This is a great book - well-written, clear, concise without being lightweight. There's information in here on everything from frugality to getting outThis is a great book - well-written, clear, concise without being lightweight. There's information in here on everything from frugality to getting out of debt, to saving for your retirement. I'd have given it 5 stars except it hasn't been (or at least hadn't when I bought my copy) adjusted for the UK market, which means that the saving for retirement section is a load of deeply confusing gibberish about Roth IRAs and 401ks.
However, this is a fantastic introduction to understanding your finances, general concepts and day-to-day money management. For the next step, and to understand about retirement planning in the UK, get the UK edition of Ramit Sethi's I Will Teach You To Be Rich (the UK Kindle edition certainly is UK-specific. Don't know about the hard-copy version)...more
Well, I really wanted to like this book. I got it on the basis that JD Roth of GetRichSlowly.org mentioned it in a review of I Will Teach You to Be RiWell, I really wanted to like this book. I got it on the basis that JD Roth of GetRichSlowly.org mentioned it in a review of I Will Teach You to Be Rich as being one of only two books he recommends to students (the other one is The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke which I haven't read yet). As I was looking for a book to help introduce my two stepsons (one just finished school, the other just finished his first year of higher study) to some personal finance concepts, this seemed like a good starting point.
The book is a quick read, and the chapter headings are great, but my problem with it is that his writing style is a bit clunky and repetitive and seems to be aimed at high school students, while his examples and content focus seem to be more for young adults post-college, thoughtlessly spending their way through their disposable income and then some.
I also find his examples to be a little disturbing. He seems to think that debt is only caused by buying things you neither want nor need and that people's biggest financial problems are caused by them believing that buying a fancy car will make them like the swanky guy in the commercial. I don't know anybody with a brain over the age of about 16 who has ever thought like that, although no doubt they're out there!
So while I think the concepts are useful, I think the approach is actually offputting for young people. Certainly for my stepsons, they need help to realise that just because they have money doesn't mean they should spend it all - and conversely that just because they want something doesn't mean they should have it right now, they need to learn how to save and they certainly won't be able to relate to examples involving fancy skiing holidays and impulse-buying fog machines for Hallowe'en.
I also find some of the examples either frankly unrealistic (a single 25-35 year old who owns their own flat and has massive debt - what young person who isn't in control of their finances can even consider buying property???) or too black and white.
I've given Debt Is Slavery 2 stars because while I feel the book has many serious deficiencies, it does have the benefit of being short and quick to read, and the fundamental principles are useful, even though I don't care for the way they're presented or the examples used.
I think for people just starting to think about money (young or not!), JD Roth's own Your Money: The Missing Manual is a much better book, even though it's bigger and so perhaps seems a little more challenging. It's separated into clear sections though, so easy to dip into for a specific problem. For those committed to sorting out their finances, not just learning, Ramit Sethi's I Will Teach You To Be Rich is excellent....more
Well, this is a great book. The first caveat though, before you rush out and buy it, is to read Ramit's blog for a little while first. He has a... uniWell, this is a great book. The first caveat though, before you rush out and buy it, is to read Ramit's blog for a little while first. He has a... unique writing style and while he's an excellent writer and the book is eminently readable, he can be a little confronting at times and if you're not comfortable with his style, you might be better off with a different book.
That said, the book is eminently readable - I basically read the whole thing in about 3 days - and both interesting and enjoyable. It's designed as a 6-week programme, and I've started following through the steps at the end of each chapter but had to read the whole thing in a block because college starts back on Monday at which point I won't have time to read anything other than study books but I'll still be able to follow through his step-by-step instructions for each of the six weeks and have already completed those for week one and have planned my to-do items for week two.
I find Ramit a really rather inspiring writer. He has a very practical approach and he manages to pull out statistics (e.g. regarding saving early for a pension/superannuation) which scare one into action - he shocked me enough that I actually got off my posterior and finally updated my contact details with my Australian super funds which I should have done 7 years ago and which have been specifically on my to-do list for a whole year. With the benefit that now I know exactly what I have in super already and have set up automatic payments to start actively adding to it.
He covers all sorts of useful topics, including getting out of debt, negotiating a raise, how much a wedding realistically costs and how to save for it without going into debt when the big day comes, how to approach buying a car or house (and even if you should buy a house), how to save money on bank fees and all sorts of useful topics. There's a very strong focus on saving for retirement, something I always dismissed when I was younger, but now that I realise that the Australian government has saved me from myself in that respect, I'm likely to become a bit of a superannuation evangelist!
Ramit's target audience is young people, specifically in their 20s and early 30s, so I'm a little out of his range (late 30s) but the book is still relevant because the key message is, no matter what your age, DO SOMETHING NOW.
I would recommend this for pretty much anyone who likes Ramit's style of writing because there's loads of useful info in here, and the steps to help you take action. His approach is based on the simple idea of automating as much as possible so you don't have to think or worry about your finances, and so you don't miss the money you've put into savings because you never saw it was there in the first place.
I would especially recommend this if you're trying to find a personal finance book (as I am) for young adults in your life. My two stepsons aren't quite up to the level of mental organisation required to see this book through - I think the reader needs to have gained a realisation that they need to do something first, even if it's just that they got scared by an overdraft fee or want to save for a new laptop or something - but they will be in a year or two at which point they'll definitely both get a copy of this!
Oh, and the nice thing is that the Kindle edition of this from amazon.co.uk that I bought (I don't know about the hard-copy version) is a UK edition, so he talks about pensions and UK-specific tools and advice sites instead of 401ks and Roth IRAs like many personal finance books. I'm just hoping he does an Australian edition too for no. 2 stepson who will be making his career in Aus!...more
I really didn't like this book when I was a child. I didn't like Mary and I loathed Colin. Add to this that I thought gardening - especially flowers -I really didn't like this book when I was a child. I didn't like Mary and I loathed Colin. Add to this that I thought gardening - especially flowers - was unspeakably dull (I still don't really get flowers, but I'm now passionate about growing edible plants) and I guess it never really stood a chance with me.
Re-reading it as an adult, I can now appreciate the subtleties of the book, and it's a lovely story once you get past all the bits about bad temper and begin to see the improvements the garden works on the children. I still have trouble seeing it as a children's book though, even though plenty of people have obviously enjoyed it when they were kids. It's fairly slow-moving, quite bleak in places, and until you battle your way through about half of it, there's very little joy in evidence, but it's well worth persevering right through to the end....more
I bought Arden's "It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be" a few years ago, and I think it's one of the best books on creativity and hI bought Arden's "It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be" a few years ago, and I think it's one of the best books on creativity and how to achieve what you want that I've seen. It's basically a pocket-sized kick in the pants for those moments when you need that. Since reading that book I'd been considering getting "Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite" but whenever I'd picked it up in a bookshop, it always seemed to be rehashing some of what was in the first book. So when a friend gave me this as part of a parcel of inspirational/creativity books for Christmas, I was very pleased indeed.
Now that I've read it, yes, there is a certain amount of rehashing, but whereas the first book is about a fairly general "get out there and do something", this book is focused on taking risks, experimenting and not being afraid to make mistakes. I think this narrower focus does - at least to some extent - justify the repetition, although I'll freely admit that it's this repetition that's reduced the score I'm giving this book to 4 stars (probably 3 1/2 would be my actual score, except that Goodreads doesn't do half-stars and it's a good book, so 3 seems a bit stingy)
The layout, as with "It's Not How Good You Are...", is intriguing and sets off each brief statement in a graphic way that usually is not merely designery, but helps you think differently about what's being said, even if it's a simple statement (mostly they're simple statements).
I think it's a helpful book, and if you're looking for a quick, thought-provoking read to help you start to be a bit braver in achieving what you want, then it's a good starting point - especially if you haven't read "It's Not How Good You Are...". However, if you're after something substantial, covering ways to help you overcome the worry that goes with risk, I'd recommend Jonathan Fields' Uncertainty instead....more
I was given this book for Christmas by a friend as part of a set of books she'd chosen for me on achieving goals and following dreams. It's an easy reI was given this book for Christmas by a friend as part of a set of books she'd chosen for me on achieving goals and following dreams. It's an easy read, although overall I found the style a little too simplistic and to a large extent that made it interesting but not a gripping read. The whole thing is basically a parable, and there's some interesting points made, especially about embracing opportunity and risk. There's some food for thought in there, and I could see that, depending on where you are in trying to follow your own dreams would affect how useful/interesting you felt the book was. For me, while I don't regret reading it at all, I don't think it's a life-changer because all the concepts in the book have been tackled elsewhere. Possibly if you haven't done much reading on this topic it could be a good introduction - certainly the story aspect is a different one from the many creativity and self-help books out there.
I think the bit I found most interesting though, was that in this edition there is a brief interview with the author at the back of the book. Reading about how his parents committed him to the local asylum and had him put through electic-shock 'therapy' because he wanted to be a writer totally put my own problems in perspective, and gave an interesting insight into the story of The Alchemist.
I'd recommend it to people wanting an easy-read uplifting story, or as a gift for those who may need help to start following their dream but who are unlikely to read a self-help book without dipping a toe in the water first...more
I think this is possibly Jasper Fforde's best book to-date. While all his books have been superlatively imaginative, clever and funny, the world of ShI think this is possibly Jasper Fforde's best book to-date. While all his books have been superlatively imaginative, clever and funny, the world of Shades of Grey is an absolute masterpiece. He has created an incredibly complex world, but manages to tell his story without getting bogged down in details. Instead, the intricacies of the Collective gradually evolve in the telling of this mystery, smoothly and clearly, always giving the reader the information that's needed, without the need to look back over past chapters to try to remember what's what. The characters are fabulous, the story intriguing and the conclusion horrifying and unexpected. An absolutely wonderful, unputdownable read. Can't wait for the second book - to be released in 2013!...more