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The Difference: How Anyone Can Prosper in Even The Toughest Times
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The Difference: How Anyone Can Prosper in Even The Toughest Times

3.24 of 5 stars 3.24  ·  rating details  ·  152 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Can you really start from nothing and become truly secure financially?

What’s the difference between you and Warren Buffett? Between you and your boss? Or between you and your successful neighbor? What do the financially comfortable have that you don’t?

It’s not that those people were born into money, caught a lucky break, or have an Ivy League education. It’s not even that
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Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by Crown Business (first published 2009)
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Dawn
The Difference is that there is no one difference. The best parts of this book were the interviews that prefaced each chapter. Each interview is with a person who succeeded financially, and they all did it a little differently. The end result is that meeting your financial goals is a lot like reaching your goal weight: no one diet and exercise program works for every person, and the real trick is to find what works for you and stick with it.

This isn't the kind of book that will help if you're wa
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Sarah
This book reminds me of The Secret meets a financial advisor. There is a lot of focus on traits such as optimism and risk taking and how they can make the “difference” between the successful and the average. I have one main gripe with this book:

I don’t feel like she offers any actual helpful advice. It’s all fine and dandy to say optimism is found in blah-blah percentage of successful people, but how are you, as a reader, supposed to actively apply that to your life? She argues that personality
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Doc Opp
I only read this because I got it as a free sample. This happens occasionally for books that use JDM psychology and behavioral econ - maybe they think I'll use it in my classes or something. Anyway, the book is well written, but the analysis of the surveys is questionable at best, and the central advice is mostly common sense or else platitudes. Want to have savings? Then be sure to save money. Don't get discouraged and give up if you have an early failure. Make professional contacts. Etc. Its n ...more
Chris Ross
I listened to the audio book. I was not impressed. First, I am surprised that Jean Chatzky does not have a degree in Finance or Economics, is not a CPA or Financial Planner, and does not have an MBA and this takes away some of her credibility in my opinion. The book is not well suited to an audio book format because of the number of surveys throughout the book. The narrator is boring and blase and I believe Jean should have narrated this book herself. In a nutshell the book is about the differen ...more
Christina
The Difference is the number-one finance book out there.

Forget Dave Bach. Forget Suze Orman. Forget the financial expert du jour.

I have proof this system works: plenty of individuals I know have the traits and skills that earned them wealth or allowed them to be financially well-off.

If you think optimism is a touchy-feeling concept and balk at it, think again. Optimism is the number-one trait of people who acquire wealth or are financially well-off.

If you see yourself in these pages, and even if
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Terri
has some good advice. pretty general in scope. it is a motivational rather than specific financial plan information. she is very motivational in offering suggestions on bringing the characteristics of yourself out and/or recognizing what you may need to do, or how to work with, your characteristics as to getting ahead.
Mary
I was a little disappointed. I really like hearing what she has to say on news shows, but this was really basic. I don't think I came away with anything new. I am on a mission to try several of her others and see if something comes up, though.
Heidi
I was disappointed in this book. A lot of vague ideas and generalities that failed to inspire or impress.
Cynthia
somewhat interesting topic, but for a financial book it was just alright.
Lance
What attracted me to this book was the idea of potential --- the idea that everyone has within themselves the ability to achieve what only a few seemingly do. I wanted to learn more of what that "difference" was.

Chatzky doesn't disappoint. A study of more than 5000 people provides the foundation for what Chatzky reveals about the difference between people who seem to rise above any situation and everyone else. And that difference is simply a different way of thinking about themselves and their w
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Amy
In this book, Jean Chatzky outlines the qualities and habits that make "The Difference" between the wealthy and those sinking further and further into debt. I began with enthusiasm, but that steadily waned as I progressed. The further I got, the more her choices of what constitute "The Difference" seem to be a product of her own thoughts rather than on the survey of Americans she cites frequently. The survey participants self-described their habits and traits, and for some differences she highli ...more
Mary Pauline
Even though I try not to stop reading a book if I don't like it, I stopped this one just prior to chapter two. Usually I would continue to read as I can usually pull some good out of each book. However, I have to admit that I was not a big Jean Chatzky fan prior to reading this and after the first chapter, I just felt like I was wasting time and chose not to finish.
pianogal
Not a bad book, but it was a little more touchy-feely than I wanted. Plus it was a little dated - being 6 years old. I feel like this one was more help to the writers than the folks it was written for.
Autumn
This is a good combination of simple financial recommendations and current social-psychological studies done on successful and not so successful people in the financial arena.
I liked the recommendation she made regarding buying index funds. She suggests getting 3 index funds - domestic stock market index funds, bond market index funds, and an international stock market index fund. Recommends going to Morningstar.com to find out ones with low fees. Asset allocation for early retirement (60s to 70
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Marjanne
I enjoyed reading this book and felt that the author gives some good advice. However there is really nothing revolutionary here. If you've read other financial planning books you've probably read most of what is here. There is also a relative dose of self-help items as well. I don't have any experience with this author other than reading this book (I haven't seen her on TV or listened on the radio). I'd probably pick up of one of her other books. She seems to have a good head on her shoulders an ...more
David Barney
Good advice and common sense suggestions in many facets of a persons life.
Esther
Of all the personal finance books I've read, this one spoke to me. I love all the stats analyzing the behaviors of people at different levels of wealth. Now I'm looking at my own behaviors and realizing that there are ways I am not engaging with life that could benefit me -- ways that have nothing to do with finances but that do, according to Chatzky's research, end up influencing one's financial well-being.
Betseyneely1
Journalist, best selling author, and motivational speaker Jean Chatzky, describes the difference between prosperous and not so prosperous individuals. She has performed ground breaking research concerning the factors which make the difference between and ordinary person and Warren Buffet. This is a pleasant and interesting read. Through anecdotes and exercises in self reflection, the author cautions against common financial and investment mistakes, and creates a blueprint for putting the reader ...more
Laura Brouwer
This was easy to read and gave great tips that weren't all monetary on how to become more wealthy. Especially enjoyed the tips on finding a mentor, keeping connected, discovering your passion and being grateful for what you already have. You get the feeling that the message in this book is along the lines of create a rich, full life and your bank account(s) will follow. Read it in a couple of days, but know I will go back and re-read the different areas again and again.
Kristen Rudd
While I'm not a huge fan of the whole motivational speaking set of books, I am interested in personal finance books, and this was kind of a mix between the two. I actually found some good take-aways from this, mainly the exercises at the end of each chapter. I'm not a power of positive thinking person, but things like writing down your goals and fostering a sense of thankfulness are good things to practice.
Laura Lynch
"The Difference" looks at the factors that impact wealth. Although the book is analytical and based on studies it reminded me of "The Secret" . Many of the points echoed ideas from "The Secret" such as positive thinking, trust intuition and being thankful. "The Difference" also suggested plenty of practical tips such as spending less than you earn, habitual savings and investing wisely
Lorraine
I am a nerd when it comes to financial books and have read many. Chatzky conducted a study of 5,000 people and provides analysis of their finacial behaviors and attitudes. She points out some obvious yet overlooked experiences and habits of successful people such as if they were read to daily as children or the frequency that they read the newspaper.
Aspasia
I have always enjoyed Jean Chatzky's money segments on the Today show. This books focuses more on the psychological aspect of surviving and thriving during hard times. The last two chapters deal with the physical aspects of becoming wealthy- saving and investing. I mostly read it for inspirational purposes since my husband is out of a job.
Michelle
Yes, it is simple advice, but it is sound and it is worthy. Incorporating sociological studies, as well as interviews with a wide variety of those lucky enough to be financially successful on the scale of comfortable to wealthy, helps to create logic worth holding onto at this point in the slow-to-get-back-on-its-feet economy.
Debbie D
Was disappointed with this book. I've read her articles in magazines and had always liked what I had read. This book just seemed to rehash and not very well basic principles. We all need to save, you need to take some calculated risks with your money and work harder when there is a benefit to come from it, etc.
Carissa
This book was alright--insightful, but it didn't hold my interest very well. Lots of research and analysis, not much by way of meaningful stories & content. i think it took me longer to finish reading it than it took her to write it...
Jill Miller
I didn't enjoy this book as much as her others. Rather than suggesting things to do to better your financial situation, this book focuses more on who you are. This would be a good gift for a new, young college grad, though.
Rebecca
I think that I would need to do more personal work - tracking spending etc - to get the full value from this book but the central premise that happier, slightly risk-taking people end up wealthier makes sense to me.
Jana
I enjoyed the interviews of this book. It was a good overview but really nothing practical. It is good at helping to provide some hope that you can change aspects of your life.
Karin
Sep 02, 2011 Karin rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: financial newbies
I liked the interviews. Otherwise the book didn't say anything new. Maybe i would have liked it better if it were the first financial book i read.
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