A charming, easy-to-read fable providing useful pointers on personal finance management.



In this finance-focused tale, a South African ex-athlete is led on a journey to uncover the secrets to achieving lasting wealth.

Growing up in rural South Africa, Ash has the good fortune of being skilled at sports and securing the heart of local girl Suraya. He becomes a rugby star in the big city and lives a high-spending lifestyle, dropping his hometown sweetheart. Then disaster strikes: Ash’s hamstrings go out and he’s forced out of the game. In debt and despair on a plane returning home, he meets the mysterious TK, who tells him about the “money fountain” and how there are core principles through which one can achieve and sustain financial security. Destiny intervenes once again, however, with Ash losing TK’s contact information while leaving the plane. Ash returns home, reunites with Suraya and begins to raise a family, but he soon falls prey to debilitating financial schemes. That’s all apparently part of the plan, however, with TK eventually reappearing in Ash’s life, leading him to a series of mentors who reveal the key tips—e.g., routinely save 10 percent of your income, invest in an account that compounds and rewards you with either interest or a dividend—that put Ash on track to “conscious wealth” and help him “pay it forward” to become a successful TK-like guide himself. Authors Van Eyden, an economics professor, and Wells, a South African business entrepreneur, have written a gently humorous tale that outlines rather obvious but important aspects of fiscal responsibility. Their money examples are based on South African currency, however, which may confuse some readers. Also, some of their suggestions may cause skepticism: Surely it is not so easy, for example, to find “a stock that earns 15 percent or more.” The authors’ use of fate and “Destiny” (as an actual character) also seem at odds with their philosophy that one can and should try to control the financial forces in one’s life. Still, the smooth-flowing narrative may be an effective way to present dry economic topics to general audiences.

A charming, easy-to-read fable providing useful pointers on personal finance management. 

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2013

ISBN: 978-1492812098

Page Count: 160

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 10, 2014

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A handful of pearls amid a pile of empty oyster shells.


Bestselling author Haig offers a book’s worth of apothegms to serve as guides to issues ranging from disquietude to self-acceptance.

Like many collections of this sort—terse snippets of advice, from the everyday to the cosmic—some parts will hit home with surprising insight, some will feel like old hat, and others will come across as disposable or incomprehensible. Years ago, Haig experienced an extended period of suicidal depression, so he comes at many of these topics—pain, hope, self-worth, contentment—from a hard-won perspective. This makes some of the material worthy of a second look, even when it feels runic or contrary to experience. The author’s words are instigations, hopeful first steps toward illumination. Most chapters are only a few sentences long, the longest running for three pages. Much is left unsaid and left up to readers to dissect. On being lost, Haig recounts an episode with his father when they got turned around in a forest in France. His father said to him, “If we keep going in a straight line we’ll get out of here.” He was correct, a bit of wisdom Haig turned to during his depression when he focused on moving forward: “It is important to remember the bottom of the valley never has the clearest view. And that sometimes all you need to do in order to rise up again is to keep moving forward.” Many aphorisms sound right, if hardly groundbreaking—e.g., a quick route to happiness is making someone else happy; “No is a good word. It keeps you sane. In an age of overload, no is really yes. It is yes to having space you need to live”; “External events are neutral. They only gain positive or negative value the moment they enter our mind.” Haig’s fans may enjoy this one, but others should take a pass.

A handful of pearls amid a pile of empty oyster shells.

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-14-313666-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Penguin Life

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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