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Book Review: The Maui Millionaires by David Finkel and Diane Kennedy

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Every year David Finkel and Diane Kennedy convince a handful of people that it would be a good idea to pay $30,000 a piece to come to Maui and learn how to become millionaires. Well, actually "Maui Millionaires", which is a bit different as you will see. Now, the cynic might say that it's easy to see how Finkel and Kennedy became millionaires — by convincing people to pay $30,000 a piece to come to their workshops. But, now that they've written a book titled, yes, The Maui Millionaires, those of us with a little less to invest in our future wealth can see if the big spenders are being taken for a ride.

Before I go any further, let me say that the name "Maui Millionaires" is sheer genius. Combine one of the most beautiful places in the world with the thought of beautiful wealth — who wouldn't want to know what it takes to be a Maui Millionaire?

It's not just a great name, though; it actually has a meaning. When they talk of Maui Millionaires, they're basically talking about achieving and maintaining wealth in ways that don't require you to work obsessively while neglecting family and friends and letting your health go into the potty. How? That's the question, of course.

Reading the early chapters of this book, which basically consist of rewiring your "Wealth Operating System" to get rid of your "limiting wealth beliefs", I thought "Oh, no." Not to say that some of us don't have money issues, and these exercises might be helpful, but I just wanted to know how to make more money, and I was a little worried that the book was going to do nothing more than tell me to say to myself in the mirror each morning "You deserve wealth."

Luckily the rest of the book is a bit more juicy, if not altogether specific on how you're going to get rich.  It is meant to be a personal workbook, which makes sense if you think of it as being the printed equivalent of a personal, hands-on seminar intended to get you on the road to wealth.

With that in mind, there are a number of exercises meant to help you stretch your concept of what is possible, to "dare to dream" as the saying goes. This is obviously a journey that is a little different for each of us. To an extent it's just another way of rewiring your brain to accept that you have the skills and courage to do big things, but dreaming big feels a bit more meaty and positive than simply changing limiting beliefs.

The book extensively discusses the benefits of a Mastermind group that will both encourage your success and hold your feet to the fire so you don't shortchange your goals. If you've ever read Napoleon Hill, you'll be familiar with this concept. It's a smart idea, if not particularly new.

I was still lukewarm on the book, until I came to this promising chapter: "How to Make Money Without Working."  Now this, I thought, is for me.

Alas, it's not that simple. But it was satisfying to know that all this buildup wasn't simply a "you're great, go get 'em, tiger" rah-rah session. Finkel and Kennedy don't have any secret scheme for catching money falling from the sky without working, but they do have some strategies for working on business projects that don't simply pay you an hour's wage for an hour's work, but instead pay dividends over the long term without requiring your constant supervision and effort. This in turn allows you to have a life instead of simply living to work.

For the authors, and many of their Maui Millionaires as far as I can tell, the path is often via real estate. They don't consider it the only path, but they definitely make the case that it's a quicker way to wealth than many other alternatives. If that seems anti-climactic, it's also a bit more grounded in reality than many other books of this genre. And for that I was thankful.

Finkel and Kennedy also go out of their way to deliver the message that part of being a Maui Millionaire is giving back. In fact, they make the case that striving for great wealth is a good thing specifically for the ability it gives you to make a positive difference in the world. That's a message few wealth-building books see fit to impart.

Having read to this point, I'm guessing you have two questions, which I will now answer:

Question #1: Is this book worth my time and money? Answer: Only if you are going to use it as intended, as a workbook to really dive into your own dreams, think about what you want and then take the time to start creating a plan to get there. If you read it straight through and never put pencil to paper, it won't be worth much.

Question #2: Are these people who pay $30,000 to go to these Maui workshops getting their money's worth? Answer: They probably are, but not because Finkel and Kennedy have summoned the wisdom of the ages. Instead, what they've done is gotten together a group of highly motivated people, many of who already have a good measure of wealth, and have put them together in an intensive seminar where they do these exercises side by side. If you wanted to be a millionaire, would it be worth it to you to hang with a bunch of other millionaires or millionaires-to-be who might serve as a pretty powerful network in the future?

People who make a lot of money rarely do so merely by the force of their own genius. They find mentors, partners, cheerleaders, friends, etc. who help them get to the next level.

I'm not suggesting that plunking down $30,000 and flying to Maui is in your best interests. But plunking down $24.95 to start moving a little smarter down a path to sustained wealth wouldn't be the worst money you've ever spent.

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About Justin McHenry

  • Raul

    I am about 90% done with the book and agree with your post for the most part! The thing I would love to see is the ability to find mentor’s willing to share their idea’s with a newbey like me?

  • Sergei

    I have not read the book yet, but from the above review it just seem like same type of “secrets” you can learn from Kiosaky, Allen, Hill and many others. After you’ve read all those you’d probably not be willing to spend another $24.95 to go over it again.