The Charles Dickens Guide to Becoming a Self-Made Millionaire

12 years old.

That’s when Charles Dickens started working. Not just light work, mind you, like sweeping the floors at his uncle’s bar; he toiled at a shoe polish factory, spending 10 hours a day pasting labels on jars.

Why? A pair of rotten parents.

His father was vain, holding extravagant parties and purchasing all sorts of finery, in every way possible living beyond his means. Eventually, he was thrown into debtor’s prison.

His mother was just cruel. Despite receiving some money from her husband’s family, she sent her children to work. Dickens never forgave her for it.

But did he whine? No, he transformed that experience into some of the greatest novels to ever grace the English language.

A Christmas Carol, The Adventures of Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, and David Copperfield all address aspects of wealth, especially the relationship between the rich and the poor. You could say it’s the defining theme of Dickens’s work.

And it made him rich.

Unlike so many other authors, Charles Dickens became a legend during his own lifetime. His books sold in droves, both in Britain and the US. They were turned into plays, and he traveled around the world doing readings and lectures.

He also left behind some of my favorite personal finance quotes. I’ve put together a small collection of them here, along with a brief commentary on each.

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