Thomas Stanley and William Danko didn’t expect The Millionaire Next Door, their case study of America’s millionaires, to become a huge bestseller. Both academics at the University of Georgia, they set out to learn about the habits and lifestyles of the nation’s highest earners, not to write a personal finance bible.
Readers were blown away by Stanley and Danko’s findings, though, namely that most millionaires don’t own fancy cars or throw lavish yacht parties. On the contrary, they live by principles of “thrift, low status, discipline, low consumption, risk, and very hard work.” From this book, many readers realized that the dream of amassing over $1 million was not as out of reach as they had thought.
Stanley and Danko’s 1996 bestseller can still teach us a lot about personal finance today, but it also falls short in a few key ways. Read on for a full summary and critique of The Millionaire Next Door.