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The Geometry of Wealth

How to shape a life of money and meaning

By Brian Portnoy

Paperback £19.99 / $19.99
eBook £14.99 / $14.99
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The Geometry of Wealth

How to shape a life of money and meaning

By Brian Portnoy

Jacket text

How does money figure into a happy life?

In The Geometry of Wealth, behavioral finance expert Brian Portnoy delivers an inspired answer, building on the critical distinction between being rich and being wealthy. While one is an unsatisfying treadmill, the other is the ability to underwrite a meaningful life, however one chooses to define that. Truly viewed, wealth is funded contentment.

At the heart of this groundbreaking perspective, Portnoy takes readers on a journey toward wealth, informed by disciplines ranging from ancient history to modern neuroscience. He contends that tackling the big questions about a joyful life and tending to financial decisions are complementary, not separate, tasks.

These big questions include:

• How is the human brain wired for two distinct experiences of happiness? And why can money “buy” one but not the other?
• What are the touchstones of a meaningful life, and are they affordable?
• Why is market savvy among the least important sources of wealth but self-awareness is among the most?
• How does one strike a balance between striving for more while being content with enough?

This journey memorably contours along three basic shapes: A circle, triangle and square help us to visualize how we adapt to evolving circumstances, set clear priorities, and find empowerment in simplicity. In this accessible and entertaining book, Portnoy reveals that true wealth is achievable for many – including those who despair it is out of reach – but only in the context of a life in which purpose and practice are thoughtfully calibrated.

About the author

Brian Portnoy is the founder of Shaping Wealth, a financial wellness platform that engages with individuals and organizations to make better money decisions. In his two highly acclaimed books in the field of behavioral finance, The Investor’s Paradox and The Geometry of Wealth, he tackles the challenges of making better financial decisions and figuring out how money fits into a joyful life. He has served as keynote speaker, seminar leader, and coach to thousands of investors on topics ranging from portfolio strategy to the connection between money and happiness. Brian has worked in the hedge fund and mutual fund industries for more than two decades. He is a CFA Charterholder, earned his doctorate at the University of Chicago, and serves on the advisory board for the Alliance for Decision Education. He lives in Chicago with his wife and three children.


True wealth is funded contentment. Anyone with the right mindset and the right plan can afford a meaningful life.

Tobias Carlisle, The Acquirer’s Multiple

Writing a book that is enjoyable for others is a tough task for anyone. Write a book focussed narrowly on personal finance and you have an even tougher task. For Dr Brian Portnoy to succeed in doing so with his most recent release ‘The Geometry of Wealth’ is a significant achievement indeed.

Alex Riley, Bunker Riley

The Geometry of wealth by my friend Brian Portnoy is “A stoic playbook for navigating money life.” This is the type of book you give to someone you truly care about. Brian is a deep thinker and a beautiful writer. I wanted to share some of my favorite lines and passages in the hope that this inspires you to pick up a copy.

Michael Batnick, The Irrelevant Investor

In today’s busy world, most self help books recommend that author’s write to the lowest common denomination, or to the 8th grade reading level. I liked that Portnoy stretched my vocabulary with a few college levels words.

Marie, Family Money Values

The Geometry of Wealth is told in three parts, with each part matched with a shape that represents a journey from purpose to priorities to tactics. At each respective step, we adapt to life’s evolving circumstances, set clear and actionable priorities, and render difficult decisions easier through the act of simplification. Creating a seamless narrative, not accomplished elsewhere, as money tends to be addressed either in broad philosophical terms or wonky technical details and Portnoy is considered an expert at simplifying the complex world of money.

Brian Tramuel, Contributor for Retirement Savvy

Portnoy’s The Geometry of Wealth is an ensemble of profound wisdom, written in a clear and inviting format, that will inspire anyone who is looking to take responsibility for their own finances and wealth. It masterfully blends psychology, neuroscience, and economics – along with the author’s own professional background in investing – to demonstrate that the power to create wealth starts from within. It inherently takes a ‘coach approach’, built on self-reflection and enquiry, while offering a goal-focused, practical framework, for actionable insight. I will definitely be recommending this book to any business leader or coach helping their clients through the stages of career and life planning. At last, a book on managing one’s own finances, in a way that is both accessible and personal!

Katherine Tulpa, CEO Association for Coaching and Wisdom8

Managing one’s money is an emotionally fraught job, and comes with a confusing lexicon to boot. Is it any wonder so many individuals devote less time to their personal finances than they do planning their next vacation? Brian Portnoy’s The Geometry of Wealth makes a bracing assertion: it doesn’t have to be this way. In this elegant and insightful volume, he imparts the crucial message that building “wealth” isn’t strictly about money, but finding the intersection between our life’s purpose and the funds needed to achieve it. It’s essential reading for serious and novice investors alike.

Christine Benz, Morningstar, Director of Personal Finance

In The Geometry of Wealth, Brian Portnoy has done something wholly unique and framed the conversation around money in a manner never before previously considered. Using a simple framework to make profound points, Dr. Portnoy has crafted a work that is simultaneously educational and poignant. For those looking to revolutionize their approach to money and even life, this book receives my highest recommendation.

Dr. Daniel Crosby, NYT bestselling author of The Laws of Wealth

In The Geometry of Wealth, Brian Portnoy has used his incredible talent for translating financial drudgery into simple, accessible, and entertaining prose to help us re-define our satisfaction with money. He has written a book that will leave you truly wealthier for reading it.

Corey Hoffstein, Chief Investment Officer, Newfound Research

The Geometry of Wealth walks you through what really matters in our relationship with money. In clear language, simple enough for my kids to understand and sophisticated enough for professionals, Portnoy gets to the heart of the issue. And that’s the point – our relationship with money is about what’s in our heart and what troubles our mind. Geometry brings it all together in a framework that every reader can follow to live a more contented life.

Ted Seides, Managing Partner, Hidden Brook Investments

Media coverage

From The Evidence-Based Investor:

I will link to ‘The Geometry of Wealth’ in the podcast notes, but could you just give listeners a final little summary of what you think the book can do for them? So I can just relay what others have shared with me, which is that it has facilitated much more productive thinking in one’s… Read more »

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From CNBC:

In some ways, this is a math problem, said Brian Portnoy, an expert on the psychology of money and author of “The Geometry of Wealth.” Conventional thinking holds, where can you get the highest return with your extra money? If your mortgage interest rate exceeds your likely return in the market, it generally makes sense… Read more »

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From The Investopedia Express:

Brian Portnoy, best-selling author and founder of Shaping Wealth, joins The Express to talk about how financial planning is evolving to become more holistic, and how we are rethinking our definitions of wealth. Plus, 2023 gave investors just about all we could handle, so what’s in store for the new year? We look around the… Read more »

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From David Finley Blog:

In The Geometry of Wealth, behavioural finance expert Brian Portnoy delivers an inspired answer-based idea that wealth, truly defined, is funded contentment. It is the ability to underwrite a meaningful life. This stands in stark contrast to angling to become rich, which is usually an unsatisfying treadmill. At the heart of this groundbreaking perspective, Portnoy… Read more »

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From CityWire Americas:

Mark Twain once said that all you need are ‘good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience.’ Our top 30 ensure you have at least one of those checked off with their must-reads.

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From Of Dollars and Data:

I know you have heard it many times before. Net of fees, most professional stock pickers can’t beat the market. As Brian Portnoy stated in The Geometry of Wealth: “Decades’ worth of data validate that demonstrating persistent skill is very hard. According to Standard and Poor’s, more than four-fifths of professional stock pickers have not… Read more »

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From Wealth Confident Podcast:

One of the main reasons people seek out financial professionals is because money can be so complicated. A great financial advisor is someone you can trust. A person who can listen and translate what you want and need in your life into actionable plans, and who understands your values and how to align your money… Read more »

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From Your Money, Your Wealth:

Brian Portnoy, Ph.D., CFA® (author, The Geometry of Wealth) on the difference between being rich and wealthy, and how to achieve both. Plus, what about tax brackets? Joe and Big Al respond to a challenge of their critique of Ric Edelman’s critique of the Roth IRA. And they answer questions that stress the importance of… Read more »

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From Worth:

So Brian Portnoy’s new book, his second, is right up our alley. The head of education at Magnetar Capital , Portnoy thinks a lot about how to help investors make smart decisions that help them shape the lives they really want. It’s not an exaggeration to say that he helps clients figure out what lives… Read more »

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Introduction: A Story About Three Shapes

Taking Shape
Chapter 1. Alone Together
Chapter 2. Adaptive Simplicity

The Circle: Purpose
Chapter 3. The Places You Might Go
Chapter 4. What Matters
Chapter 5. Yes, Not Really, It Depends

The Triangles: Priorities
Chapter 6. Setting Priorities
Chapter 7. Making Decisions

The Square: Tactics
Chapter 8. Gray Matter
Chapter 9. Four Corners

Chapter 10. You Are Here

The Geometry of Wealth: Recap

Published: 11/06/2018
Pages: 232
Formats: paperback - ISBN 9780857196712
ebook - ISBN 9780857196729
audio - ISBN 0000000000007
Media enquiries

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