An INTJ Reviews The Science of Getting Rich

Good news, everyone!

So, among the small pile of Christmas gifts I received this year was a little book called The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles, originally published in 1910. I heard about it through a few entrepreneurial channels on YouTube. Unfortunately, there is very little science in the “science of getting rich”. The book starts out as a mystic practice leading to mental conditioning in the hopes you can sort of brainwash yourself into doing what it is necessary to become rich. Getting Rich is very similar to Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, but Getting Rich does explain itself better. It’s also very similar to The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. So similar in fact that I wouldn’t be surprised if The Secret actually ripped off Getting Rich to some extent. Anyway, what can you expect from this review?

Well, as a book that touts the act of getting rich as a science but starts out from a mystic perspective, I thought it would be fitting for an INTJ, a personality known for being both mystic and scientific, to examine this book’s premise and other theories similar to it, such as the Law of Attraction, to test its mettle. I will then compare its philosophy to the INTJ mindset and see if it’s viable means for an INTJ to become rich. So, let’s on with an INTJ reviews The Science of Getting Rich.

What is the Science of Getting Rich, both the book and method?

So, what is the science of getting rich? The description given on the back of the book says this: “You have the right to be rich! Wallace Wattles’ classic work offers the unique revelation of the science behind getting rich.” In the Preface, Wattles also writes “This book is pragmatical, not philosophical, a practical manual, not a treatise upon theories. It is intended for men and women whose most pressing need is for money” (7).

But that’s what the book claims. Getting Rich does have some pragmatic advice—more than either Think and Grow Rich or The Secret—but each chapter does serve to build up a creed—the “method” and “belief” as it were behind the science of getting rich. In some places, the creed is very mystic, such as this excerpt:

“There is a thinking stuff from which all things are made and which in its original state permeates, penetrates and fills the inner spaces of the universe. A thought in this substance, produces the thing that is imaged by the thought. Man can form things in his thought and by impressing his thought upon formless substance can cause the thing he thinks about to be created.” (139)

However, there are parts of it that are a bit more practical:

“In order to receive his own when it shall come to him, man must be active. And this activity can only consist in more than filling his present place. He must keep in mind the purpose to get rich through realization of his mental image. And he must do every day, all that can be done that day, taking care to do each act in a successful manner.” (141)

Now, true, there are a couple of parts in this excerpt that sound a little woo-woo, but that’s mostly because I don’t offer the context behind them. However, the actual science of getting rich can be broken down as thus: “Imagine what you want, imagine often and strongly, and through a strong enough desire, you should be able to condition yourself to act in a way that will bring you whatever it is you want so long as you act efficiently every day”.

Haven’t a lot of people gotten into trouble by acting like they were rich?

For the most part, that sounds perfectly rational to most people. Simply think of what you want and figure out how to go get it. But that’s an oversimplification of the “science”. I completely cut out all references to the “Formless Intelligence”, “Formless Substance”, and the “Intelligence of Substance”, which I think Wattles is using to refer to God, which is strange considering he does mention God plainly in other parts of the book. Anyway, in addition to an indirect, almost pagan-like address for God, Wattles also advises the practitioner to be in a state of constant gratitude and to act as if you are going to get rich or already are, which I’m sure raises a few questions when it comes to something like money.

But besides breaking down the “science” to its most practical elements, the philosophy regarding the rest of the method isn’t all that dissimilar from something called the “Law of Attraction”. For those that don’t know, the Law of Attraction is a “New Thought” philosophy that believes that “positive or negative thoughts bring positive or negative experiences into a person’s life”. It is based on the idea that “people and their thoughts are made from ‘pure energy’, and that a process of like energy attracting like energy exists through which a person can improve their health, wealth, and personal relationships”. Although this definition doesn’t go into the mechanics of the Law of Attraction, as I have read The Secret, I can tell you that gratitude, acting as if you’ve already received your desire or assuming you’ll receive it, using thoughts as a means of creation, as well as complete blind faith that the method works are all a part of the “law of attraction” and “science of getting rich”. The only piece that is different between the two is the process of “Efficient Action in a Certain Way”, which I referred to as the actual pragmatic part of the “science of getting rich”. This may be because Byrne didn’t want The Secret to receive a copyright strike, but there are “savants” of the “law of attraction” who can supposedly manifest their desires without any outward action.

My Personal History with the “Law of Attraction”

You can probably tell that I have no love for the “law of attraction”. I was first introduced to it via The Secret back in 2007 when I worked for Vector Marketing selling Cutco Cutlery. My office manager told me about it and I went out and bought the book. I read it, but I could never believe in it. I can’t believe that I can just manifest things into my life by simply thinking about them. My proof for this is that I daydream a lot, and none of those daydreams have ever come true, whether they are good or bad. An expert at the “law” will tell you that I failed because I never really believed in it or I was never grateful (enough), but I have also had plenty of moments where I thought myself screwed and yet, everything came out fine. As a result, I don’t have any faith in the “law of attraction”. I have tried experimenting with it, but it’s never worked.

Wattles’ Method is Superior

A lot of what Wattles’ says in Getting Rich sounds like the “law of attraction”, such as the first part of the method, which I quoted above (“There is a thinking stuff”). But that is merely the first part. As laid out in Chapter Eleven: Acting a Certain Way, Wattles says that while thought is a creative power and it can bring riches to you, we cannot simply rely on thought alone—it also takes personal action. He states “Man must not only think, but his personal action must supplement his thought” (93).

On the next page, he go further by making this statement:

“Do not try to project your thought in any mysterious or occult way, with the idea of having it go out and do things for you. That is wasted effort, and will weaken your power to think with sanity.”

Wattles even comments in Chapter Nine: How to Use the Will that we should “not try to apply” our “will power to anything outside of yourself” (77). He makes the argument that this is trying to coerce the will of God into serving you, which is as wrong as coercing another person into following your will, and further, that it is unnecessary as “Substance is friendly to you, and is more anxious to give you what you want than you are to get it” (78).

From there into Chapter Twelve: Efficient Action, Wattles champions a position of acting now, “do today’s work well”, and by striving to make each day a success, especially since “successful action is cumulative in its results” (105). This is an easy philosophy to believe as it can be seen in the world. Everyone knows that postponing certain actions can make them more difficult later, and that small good choices made on top of each other is more effective than large good choices made now and then, such as when it comes to investing, saving money, or losing weight.

I been out here makin’ dis paper!

Wattles sums up his position as “When you know what to think and do, then you must use your will to compel yourself to think and do the right things”, which Wattles calls “acting in a Certain Way” (78). As I said above, Wattles’ method is if you want something, you have to concentrate on your desire to get it, and you will condition yourself to think and act in whatever way you need to in order to get what you want.

One more thing I would like to add regards the claim that via the “law of attraction” are thoughts can manifest the world around us. According to my book Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts (which I got because I have OCD) says that thinking something does not make it likely to happen. Apparently, psychologists refer to this as “thought-action fusion” or “magical thinking”. It even says on that same page that our “thoughts cannot make unwanted actions of events happen” and further “Thoughts do not move objects, nor can they hurt people” (55-56). So, if thinking about bad things can’t make bad things happen, how can thinking about good things make good things happen?

What I Think Wattles Gets Wrong

While I find much of Wattles’ “science of getting rich” easier to swallow than the “law of attraction”, and Wattles’ book is infinitely more helpful than either Byrne’s The Secret or Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, it still has a few odd parts in it. For instance, going back to Chapter Nine, Wattles makes a bold statement regarding health, religion, and poverty that seems to align with the like-attracting-alike phenomenon central to the “law of attraction”.

“Health is never to be attained by studying disease and thinking about disease. Righteousness is not to be promoted by studying sin and thinking about sin, and no one ever got rich by studying poverty and thinking about poverty. Medicine as a science of disease has increased disease. Religion as a science of sin has promoted sin, and economics as a study of poverty will fill the world with wretchedness and want. Do not talk about poverty, do not investigate it, or concern yourself with it. Never mind what its causes are. You have nothing to do with them. What concerns you is the cure. Do not spend your time in charitable work, or in charity movements. All charity only tends to perpetuate the wretchedness it aims to eradicate.” (81)

Now, there are several problems with this statement. Firstly, as a practicing Catholic, I will tell you that religion is not a science of sin. It is a method of accepted practices, principles, and beliefs intended to help a believer achieve communion with the divine. Secondly, if you are a Christian or Jew, then you will know that God gave us the Ten Commandments, some of which are expressly stated as “Thou shall not commit”. If thinking about a sin led one further into sin, then God would not have given us His commandments in such a manner because God, being omniscient, should know that by framing the commandments this way, we would be more likely to break them, and God does not seduce His people to sin.

Further, I don’t think medicine is the science of disease—I think it’s the science of treating sickness. And what of new diseases? How do we as a population contract new diseases if we never thought of them to begin with?

Furthermore, economics is not the study of poverty—it is the study of the flow of money. And in addition to that, I remember Robert Kiyosaki saying in Rich Dad Poor Dad that both greed and fear can be used as powerful motivators that help keep people from becoming poor. So, if Robert Kiyosaki utilized greed and fear, why is he rich and not poor? And to add to that, we have the saying “what gets measured gets managed” famously attributed to Peter Drucker (although there is no evidence for this), which I have seen prove useful in my life. When I focus on what I’m not doing or achieving, I can come up with a plan for managing the problem and then succeed in doing it. This is basically that “one weird trick” that really helps with weight loss—if you record your caloric intake, weight, and exercise regimens, you can make further improvements as you progress and be met with more success.

So, ultimately, I think this is erroneous thinking. I will admit however that if all a person did was think about their problems without considering a solution, then yes, they would be stuck in a never-ending downward spiral. But common sense easily reveals the obvious path back up.

Connection to Christianity

As crazy as it may sound, there are some branches of Christianity that do have beliefs similar to the “science of getting rich” and “law of attraction”. In fact, Wattles quotes scripture a few times in his book. One scriptural passage he quotes is Mark 11:24, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will”, and that does seem to match Wattles’ philosophy. Additionally, I’ve recently become acquainted with the works of a deceased Protestant minister named Dr. Myles Munroe. According to him, we should not beg and plead and try to appease God to get what we’re asking for, but rather we should demand it because we are not practitioners of a religion but rather citizens of His kingdom, and citizens have rights. But, that’s sort of where the similarities between the “science” and Dr. Munroe’s method end.

Wattles does tell you to pray unceasingly, but he means it as in “holding steady” to our “vision, with the purpose to cause its creation into solid form” (74). He also tries to quote Luke 12:32 (“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom”), but the following verse is this: “Sell your possessions, and give alms, provide yourselves…with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail”. Further, these two verses are a part of a much greater whole, starting with verse 22.

“And he said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, nor about your body, what you shall put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!…And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be of anxious mind. For all the nations of the world seek these things; and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things shall be yours as well.’” (22-24, 29-31)

According to Dr. Munroe, this is the key to success. He says that God hates poverty (that it is neither a blessing or virtue), but if we seek the Kingdom of God and submit our will to His, we will be wealthy, which he defines as us being able to produce as much or as little money as we need. The state of being wealthy, according to Dr. Munroe, is not the superfluous possession of money. So, while Wattles’ meaning does come close to what is in scripture, it unfortunately misses a very important point, thereby bringing into question how much Wattles actually understands the Bible and whether or not his use of it actually supports his argument.

Conclusion: How Does The Science of Getting Rich relate to INTJs?

So, ultimately, what does the “science of getting rich”, both the book and the method, have to do with INTJs? How do we relate to it?

Well, as I said in my intro, it is certainly mystical, but it is still practical in some places, which does make it appeal to INTJs since we have Ni and Te on top of our function stack. It could conceivably be the method by which INTJs could escape unfortunate circumstances and be wealthy, for as we know, INTJs are some of the highest paid types out there. But there’s a problem with that: since we know INTJs are some of the highest paid types out there, and the “science of getting rich” isn’t exactly well-known, that likely means that INTJs have no use for it. Like I said, in its simplest terms, the “science” is “think about what you want and figure out how to get it”, and no INTJ needs to be told that. We may not brainstorm ways of going after what we want initially, but it will happen eventually. That’s just the way we’re wired. We’ll get tired of daydreams and become unsatisfied with unfulfilled dreams, and we’ll go after what we want.

Therefore, I don’t think most INTJs can back the “science”. It just relies too heavily on mystical belief to work. Add to that, Wattles says it still takes effective and efficient action to work, which almost seems like a disclaimer. (But the true disclaimer is when Wattles admits that there are other ways of getting rich without using his method.)

In the end, INTJs don’t need the “science of getting rich” because we already think and act in a way that is conducive to success, without needing belief. Although, that could be an act of faith in and of itself.

So, what do you think? Have you read The Science of Getting Rich? How legit does it sound to you? Let me know in the comments.

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