Among the few kind things that can be said for this precious, exiguous exercise is that the Germans (The Only Money Book for the Middle Class) resisted the temptation to substitute fiscal for financial in their title. More often than not, unfortunately, the authors do succumb in the text, offering haphazard counsel under self-consciously congruent headings, including one that enjoins the improvident to get out of the red and into the pink. Stylistic annoyances apart, their scantily documented advisories range from the obvious (buy an affordable car) and patronizing (avoid impulse purchases with credit cards) through the decidedly dubious, e.g., take out an umbrella loan to meet overdue debt obligations, start a savings account by borrowing $1,000 or more to be paid back in monthly installments over a yearlong period. Having done with their 90-day shape-up program, the Germans make a lame attempt to address the presumptively special needs of single woman, unmarried couples (including gays), young adults with minor children, et al. Here, they fire away to even less effect. There's a wealth of far worthier alternatives for anyone seeking concise, reliable, and systematic self-help guidance on money-management matters. Recently published possibilities include Leonard Sloane's The New York Times Book of Personal Finance (a March release) and Justin Heatter's Take Charge of Your Finances (1984).