My first impressions of The Prosperous Peasant were that it’s written in very much the same manner as The Richest Man in Babylon, just set in Samurai-era Japan and with slightly different lessons. The story follows two friends, Jiro and Gonsuke, as they seek to find enlightenment from the renowned Samurai, Hideyoshi. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
JD gives a great review of the details of the book, explaining the five secrets, so I’ll pass in that department and share only my opinion of the book as a whole. I really enjoyed it because it told a colorful story while weaving in important principles everyone would do well to understand. JD complains about the book starting slowly, which I agree that it does, and gets a little confusing with all the Japanese terms, which I also agree that it does, but I feel all of those help establish the environment in which the story will be told.
I have yet to ask my wife to take a look at this book but I suspect those who are a fan of fiction would find this book far more appealing than any book written by a personal finance expert. Those books, while perfect for people who want hard numbers, analysis, and pretty graphs; turn most “regular” people off because they’re boring and dry. I feel that this book, and the Richest Man in Babylon, try to marry the entertaining fiction and the valuable prosperity lessons into a book that will appeal to a different class of reader.
Lastly, I believe this style of writing is the only way to convey some of the softer lessons in life in a way that’s engaging and interesting. You’d be hard-pressed to come up with numbers to back up a lesson like “Gratitude attracts luck,” but you can tell a story that does so. It would be difficult to prove, and it would be completely boring to read, how “Conceivable means achievable,” but a fictional narrative handles it quite well.
So, if you’re a number cruncher type, you’ll want to pass on this book. If you’re more into a fictional narrative where you aren’t assaulted by tons of figures and numbers, you may find this book right up your alley.