The secret is out. Indeed, it was out about 2000 years ago, with the words, "Give and it will be given unto you." The amazing thing is that more of us don't apply this universal principle--so Joe Vitale has put together a gentle reminder for us in his little book. His personal stories and words of wisdom from friends help guide us to apply this natural law so that we have a greater chance of reaping its financial rewards.

First, he introduces the premise that the more you give, the more you have. I've always known this is true for love, but I must admit, I haven't done actual tests to find out if what Joe says about money is also true: if you give a little, you get a little; if you give a lot, you get a lot.

But whom to give to? If you expect a financial return (which of course, we should never be thinking of at the time of giving), you'll want to give especially to those who offer you spiritual nourishment, who inspire and bring out the best in you. Joe suggests that we not give just because someone needs it, or because you think you should, but because it feels good to give. When you donate from a heart filled with gratitude, you send a message to yourself and to the world that you are prosperous and in the flow. Thus, the flow continues to bring prosperity back to you.

Being "in the flow" seems to be a critical part of Joe's money-making secret. To help stay in the flow, Joe suggests forgiveness, especially of those who owe you money. We should remember that money doesn't come from these people anyway; it comes through them. Also, forgiveness brings a feeling of being at peace, and inner peace keeps us in the flow. Sounds good to me.

Being in the flow also means receiving as openly as giving. Although this concept was given only a few lines in his book, Vitale may have hit the biggest obstacle to prosperity for people in our profession. Networking is gifted with "do-gooders," people who love doing for others, being in service. But, allowing others to do for us? And enjoying receiving as much as giving? The greatest challenge to receiving may simply be our resistance to it.

More food for thought came from the four-page chapter about industry leaders John Milton Fogg and Tom ("Big Al") Schreiter. How might their stories of giving away what they wanted to sell, and as a result selling more than they ever dreamed of, apply to our own businesses?

Allen D'Angelo sums it up in his chapter when he says that "somehow, in the vast scheme of life, we are rewarded in direct proportion to the value we create for others...as a value creator, I must give sincerely, abundantly, effortlessly, with absolutely no expectation of direct or immediate reward."

In contrast to the depth of Napoleon Hill's classic, Think and Grow Rich, Joe Vitale's fast, easy read could aptly be called, Give and Grow Rich.

Paperback, 120 pages; $13.95; 1stBooks Library.