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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group

The Science of Getting Rich

The Complete Original Edition with Bonus Books

GPS Guides to Life

Wallace D. Wattles

St. Martin's Essentials



The Science of Getting Rich was originally published in 1910, followed quickly by The Science of Being Well and The Science of Being Great, all three of which are included in this one volume. They have all remained in print and available since their original publication, but it was The Science of Getting Rich that sold the most and has influenced countless people in the century or so since publication. Among them are Rhonda Byrne, who used much of the material in the book for her book and movie The Secret, and Wayne Dyer, who also used much of the material in the book in his own writings.

Why has The Science of Getting Rich stood the test of time and stayed in print since its initial publication in 1910? I think it is because Wallace Wattles doesn’t spend time giving “tips” on what to do with money or finances, but rather he illustrates an entire way of life that will bring not only financial riches, but riches of understanding, confidence and meaning. The Science of Getting Rich—like Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, which would follow this in publication in 1937—is titled to attract as many readers as possible. People would pick up the book expecting to find a manual for making money, and instead they would find a guide to life.

In a succinct manner, Wattles was able to describe living a life to the fullest and making the most of ourselves. He described this as living a “Certain Way”—that is, to live in the confidence of knowing who you truly are, and the fact that Life (capital “L,” meaning the All There Is) wants and even expects you to succeed.

In this book, readers are taught the truth of their nature, as well as how to use the mind to heal and transform any part of life, including (and for many readers, especially) finances. But Wattles is quick to point out that riches don’t come without action. He advises in this book not to wait for circumstances to change before taking action, but rather taking action to change your circumstances. What actions should you take? Those actions that are in accordance to living in your Certain Way. Be in harmony with the laws of Life, and you will experience and create that harmony in your life.

Wallace Wattles was an interesting fellow. Born in 1860, he lived much of his life in Illinois and Indiana. Wattles was a progressive thinker for the time. He eventually became interested in the principles of New Thought, the transcendentalist-based thinking that was becoming popular at the turn of the century. Influenced by people such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Emma Curtis Hopkins, he soon began giving lectures on his New Thought philosophy. Eventually he wrote a number of books and pamphlets, gave many lectures, and prospered greatly. His daughter Florence, in a letter she wrote about her father after he died (in 1911) stated that “He lived every page [of the books he wrote] … His life was truly the powerful life.”

This is exactly why the three books in this volume have stood the test of time, and lasted these many years. Every word is drenched with the author’s personal experience. He writes with the power of conviction that only comes from having lived the message he wrote about. He didn’t need to spend hundreds of pages trying to prove and explain each idea; he stated what he knew, based on what he experienced, and though brief, it is more powerful than books that have many times the number of pages.

If you are reading The Science of Getting Rich for the very first time, I envy you. I remember reading it the first time, and found myself reading, re-reading, underlining and highlighting many sentences on every page. Even though this is a very short book, it took me a long time to read it initially because I found it to be so rich with meaning and information. And now, in this volume, you get to read it and the two sequels. If you are indeed reading it for the first time, be ready to be introduced to an ideal way of living that can transform your life if you let it. Or if you have already read it before (or like me, have read it multiple times), I know that each time you reread it you will find new ideas to focus on, new ways to use the ideas in the book in your life.

Read it, but more important, apply the ideas in this book to your life and see what happens. If you are like millions of readers before, and you live your life in the Certain Way, you will see your life expanded. Use The Science of Getting Rich as an experiment to bring positive change to your life.




Whatever may be said in praise of poverty, the fact remains that it is not possible to live a really complete or successful life unless one is rich. No man can rise to his greatest possible height in talent or soul development unless he has plenty of money; for to unfold the soul and to develop talent he must have many things to use, and he cannot have these things unless he has money to buy them with.

Man develops in mind, soul, and body by making use of things, and society is so organized that man must have money in order to become the possessor of things; therefore, the basis of all advancement for man must be the science of getting rich.

The object of all life is development; and everything that lives has an inalienable right to all the development it is capable of attaining.

Man’s right to life means his right to have the free and unrestricted use of all the things which may be necessary to his fullest mental, spiritual, and physical unfoldment; or, in other words, his right to be rich.

In this book, I shall not speak of riches in a figurative way; to be really rich does not mean to be satisfied or contented with a little. No man ought to be satisfied with a little if he is capable of using and enjoying more. The purpose of Nature is the advancement and unfoldment of life; and every man should have all that can contribute to the power, elegance, beauty, and richness of life; to be content with less is sinful.

The man who owns all he wants for the living of all the life he is capable of living is rich; and no man who has not plenty of money can have all he wants. Life has advanced so far, and become so complex, that even the most ordinary man or woman requires a great amount of wealth in order to live in a manner that even approaches completeness. Every person naturally wants to become all that he is capable of becoming; this desire to realize innate possibilities is inherent in human nature; we cannot help wanting to be all that we can be. Success in life is becoming what you want to be; you can become what you want to be only by making use of things, and you can have the free use of things only as you become rich enough to buy them. To understand the science of getting rich is therefore the most essential of all knowledge.

There is nothing wrong in wanting to get rich. The desire for riches is really the desire for a richer, fuller, and more abundant life; and that desire is praiseworthy. The man who does not desire to live more abundantly is abnormal, and so the man who does not desire to have money enough to buy all he wants is abnormal.

There are three motives for which we live; we live for the body, we live for the mind, we live for the soul. No one of these is better or holier than the other; all are alike desirable, and no one of the three—body, mind, or soul—can live fully if either of the others is cut short of full life and expression. It is not right or noble to live only for the soul and deny mind or body; and it is wrong to live for the intellect and deny body and soul.

We are all acquainted with the loathsome consequences of living for the body and denying both mind and soul; and we see that real life means the complete expression of all that man can give forth through body, mind, and soul. Whatever he can say, no man can be really happy or satisfied unless his body is living fully in every function, and unless the same is true of his mind and his soul. Wherever there is unexpressed possibility, or function not performed, there is unsatisfied desire. Desire is possibility seeking expression, or function seeking performance.

Man cannot live fully in body without good food, comfortable clothing, and warm shelter; and without freedom from excessive toil. Rest and recreation are also necessary to his physical life.

He cannot live fully in mind without books and time to study them, without opportunity for travel and observation, or without intellectual companionship.

To live fully in mind he must have intellectual recreations, and must surround himself with all the objects of art and beauty he is capable of using and appreciating.

To live fully in soul, man must have love; and love is denied expression by poverty.

Man’s highest happiness is found in the bestowal of benefits on those he loves; love finds its most natural and spontaneous expression in giving. The man who has nothing to give cannot fill his place as a husband or father, as a citizen, or as a man. It is in the use of material things that man finds full life for his body, develops his mind, and unfolds his soul. It is therefore of supreme importance to him that he should be rich.

It is perfectly right that you should desire to be rich; if you are a normal man or woman you cannot help doing so. It is perfectly right that you should give your best attention to the Science of Getting Rich, for it is the noblest and most necessary of all studies. If you neglect this study, you are derelict in your duty to yourself, to God, and to humanity; for you can render God and humanity no greater service than to make the most of yourself.



There is a Science of getting rich, and it is an exact science, like algebra or arithmetic. There are certain laws which govern the process of acquiring riches; once these laws are learned and obeyed by any man, he will get rich with mathematical certainty.

The ownership of money and property comes as a result of doing things in a certain way; those who do things in this Certain Way, whether on purpose or accidentally, get rich; while those who do not do things in this Certain Way, no matter how hard they work or how able they are, remain poor.

It is a natural law that like causes always produce like effects; and, therefore, any man or woman who learns to do things in this Certain Way will infallibly get rich.

That the above statement is true is shown by the following facts:—

Getting rich is not a matter of environment, for, if it were, all the people in certain neighborhoods would become wealthy; the people of one city would all be rich, while those of other towns would all be poor; or the inhabitants of one state would roll in wealth, while those of an adjoining state would be in poverty.

But everywhere we see rich and poor living side by side, in the same environment, and often engaged in the same vocations. When two men are in the same locality, and in the same business, and one gets rich while the other remains poor, it shows that getting rich is not, primarily, a matter of environment. Some environments may be more favorable than others, but when two men in the same business are in the same neighborhood, and one gets rich while the other fails, it indicates that getting rich is the result of doing things in a Certain Way.

And further, the ability to do things in this Certain Way is not due solely to the possession of talent, for many people who have great talent remain poor, while others who have very little talent get rich.

Studying the people who have got rich, we find that they are an average lot in all respects, having no greater talents and abilities than other men. It is evident that they do not get rich because they possess talents and abilities that other men have not, but because they happen to do things in a Certain Way.

Getting rich is not the result of saving, or “thrift”; many very penurious people are poor, while free spenders often get rich.

Nor is getting rich due to doing things which others fail to do; for two men in the same business often do almost exactly the same things, and one gets rich while the other remains poor or becomes a bankrupt.

From all these things, we must come to the conclusion that getting rich is the result of doing things in a Certain Way.

If getting rich is the result of doing things in a Certain Way, and if like causes always produce like effects, then any man or woman who can do things in that way can become rich, and the whole matter is brought within the domain of exact science.

The question arises here, whether this Certain Way may not be so difficult that only a few may follow it. This cannot be true, as we have seen, so far as natural ability is concerned. Talented people get rich, and blockheads get rich; intellectually brilliant people get rich, and very stupid people get rich; physically strong people get rich, and weak and sickly people get rich.

Some degree of ability to think and understand is, of course, essential; but in so far as natural ability is concerned, any man or woman who has sense enough to read and understand these words can certainly get rich.

Also, we have seen that it is not a matter of environment. Location counts for something; one would not go to the heart of the Sahara and expect to do successful business.

Getting rich involves the necessity of dealing with men, and of being where there are people to deal with; and if these people are inclined to deal in the way you want to deal, so much the better. But that is about as far as environment goes.

If anybody else in your town can get rich, so can you; and if anybody else in your state can get rich, so can you.

Again, it is not a matter of choosing some particular business or profession. People get rich in every business, and in every profession; while their next door neighbors in the same vocation remain in poverty.

It is true that you will do best in a business which you like, and which is congenial to you; and if you have certain talents which are well developed, you will do best in a business which calls for the exercise of those talents.

Also, you will do best in a business which is suited to your locality; an ice-cream parlor would do better in a warm climate than in Greenland, and a salmon fishery will succeed better in the Northwest than in Florida, where there are no salmon.

But, aside from these general limitations, getting rich is not dependent upon your engaging in some particular business, but upon your learning to do things in a Certain Way. If you are now in business, and anybody else in your locality is getting rich in the same business, while you are not getting rich, it is because you are not doing things in the same Way that the other person is doing them.

No one is prevented from getting rich by lack of capital. True, as you get capital the increase becomes more easy and rapid; but one who has capital is already rich, and does not need to consider how to become so. No matter how poor you may be, if you begin to do things in the Certain Way you will begin to get rich; and you will begin to have capital. The getting of capital is a part of the process of getting rich; and it is a part of the result which invariably follows the doing of things in the Certain Way.

You may be the poorest man on the continent, and be deeply in debt; you may have neither friends, influence, nor resources; but if you begin to do things in this Way, you must infallibly begin to get rich, for like causes must produce like effects. If you have no capital, you can get capital; if you are in the wrong business, you can get into the right business; if you are in the wrong location, you can go to the right location; and you can do so by beginning in your present business and in your present location to do things in the Certain Way which causes success.

Introduction copyright © 2020 by Joel Fotinos.