Home » Book reviews

Money lessons from unexpected sources: the importance of time

I do realise that you, my readers, have probably come to expect more from me, including my taste in literature. I love good, thoughtful and thought provoking books be these novels or technical, this is true. At the same time, and please try not to be disappointed, from time to time, particularly when tiredness takes over and my brain is screaming for a break, I do indulge in what I call ‘masterful rubbish’ – these are books that are well written, they draw you in and make you forget about all else but high literature these are certainly not.

So, yes, during the last three weeks or so, I read quite a few of the trilogies around: The Twilight Saga, The Hunger Games and, of course it would have been hard to avoid it even if I wanted to, Fifty Shades of Grey. Don’t smirk – I was a complete nerd as usual and am probably one of the few adult women around who thinks that The Twilight Saga is much more erotic than Fifty Shades. I was also busy working out the ‘structural equivalence’ between the two; and some well known classic English novels; may even write about this one but…

…what I really wanted to say today is that The Twilight Saga contains couple of lessons about money and our lives.

For the ones who have not read it, this is the love story (and adventure) between two teens: a teen vampire (Edward Cullen) and a girl (Bella). He is handsome, dangerous and completely smitten with Bella – it is not the ‘normal’ sugary stuff about feelings; no, Edward is smitten at a very primal level: the level of blood. Bella, of course, falls for him as well…and once this is sorted the adventure begins: usually evolving around Bella getting in trouble.

What are these money lessons then?

Edward Cullen is also very, very rich. Guys, if now you are thinking ‘I knew it! You have to be rich to get the girls.’ you will be wrong – well, you will be wrong in the context of this book (and other structurally similar books). What attracts the girls is danger and passion, not money as such; the money is more of prop than a main character in these stories…and I suspect in many life stories as well. An important prop but still…a prop. So:

Lesson One: Having money may be a necessary but it is not sufficient condition in life.

Edward Cullen is rich for two reasons: one, he is immortal and has already been around for close to hundred years and two, he has a sister who can see the future – a very handy talent when it comes to the stock market.

Lesson Two: If you want to be rich allow sufficiently long time and become informed; this is the closest thing to being able to see the future.

This reminds me of a rule from systems theory: the rule of equi-finality. This claims that any system is bound to end up in exactly the same state as any other system given sufficient time. In other word, inequality stems from the fact that out time is limited and we chose to devote different time to different developments.

Under conditions of immortality, getting rich is not problematic – anyone can do it. Given that we are mortal, the question we ought to be asking ourselves is ‘what have I done today to ensure that I am taking full advantage of my time on this planet?’.

19 thoughts on “Money lessons from unexpected sources: the importance of time”

  1. I did not realize being rich was a requirement!  I know I become more attractive or handsome as I add a zero to my net worth.  Unfortunately, I am married (44 years).  Oh well, I think she stays with me for lot more than the money or at least I hope so.

    • @Krant: Thanks for spotting this one – it should say ‘may be’ rather than ‘is’. And as a clarification, here we are talking about a very specific kind of fantasy. In fact, I am a bit surpirsed that Fifty Shades of Grey apparently sold 50,000 copies only last week – and I am assuming that it is mostly read by women. These are stories where the men are rich – but as I said this is only so that they can be perceived as powerful, confident and have the means to indulge the female character. I also will have to add that all these books end very soon after the characters meet each other; I wonder why :).


      In reality, most of us have relationships where we become partners in building something – or not, as the case may be. And of course there are always good reasons to stay together for 20, 40, 60 years – in real life, not in fiction.

    • @Brent: This as well! But how do we ensure that the whole thing doesn’t become monotonous? People are generally not very good coping with boredom – they can put up with it but vitality and hapiness are gone.

  2. Well, I thought everyone else on the planet read the Twilight saga long ago.  Fro that reason, I cannot agree or disagree with your review.  I also know nothing about true wealth.  But, from my position of ignorance, I totally agree with all you wrote. I especially agree that wealth is not the be all , end all.  Thanks for another thought provoking post.

    • @Cil: You goit me there – I am a very slow developer :). And I am very glad you agree about wealth – and we are not talking about obscene wealth but enough to be able to do fun things. Whilst I believe that people can have inexpensive fun I still think that being able to afford sofistication one need to pay for it.

  3. I love your final point. Incredibly motivational (especially on a Friday morning when my mind is starting to wander toward the weekend….).
     By the way, my wife is attracted to me because I’m a blogger, which is (of course) a very dangerous occupation. She’s attracted to the primal nature of financial writing. Roar! 

    • @AverageJoe: Ha! What do you know? I worked hard to improve the Alexa ranking of my blog because of a promise Sam mentioned in his ‘pitching’ post – it doesn’t work for me. Then again, I probably will have to ask John whether me being a blogger does anything for him :).

  4. I know where you are coming from… no I don’t get my money lessons from Twilight; however, I find money lessons from unexpected sources as well.
    Also, having the right time horizon, just like you said, is absolutely important in most cases.
    It is too bad they don’t relate pop cultural enough to such PF lessons. If they did, people would understand their finances instead of just what’s goes on in the latest episode of Jersey Shore (no offense).

    • @Roshawn: You just made very cleat one of the points that was implicit in the post: that pop-culture contains messages about different aspects of our lives (good pop-culture) but these should be made clearer. And after all, texts are co-produced between writers and readers – so what I read in a light novels is probably different from what someone else would. And no offense taken about the Jersey Shore reference – this is a sign of the times and the mentality we have been developing. Probably it is time to start getting the message out there that paying tax is good – this is what society going. Then again, Margaret Thatcher said ‘there is no such thing as society’ and some people still live by that.

  5. You have a gift for putting words together in a creative way. I loved tying the contemporary themes in with money matters. This is one of the greatest truths:

    Lesson Two: If you want to be rich allow sufficiently long time and become informed; this is the closest thing to being able to see the future. 

    Well done. 

  6. Great post. I try to live every day I get with meaning. Each day is a gift. 

    I think that we are wealthy with our experiences and with the people that surround us in our lives. Money and possessions don’t enter into the mix and are always temporary. The people you love and the memories you make are what lasts. 

  7. Pingback: Yakezie Carnival July 8, 2012 – Summer Fun Edition | Financial News Blog 2012

Leave a comment