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God and Money: How We Discovered True Riches at Harvard Business School

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Two young Harvard MBAs on the fast track to wealth and power, tell their story of Gods transforming power and offer a look at joyful and radical generosity they call INFINITE GIVING. As lifelong Christians, both Greg Baumer and John Cortines tithed regularly. But they didnt give much thought to the intersection of faith and money until 2014 when, in the rather unlikely set Two young Harvard MBAs on the fast track to wealth and power, tell their story of Gods transforming power and offer a look at joyful and radical generosity they call INFINITE GIVING. As lifelong Christians, both Greg Baumer and John Cortines tithed regularly. But they didnt give much thought to the intersection of faith and money until 2014 when, in the rather unlikely setting of Harvard Business School, they met and began a searching exploration of these spiritual questions. God and Money takes the reader along on their journey to the audacious conclusion that God calls Christians to a far more radical task than building wealth. He calls them to give abundantly, and to lay aside their tendencies to become Spenders or Savers.


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Two young Harvard MBAs on the fast track to wealth and power, tell their story of Gods transforming power and offer a look at joyful and radical generosity they call INFINITE GIVING. As lifelong Christians, both Greg Baumer and John Cortines tithed regularly. But they didnt give much thought to the intersection of faith and money until 2014 when, in the rather unlikely set Two young Harvard MBAs on the fast track to wealth and power, tell their story of Gods transforming power and offer a look at joyful and radical generosity they call INFINITE GIVING. As lifelong Christians, both Greg Baumer and John Cortines tithed regularly. But they didnt give much thought to the intersection of faith and money until 2014 when, in the rather unlikely setting of Harvard Business School, they met and began a searching exploration of these spiritual questions. God and Money takes the reader along on their journey to the audacious conclusion that God calls Christians to a far more radical task than building wealth. He calls them to give abundantly, and to lay aside their tendencies to become Spenders or Savers.

30 review for God and Money: How We Discovered True Riches at Harvard Business School

  1. 5 out of 5

    David Huff

    The first thing that intrigued me about this book was that the study on which it is based took place at Harvard --- not known to be a bastion of evangelical spirituality. That said, the authors did a fine, comprehensive job presenting the Biblical case for generosity; even to the point of becoming "radical" givers themselves. They begin with a thorough look at what the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, has to say about money, wealth and giving, followed by seven core principles of Biblical wea The first thing that intrigued me about this book was that the study on which it is based took place at Harvard --- not known to be a bastion of evangelical spirituality. That said, the authors did a fine, comprehensive job presenting the Biblical case for generosity; even to the point of becoming "radical" givers themselves. They begin with a thorough look at what the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, has to say about money, wealth and giving, followed by seven core principles of Biblical wealth and giving. In the process, they also examine teachings from other faiths, as well as secular viewpoints, concerning finances and generosity. With that foundation laid, they then describe in detail three types of "money mindsets" (spender, saver, or servant), helping the reader locate themselves in one of the three categories. The last section is an exhaustive (sometimes exhausting) look at practical ways to plan and implement a lifetime giving strategy ... from a personal "board of directors" (for counsel and transparency) to preparing an annual financial report, goal-setting and much more. I'd have liked a few more "real-life" stories, not just of how individuals and families implemented the logistics and frameworks to be consistent givers, but how their heart-change happened and some of the unexpected insights and blessings they experienced along the way. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in making a genuine difference, and a life-changing impact in the world, through wise and generous giving.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Marissa

    Honestly one of the best books I have ever read. Not only does it have great spiritual examples and personal anecdotes, but John and Greg lead such lives of examples and are true servants of God and His Kingdom. If you are a person of faith and don't always feel the fulfillment of a Christ-lived life, or seek success but still feel empty, read this book! It'll change how you think about wealth, success, and your life's purpose Honestly one of the best books I have ever read. Not only does it have great spiritual examples and personal anecdotes, but John and Greg lead such lives of examples and are true servants of God and His Kingdom. If you are a person of faith and don't always feel the fulfillment of a Christ-lived life, or seek success but still feel empty, read this book! It'll change how you think about wealth, success, and your life's purpose

  3. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

    This book was so challenging! I really enjoyed it & will ponder its assertions & suggestions for a long time.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    One of the most important books I’ve read to date. I wish I had access to it as soon as I began my career making a paycheck (perhaps sooner). The guiding premise of the book is shifting the Christian mindset from “How much do I need to give?” to “How much do I need to keep?” Not only is stewardship rightly and thoroughly approached from the biblical view first and foremost, but the authors provide helpful frameworks that can serve as beneficial launching points for readers to make tangible chang One of the most important books I’ve read to date. I wish I had access to it as soon as I began my career making a paycheck (perhaps sooner). The guiding premise of the book is shifting the Christian mindset from “How much do I need to give?” to “How much do I need to keep?” Not only is stewardship rightly and thoroughly approached from the biblical view first and foremost, but the authors provide helpful frameworks that can serve as beneficial launching points for readers to make tangible changes towards a steward mindset. Specific topics like saving for a house, retirement, and even for future children’s inheritances are covered which I found most helpful, as many other Christian writings on the topics of finances steer clear of specifics and frameworks. I found the authors’ willingness to be transparent with their own lives extremely helpful in this regard. I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking biblical background and encouragement around giving while also looking for practical ways to implement in their own lives.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Phil Kline

    Early chapters are very basic for anyone familiar with basic financial theology, but the rest of the book is unique, offering windows into the way individual Christians exercise generosity and providing practical ideas and frameworks for money management - based on the idea that it's not "how much should I give?" but "how much do I need to keep?" Not all ideas will be applicable or helpful to all people, but the discussion itself is a fresh addition to a topic that doesn't get much non-general a Early chapters are very basic for anyone familiar with basic financial theology, but the rest of the book is unique, offering windows into the way individual Christians exercise generosity and providing practical ideas and frameworks for money management - based on the idea that it's not "how much should I give?" but "how much do I need to keep?" Not all ideas will be applicable or helpful to all people, but the discussion itself is a fresh addition to a topic that doesn't get much non-general attention.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sam Reader

    Biblically based approach to the topic of money. The first 100 pages were the best of the book. Many examples were of extremely high level income individuals that the common man wouldn’t be able to relate to. Otherwise, a sound book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Betsy Ray

    This book really transformed my thinking on giving and generosity . My favorite quote was ...a faithful reading of Scripture leads not to the question “How much should I give? “but rather to the question “How much do I need to keep?” The book doesn’t make you feel guilty for wanting to save for college or retirement, yet challenges you to think about how much is enough and reduce our earthly possessions by giving to kingdom causes while we are living. Note: this is not a “how to” book on getting This book really transformed my thinking on giving and generosity . My favorite quote was ...a faithful reading of Scripture leads not to the question “How much should I give? “but rather to the question “How much do I need to keep?” The book doesn’t make you feel guilty for wanting to save for college or retirement, yet challenges you to think about how much is enough and reduce our earthly possessions by giving to kingdom causes while we are living. Note: this is not a “how to” book on getting out debt.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ben Snyder

    Well written book that challenged my thinking around radical generosity and a foundation on which to build my relationship with money. I appreciated the foundational approach of Scripture as well as the significant time spent on practical application. The book does use examples of primarily upper class earners, but it was inspiring to these levels of radical generosity. The principles are widely applicable in the Christian community, but the experience of many of the examples is not normative. O Well written book that challenged my thinking around radical generosity and a foundation on which to build my relationship with money. I appreciated the foundational approach of Scripture as well as the significant time spent on practical application. The book does use examples of primarily upper class earners, but it was inspiring to these levels of radical generosity. The principles are widely applicable in the Christian community, but the experience of many of the examples is not normative. Overall the book is a good way to bring some practical talking points to a Scripturally-based mindset of radical generosity.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jose Cura-Zuniga

    A convicting, thoughtful, thorough, simple– and most importantly– biblical understanding of what a Christian’s relationship with money entails. The major idea of the book is that the question Christian’s should tackle with is not “How much should I give?” but rather, “How much should I keep?” given that everything we have is a blessing from God. This book explains what the Bible says about money, and how this knowledge can be applied to every aspect of our life (vacations, tithing, retirement, c A convicting, thoughtful, thorough, simple– and most importantly– biblical understanding of what a Christian’s relationship with money entails. The major idea of the book is that the question Christian’s should tackle with is not “How much should I give?” but rather, “How much should I keep?” given that everything we have is a blessing from God. This book explains what the Bible says about money, and how this knowledge can be applied to every aspect of our life (vacations, tithing, retirement, college fund, mortgage, etc.) This book has deeply impacted how I view money, and I know will be something I go back to re-read for many years to come.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brad Bevers

    Second time I've read this, even better this time around. This was my pick for best book I read in 2019, but much of what I planned on applying was interrupted by Covid. Going back and reading this again made me realize how valuable this book is, and its definitely worth re-reading again in the future. This one will really challenge you, and you probably won't agree with everything in it. The authors advocate for an annual income cap, a lifetime wealth cap, aggressive giving, and not leaving beh Second time I've read this, even better this time around. This was my pick for best book I read in 2019, but much of what I planned on applying was interrupted by Covid. Going back and reading this again made me realize how valuable this book is, and its definitely worth re-reading again in the future. This one will really challenge you, and you probably won't agree with everything in it. The authors advocate for an annual income cap, a lifetime wealth cap, aggressive giving, and not leaving behind a large inheritance for your kids. It's rare that a Christian book gives such definitive applications - whether you agree or disagree ultimately, you will be better off for having read it. Highly recommended.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Parker Primrose

    One of the most practical and powerful books on Christian living that I’ve read. Challenged, encouraged and equipped me to develop a Biblical approach to financial stewardship. Strong recommendation from me.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Emily Wiebold

    This book opened my eyes and will challenge me in ways I had never really thought about before. While I didn’t agree with all of the policies in it, it was still a great read. “How much do you really need to keep?”

  13. 4 out of 5

    Grant E. Dawson

    THE book to read if you want to know what God says about money and how we should live in light of what He has said.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    I appreciate the main question these authors attempt to ask their readers: when it comes to stewarding money, how much do you need to keep? The chapter on investing in eternity through giving is also helpful to think through giving effectively.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Will Pareja

    This is an excellent book. Thoughtful. I read it during a time of more deep pondering of radical discipleship especially financial. I wouldn’t call this a primer on generous living but more so an intermediate but very practical book. Other books like those by Randy Alcorn might better prime the potential reader of this book. The first third of the book feels like a discussion among high earning, wealthy Christians. It’s beneficial but you might get the sense of ‘I don’t really fit in here much’. This is an excellent book. Thoughtful. I read it during a time of more deep pondering of radical discipleship especially financial. I wouldn’t call this a primer on generous living but more so an intermediate but very practical book. Other books like those by Randy Alcorn might better prime the potential reader of this book. The first third of the book feels like a discussion among high earning, wealthy Christians. It’s beneficial but you might get the sense of ‘I don’t really fit in here much’. Just keep reading. The book will still have that flavor, but it’ll also become broader reaching us “middle class” earners. Church leaders, have a couple copies of this ready to give in a timely manner for those in your congregation who are hungry to invest more deeply in Kingdom work; or for those whose work takes them into financial districts. In other words, I think this book should make the cut for your theology of stewardship or work reading lists. It will be interesting to see a revision of this after the authors age to the end of their careers. I imagine the substance will not change but some of the anecdotes and wisdom might.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    It’s not that I disliked this book, it has some great examples, references to scripture, and practical advice, but the book’s target audience seems in a higher income bracket than a single, high school teacher. Even still, I like the idea that it’s not about how much you can give but how much you actually need to save and that frees you to give the rest. I also like the idea of living in a state of abundance and find that correlates well with gratitude journals, etc... and with a little creativi It’s not that I disliked this book, it has some great examples, references to scripture, and practical advice, but the book’s target audience seems in a higher income bracket than a single, high school teacher. Even still, I like the idea that it’s not about how much you can give but how much you actually need to save and that frees you to give the rest. I also like the idea of living in a state of abundance and find that correlates well with gratitude journals, etc... and with a little creativity, I can apply much of their research to time as opposed to money. But all the same, I would occasionally lose focus and drift off, especially when they mentioned how one of them had a 1k monthly budget for restaurants alone or when they brought up the rule of finance to buying a house with a mortgage that is only 25% of your monthly income. In my position right now, the comparisons were too far of a stretch for me to enjoy the book as much as I might in different circumstances.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Starson A

    Fantastic reading for those who believe that money and resource can be used and must be used for more than personal need.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Clayton Keenon

    5 stars for readers who are wealthy/upper middle class 3 stars for those who are not

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kristyn Dees

    A must read to help shape a healthy, Biblical, and relevant view on money, wealth, giving, saving, and spending. One of the better things I've read in awhile. A must read to help shape a healthy, Biblical, and relevant view on money, wealth, giving, saving, and spending. One of the better things I've read in awhile.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Written from a perspective outside my income bracket, but I’ve found the concepts helpful all the same. Recommended!

  21. 5 out of 5

    David Sharp

    I read this hoping for some fresh insights on stewardship. I can’t say there was anything groundbreaking. Shortly after God saved me, he began revealing the many layers of sin wrapped up in my relationship with money. He’s not done with me yet, but by his grace I am not the man I once was. One benefit of reading this book is that it has stirred in me a renewed desire to not become complacent I want to take some of the principles that the authors set out and apply them more precisely in the final I read this hoping for some fresh insights on stewardship. I can’t say there was anything groundbreaking. Shortly after God saved me, he began revealing the many layers of sin wrapped up in my relationship with money. He’s not done with me yet, but by his grace I am not the man I once was. One benefit of reading this book is that it has stirred in me a renewed desire to not become complacent I want to take some of the principles that the authors set out and apply them more precisely in the final years of my life. “Generosity is the joyful response of a heart that has been transformed by Christ’s redemptive love.” The one critique I have for the book is that unlike Randy Alcorn’s works, Is that it primarily use examples of outliers in the Christian community - those people making the really big money. In that respect, it’s sometimes hard to relate to. Nonetheless, principles such as spending and wealth limits, prioritization of giving to the local church, stretching to be a growing giver, etc cannot be reviewed too frequently. I especially need to grow in answering the question “How much do I need to keep?” Money and possessions are a snare for Christians just as much as for those who don’t know Christ’s redeeming work.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Stephens

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The first few chapters of this book are brilliant and challenging to everyone who chooses to follow Jesus, no matter their financial situation. It explores Biblical, psychological and philosophical reasons to be generous, and challenges issues of the human heart. The main thrust of the argument is that everything belongs to God, we are privileged to use and distribute His provisions wisely and generously. In fact, it became clear to me that the same principles can be used across all of our provi The first few chapters of this book are brilliant and challenging to everyone who chooses to follow Jesus, no matter their financial situation. It explores Biblical, psychological and philosophical reasons to be generous, and challenges issues of the human heart. The main thrust of the argument is that everything belongs to God, we are privileged to use and distribute His provisions wisely and generously. In fact, it became clear to me that the same principles can be used across all of our provisions, including Time. The second half of the book gets into more practical advice about how to deliberately and prayfully plan our usage of God's provisions, using specific scenarios as examples. It is then that the authors seem to start talking mainly to extremely wealthy millionaires and investors, or at lease people who dabble in hedge funds and earn enough to even think about their total net worth. At this point it seemed the lower income bracket readers might use this as a justification to pursue earning more and more money, to keep up with the authors. So my advice is, only read the beginning if you're low income, read to the middle if you're middle income, and read the whole thing if you're high income or know what a hedge fund is.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Hickle

    "It's not about how much you should give but how much you need to keep." This book has helped me view joyful, sacrificial giving in a new light and has honestly given me a better perspective on biblical passages about riches. While saving an abundance of money can seem like the fiscally responsible (and often strongly Christian-endorsed) way to handle finances, Christ warns against storing riches in barns (of which the current equivalent may as well be maxing out retirement funds and looking to "It's not about how much you should give but how much you need to keep." This book has helped me view joyful, sacrificial giving in a new light and has honestly given me a better perspective on biblical passages about riches. While saving an abundance of money can seem like the fiscally responsible (and often strongly Christian-endorsed) way to handle finances, Christ warns against storing riches in barns (of which the current equivalent may as well be maxing out retirement funds and looking to buy the next bigger house). There is still so much to learn, but this book has definitely helped shift my mindset from auto-pilot tithing and aggressive saving to a hopefully more Biblical view of giving generously and joyfully, only saving what will likely be needed. (nothing against retirement funds or houses, but when the end goal is always more savings and nicer things, it can easily turn into money hoarding with a constant desire to raise the ceiling of your net worth)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Cullis

    I truly enjoyed reading this book it had a tons of views that I had not considered before and will digest over time. However, the frequent emphasis that "God owns everything" was a sticking point with me. I'm reminded that Job 1:3 said, "HIS POSSESSIONS also were..." and it did not say in the plain text, "Job was a steward of God's possessions." In Job 1:9, "Hast Thou not made a hedge about him and HIS HOUSE and ALL THAT HE HAS...". However, like a parent who gives a toy to child, if the child mi I truly enjoyed reading this book it had a tons of views that I had not considered before and will digest over time. However, the frequent emphasis that "God owns everything" was a sticking point with me. I'm reminded that Job 1:3 said, "HIS POSSESSIONS also were..." and it did not say in the plain text, "Job was a steward of God's possessions." In Job 1:9, "Hast Thou not made a hedge about him and HIS HOUSE and ALL THAT HE HAS...". However, like a parent who gives a toy to child, if the child misbehaves or uses the toy inappropriately, they take it away, either temporarily or permanently. That's how I see God with giving us things, HIS WILL determines based on our actions whether or not we get to keep it, have it taken away because of bad decisions, or better yet, promote us and give us something better. Overall, much to contemplate.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Shaun

    This is probably one of the best financial books I've read, and definitely gives a different perspective on how to view money. All the advice here is rooted in the Bible's teaching of money and wealth, mixed in with examples of how different people in the business world and the authors themselves have become a blessing to their communities after realizing that the money they earned is not really theirs, but God's. This book will teach you to change your mindset from "how should I give" to "how mu This is probably one of the best financial books I've read, and definitely gives a different perspective on how to view money. All the advice here is rooted in the Bible's teaching of money and wealth, mixed in with examples of how different people in the business world and the authors themselves have become a blessing to their communities after realizing that the money they earned is not really theirs, but God's. This book will teach you to change your mindset from "how should I give" to "how much can I keep". Thought provoking and challenging every step of the way, this book really is a blessing and has changed the way I think about giving in the future.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    They make some good points, and I like their overall framework for generous living. However, there are a lot of assumptions the authors make about their audience and the way their audience thinks. Being someone who used to think along those lines, I can follow it, but I find it frustrating. I'm not sure whether they chose to write this way intentionally because of their target audience, or whether they themselves can't see outside their subculture. Either way, it doesn't actually invalidate thei They make some good points, and I like their overall framework for generous living. However, there are a lot of assumptions the authors make about their audience and the way their audience thinks. Being someone who used to think along those lines, I can follow it, but I find it frustrating. I'm not sure whether they chose to write this way intentionally because of their target audience, or whether they themselves can't see outside their subculture. Either way, it doesn't actually invalidate their arguments, I just find it frustrating.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    This book does a wonderful job of helping readers evaluate the foundations of their relationship with money. It challenges Christians to move beyond cultural norms and goals and to lean into the abundant life of radical generosity that God invites us to live. I particularly loved the vision of making major financial decisions (spending and giving) with the input of godly community. The authors cover this subject in as comprehensive a way as I’ve ever seen it covered. I recommend that every Chris This book does a wonderful job of helping readers evaluate the foundations of their relationship with money. It challenges Christians to move beyond cultural norms and goals and to lean into the abundant life of radical generosity that God invites us to live. I particularly loved the vision of making major financial decisions (spending and giving) with the input of godly community. The authors cover this subject in as comprehensive a way as I’ve ever seen it covered. I recommend that every Christian read this very necessary book and allow it to transform the way s/he approaches money.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Derek Meiss

    This is a book I would have loved to have written. Studying the Scripture, using God's Word as the clear and ultimate foundation for what the authors' so clearly to crafted to shine the light on the topic of money . . . so well done. They pose hard questions, provide a framework that can be incorporated as little or as much by practically anyone who could read a copy (regardless of financial well-being) and demonstrate their own vulnerability by sharing their challenges and successes in practici This is a book I would have loved to have written. Studying the Scripture, using God's Word as the clear and ultimate foundation for what the authors' so clearly to crafted to shine the light on the topic of money . . . so well done. They pose hard questions, provide a framework that can be incorporated as little or as much by practically anyone who could read a copy (regardless of financial well-being) and demonstrate their own vulnerability by sharing their challenges and successes in practicing what they preach. Done with integrity. Thank you John and Greg for pursuing this outcome from the graduate course you took. A key recommendation is to not just put this book on a list to read but to just read this book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Katie Jones

    Fantastic book! It poses so many challenges to the way that we use our money as believers. The last few chapters had a lot of practical and actionable ways we could change the way we view and use our money for the kingdom of God. I really loved their ideas on generosity and giving. My favorite takeaway from the book was, instead of asking how much to give away, we should really be asking how much should we keep? I added this book to my list of favorites on the topic of faith & money. Check out my Fantastic book! It poses so many challenges to the way that we use our money as believers. The last few chapters had a lot of practical and actionable ways we could change the way we view and use our money for the kingdom of God. I really loved their ideas on generosity and giving. My favorite takeaway from the book was, instead of asking how much to give away, we should really be asking how much should we keep? I added this book to my list of favorites on the topic of faith & money. Check out my other top 5 books here agapeinvests.com/books-about-faith-an...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Lackey

    My favorite financial book I've read thus far on biblical wisdom and practical advise on God's heart for how to steward the wealth He has entrusted to us. John and Greg have such powerful testimonies that should challenge anyone reading this. Even if you don't have the same number of zeroes next to your net worth or income, the biblical principles and wisdom still apply to any Christian's life. This book will challenge and convict the ways you may have traditionally thought about what stewardshi My favorite financial book I've read thus far on biblical wisdom and practical advise on God's heart for how to steward the wealth He has entrusted to us. John and Greg have such powerful testimonies that should challenge anyone reading this. Even if you don't have the same number of zeroes next to your net worth or income, the biblical principles and wisdom still apply to any Christian's life. This book will challenge and convict the ways you may have traditionally thought about what stewardship, tithing, and "healthy" financial tendencies looked like in the past for you. Highly recommend.

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