 21%
US Large Value 21%
US Small 9%
US Small Value 9%
Intl Large Value 8%
Intl Small 4%
Intl Small Value 4%
Emerging Markets
Sam Rodriguez
This is half self-help book, half financial book, with a sprinkling of Zen. It's very valuable if you want to take a look at how you relate to money and how that is the real issue, as opposed to outside factors. I was pleased to see he recommended meditation several times to gain some objectivity with regard to financial issues. This isn't really a quick read if you really dive in to the exercises. Overall, a great book, definitely worth reading and keeping to refer back to.
Apr 12, 2008 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beyond-brilliant
As someone with what I have always felt was extraordinary anxiety about money, Brent Kessel's writing style and financial prowess has been a blessing. He does a great job of validating one's feelings about their issues with money. Get ready to improve your relationship with yourself and the world through learning about your financial archetype and empower yourself to make the best decisions for your money type. Highly, highly recommended.
May 30, 2008 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone new to financial planning
This is an interesting approach. Kessel uses some Buddhist principles to explain our attitudes and habits with money. It's more of a reflective self-diagnosis than a how-to. Not a lot of jargon, so it makes a good starting point if you're new to financial planning. I will not easily forget what I read in this book.
Apr 30, 2016 Zach rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the descriptions of the Eight Financial Archetypes, and the stories about the people Kessel has worked with. Kessel is an interesting guy with a lot of wisdom. The sections on investing are too brief to be very useful, but there is a lot of actionable advice about how to examine your relationship with money.
Jan 21, 2009 Sue marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I got this out of the library and read the first few pages. I really liked the section that talked about the dynamics of wanting. I think about it every time I feel like I HAVE to have something.

I'm working with another prosperity book with friends right now, so I'll return this to the library and check it out later.
Aug 31, 2008 Takayama3 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
This book is great! It presents you with different archetypes and you get to see clearly which one you are in relationship to your money! He is a Financial Advisor/ Yogi. Easy read and very interesting...
Aug 06, 2009 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Helpful in understanding people's different approaches and hangups about money, so helpful for a financial planner like me! Author is into yoga, meditation, and is a financial planner. Some good practical advice to help people understand their own money issues and do something about them.
Eric Bell
Oct 12, 2013 Eric Bell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book took an interesting approach to finance. It mixed life style choices, archetypes of financial dispositions, and typical personal finance advice to form a well-rounded text on finance.
Sep 19, 2008 Denise rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very revealing as far as how one likes to spend their money. But near the got caught up in the nitty gritty percentages of investing and stocks and such which did not hold my interest.
Jan 05, 2011 Gayle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. I appreciate the way the author mixed eastern and western philosophy when discussing money.
Oct 25, 2015 Hollis rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
More useful for someone that has difficulty managing their money vs investment strategy
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Brent Kessel is Co-Founder of Abacus Wealth Partners, ( named one of the “top 250 wealth management firms in the U.S.” by Bloomberg Wealth Manager, and Abacus Portfolios (, a portfolio management company offering socially responsible investing. Brent earned his economics degree from UCLA, and studies psychology, meditation and Ashtanga yoga. Brent has ...more
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