• Worries often say more about the worrier than about the world. (loc. 41-41)
  • Worries are connected to imagination and the emotions, not just to what is happening here and now. (loc. 43-44)
  • We make progress in our lives when we turn anxieties into specific questions. (loc. 89-90)
  • Worries about money tend to fall into four big groups. (loc. 76-77)
  • Without it my life is going to have lots of pains and hassles. (loc. 77-77)
  • Money will force me to spend a lot of my life just making enough to get by. (loc. 78-79)
  • I’ll miss out on the good things that I long for. (loc. 82-82)
  • Money is like a virus. (loc. 85-85)
  • Money worries occur because we cannot give accurate enough answers to the underlying questions: 1. What do I need money for? That is, what is important to me? 2. How much money do I need to do that? 3. What is the best way for me to get that money? 4. What are my economic responsibilities to other people? (loc. 90-94)
  • This worry, it turns out, is not really to do with the car itself. Rather, it is to do with imagination and social relations. So, what exactly am I worrying about? On reflection, it emerges that I’m worried about not taking care of things properly. If I’d looked after the car properly, it could still be in fine condition. Then I wouldn’t worry about it being ten years old and an average make. (loc. 113-116)
  • My worries, here, are clearly only in part about money. They are also worries about being liked, about the well-being of my children, about my relationship with my secret hopes of fulfilment and achievement, and about the coherence of my life. (loc. 135-137)
  • Trying to solve all your money worries by addressing the quantity of money – either by increasing it or managing with less – isn’t the ideal strategy. What is key is addressing your relationship with money and the feelings you have about it. (loc. 147-149)
  • Angst is unavoidable. Money is such an important theme in life that we should worry about it. The goal is not to avoid all anxious or sobering thoughts about money. (loc. 174-175)
  • Worry is a name for mental effort: ideally one wants to worry more insightfully and more purposefully. The aim of adult life, one might say, is to worry well. We worry about things that matter; worry implies care. So: how much should you care about money? In what ways should you care about money? And for what reasons should you care about money? Should you feel fearful of money? Self-knowledge, skill and courage – the true antidotes to fear – do not make danger go away. They enable us to live a more flourishing life, despite the existence of danger. (loc. 177-181)
  • Deep down, very often money is not money. It is proof of goodness; it is the cause of evil; it is victory over a rival; it is the path to love; it is guarantor of sexual pleasure; it is poison; it is the death of childhood. (loc. 273-275)
  • To cultivate self-awareness you need to examine the key episodes of your private money history. Are you proud of yourself in relation to money? When have you been most humiliated or embarrassed about money? How did you feel about the people who were around at that time? How has money figured in your relationships? Did your upbringing encourage a healthy attitude towards money? (loc. 326-328)
  • Money is essentially a means of exchange. It’s the middle-man that our ancient systems of barter required in order to function. Money in itself is abstract. Pretty much anything can become money and money can become pretty much anything. (loc. 398-399)
  • Ultimately the task in life is to translate efforts and activities that are inherently worthwhile into possessions and experiences that are themselves of lasting and true value. That is the ideal money cycle. (loc. 416-418)
  • Our relationship with money becomes unhealthy when we remove it from this cycle. That happens when we stop seeing money as potential possessions and experiences – but rather see possessions and experiences as potential money. That’s the situation of the person who does not see a painting, but only a price; who does not see an education, but only earning potential. And it happens when we see our activities just as ways of making money and not as activities to be evaluated for their inherent worth. (loc. 418-421)
  • We are talking about a psychological matter here. It is a question of attitude. In a person’s mind, is a house primarily a home and secondarily an economic vehicle? Or is it primarily an economic concern and secondarily a place where life is lived? I think it is clear which attitude is better. (loc. 428-430)
  • Money can indeed buy things that make you feel serene: the plush hotel room, the country cottage. But there are many possible sources of serenity, such as a good temperament, stable relationships, taking physical exercise, possessing a religious belief, listening to music, that have no fixed relationship with money. (loc. 443-445)
  • Money can purchase the symbols but not the causes of serenity and buoyancy. In a straightforward way we must agree that money cannot buy happiness. (loc. 447-449)
  • A good life is still a life. It must involve its full share of suffering, loneliness, disappointment and coming to terms with one’s own mortality and the deaths of those one loves. To live a life that is good as a life involves all this. (loc. 456-458)
  • Flourishing captures what we actually aspire to: the best use of our capacities and abilities; involvement in things we take to be worthwhile; the formation and expression of one’s best self. (loc. 458-459)
  • That’s why flourishing is a more accurate term than happiness for what we want from life. (loc. 459-461)
  • What money is really good at is enabling action and allowing us to obtain material possessions. Money is a source of power and influence. (loc. 464-465)
  • Potentially, flourishing continues to rise as money increases – the line does not flatten off as it does in the money/happiness graph we looked at before. (loc. 468-469)
  • Money brings about good consequences – helps us live valuable lives – only when joined with ‘virtues’. (loc. 473-474)
  • The goal of a relationship is that both people flourish together. And because money is a crucial ingredient in flourishing, it is a crucial ingredient in marriage. (loc. 522-523)
  • Instead of dismissing this kind of experience as just fantasy, or endlessly repeating it, one should examine it, learn from it. Not rejecting it means, to start with, accepting a bit of pain. I’ve imagined something genuinely good and I can’t have it. I’m not going to tell myself that it isn’t good, simply because I can’t have it. (loc. 568-571)
  • What matters is what lies behind them: the sense of serenity; the cosiness; the ideas of accomplishment and competence, good organization and a warm family life. (loc. 597-598)
  • When you analyse what’s really speaking to you, it often turns out that it’s not really a desire for more wealth but the idea of escaping some of the more mundane parts of your current life; that feeling of ‘starting afresh’ and being a slightly different, slightly better person. (loc. 603-605)
  • Ideally, the right income is that which allows us to meet our true needs. (loc. 621-621)
  • Ask yourself ‘How good will it be for me to have this thing in my life?’ In other words, the need/want distinction goes right to the heart of questions about identity, ethics and the meaning of life. You can’t address money properly unless you think about these things seriously. (loc. 631-633)
  • It is important to understand that ‘need/want’ does not map onto ‘basic/refined’ or ‘cheap/luxurious’. And for powerful reasons. ‘Need/want’ is a psychological distinction relative to individual flourishing and the pursuit of one’s best self. ‘Basic/refined’ is a distinction about the level of complexity of an object. ‘Cheap/expensive’ is a distinction to do with price and demand. (loc. 646-649)
  • We have to work out our needs first, without reference to price. It’s entirely possible that you may not be able to afford certain things you need. It is also possible that, even when something is affordable and wanted, it might still be a bad idea to purchase it. (loc. 649-651)
  • Higher needs are often met in indirect ways. What we really need is time, mental space, understanding, a level of engagement with the minds and lives of others. (loc. 671-672)
  • If someone has high status because they are wise, generous, sensitive to beauty and bring out the best in others – then absolutely their high status is deserved. If we envy those qualities in them, and therefore seek to acquire them ourselves, then envy is playing a productive role in life. (loc. 692-694)
  • Status anxiety feeds money worries. (loc. 702-703)
  • Try to describe what you actually need in order to live a flourishing life – including taking responsibility for others. (loc. 707-708)
  • Then ask: What wants do I have that are, in fact, less central to my long-term well-being? It can be painful making these decisions. They require downgrading certain wants and leaving them unfulfilled. But that is the price of concentrating money resources in the most important places. (loc. 742-744)
  • Price is a public matter – a negotiation between supply and demand. (loc. 747-748)
  • Value, on the other hand, is a personal, ethical and aesthetic judgement – assigned finally by individuals, and founded on their perceptiveness, wisdom and character (loc. 750-751)
  • Here are the secrets of these resourceful characters. (loc. 758-758)
  • 1. They know what is important in creating an experience and what isn’t. For instance, at a dinner party most people don’t really care what the wine is so long as it is drinkable. (loc. 758-760)
  • 2. They don’t follow fashion (loc. 760-760)
  • 3. They have good taste: they can home in on what they really like and why they like it, (loc. 762-762)
  • Here are the secrets of these resourceful characters: 1. They know what is important in creating an experience and what isn’t. For instance, at a dinner party most people don’t really care what the wine is so long as it is drinkable. 2. They don’t follow fashion – which inflates prices. They judge objects, ideas and people on their intrinsic merits (rather than on the reflection of their status – what others think). 3. They have good taste: they can home in on what they really like and why they like it, and therefore identify it in less obvious places and cases. 4. They are creative: they look at potential and are not worried about taking responsibility for realizing potential. They have the inner drive and flair to do this. (loc. 758-764)
  • There is a general worry here that ‘capitalism’ is a damaged system, but one that we are probably stuck with for a very long time. It often looks quite cruel and yet there is no clear path out of it. (loc. 912-913)
  • It seems too difficult to combine flourishing financially and being a good person. We worry that we can’t have both. (loc. 915-915)
  • So those who wish to see the flourishing of such matters have to engage with the marketplaces in which a culture is enacted. And commercialization is the name of that engagement. (loc. 961-963)
  • They have found a way of making the good flourish in the marketplace. (loc. 970-971)
  • A standardized hotel room, for instance, typically lacks soul. But that’s because it standardizes the soulless aspects of accommodation. With greater insight and skill we could standardize homeliness and intimacy. (loc. 984-986)
  • Money can be made in really good ways. So we should always be asking how people made their money – not just how much they happen to have. When wealth is made by really serving the best interests of humanity, then the people who make money this way are our friends – in imagination, I mean. So you don’t have to be anti-money to be critical of many of the sources of wealth. (loc. 1034-1037)
  • It’s not naive to think that you can pursue profit and do something inherently good at the same time. It’s just tricky – but that’s fine, work is about solving tricky problems. (loc. 1045-1046)
  • The point is to equip oneself for a life of not being rich, but also of not longing fruitlessly to be so. (loc. 1055-1056)
  • The rich-by-inheritance are prone to guilt. (loc. 1058-1058)
  • These people are the natural targets of envy. They are continually confronted by people who feel ‘You have it easy while the rest of us have to slave away.’ (loc. 1061-1062)
  • Money does not liberate people in the way that we assume it must. (loc. 1077-1078)
  • One should also note that wealth does not protect people from feeling envy. (loc. 1072-1072)
  • The person who can afford to go out every day to lunch and drink two bottles of champagne has to refrain from doing so, if they are to have a decent life. So every day they have to fight off a temptation. Immediately the idea of lunch and champagne feels very appealing. But it leads nowhere. Every day they could jump in a plane and go off somewhere else: but to what purpose? (loc. 1087-1089)
  • Many people have more than enough cash to equal the achievement. But they don’t compete in this league. They underachieve, relative to their resources. (loc. 1098-1099)
  • St Francis loved poverty because he loved something else: nature and simplicity. (loc. 1124-1124)
  • By being distanced from the noise and striving of the great world one can see people and things as they really are. (loc. 1126-1127)
  • If you do not care for the things that other people want your motives are true. (loc. 1133-1133)
  • To be sure, just being poor is no guarantee that any of these benefits will accrue: they don’t attach themselves automatically where there is an absence of cash. Rather they depend upon a voluntary condition: a willingness to not have the things that most people do want. They come from not being afraid of lack of money. They depend, positively, on something else: inner security. (loc. 1138-1141)
  • The point, here, isn’t that it is good to be poor. These examples are of very unusual men. The lesson they point to is that people become less concerned about money the more they are devoted to something else. (loc. 1146-1147)
  • There is pleasure to be found in simple things, once we stop resenting the fact that they are not grander. (loc. 1164-1164)
  • Money troubles are really just about money – not about the relationship. If I have a heap of debts and bills and no money I’m in real trouble; and it doesn’t matter how interesting or mature my view of life is, or how imaginative I am, or how beautiful my taste. None of those fine qualities will help. I’ve either got to find more cash, or restructure, or go under. Our money worries are almost all about the relationship. They are largely about what is going on in our minds. And the solution – the way to worry less about money – turns out to be about improving what we as individuals bring to the relationship. We need to look at our own contribution. We need to become more imaginative, more patient, more attentive to the lessons of our own experience, more serious about the things we most care for, more canny, more independent in our judgements. But most importantly, we have to figure out what we actually need. (loc. 1165-1172)