ABCS OF GETTING OUT OF DEBT

TURN BAD DEBT INTO GOOD DEBT AND BAD CREDIT INTO GOOD CREDIT

A fact-packed, easy-to-navigate resource for consumers concerned about debt.

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In this guide, Sutton (Run Your Own Corporation, 2012, etc.) offers recommendations for avoiding and solving debt problems.

The author begins by asserting that “the credit industry actively entices all comers, especially the young and inexperienced.” In the first part of this book, he goes on to offer some overall guidelines for dealing with consumer debt. In Chapter 4, he explains a 10-step strategy, along with sample worksheets, used by one couple who “never seemed to make a dent” in the amount they owed. The author makes recommendations about debt consolidation and includes a lengthy chapter, “Getting Help,” that thoroughly explains the different kinds of bankruptcy and the process of borrowing against a 401(k). The second part of the book looks at specific kinds of debt, ranging from current mortgage troubles to tax debt. A section on student loans, for example, includes eight remedies for dealing with overwhelming loan payments. Sutton’s chapter on debt collectors asserts that negotiating with collection agencies is “one of the most important skills you can learn and hone.” The handbook’s third part deals primarily with credit reporting agencies, credit reports and how they’re compiled, and credit repair. Throughout, the author presents stories of real-life predicaments that enliven what might have otherwise been bone-dry material. For example, “Credit Reports” describes the yearslong misery of a failed entrepreneur: “Roberto...had taken some risks on a restaurant that didn’t work out.” Finally, a chapter on credit scams and good uses of credit is followed by three appendices, including a list of other helpful books and websites.

A fact-packed, easy-to-navigate resource for consumers concerned about debt.

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-1937832070

Page Count: 220

Publisher: BZK Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2013

MAGIC WORDS

WHAT TO SAY TO GET YOUR WAY

Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.

Want to get ahead in business? Consult a dictionary.

By Wharton School professor Berger’s account, much of the art of persuasion lies in the art of choosing the right word. Want to jump ahead of others waiting in line to use a photocopy machine, even if they’re grizzled New Yorkers? Throw a because into the equation (“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?”), and you’re likely to get your way. Want someone to do your copying for you? Then change your verbs to nouns: not “Can you help me?” but “Can you be a helper?” As Berger notes, there’s a subtle psychological shift at play when a person becomes not a mere instrument in helping but instead acquires an identity as a helper. It’s the little things, one supposes, and the author offers some interesting strategies that eager readers will want to try out. Instead of alienating a listener with the omniscient should, as in “You should do this,” try could instead: “Well, you could…” induces all concerned “to recognize that there might be other possibilities.” Berger’s counsel that one should use abstractions contradicts his admonition to use concrete language, and it doesn’t help matters to say that each is appropriate to a particular situation, while grammarians will wince at his suggestion that a nerve-calming exercise to “try talking to yourself in the third person (‘You can do it!’)” in fact invokes the second person. Still, there are plenty of useful insights, particularly for students of advertising and public speaking. It’s intriguing to note that appeals to God are less effective in securing a loan than a simple affirmative such as “I pay all bills…on time”), and it’s helpful to keep in mind that “the right words used at the right time can have immense power.”

Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.

Pub Date: March 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780063204935

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper Business

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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