Capital Gaines: Smart Things I learned Doing Stupid Stuff

By Chip Gaines

A Review by Tom Kennedy

If you have watched the TV show Fixer Upper, you know Chip and Joanna Gaines.  They are a Christian couple who fix and modernize old houses for other people. Based out of Waco, Texas, they are somewhat opposites. Joanna thinks through things, Chip is much more impulsive.  He also doesn’t like to lose a bet. On one show I saw him eat a dead cockroach in order to win a 50-dollar bet.  That is impulsive and totally repulsive and showcases part of Chip Gaines’ personality.  In this book you will see that his life is one of learning from mistakes and due to his impulsivity, he has made a lot of mistakes.  Yet he has made a success out of failure.  Accompanied by a positive attitude and a huge heart for others, Chip Gaines is a man you want to be your friend.  Beware, he shares some mistakes in the book, but not a lot. It includes some life stories and some Chip Gaines philosophy added in. This is an enjoyable read and at the time of this review was #30 (down from #20) on the ECPA bestseller’s list.

What I liked in this hardback book:

  • “I knew it wasn’t “normal” that I couldn’t read yet, but it never occurred to me that it was something to be embarrassed about….My positive outlook has blinded me to plenty of things over the years.  Maybe it also protected me at times from the things I didn’t need to see”, p. 4.
  • “The only reason I even tried in school was so that I could make the grades to play baseball.  Education was simply a means to an end”, pp. 8-9.
  • [After being cut from the college baseball team] “Apparently there’s a cap to the amount of self-pity time a person gets, because one morning I woke up and realized it was time to snap out of it.  The time had come for me to get on with my life,” p. 12.
  • He heads to Mexico to learn Spanish leaving Joanna with taking care of his haphazard businesses (this is before they are married).  You must also read about the Brahma bull incident. Chapter 3.
  • “Jo and I have always believed that it is us against the world.  It’s not that we think everyone is out to get us. But we know that in all the world there is this one singular human who will be on our team every time.  Understanding this and protecting it at all costs has become bedrock for our marriage,” p. 41.
  • Chip tells about how he got that big scar on his forehead clowning around on a four-wheeler.  Risk takers should read the paragraphs after his words, “Normal was the complete opposite of what I’d always wanted to be,” p. 48.
  • “I don’t sit around and allow the what-ifs and worst-case scenarios to control me,” p, 65.
  • You need to read how Chip pulled off a red-carpet event for Joanna with little money in the bank.  Chapter 7.
  • [Buying the silos] “The thing is, Jo had gotten behind every crazy dream I’d come up with over the years.  Now she was the crazy dreamer….And I was gonna do everything in my power to help her do it,” p. 98.
  • “We pride ourselves in on-the-job training and solving problems.  I like people who work first and ask questions later,” p. 114
  • “But even after all of that manual labor, making a TV show is the most exhausting job I’ve ever done…. The irony is that on camera it appears that I’m just goofing off, playing really, when in reality it is the hardest work I do,” p. 125.
  • HGTV also provided us with a platform to share our perspective and we are grateful for that too. In an industry that doesn’t often show authentically happy marriages, we have loved getting to go in front of the camera and laugh, hug, argue, collaborate, and cheer each other on,” p. 138
  • [Current political conflicts] I want to live in a world where we are all considered each other’s neighbor, where every person’s voice matters,” p. 148.
  • “It is truly my life’s mission to empower people to relentlessly chase after their dreams, no natter the cost,” p. 158.

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