A Review of The Prosperous Peasant
The Prosperous Peasant by Tim Clark and Mike Cunningham is a fun, quick little read about the five secrets to fortune and fulfillment. Set in ancient Japan it is a series of stories that begin with two peasants who wish their lives could be different. They are not content to live out their time as farmers, sowing the fields, and bending their backs to the seasons.
One day they decide to take a small journey and seek out a notable samurai named Hideyoshi – an accomplished man who started out as a peasant like them. When they find him, they beg him to share his wisdom, and to reveal to them how he found success in life. Hideyoshi agrees, and the stories that follow each highlight one of his five “secrets” to fortune and fulfillment.
The Five Secrets of Fortune and Fulfillment:
1) Gratitude Attracts Luck – This is my favorite chapter in the entire book, and it includes one of my favorite quotes as well.
If you drink from a spring, remember the stream
This chapter focuses on working diligently with a glad heart. The story itself is enchanting. It speaks of a noble’s son who lost his wealth and suddenly found himself with no money, no skills, and no employment. It follows his journey as he learns to be grateful for newfound employment, and learns to work hard. He works for his master in the daytime, and for himself at night. He does find fortune and fulfillment through thankfulness.
2) Know Your Gift – This chapter is a different story, and focuses on knowing your own talents. Just because a person is born to a particular station in life does not mean that they must remain in that station for their entire lives. It deals with looking deep into yourself and finding what it is that you are meant to do.
3) Conceivable Means Achievable – If you can think it, plan it, and conceive of it – then you can do it. This chapter highlights the story of one of the most accomplished men in Japan’s history – Nobunaga. He started small, but with a plan, and perseverance, he nearly united all of Japan under his rule.
4) Effort Determines Results – No matter what your goal is, in the end it will be your effort that decides whether or not you will reach it. You can put forth average effort, and achieve average results, or you can put forth extraordinary effort and gain extraordinary results.
5) Collaboration Breeds Success – No man can accomplish greatness alone. The story in this chapter illustrates how working together as a team, and having one focus for the whole team, together you can literally overcome any challenge.
Now, please understand that these tenets, when they are laid bare like this sound almost trite – common knowledge right? But set as they are against the tapestry of feudal Japan, they come to life. The authors did an excellent job stepping into popular historical fables and really bringing them to life.
I think the book delivers exactly what it promises. These really are the secrets to fortune, fulfillment and prosperity. This is a book that I may re-read at some point, and I will certainly keep it around for the others in my family to read. It was relaxing, quick, and at times enchanting.
If you are looking for investment advice, or even direct financial advice, this isn’t it. What the Prosperous Peasant does do though is reach out and embrace the true tenets of success, whatever path you take to get there.
What do you think? Will following these principles help you to find fortune and fulfillment? Have you read the book yourself? Tell us about it below!
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