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We Need to Talk: A Memoir about Wealth

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  72 ratings  ·  25 reviews
"We Need to Talk: A Memoir About Wealth gives voice to an experience millions share, but no one discusses: what it's like to be rich. The book is an honest, personal story that explores the hidden impact of wealth on identity, relationships, and sense of place in the world. Too often, we link net-worth to self-worth and keep quiet about how our finances make us feel. Money ...more
Published May 1st 2020 by Xeno Books
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Otis Chandler
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not giving this book 5 stars because I'm friends with Jennifer and David, who I met through their amazing work at Though if I do have a criticism of the book, it's that it doesn't talk enough about everything that organization has done and is doing, helping kids all over the world get sucked into the magic of reading good books.

But I liked this book for two reasons: The first is that it was fascinating to learn more about their journey and how they handled it. The second is
Pushpak Karnick
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book - the premise was interesting enough to download it (Edelweiss+). The memoir is basically the author's journey into the world of affluence and her coming to terms with it over the course of many decades. She seems like a nice person who really wants to help people, but being a nice person does not necessarily mean your solutions are the right ones. To her credit, she does raise completely valid points surrounding the discussion of wealth in the lives of upper-middle-cl ...more
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5stars not because she’s my daughter but because the book is a fascinating look at the complexity of wealth
Full disclosure: I know Jen and David personally and I'm on the board of David's excellent nonprofit Worldreader. Please check it out. The mission is to help kids get addicted to reading and we work with children all over the globe.

That being said, I think Jen has done an admirable job attacking a subject that is incredibly sensitive for people on all sides of the spectrum.

I also really enjoyed learning about how they came together and their life trajectory. I can't wait to someday see them in
Linda (un)Conventional Bookworms
*I received a free copy of We Need to Talk: A Memoir about Wealth. This has in no way influenced my review which is honest and unbiased.*

I agree that it's important to talk about money. And to find a way to maybe balance the riches better than it is right now. I liked that there was talk about stock-options, and the feeling of not necessarily being deserving of all that money that appeared quite suddenly. It was interesting to see all the different questions Jennifer asked herself about the mone
David Risher
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm giving this book five stars not because Jennifer's my wife (which she is), not because she's amazing (which she is), and not because I watched her invest 14 years of her life and suffer through countlesss rejections and revisions (she did, to both.)

I'm giving the book five stars because it's funny, poignant, honest, and most of all important. It shines light on our last taboo subject-- one that matters maybe more than ever: the way we deal with wealth. You may not agree with how she has hand
Mari McNeil
Sep 27, 2020 rated it liked it
I’m very interested in the emotions, taboos, and practices surrounding money, so I read this book, and found it compelling, yet disagreeable.

The author (who, along with her husband, became tech millionaires) spends a good deal of time explaining how initially conflicted, but ultimately comfortable she became spending money on luxuries and household help, private jets, a large diamond, second house, private schools, and $2,500 purses, etc. Congratulations.

All the while, I’m thinking about her c
Sep 22, 2020 rated it did not like it
This book is one of the most tone deaf things I've read in a while. I can solve all your wealth problems in a few seconds, donate all of your money immediately. Wow, doesn't that feel better, now you're normal again with none of the problems of wealth. If you're too scared to be normal or poor, just tell people you made a bad investment and move into a two bedroom apartment and drive a mid-range car. That way you can keep your money and not tell anyone. If you really want normal people to feel b ...more
Sep 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
This is the most out of touch thing ive ever seen
Oct 14, 2020 rated it did not like it
If there is anything about this book that speaks to our current moment, it’s by example in reverse. We can’t depend on the interest, feelings, inclinations, or vanity projects of the super-rich, however well intentioned, to save us. Full review at the Chicago Review of Books here: ...more
Oct 11, 2020 rated it did not like it
Pathetic, self-absorbed, and horrifically out-of-touch. Notice that a large number of the positive reviews are from her equally entitled friends and family. Don’t waste your time and certainly not your money on this drivel.
Oct 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I want to give this book 5 stars on the topic alone. Any book that encourages women to talk openly about money should be celebrated.

Risher grew up middle class, but she joined Microsoft in the early 90s as a Recruiter. She met her husband at Microsoft, and he then went on to join Amazon at early stages and eventually became an SVP.

Risher writes about her experience coming into a large amount of wealth, first with her own Microsoft stock options and then her husband’s Amazon wealth (at one point
Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Author cites some popular studies on money that I appreciate.
Author talks about her feelings in an uncensored and frank way, which is great. The book does not ramble and so I finished it in one sitting.

Author is not afraid to admit that her cognitive dissonance just went away after a while and she didn’t mind spending extravagantly but had limits when it came to tennis clubs that were a little too exclusive.

Author touches on the subject of whether charity really is selfish or not but doesn’t
Erin Przybylinski
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading: We Need to Talk for many reasons, but namely for the appreciation of how open and honest Jennifer is throughout the book. Jennifer’s account of coming into money affirms what I have long believed; money solves one thing: the lack of having to worry about not having money.

People are often quick to judge others, but especially the wealthy. You would look in horror if someone said, “Oh all poor people are (insert word)", but all too often people speak about the wealthy in
Santhosh Guru
Sep 24, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is an honest memoir on managing life while becoming wealthy in a few years.

When your middle-class upbringing gets challenged by the huge money you make in legit means in your career, it is daunting. It takes time to adjust to this and come to terms with your past and your relationships. I connected very well with the author's rise from middle-class upbringing to a relative affluence story. I could empathize with her.

But I completely lost her in the latter half of the book on the probl
Julene Davidson
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an important read, especially for those coming into great fortune suddenly. I'm giving this book 5 stars and, yes, while Jennifer happens to be a friend of mine, it is a book written with raw emotion and from the heart. She has given the reader an intimate look into her personal conflict between honoring where she came from, to trying to "act like other rich people" which didn't feel right to her at all, to concerns about instilling in her children the responsibility that comes with weal ...more
Carrie Gillespie
Makes me wish I could talk more about money

I so appreciated the candor of this author and her struggle to balance living well and doing good. Her acknowledgement of American 's reluctance to discuss money is so true. It reminded me of the Culturgrams put out by the Mormon Church decades ago to help visitors to other countries not get off on the wrong foot. I chuckled when I looked at the one for the USA. The gist was that you may get the impression that you can ask an American anything BUT there
Helen Provost
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Like Jennifer and her husband, my husband and I also both work for tech companies and feel incredible grateful for stock options (although we don't have billions, and not millions either....) I thought this book was great in most aspects, loved the motherhood conversations particularly. The major disconnect is that the book is essentially trying to convey that wealthy people shouldn't be disliked and are just like everyone else... Which is simply not true. I think Jennifer feels her family is st ...more
Kara Dunn
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Written with naked honesty and contemplation, Jennifer Risher shares her experience of being in the right place at the right time for her ascent to extreme wealth from a modest childhood. She explores the psychological dichotomies of money alongside its social ramifications. Engaging and thought provoking, We Need to Talk: A Memoir About Wealth is a book about an American success story complicated by conscience and cultural sensitivity.
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
I thought the premise of the book sounded super compelling - I was gonna guess it’s a mix of worlds smallest violin and thoroughly interesting taboo topics. In truth, this book was incredibly hand wavy, only touching on interesting topics (wealth and children, wealth and family members) in a surface level way while describing her various ways of learning “how to be rich”
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this book. It helps erase the taboo subject of wealth and how to come to personal terms with it. Jen has explored her own personal issues addressing her identity as it pertains to money. Eventually, she understands that money is an opportunity that can affect others and her own family in good ways if she allows it.
Oct 14, 2020 rated it did not like it
Tone deaf release for the middle of an unprecedented pandemic and economic struggle for so many

Just ugh all around

Please stop having your friends family your mother and husband rate your book
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Bravo to Jennifer Risher for telling life stories that most people are afraid to share. There's so much for each of us to learn from Jennifer's experiences that will help us better understand our own relationship with money and seek the courage to talk about it.
Ashlee Hodor
Sep 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Not exactly what I thought I was going to read, but I was impressed nonetheless. Thanks 😊
Sep 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
Moderately interesting. Can't identify with her angst over spending money.
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Mariano Garcia-Valino
rated it it was amazing
Sep 30, 2020
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Oct 03, 2020
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Oct 10, 2020
Julie Brody
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Oct 09, 2020
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Jennifer Risher was born in Seattle, Washington, grew up in Oregon, and graduated from Connecticut College. She joined Microsoft in 1991 where she worked as a recruiter and then as a product manager. She and her husband, David, have two daughters and live in San Francisco, where David is CEO of Worldreader, a nonprofit he cofounded with a mission to create a world where everyone is a reader. In Ma ...more

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