Thursday, February 04, 2010

Book Reviews - Double the Fun

As some of you, my many wonderful followers, know by now, I also do book reviews. In the past year or so I have read two books that I think are some of the best in their genre but, to my surprise and disappoinment, are unavailable on Amazon. If there were a way for me to promote these books and get them a greater readership, I would. Consider the following two reviews part of that effort.

Conquering Your Financial Stress: The Five-Point Plan for Generating True Wealth, Bruce Eaton

I frankly do not understand why this book is hidden in the dark corners of the publishing world. This is absolutely one of the best, if not the best, book that I have ever read on personal finance. Eaton provides a new paradigm for the reader to view finances. Rather than looking at money as income and something to use for spending, you look at your financial life from the perspective of value - generating value, exchanging value and preserving value. In each of these areas he provides what he calls H2O's, or events that Have 2 Occur in your life for financial stress to be reduced or eliminated. Once you identify these H2O's you can then set reasonable objectives (and not pie in the sky goals) for achieving them. An H20 might be, for example, improving your health. This will reduce your financial stress because you will reduce medical expenses and the worry over how to meet them. Your objective may then be to eat less fatty foods, for example. There are a good number of areas like this that Eaton provides for H20's. They all make a great deal of sense and one can see how applying the steps will ultimately lead to less or eliminated financial stress.

Also, Eaton does not mince words to give the reader excuses for not taking action. The reasons the reader is in trouble are clearly spelled out. Only a person in serious denial could read these pages and not think they apply.

Finally, the book is also written with a lot of humor and Eaton's writing is often down-right hysterical, which is not something you ever hear someone say about a personal finance book. If I can ever get hold of the author, I would urge him to write and publish a second edition. It seems that the times could not be more right for another healthy dose of commonsensical (and humorous) financial advise.

Intelligent Memory, by Barry Gordon

I'm amazed that this book has been lost among the dozens of good books out there on creativity and problem solving. For me, this book is as good a find as Conquering Your Financial Stress, a great book on managing finaces which, like Intelligent Memory, is also currently unavailable. Perhaps the title of this book helped its demise, as it is not so much about memory as it is about how memory supports the creative and problem solving processes. Gordon and co-author Berger do a great job of providing crisp and clear explanations of how the two types of memories - short and long term - support the ability to problem solve and be creative. The authors provide useful and entertaining exercises which clearly demonstrate their theories in action. They provide guidance for seven areas: 1) enhancing attention; 2) expanding scratch-pad (short-term) memory); 3) storing more memories; 4) sparking connections; 5) solving problems; 6) working creatively; and 7) preventing mental mistakes. Improving in each of these areas, individually and in combination, will help the reader become better at problem solving and creativity. In sum, this book was educational, entertaining and motivating, as it provides the tools to become a better thinker overall in a fun and easily accessible manner.