The UK Corner

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The UK Corner book review: The Wealth Cure: Putting Money in its Place by Hill Harper

With news reports threatening another recession, many people around the world would do well to read this book. Though Actor/New York Times best selling author Hill Harper speaks primarily to an American audience, his messages are universal. The Wealth Cure is an antidote to the long-standing toxic culture of excess, which pervades much of the world. Harper questions the allure of ‘bling’, the constant need to upgrade and the pressure/desire to keep up with the Joneses, and explores what these things conceal.

He diagnoses spiritual impoverishment within a society with misaligned values. His suggested remedies for austerity include changing attitudes and putting money in its place. To change our definition of wealth and find balance, Harper challenges us to list the factors which make us feel wealthy bearing in mind this formula: money+wellness=wealth. It is an apt equation considering that the book was inspired by Harper’s shock diagnosis with thyroid cancer.

With our new perspective, Harper encourages us to be grateful for our bills (yes, you read right but remember we have a new perspective), and to improve our financial literacy by learning about the stock exchange, mortgages, our credit scores, taking calculated investment risks, managing our money with budgets, being practical about wills and health insurance, and saving. He pleads for us to comply with our own financial rescue plans so that we can maintain financial health and wealth, thrive, and survive, in turbulent economic times.

As we take control and become more empowered with our choices, more confident, responsible, patient and focused – more of our best selves, we are encouraged to see money as a tool, an energetic tool, which we can use as architects in our own lives, carving out our dreams. And we can still dream according to Harper, if we wake up and smell the coffee about true wealth.

He does not preach that we should abandon all desire for material things – many of which depreciate – though he does cite Director Tom Shadyac’s documentary I Am, which detailed how Shadyac downgraded his possessions to live a simpler life. The only thing Harper insists is that we consider what we truly need, and that we should simply ‘hail happiness’ and desire ‘unreasonable joy.’

Hill Harper


The Wealth Cure is a joy to read largely due to its engaging parable approach and wise words, many of which are passed on from Harper’s friends and relatives. Other pull-quotes come from sources as varied as Rappers Ice Cube and Will Smith, to philosophers, religious leaders and financial advisers. The pages are also decorated with Harper’s passion for Etymology, and adorned with inspiring examples of resourcefulness and entrepreneurship embodied by the likes of Shane and Shawn Ward.

Though Harvard graduate Harper does make a distinction between ‘smart money’ such as cash spent on goods and services that we need, and ‘dumb money’ such as interest on credit cards, this is not a dry tale of profit and loss. It is far richer than that – laced with history lessons about the likes of Dred Scott and George Pullman.

Documenting the cross-country train ride, which was the breeding ground for much of the copy, Harper, who has had successful surgery, takes the reader on an emotional journey where we can meet the characters in his life, and learn from their relationships with money; good and bad, as we begin to reevaluate our own.

The Wealth Cure is out now published by Gotham Books priced $26/£18.99 RRP. It is also available as an E-Book and as Penguin Audio.

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