A Guide to Understanding the Apple Tree

In order to properly kick off our first book review, we needed to find a piece of literature that lives up to the hype. MONEY Master the Game by Tony Robbins is a book that I recommend to everyone of all ages. It will sink in more for those over 24, but I would still give it a read for more progressive, younger minds. The book itself was recommended to me by a good friend.

Over the holiday season, I was able to catch up with old friends. I asked one of my buddies, that does law, about any good books he had read recently. He replied with Tony Robbins’ latest book. My original reaction, “oh yeah, that guy that does self-help books, great.” My friend looked at me, and realized I need some extra context. He went on to talk about how the book is a collection of interviews with the top financial advisers in the world.

That sparked my interest. I also conduct large amounts of interviews with musicians in comparison to financial advisers.

Robbins has created and tailored a vast scope of knowledge on financial empowerment. Since I lack a strong financial background, it became clear to me that this book was not going to change my life right away, but over time it will help improve my decision making skills in the field of finance. I now see myself making better financial decisions that will slowly change my life in a long-term setting.

“Tony Robbin’s coaching has made a remarkable difference in my life both on and off the court.” — Serena Williams

Elliot Weissbluth, founder and CEO, HighTower, provided the foreward to the book. It displayed how he first came in contact with Tony and his relationship with Robbins. One of my friends had recommended me to his latest book, but Robbins is a character that I have known about for years.

When I see my friends react similarly to how I did when first introduced to the idea of reading Robbins work, as in the manner of thinking, “okay this is good, but I don’t need it.” It made sense for me to avoid or pass over an idea that was outside of my comfort zone of music, technology and film. It made sense to me the more I studied cognitive dissonance. The part that broke my brain was realizing that I could recondition myself into thinking that Robbins is good, and something I need to study and take serious.

(1979) The Flying Lizards – Money (That’s What I Want)


Robbins starts off Chapter 1.1 with some open discussion on the topic of money. He does an excellent job of stating words that provoke emotion, such as money. The word itself is a catalyst for emotional variance. This is my first time reading his work, and I can tell right away that writing a book review on Robbins is like Rey Mysterio, (a lightweight fighter) going against Brock Lesnar, (former UFC heavyweight champion, current WWE champion).  I’m honored to be writing a book review on Robbins, but also understanding that we all have a different writing and reading skill sets.

Robbins reminds me of James Brown in a lot of ways. “Get On Up” is a James Brown biopic that displays the strengths and weaknesses to a music legend. The way Robbins writes shows vulnerability in juxtaposition to his power and strength, in result creates a powerful personal reading experience.

One of my friends was inquiring about the book review, and I told her that I am writing it right now, and having a blast. I’m not sure if you had not read Robbin’s work, if you would understand the level of excitement one can go through when first reading his work, not only that, but a book that was 20 years in the making. This first section is like a fine tuned musical instrument that has been finely edited.

The title to this article is “The Apple Tree” and references the metaphor that a human being can become a source of value in connection to an apple tree. As we all consume and produce, some individuals make their way up the ladder to be able to create wealth for others. When people get close enough they can indirectly pick up on another person’s success, or metaphorically speaking, their apples. My goal is to not only pick up Robbins experience, but to reproduce it for those in need.

Chapter 1.1

This book immediately helped demystify the importance of money. A lightbulb went off in my head that said, “the amount of money I currently have is merely an illusion I create to hold myself back in several ways.” I agree that paper money continues to have less meaning and value, but we still need it to survive.

Robbins talks in a self-reflective manner, (the video below is Heavy Metal And Reflective (Official Music Video) – Azealia Banks) on picking a title for this book.

He notes that using the word ‘game’ created a polarizing effect when he discussed with his subjects and friends. Robbins also noted that many of the top level financial advisers around the globe did in fact look at money as a game.

 How do you look at money? Is it a game?

Let’s first define game.




a form of play or sport, especially a competitive one played according to rules and decided by skill, strength, or luck.


a type of activity or business, especially when regarded as a game.
“this was a game of shuttle diplomacy at which I had become adept”

After reviewing the definition of game, one could start to see Robbins’ point of view. He states in the first section that why else would someone work 10-12 hours a day if they have already made millions/billions of dollars. The oxymoron is a nice touch.

“Games are a reflection of life.” – Tony Robbins

As I stated earlier, this review itself becomes a game. It serves as a reflection to the piece of work, as well as a tool to help my personal growth. At the same time, attempting to inspire others personal growth.

I find that money is a game. Money brings out my competitive side. It has the power to feed and medicate billions around the world.

“We continue to bridge cultural gaps, and moving forward, our dream is bridge physical gaps.” – Matthew McGuire

Heavy Metal and Reflective – Azealia Banks

Azealia Banks is one of the hottest breakthrough artists in 2015. Her sound is raw and aggressive. It goes along well with the review. I try to inspire different emotions during your reading experience. We also added music by: The Flying Lizards for all those Empire Records fans.

Robbins provokes the sense of dreaming big. His work has already inspired new dreams to accomplish over a lifetime.

He talks about starting your own company. This review is living my dream in real-time, as well as creating new dreams as I write. One of my goals to this review was to provide a stream of consciousness to the article. I enjoy word association, as well as original reactions to subject material.

Robbins goes into high-frequency trading, and the quarter of a billions dollars that the large name Wall Street have used to shave microseconds off trades. In 2009, I attempted to work with futures as a day trader for a friends dad. I quickly realized the unfair playing field, and have taken time to slowly get back understanding the rules. He talks about the dark days of 2008, and how the top investors make it through storms.

He mentions that this book is like an inheritance, and it is a pleasure sharing it with you.

One of my favorite layers to this book is how Robbins is working on bridging class-based gaps with his process to becoming more financially successful. During my first read of this book, I caught myself wanting to skip ahead, but overall decided that it would disrupt the flow.

Another key point about the book was Robbin’s inspiration for the book.

“My personal tipping point came after I watched an Academy Awarding-winning documentary called “Inside Job”, narrated by Matt Damon, about the Wall Street gunslingers who took crazy risks with our money and nearly toppled the economy…By the end of the film, I was seething with frustration, but I converted my anger into a question: “What can I do? This book is the answer.” – Tony Robbins

At the end of this first section of the book, Robbins talks about the %10 of readers that finish the first chapter to a non-fiction book. I wanted Robbins to know his work was worth it, and that I was not only going to master the book, but also provide my own mastery to the conversation.

Robbins talks about his live experience in the book, and I wanted to share that with his TED Talk.

 Chapter 1.2

“Good luck.”

These are the two words my mother said when I informed her I was going to go back to school. The reason I find these words so powerful is the meaning behind luck. I looked it up one day, and found out the luck is when preparation meets opportunity. She went on to help in her own way.

Robbins talks about anticipation being the ultimate power. When I was making my way through college, I found out that if I was properly prepared for any test, (work, school, or personal) that I would produce far better results. Indirectly, the two words that my mother gave me was the perfect piece of advice. It taught me to always be ready for every moment.

This second section started to remind me of “The Secret”, which is a book and a movie I think. It is also another great source of utilizing inner energy.

Robbins uses one of my favorite Cameron Crowe lines on page 34. He indirectly makes fun of Mick Jagger in a similar manner in “Almost Famous”. It made me wonder how many times Robbins has seen the movie. It better not be more than once, or I’m going to make fun on you, in public, on TED. They give you 25 minutes I hear. (When they call me, in 20 years.)

He probes the reader by seeing if one has a retirement plan setup, and how it functions. Which I think is mature and unselfish in many ways.

Interactive Web Content’

Chapter 1.2

Introduces interactive Web content that goes along well with the book. Robbins provides a digital experience to flow along with the traditional sense of reading a book.

Connect with the interactive content and follow along the movement with Robbins as he continues to help aid millions around the world every year. Just buying the book contributes to his positive movement. One can feel the positive energy within his physical and digital content. Another inspirational voice, and soon to be taking over the states with a massive summer tour, Florence + The Machine.

 Florence + The Machine

 The Journey Begins with the First Step

Robbins begins to spotlight the reoccurring pitfalls that occur day-to-day. He begins to revisit his concept on compounding investments, and how it can generate while one sleeps.

  • Young journalists always want to get their feet wet in the industry until they are knee deep in the weeds. It is always interesting to see how one reacts under pressure.
  • Compound interest was once called the most important invention by Albert Einstein.
  • Robbins compares Mike Tyson and Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. in connection to how much each one made financially. (Good thing I went with pro wrestlers in my reference earlier.)
  • This next section inspires a new mind-set.

In this series of needs, Robbins displays the basic requirements for most humans. It can also be noted in many of his speeches.

  1. Certainty/Comfort: These need was described and gone over in his TED Talk, and proposes the concept of human need for certainty. He references his talk in the second need within the book.

    Uncertainty/Variety: “Do you like surprises? If you answered “yes,” you’re kidding yourself! You like the surprises you want. The ones you don’t want you call problems!”

  2. Significance: Robbins goes over the importance of why and what people do to feel significant. It helped me demystify my own misconception of being significant. I started to see that a persons real wealth is gauged by how much they give back.
  3. Love and Connection: Love and building bonds can be found in any relationship. This need, as well as the first three are considered part of the personality according to Robbins.
  4. Growth: In the TED Talk Robbins talks about growing as a company. This review is one way we want to branch out in 2015. It is very fulfilling helping spread the word about charitable, economical and new frames of mind.
  5. Contribution: “The secret to living is giving.”

Know the Rules Before You Get in the Game

“You have to learn the rules of the game, and then you have to play better than anyone else.” – Albert Einstein

He references the jungle once again in Chapter 2. I see it as a metaphor for the financial markets that are setup to prey upon investors in a similar manner as wolfs and mountain lions. If one can hunt a mountain lion, the fear of them, the danger and risk of them also decrease the more you know about the animal.

On a lighthearted note, Robbins uses a Dilbert cartoon to illustrate the “brilliance” of investing with a mutual fund.

  • According to Robbins: 96% of mutual funds will fail to match or beat the market over time.
  • I can only hope Robbins is referring to this video when mentioning unicorns. Most likely it is not, but the video is still pretty funny in connection to this piece on page 99 within 2.1.

“Don’t you know the rules? You don’t know the rules?…There are certain rules one has to abide by to successfully survive a horror movie.” – (Jamie Kennedy, actor in Scream 1)

  1. The average cost of owning a mutual fund is 3.17% per year. This number becomes even more important when compounded over time.
  2. One should have a goal to have a 1.25% or less in total annual fees.
  3. Replace mutual funds with managed low-cost index funds is key. 
  4. For those with a 401k plan, visit (Fee Checker) to find our how your rates stack up to other companies.
  5. Roth 401(k) plans can benefit those making over $122,000. Setup a Roth IRA for those making under that amount.
  6. “Auto-escalating” rates for your savings. Plan them in advance.
  7. All of the top adviser are in favor of target-date funds. He notes that putting all of ones resources in one basket or for one company is a flawed idea.
  8. For those investing with annuities, compare your rates with different investment options.

Warren Buffet’s top two rules of investing

  1. Don’t lose money!
  2. See rule 1.

A Plan, An App & A New Life

The third chapter provides content that is more interactive with the application setup for the book. It creates a physical document outlining the practice in setting up a financial overview. After working with the application, I was able to see how my lack of knowledge within investing will result in poor outcomes, unless I start preparation now. It brings me back to starting college, and needing to be prepared for every test in life.

On page 205, there is an interesting illustration of the conscious and unconscious mind. It is an interesting parallel to note in connection to the note made earlier about the steam of conscious thought, as well as interacting with my unconscious in a manner of word association.

When Robbins has a moment of self-reflection with his own brain he notes, “ideas keep trying to lodge in your head, such as “I’m going to make ten million dollars!” or “I’m going to be financially free by the time I’m forty!” But your upper, conscious brain goes, “Screw you! There’s no way in hell that will happen!” It quickly rejects the big idea and bounces it back out into space like a tennis ball. But if you resolve within yourself the sense of absolute certainty that “I’m going to do this!” and then you start to build a plan — something extraordinary happens. You begin to develop the certainty you can actually achieve it.” – Tony Robbins

Refer to this next tips as ways to look at yourself.

  1.  Unleash Your Hunger and Desire, and Awaken Laser-like Focus.
  2. You Take Massive and Effective Action.
  3. Grace! “Some call it luck, coincidence, fate, or God’s hand.”

Another one of my favorite films is “Catch Me If You Can”. It create an interesting parallel between wanting to run from ones problems, or tackling it head on. Robbins uses Marley’s wisdom when dealing with a problem, or also known as a surprise.

“The day you stop racing is the day you win the race.” — Bob Marley

The Dream Bucket

Robbins sat down with Robert Shiller, Nobel Prize-winning economist, and looked over housing prices in connection to inflation. He notes that owning a home with a fixed-rate mortgage can be beneficial.

He continues to discuss risk management. He adds an excellent link to a Rutgers University online quiz to help users identify their ability to handle risk.

Section 4.3 is titled The Dream Bucket, and goes over how and why we dream. Earlier in this read, I have started to visualize new dreams inspire by this book.

My take on this section connects to the awareness of the subconscious mind, and how to use our dreams to create plans to produce in real-time.

On page 349, Robbins uses a common correlation between emotions and investing decisions. A takeaway for myself is when to ask advice from a financial adviser for a second eye, but not let them control my decisions.

  • When rebalancing a portfolio, make sure to note the ratio of earnings when making changes.
  • Diversify between a Security Bucket and a Risk/Growth Bucket.

Create A Lifetime Income Plan

On page 384 and 385, Robbins reviews the four seasons of investing resources. This section of the book is probably the most important to investors coming up in the next 5-10 years. As we see the stock market climb to all new highs, I can see the economic downturn that will occur, and the upturn that will take place following that downturn.

Robbins books was released before the crashing prices on oil. I would like to see his point of view on buying oil. It is my goal to help promote clean energy, but at what point does oil bring down the rest of the market.

He notes the problems with interest rates within the market.

So far, the book has used pulled quotes from his interviews and chapter 5 leads into the meat of the interviews in the following chapter.

Meet the Masters

Now we look over the top financial advisers that Robbins interviews. We review their interviews and provide honest feedback on how each of these investors work the game.

  • Carl Icahn, the most feared man on Wall Street, picks up on under developing stocks and gives them life again. As I read about him, I feel connected to the struggle of coming from a lower-middle class family, and changing his life in a major way with limited resources. They talk about buying Netflix at one time as if it were a house was comical. There is additional valuable pieces to the book in the investment highlights.
  • David Swensen, Chief Investment Officer, Yale University, talked with Robbins on results and returns. I notice how Tony doesn’t say much in the interviews. He gives the floor wide open for his subjects to flourish. Swensen also supports picking up index funds at the right time.
  • Mary Callahan Erdoes, CEO J.P. Morgan Asset Management Division, and also from my home state and rural area that I have had to pull myself out of. Her pedigree and training is more refined, but I am the taking the time to understand more about her, so what does that say about her background. It actually goes hand it hand with what Robbins talks about in his lectures, of those that have been abused, and left out, may give back more then those from sheltered lives. The interviewed mirrored my assumption of her perfectly. She dropped J.P Morgan reference twice. Once was enough.
  • Warren Buffet, CEO Berkshire Hathaway, provided Robbins a nugget of knowledge that he has left his wife on investing after he is gone.

“Put %10…in short-term government bonds and 90% in very low-cost S&P index fund.” (Tony suggests Vanguard’s).

Chapter 5 provides additional interviews, but I wanted to give the readers a taste, and provide motivation for you to go pick up a copy of the book, and find out all the tips and tricks about the subjects.

“The Secret To Living is Giving”

In his final chapter, Robbins talks about the importance of taking his skills and putting them into action. An excellent job for a call to action. It brings the audience in for a final series of steps to practice after reading the book.

After the extensive interviews with some of the brightest minds in finance, Robbins wraps up with a look forward.

One element that I enjoy about this book is the amount of references Robbins makes to 3D printing. I just wrapped my thesis on 3D technology and hopes that our audience enjoys that read into connection with this book review.

The main takeaway I have learned from this book is that money will have as much power as you give it. An ex-girlfriend asked me one time about my ego, and I replied, “An ego doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can motivate and inspire others to do more with their lives. If you use an ego for good, it can be a very useful thing.”

I have found out that Robbins feeds millions of people every year. He uses his inner energy, channels it, and provides for others. It has truly inspired me.

Tony Robbins on YouTube

“He has a gift. He has the gift to inspire.” – Bill Clinton

“Tony’s power is superhuman … He is a catalyst for getting people to change. I came away with: It’s not about motivation as much as it is allowing people to tap into what’s already there.” – Oprah Winfrey