An Amazing Cocktail Party

An Amazing Cocktail Party

I just finished reading Tony Robbins’ new book, Money – Master the Game

It’s a terrific read with many insights, as long as you can get past numerous errors and Tony’s overbearing mojo at times.

When I read his 600-page dissertation on the wealth management business, it reminded me of an amazing cocktail party – both the unforgettable moments and regrettable interactions that occur when too many stiff ones are thrown back.


A Who’s Who

Any great cocktail party is made or ruined by its guest list. 

For his book, Tony assembled a group of A-listers that includes his clients of the past 25 years. The book includes conversations with Charles Schwab, Carl Icahn, Ray Dalio, among other giants.

For starters, then, Tony satisfied Rule No. 1 for the perfect cocktail bash: Bring together an interesting group of people, each with truly unique perspectives.

But that’s only part of the reason Tony’s book is filled with great material. The other is that Tony asks great questions that can open up curmudgeons like Carl Icahn.

Here’s one example: Tony asked the who’s who, “If you couldn’t leave any of your money to your children, but only a portfolio or a set of financial principles to pass on to help them thrive, what would it be?”

Charles Schwab responded by saying he would leave his heirs just enough so they couldn’t live lavishly. He wants his children to define their own path, rather than having money define them.

A couple of Tony’s other favorite questions: “Tell me your story.” Or, “Describe your family.”

Thus, he abided by Rule No. 2 of cocktail etiquette: Be an attentive host.

By asking good questions of his guests, Tony’s one-hour scheduled interviews frequently ran three or four hours.  You don’t get that much time with the who’s who if the conversations are boring.

For advisors who want to get closer to clients, this is a lesson from the book worth heeding. Asking provocative questions and letting people talk about themselves is one of the best ways to draw out clients and prospects.


Where Tony Misses The Mark

Many reviews of the book have been critical. Advisors and industry observers alike were offended by Tony’s simplistic approach to wealth management.

I understand why.

Tony basically collected a bunch of cocktail party tips and then freely shared them without a critical eye. This is the classic problem every advisor faces: How to talk a well-meaning client out of a hot tip from someone who appears to know what they’re talking about.

In fact, advisors know almost all tips are yawners and don’t fit within the larger wealth management strategy. Tony’s transgression is that he perpetuates the myth of a silver bullet myth – the hot tip. Sound judgment and good process always trump the scintillating tidbit unearthed after a few martinis.


The Essence of Tony’s Message

Despite that shortcoming, Tony’s genius is inspiring us to be better people. This is the key takeaway of the book.

He nails it by asserting that mastering money isn’t going to make anyone happy. You may be more financially secure, but money won’t bring you fulfillment. To be successful in business and in life, it has to be more than just the money.

*   *   *

Love him or hate him, Tony put together an epic party.

I hope you don’t swear off the entire book because of the reviews or some of his misplaced guidance. There is definite value in his larger messages: Focus on the important things in life and learn what you can from the most respected people in the industry.



Jeff Spears is Founder and CEO of Sanctuary Wealth Services, a business accelerator for independent advisors and author of the blog, Wealth Consigliere. Follow Jeff on Twitter and Facebook.

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