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All the Money in the World: What the Happiest People Know About Getting and Spending

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  694 Ratings  ·  130 Reviews
How happy would you be if you had all the money in the world? The universal lament about money is that there is never enough. We spend endless hours obsessing over our budgets and investments, trying to figure out ways to stretch every dollar. We try to follow the advice of money gurus and financial planners, then kick ourselves whenever we spend too much or save too ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by Portfolio
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Deluxe by Dana ThomasBringing Home the Birkin by Michael TonelloCheap by Ellen Ruppel ShellOverdressed by Elizabeth L. ClineAll the Money in the World by Laura Vanderkam
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Community Reviews

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Zoe Rider
Oct 12, 2012 Zoe Rider rated it it was ok
Great premise. Maybe someone less completely oblivious will write a useful book on the subject one day.

Here's the premise:

1. Become mindful of what you're doing with your money (and of what you can't do because of other choices you're making)

2. Question your assumptions about spending, saving and earning

3. Determine what you (not society, your peers, expert marketers or your mother) value--what's brought you happiness, what's brought you regret or stress? What do the decision you've made say ab
Aug 26, 2012 Ciara rated it liked it
i really enjoy reading books about money, & i was enjoying this book, despite its occasional wackadoo suggestions, right up until the end. but in the very last chapter, she writes about phil cooley, who owns slows BBQ in detroit. she casts him as someone who is making all the right financial decisions & turning them into community dividends, running a successful restaurant in a depressed urban area & using the profits to buy up abandoned buildings & transform them into artist's ...more
Anne Bogel
Feb 22, 2012 Anne Bogel rated it really liked it
I enjoyed Vanderkam's take on money in this book. Her style will be familiar to anyone who read her earlier work 168 Hours--Vanderkam herself describes All The Money as "168 Hours, but about money instead of time."

Personally, I like Vanderkam's style, but I can see how not everyone would. I found myself constantly thinking of A Framework For Understanding Poverty as I read, trying to place Vanderkam's worldview within the categories of lower, middle and upper class. Vanderkam is solidly upper-m
Aug 08, 2014 Gillian rated it it was ok
I'd give this between 2 and 3 stars. I liked it at first, and I usually enjoy the author's writing style (I'm a fan of "168 Hours"), but a few chapters in, it started rubbing me the wrong way. She brings up good counter-arguments to the proponents of frugality on the small stuff (the latte effect) vs. the big stuff (engagement rings, houses, cars, etc.), and I like that she focuses on figuring out what brings you satisfaction and how money can contribute to the things that make you happy (much ...more
Mar 12, 2012 Maryellen rated it really liked it
All The Money In The World is predicated on the idea that, if you had all the money in the world, how would your life change, and how would that money buy you happiness? Vanderkam wants you to consider both the dream purchases and the practical, everyday impacts that money would create...and then find the ways to start building that life here and now, with the money you currently have. In a similar vein to 168 Hours Vanderkam illustrates the control we have on our finances-- that how we spend ...more
The book wasn't bad - I like the idea of spending your money in the way that makes YOU happy, rather than the way that "they" think you should spend your money.

The problem is that after setting this as the basic premise, the author then appeared to take the position that you should spend your money in the way that makes HER happy. For instance, you shouldn't buy expensive cars, because that won't make you happy, but instead save the money for lots of flowers and lattes from Starbucks. Well, I'm
Mar 30, 2016 GeekGirl_7 marked it as did-not-finish
My review to page 48~

I found this book recently on the shelf at my local library. I didn't have time to take a good look at it, but based on the title “All the money in the world: what the Happiest people know about wealth”, I though that the premise of this book would be that we don’t need as much as we think we do in order to be happy – & that those things that money can’t buy are more strongly linked to happiness – such as strong support networks in family & friends, a job you love (r
Eustacia Tan
Jul 24, 2012 Eustacia Tan rated it it was amazing
Most people I know have some form of problem with money. If you're a student, you probably don't have enough of it. This book doesn't sound like there's much of a link to Japan, but read on and I'll try to explain my thoughts.

The book isn't meant to be a directional book, in fact, the author says that the book is meant to be taken as a series of essays, rather than a "do this and your life will be easier" book. And in this book, I found one line that I had to share.

"More important, though, by f
Aug 31, 2016 Nicole rated it liked it
I appreciated the honesty here - because it's completely true, money can buy happiness in certain aspects. Pay attention to what you're spending on because a purchase of one thing is a denial of another. It's interesting to put it in such plain terms ("choosing to work long hours to pay off your house instead of spending time with your kids means you value your home more than your children") and try to actually deduce what my values are by paying attention to what I spend money on.

Also, I like
Mar 01, 2012 C.G.Koens rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-book-list
Vanderkam has hit it out of the park with "All the Money in the World" - or at least it rang true for me. Rather than turning the focus on what percentage of our income should be spent in a certain way, or clipping more coupons to buy stuff you don't need or use, she focus's her attention on how using our money wisely might include splurging on areas that others might find, well - odd. Vanderkam points out that while someone might save $30 by using coupons, it's quite possible that their time ...more
Jan 29, 2012 Birgit rated it liked it
What would you do if you had all the money in the world - not literally, but all you wanted - what would you change about your life? Laura Vanderkam is contemplating getting, spending, and sharing money in her book All The Money In The World - the main premise being that you can buy happiness!
Sharing her own experiences and those of people who one day decided they'd rather spend their money on this instead of that, the book will not advise you on how to safe money, but instead encourage you to r
May 15, 2012 Nicole rated it liked it
I love the premise of this book, but Vanderkam does not stick with it. The first three chapters she goes into the research of happiness and money, but then after those chapters the book takes tangents and she does not pull them together. I also did not agree with her on quite a few points..such as not everyone needs to be a 1099 employee. It can be more flexible, but there are downsides as well such as healthcare, accounting and taxes and other legal issues. She exemplifies the contracting ...more
Sep 23, 2015 Lara rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
I can't remember how I learned about this book, but it was referenced in something I read this summer. When I checked, I was pleased my library had it, but it's taken me a while to start, and then finish it.

The book isn't what I expected, but I found it a valuable read. This is not a personal finance book, investment guide, or strategy on how to manage your money. The author asks a series of questions about the role of money in our lives, and what we can do differently to use our money to make o
Emily Ragsdale
Feb 17, 2015 Emily Ragsdale rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-read
Other reviewers have made some criticisms of this book that I think are valid - yes, she's approaching this from the viewpoint of an upper-middle-class freelance writer, and some of the things she suggests won't work for people with less flexibility in their schedule or bank accounts. And her ideas about retirement might not be entirely practical.

BUT, I found the idea of figuring out what would really make you happiest and then spending money on that, rather than buying something unnecessarily e
May 31, 2012 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biz-money-econ
I found this book at the library, and in skimming the first chapter I came across a passage that framed the cost of the average engagement ring (somewhere in the ballpark of $5,200) in terms of what else that money could buy in the same vein, such as Friday date nights for an entire year, including dinner, entertainment and a babysitter, etc., and which choice would have a greater impact on the spender's happiness. That had me hooked. I love reading books that enable me to shift my perspective ...more
Oct 29, 2013 Lisa rated it liked it
Interesting read, though Vanderkam is definitely entrenched in a money-centric society -- something I probably wouldn't have noticed had I not read this article the day before, about a man who's lived without money for more than a decade.

I ran out of time to do the exercises in the back of the book, so I can't speak to those.
Mar 13, 2012 Suzanne rated it really liked it
A really thoughtful book about what you are and aren't doing with your "extra" money. Love the riff about how giving up your lovely morning coffee will only save you $600 and won't actually help you buy a house. Insightful questions; read it with the person you share your money (and your life) with. Looking forward to reading her other books about time and health.
Aug 02, 2013 Melissa rated it did not like it
I liked this book in the beginning and then it got on my nerves. The chapter about children was ridiculous and I found myself getting angry about her talking about throwing away Ziploc bags. I read it because I finish what I start, but I wish I could have this time back. This is one of my least favorite books ever read.
Apr 23, 2014 Amanda rated it liked it
Some interesting points. Helps you make financial decisions according to what you truly value. Not terribly helpful if you are not a 'got to have it all, keep up with the Jones' sort of person. Makes a huge assumption - that you have some money to make choices with.
Dec 17, 2012 Lpc rated it it was ok
Author says right off the bat that she is not a personal finance expert although she is doling out advice. Her main one: earn more money instead of focusing on reducing expenses like your groceries. Ummm... Yeah.... Why didn't I think of that? I wasn't that impressed.
Eveline Chao
Full disclosure: the author is a friend of mine so even if I had something negative to say I probably wouldn't write it here. But, I am enjoying this so far!
Holland Saltsman
Mar 01, 2012 Holland Saltsman rated it it was amazing
Loved this book, definitely new ways of thinking about money and happiness. It's a great guide full of practical suggestions on how to build the life you want with the resources you have.
Robert Williams
Mar 14, 2012 Robert Williams rated it it was amazing
Must read book for 2012. Learn how to create experiences, and shed excesses.
Dec 02, 2016 Kelsey rated it liked it
I chose to read this book as I have enjoyed Laura Vanderkam’s other books, especially 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think. She divides her discussion of money into getting, spending and sharing. I found it to be a fast read with some interesting insights. Was I learning something new on every page? No. Did I gain some interesting takeaways about finances? Yes. Examples of what you can buy with various amounts of money was an interesting way to portray the concept that we may have more m ...more
Stephanie Western
Gave me a lot to think about, especially in re-thinking the assumptions a lot of us make about money and its relationship to our lives and happiness. A few ideas that stood out to me: 1) assign a dollar value to your time. That way you'll know if spending an hour to save $x is worth it, when maybe you could be using that hour to work instead. 2) Spend less on your house and cars, which frees up money for small (or large) indulgences that make you happy on a more regular basis. 3) Figure out the ...more
Thomas Holbrook
Jul 08, 2012 Thomas Holbrook rated it really liked it
Ms. Vanderkam’s intentions for writing this book are made clear early, “If money can’t buy happiness, perhaps we’re not spending it right” (p.10). There are three ways to become “rich”: obtain more wealth, use less of the wealth one has or be satisfied with the amount one already possesses. This well done, clearly presented tome is not about money/wealth management, investing nor is it an instruction book on “how to get rich” in the manner that phrase is generally understood. It is, rather, a ...more
Sep 25, 2016 Gervy rated it liked it
Shelves: improving, rl, money
Good food for thought. However I don't think the author really zoomed in on who "the happiest people" are.
Oct 07, 2013 Heidi rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It's not a guide in the usual sense, in that it doesn't offer a plan to get out of debt or improve your investment portfolio. What it does is make you think about your attitudes about money.

And contrary to what many say, it purports that money CAN buy happiness, as long as you know what really makes you happy. A trip to Paris would make me happy, but for how long? As far as happiness is concerned, it would be better to spend the same amount of money on several smaller trips. T
I liked everything about this book except for part of chapter 8 (on different forms of philanthropic giving). She touts microphilanthropy but seems to understate some of the pitfall-y-ness of that method of giving. Though, to be fair, I'm a fan of only donating to causes you're familiar with (and ideally involved with on some level).

The whole book talks about how to use money effectively in order to maximize happiness, in regards to earning, saving, and donating. It is definitely NOT a personal
Catherine Gillespie
Jun 05, 2015 Catherine Gillespie rated it liked it
Shelves: finance
Laura Vanderkam (who also wrote 168 Hours) helps readers to be deliberate and thoughtful about the question of money, challenging widely accepted ideas about it, and offering suggestions for how to better get and use it.

A lot of personal finance books offer advice on how to set up a budget, cut your latte factor, or get out of debt, but I’d argue that reading All the Money in the World would be a better investment of your time because of how it will challenge you to really think through your ass
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Laura Vanderkam is the author of the forthcoming book I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Build Lives That Work (Portfolio, June 9, 2015). Based on a time diary study of 1001 days in the lives of professional women and their families, this book takes a practical approach to the question of how people combine work and family while enjoying their ow ...more
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