While it’s not a road map to riches, this comprehensive guide can help lead you to greater financial understanding and maybe...



A financial psychologist encourages consumers to take an introspective approach to achieving financial independence.

While Martin’s book is largely a thoughtful exploration of how people—Westerners in particular—relate to money, it also serves as a useful guide for managing one’s personal finances. In almost equal measures it introduces academic concepts regarding income and expenses as well as practical approaches toward spending and saving, so the book may be particularly useful for young adults who are newly or soon-to-be on their own, especially if they weren’t paying attention or didn’t get the best financial advice from their parents. With a doctorate in clinical psychology and a master’s degree in personal financial planning, Martin challenges readers to recognize and address their cognitive distortions regarding money and to use the power of positive self-talk to correct negative financial thoughts and behaviors. Such an approach puts this book in a different category than the stereotypical “how to make more money faster” primers. In fact, in contrast, Martin explores the seemingly foreign concept that there’s such a thing as “enough” money. Although the book doesn’t cover basic checkbook-balancing principals, the author offers several practical exercises designed to help readers understand the sometimes-unnoticed motives that explain their financial behaviors. In short chapters, Martin addresses the basic rationality required to ensure that daily shopping habits—i.e., If I wait a day, will I still want to buy it?—as well as more complex behaviors, like how to talk to kids about money, will be confined by realistic financial needs and desires. In addition to offering sound advice for discussing money matters with spouses, Martin explains how (or whether) certain personality types should invest in the stock market. Also valuable are his step-by-step suggestions for overcoming “inertia” regarding important financial decisions such as asking for a raise or saving for retirement.

While it’s not a road map to riches, this comprehensive guide can help lead you to greater financial understanding and maybe even achievement, no matter your income level.

Pub Date: April 25, 2012

ISBN: 978-0313398247

Page Count: 212

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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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. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.


“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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