In reading "The Road from Ruin" by Matthew Bishop and Michael Green, I felt like I was going to church.
"The Road from Ruin" is brilliant not because it is written well, though it is, nor because it defines a problem, as former President Bill Clinton once said, "as something with a beginning, a middle and an end," but because it is breathlessly bold, basic, straight as an arrow, uncompromising, and at least in one sense, even revolutionary. Here is the sober business editor for the Economist Magazine, calling for financial literacy as essentially America and the world's new civil rights issue, or what I call the first global silver rights empowerment tool. That's revolutionary, and precisely where we are at this moment in history. Financial literacy is the new civil rights.
In "The Road from Ruin," the authors do not talk around financial education and financial literacy as if it is some nice holiday bobble on a Christmas tree, or "something nice for serious people to do," once they already have done serious things. The authors have rightly so placed the issue of financial literacy, and the work we do at Operation HOPE in urban and under-served communities here and around the world, for every ethnic group and socio-economic class, in the momentum building final chapters. In other words, this is the "it."
I was also impressed and inspired to see that the authors boldly go beyond the yawn-inducing traditional definitions of financial literacy "as a math class," which it is not, and deal with financial literacy for what it truly is; emotional, cultural, aspirational, and a direct link to the larger, more over-riding issue of our virtues and our values as a society. Who are we, why are we here, and what are we for? Or as I often say, financial literacy is "the new language of money." To make my own statement of revolutionary thought, not inconsistent with the tenants of the book, "if you don't understand the language of money today, and if you don't have a bank account today, you are nothing more than an economic slave."
Read the complete story at the Huffington Post here.
John Hope Bryant is the founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE, vice chairman of the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy as well as chairman of the Council Committee on the Under-Served, financial literacy advisor to the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council, a Young Global Leaders for the World Economic Forum, and author of LOVE LEADERSHIP; A New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), which debuted in August, 2009, as the Amazon.com #1 Hottest New Book (for Leadership), on the CEO Reads Top 10 Business Best Seller List, and was published in November, 2009 in digital audio book format on Audible.com, iTunes and other audio book retailers . Love Leadership has continued to be listed amongst the Top 25 Business Books for CEO READS for the 6 month period after release.