A knowledgeable and upbeat overview of everyday money matters.

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Financial educator and public speaker Paradise offers a primer on offbeat ways to understand personal finance and employ methods to improve one’s monetary habits.

Throughout his nonfiction debut, the author stresses that his financial advice has been hard-earned. As a 19-year-old high school dropout with a criminal record for drug-dealing, he says he lived on very little; he rode his bike to his job selling furniture and came home to sleep on the floor (“I couldn’t reduce my expenses much further,” he understates). It’s for this reason that he’s come to consider that money is about much more than math and how it can sometimes be subjective: “We can all agree that 1 plus 1 equals 2. That’s easy,” he writes. “However, if we ask five people, ‘What’s the best thing to do with two dollars?’ we'll get at least six different opinions.” In these pages, Paradise discusses a wide range of the best things to do with one’s dollars, touching on everything from the possible perils of retiring early—basically, that you could outlive your money—to the workings of credit cards compared to debit cards: “Some well-known personalities recommend avoiding debt and credit altogether,” he warns. “That advice is foolish and even reckless.” Paradise’s highly relatable, conversational style results in a winningly approachable guide to personal finance, and it’s one that will be especially useful to people who are starting with very little money, as he himself did. He’s particularly bullish on investing—broad stock market index mutual funds, electronically traded funds, index-tracking funds, plain old real estate, and so on—but he consistently warns his readers that although the best investments are always personal, they should be undertaken with rational intellect, not impulsive emotion. His common-sense approach is such that when he writes, “Dream big, persist, and you will shine brighter than you ever thought possible,” readers will believe him.

A knowledgeable and upbeat overview of everyday money matters.

Pub Date: May 16, 2023

ISBN: 9798987943724

Page Count: 287

Publisher: Vernon Street Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2023



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


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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