A long, encouraging discussion about laying the groundwork early for a triumphant retirement.

Preparing for a Happy and Comfortable Life in Retirement

A book offers a point-by-point, step-by-step blueprint for long-term financial security.

In giving readers a guide to planning for their retirements, Suleiman Mnim (Investment Success, 2015) concentrates on long-term preparation rather than specific financial strategies. There’s very little actual discussion of money matters in these pages; rather, the author spends most of his time aiming arguments at readers who are perusing the book well before their retirement years, urging them to adopt the frame of mind and personal practices that will guarantee their comfort and security years and even decades down the line. Suleiman Mnim urges those readers to take serious, clear-eyed stock of their financial situations: view their incomes as the valuable commodities they are, save large portions of them in sensible retirement accounts, avoid extravagances, and learn from their mistakes. They should also be wary of the “comfort zone,” the pattern of familiar thinking and safe expectations that can tempt people in their prime working years into thinking they have all the time in the world to start planning for their retirements. The author consistently rails against such feelings of complacency, stressing throughout the book that entrepreneurial optimism in the prime of life is the key to security later on; readers are encouraged to pattern their paths to success after magnates who’ve achieved great wealth while still young, famous figures like Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the founders of Google. (A second edition of the volume should update this section: Brin and Page are now in their early 40s, not their early 30s.) The work’s writing can be a bit on the pompous side at times (lines like there is no point “in the lives of most men wherein they dislike the need to have additional money” crop up often), and some of the author’s points share the same kind of bloated generality common to self-help business books (“Every failure comes with hidden opportunities that only the persistent soul could unveil,” etc.). But the larger arguments—that healthy young employees should be responsible for carefully preparing for their own distant retirements—are well targeted to today’s overworked middle class.

A long, encouraging discussion about laying the groundwork early for a triumphant retirement.

Pub Date: July 31, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4828-0876-6

Page Count: 166

Publisher: PartridgeAfrica

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2016

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The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

THE LAWS OF HUMAN NATURE

A follow-on to the author’s garbled but popular 48 Laws of Power, promising that readers will learn how to win friends and influence people, to say nothing of outfoxing all those “toxic types” out in the world.

Greene (Mastery, 2012, etc.) begins with a big sell, averring that his book “is designed to immerse you in all aspects of human behavior and illuminate its root causes.” To gauge by this fat compendium, human behavior is mostly rotten, a presumption that fits with the author’s neo-Machiavellian program of self-validation and eventual strategic supremacy. The author works to formula: First, state a “law,” such as “confront your dark side” or “know your limits,” the latter of which seems pale compared to the Delphic oracle’s “nothing in excess.” Next, elaborate on that law with what might seem to be as plain as day: “Losing contact with reality, we make irrational decisions. That is why our success often does not last.” One imagines there might be other reasons for the evanescence of glory, but there you go. Finally, spin out a long tutelary yarn, seemingly the longer the better, to shore up the truism—in this case, the cometary rise and fall of one-time Disney CEO Michael Eisner, with the warning, “his fate could easily be yours, albeit most likely on a smaller scale,” which ranks right up there with the fortuneteller’s “I sense that someone you know has died" in orders of probability. It’s enough to inspire a new law: Beware of those who spend too much time telling you what you already know, even when it’s dressed up in fresh-sounding terms. “Continually mix the visceral with the analytic” is the language of a consultant’s report, more important-sounding than “go with your gut but use your head, too.”

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-42814-5

Page Count: 580

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better...

EVERYTHING IS F*CKED

A BOOK ABOUT HOPE

The popular blogger and author delivers an entertaining and thought-provoking third book about the importance of being hopeful in terrible times.

“We are a culture and a people in need of hope,” writes Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, 2016, etc.). With an appealing combination of gritty humor and straightforward prose, the author floats the idea of drawing strength and hope from a myriad of sources in order to tolerate the “incomprehensibility of your existence.” He broadens and illuminates his concepts through a series of hypothetical scenarios based in contemporary reality. At the dark heart of Manson’s guide is the “Uncomfortable Truth,” which reiterates our cosmic insignificance and the inevitability of death, whether we blindly ignore or blissfully embrace it. The author establishes this harsh sentiment early on, creating a firm foundation for examining the current crisis of hope, how we got here, and what it means on a larger scale. Manson’s referential text probes the heroism of Auschwitz infiltrator Witold Pilecki and the work of Isaac Newton, Nietzsche, Einstein, and Immanuel Kant, as the author explores the mechanics of how hope is created and maintained through self-control and community. Though Manson takes many serpentine intellectual detours, his dark-humored wit and blunt prose are both informative and engaging. He is at his most convincing in his discussions about the fallibility of religious beliefs, the modern world’s numerous shortcomings, deliberations over the “Feeling Brain” versus the “Thinking Brain,” and the importance of striking a happy medium between overindulging in and repressing emotions. Although we live in a “couch-potato-pundit era of tweetstorms and outrage porn,” writes Manson, hope springs eternal through the magic salves of self-awareness, rational thinking, and even pain, which is “at the heart of all emotion.”

Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better world alive.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-288843-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2019

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