Book Reviews

In Review: Pragmatic Capitalism

Pragmatic Capitalism: A Practical Look at Money, Finance, and EconomicsPragmatic Capitalism
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Good

This book has plenty of helpful information. Roche does well to explain what money is and how the economy works. He uses straightforward language. The examples are simple and approachable.

The Bad

My biggest criticism is that the book it is very repetitive. There are only a few ideas and they get repeated for 200 pages. I understand the need to reinforce certain ideas for readers who are new to the subject, but Roche goes beyond that. Continue reading “In Review: Pragmatic Capitalism”

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Book Reviews

In Review: Avatar The Last Airbender: The Lost Adventures

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Lost AdventuresAvatar: The Last Airbender: The Lost Adventures by Bryan Konietzko
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First of all, I am a huge fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender. I loved the show and I enjoy just about any story set in that universe. With that being said, The Lost Adventures is far and away the best Avatar comic book I have read.

The Lost Adventures is amazing because it is a collection of stories that were written – and all take place – during the timeline of the original Avatar: The Last Airbender TV series. Some (maybe most?) of the stories were written by actual writers from the TV show and it’s clear because the characters and events are true to the show. The majority of stories are short – as in five pages or less – but at least one story was long enough that it could have been been turned into a full episode of the show.

I will admit that I did not like a few stories (like those submitted by fans). But on the whole, I really enjoyed reading these adventures that imagining that these were the things happening between episodes of the show.

I highly recommend this book to any Avatar: The Last Airbender fan who wants more now that the show has finished. Gene Yang has done a great job with his Avatar comic book series, but they do not compare to this collection.

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Book Reviews

In Review: Worth It

Worth It: Your Life, Your Money, Your TermsWorth It: Your Life, Your Money, Your Terms by Amanda Steinberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have read quite a few books in the genre of (what I call) ‘celebrity financial experts.’ I’d say that Worth It stacks up pretty well. There isn’t anything groundbreaking in here but the advice is solid and the information is all factually accurate (something I questioned with Real Money Answers.)

Main points from Worth It

1. Saving is a habit. You won’t save money unless you build good saving habits. Having more money will not help you so stop waiting until you get that raise/bonus/winning scratch ticket. Start saving now. Start very small and build.

2. Everyone needs financial roots, a foundation that will give you security and peace of mind, and financial wings, short-term reserves to use for living your life.

3. “Remember: Money is freedom. Being in control of how we manage money allows us to design and live the lives we want.”

4. “Emergency fund first. Debt second. Retirement third. Investments fourth.”

My Review

My biggest takeaway from Worth It was Steinberg’s metaphor of financial roots and wings. I really liked the metaphor. She said that she heard it when she young and then she applied it to personal finance. I feel like the metaphor could have been done a bit better, but it was a great way to explain how people should approach their finances.

The idea is that everyone should have financial roots and wings. Roots are your safe, long-term investments. These are things that provide you with money and security (including mental security) even if something happens (e.g. you you lose your job). Steinberg explained four main types of roots: retirement savings, investments, real estate, and starting your own business.

Steinberg explains all four kinds of roots and explains how not everyone should have all four. Everyone is in a different place and everyone has a different way of approaching their money. She describes this as your ‘money type.’ According to Steinberg, there are five money types. She has a quiz (and an online quiz) to help people find their money type. This is just a way to help people understand about the ways they think about money and the ways they make financial decisions.

Meanwhile, Steinberg says everyone should also have financial wings. Wings represent your confidence to take calculated, financial risks and to help you grow. This is the fun stuff like spending money and short-term savings. She talks about budgeting (everyone’s favorite!) but stresses that it isn’t really about pinching pennies. I liked her ideas for shaking up your routines and saving money while also having some fun.

I also liked Steinberg’s idea of having four nonnegotiables. These are things that you love and that you ‘have’ to spend money on. For example, I personally value my health and so spending money on a gym membership and fitness classes is nonnegotiable. I ‘have’ to have it. (She used a more fun example like spending on clothes or shoes.) She advises people to pick four nonnegotiable things and then view everything else as something you don’t need to have.

The Verdict

If you’re looking for financial help, I would recommend Worth It. Amanda Steinberg explains things clearly and gives the basic information you need. Her roots and wings metaphor provides a great way to think about your finances. There are some good sections with statistics and actionable advice to help women overcome some of the financial challenges they face in the U.S. The book is targeted at women, like all of Amanda Steinberg’s work, but ultimately, I’d say the basic financial advice is useful whether you’re a man or a woman.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about Amanda Steinberg and her projects to help women take control of their finances, check out this profile on Amanda Steinberg that I also wrote.

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Book Reviews

In Review: Fernande

Fernande: The Story of a CourtesanFernande: The Story of a Courtesan by Alexandre Dumas
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

There is a quote in the book that I think perfectly sums up the story: “Alas! Our story is not so much a narrative of events as a drama of analysis. It is a moral autopsy that we have undertaken.”

This story is about a very interesting social situation that would best be described as a love triangle (though there are like six people involved). The whole story takes place over the course of one day and Dumas did a great job of examining how different people were thinking and feeling throughout the day. No huge events take place but I enjoy this kind of story: a chance for the reader to get a glimpse at what motivates people to act the way they do.

The best part of Fernande is probably the length. It’s short and to the point. Things never have time to drag unlike longer Dumas’ longer such as The Three Musketeers.

I would certainly recommend Fernande. The characters are well done and there is plenty to think about.

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Book Reviews

In Review: Real Money Answers for Every Woman

Real Money Answers for Every Woman: How to Win the Money Game With or Without a ManReal Money Answers for Every Woman: How to Win the Money Game With or Without a Man by Patrice C. Washington
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First, the good stuff…

Washington covers a lot of things in the book and she has a direct, honest approach that I really appreciate. For example, there’s a point where she poses a question that she has heard from clients:”My parents didn’t teach me anything about money. Now what?” Her response to that question is, “Welcome to the club. Accept it and move on.” No beating around the bush and no sugarcoating. I like that. Continue reading “In Review: Real Money Answers for Every Woman”

Book Reviews

In Review: Tokyo Ghoul Vol. 6

Tokyo Ghoul, Vol. 6 (Tokyo Ghoul, #6)Tokyo Ghoul, Vol. 6 by Sui Ishida
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This volume starts with a two-page recap of the story (and main characters) thus far in the series, so if you haven’t read volume 5 in a while, you can catch up quickly.

There’s plenty of action here as Kaneki finds himself caught up in the impending war of ghouls versus humans. But this volume is notable because we learn a lot about the four kinds of kagune and the classifications of ghoul investigators.

As usual, the four-cell stories at the end are all entertaining.

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