I suffer from a condition called Type D BrachyDactyly (pronounced brake-ee dact-a-lee).

Well, I don’t really suffer from it.

I didn’t even know I had the condition till last Saturday’s autograph party.

I was signing books when an observant fellow said, “I notice you have BrachyDactyly.”

“I have what?”


“Your thumbs,” he said. “They’re small.”

Thanks for noticing, I thought.

I’ve always known my thumbs were small. But it’s never stopped me from typing (I only use two fingers to type and neither are thumbs). It’s never stopped me from playing the guitar. Or doing martial arts. Or hitching for a ride back in the 70’s.

Still, my thumbs are on the small size.


What’s it mean?

The guy at the book signing said, “Historically the clubbed thumb has been associated with inbreeding amongst European royalty. It’s been thought to be a sign of pure royal blood.”


I’m a descendant of royalty?

I haven’t been able to find a really solid verification of this, but we can all believe what we want. Currently, about 1 in 1,000 people have some form of “small thumb”, including actress Megan Fox.

If you have this wonderful rare royal condition, too, well, two “royal” thumbs up for the both of us.

Here are some links to learn more —



(Facebook group!)

“Two thumbs up” has taken on new meaning for me.

I’ll rewrite it to “Two ROYAL Thumbs up!”

Ao Akua,


PS — My third audioprogram with Nightingale-Conant comes out soon. It’s called The Secret to Attracting Money. I believe you’ll give it two royal thumbs up. 🙂

Note: Photo by Pat O’Bryan.


  1. February 4, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    😆 LOL! This was an awesome story! Thanks for sharing I really enjoyed it!

    Can we get a close up of your royal thumbs??

  2. February 4, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    You what they say about a man with small thumbs.

    Yeah me either.

    Great story. Here’s to your royal thumbs.


    P.S. If I make my thumbs smaller in my logo do you think that will attract royalty?

    P.P.S I have always said to my wife that we will be dining with Kings and Queens.

  3. youxi-Reply
    February 5, 2009 at 12:28 am

    :roll:I am very thank you!I read your book recently.I am very happy to see this book.Please tell Dr.Hew Len,I thank him and I love him.I am from Guiyang of China and hope your all book transform to Chinese.
    I have many to tell you but my English is …..poor(I know I should not use this word,maybe I can use English to talk with you someday or You use Chinese talk with me,haha:razz::razz:)
    I am sorry,please forgive me ,thank you,I love you!

  4. February 5, 2009 at 3:23 am

    thanks JOE you get around this week ive heard you on the masters gathering twice, mark joyners 7 day course and on the mindmovies site your a bissy boy thumbs up to you mate, thanks from Garry in ozz

  5. February 5, 2009 at 7:20 am

    As a professional hand analyst I was fascinated by your story! In my world, a small thumb tells me that you have to apply your will and your brainpower to manifest success in your life. (yes, we all do) but hear me out. Thumbs represent our innate ability to “make it happen” or to “apply our will” to manifest SUCCESS in whatever form WE each, individually, define success.

    Let’s combine that with the ‘descendant of royalty’ thought… When one is born into royalty there is often a strict code on what defines ‘success’ as far as the royal family is concerned. Depending on where you are born in the family line would define how the family would determine SUCCESS. If you, however, had a different definition of success than your royal family, you’d have to find unique and innovative ways to manifest that success in your life.

    As an observer of you Mr. Fire – I’d say that you have found innovative and fulfilling ways to manifest success. Not only for yourself, but for helping others as well.

    All the best!

    Professional Hand Analyst

  6. February 5, 2009 at 10:10 am

    I am also a professional hand analyst. Joe’s thumbs are not, strictly speaking, small; notice that they are very thick. Thumbs like these are instead in a category all their own! In traditional palmistry, clubbed thumbs are known as “murderer’s thumbs.” Scary sounding, isn’t it? In hand analysis, these indicate a degree of tenacity, determination (and sometimes stubbornness), waaaayy beyond the usual. To have one is unusual; to have two, even more so.

    Not too surprising, considering who these thumbs are attached to.

  7. REX-Reply
    February 5, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Due to inbreeding, this was a common condition among royalty.
    It’s also very common in West Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Texas.

  8. February 7, 2009 at 10:18 pm


    I never knew that there were something called “Brachydactily” and a profession as a “hand analyst”. Two new things I learned from this blog today….hehe 😀

  9. February 9, 2009 at 9:13 am

    :grin:You’ve made me smile and I’m now trying to imagine your hands with the small thumbs. I’ll be sharing this tale with others.
    Best wishes with your new found Royal Family

  10. February 9, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    How completely intriguing!
    And what a fabulous thing to learn at a book signing 😉

  11. February 19, 2009 at 8:41 am

    …hi, read the secret a couple of months ago I am now reading the key,do I have a problema:come only I can overcome the obstacles that originate from the negative thoughts of whom surrounds me? last year my boy and I have had a serious auto accident we are alive for miracle, us two love the life and during that big jump from the auto the only my thought has been I Want to Live.and I am alive. is the matter that accident I am sure it has been being caused for the continuous anxieties of the mother of my fiancé that every time that we go out she knows only how to repeat “not to Race” “not to Make Troubles” my thought or my low of attraction she doesn’t succeed in fighting his? good-bye joe. I am Italian I have almost been in inghilterra one year, and I don’t write very well English.This translates comment him online.my address is [email protected] aspect one help of yours.

  12. LadyRed-Reply
    February 22, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    These “thumbs” are everywhere I come across someone with them all the time. I have them and so does my father & all his siblings (3) so more power to us.

  13. shanna-Reply
    April 9, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    Ive been on a quest to find out about these thumbs. I have them, my daughter and my uncle both have them. I am a nurse and I come across them all the time. Do you know of a book that would be fun to read about them?

  14. Cheryl-Reply
    March 12, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    For the longest time, I was searching for the medical term for this “clubbed thumb” on my left hand. Alas, I found it when news of Megan Fox having brachydactyly. I saw the motorola commercial and her thumb looks like mine. My dad is short as well as her six sisters! And they all have this shortness on their extremeties. Two of his brothers are of average height. Then I found out that BDE can be a dominant trait. I guess i have inherited this from my dad. The downside of having small hands is I can’t fit into average hand gloves. I had some nursing training, the gloves were always a problem because they don’t have XS gloves in the hospital 😉 On the up side, I can easily reach down the kitchen cabinet where my husband can’t. 😉 Just want to share my story.

  15. Felicia Peters-Reply
    April 7, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    I just wanted to share with others that I’m one of those that has inherited this “royal thumb”. I’m expecting and I’m really hoping that my baby doesn’t inherit this as well haha..I’ve always been a bit shy about my thumbs and I don’t want my child to be like that..

  16. lisha edwards-Reply
    July 27, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    I have two thumbs that are small…. i always hated my thumbs i wanted to have surgery on my thumbs but doctor said no the bone is just fine….grrrr i get teasted all the time..

  17. April 7, 2012 at 10:33 am

    I have a thumb. I get teased at school.

  18. Gill Petersen-Reply
    November 1, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    I have two stubby lil thumbs and they cause absolutely no problem whatsoever!

    Now those of you who have Brachydactyly type D, stop whining, they aren’t a big deal. AT ALL

    • Petersen-Reply
      January 15, 2020 at 11:38 pm

      two thumbs up! I have 2 as well

  19. Kaitlyn-Reply
    November 24, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    I have stubby thumbs i thought i was the only one!!

  20. April 30, 2013 at 11:58 am

    I have BDD, come on over to MyLargeThumb.com and let all Thumbers Unite!

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