Richer by the Day » Book Review

Richer by the Day
Ongoing ramblings about personal finance, and all related topics. If it has to do with money, it will be covered here.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Wealth

Welcome to Richer by the Day, a blog about personal finance, investing, and all things money. Take some time to read my latest blog posts, browse the categories and archive, and subscribe to my feed via RSS or Email. You can also stay up to date by following me on Twitter. If you find the information here useful, you can help support this site by visiting our advertisers and sponsors. Thanks for visiting!

The latest book review here on Richer by the Day is Thomas J. Stanley’s Stop Acting Rich … And Start Living Like a Real Millionaire.  Those familiar with Stanley’s other notable books, namely The Millionaire Next Door and The Millionaire Mind will see many familiar themes in Stop Acting Rich.  That’s not a criticism though, since this niche is where Stanley is at his best.  The differences between the three could be summarized as follows: The Millionaire Next Door described the typical millionaire, The Millionaire Mind revealed what they believe made them a success, and Stop Acting Rich explains why so many non-rich hyperspend and fail in their rich-emulation attempts.

Stop Acting Rich begins with an overview of the phenomenon whereby people try to emulate the rich, but fail miserably.  The problem, in simplified terms, is that they either emulate those with nearly limitless resources (whom they will never become) and/or the habits they believe the rich follow.  Unfortunately their beliefs of the rich are incorrect and so they act in many ways that are detrimental to their wealth.  The disheartening situation that many seem to find themselves in is a preference for appearing rich, rather than actually becoming rich.

Hyper-consumption and a desire to highlight our “wealth” through the showcase of status symbols

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Giveaway

Richer by the Day regulars know that I read a lot of books.  I often review relevant books here and host book giveaways as well.  In the course of those efforts, I was surprised to learn that there really isn’t a centralized place for people to collect, share, and discuss various book reviews.  There are many book review sites, but they are generally for user’s own reviews or discussions of the books themselves.  I envisioned a site where many reviews for a book could be submitted and users could vote for the best review.  Then, others considering the book could find reviews and opinions all in one place.  They could limit themselves to the best ranking review, or view them all.  Since this type of social bookmarking for book reviews didn’t seem to exist, I took it upon myself to create such a site.  The result is

The site is still in beta testing, but I’d be thrilled if any Richer by the Day readers would give it a try.  To help entice you, I’ll be hosting another giveaway to coincide with the beta testing period.  I will be giving away 5 personal finance or investing themed books from my large collection on October 1st.  All users of Book Review Mark will be eligible.  Each book review you add to the site or vote you cast for other reviews will count as an additional entry.

Thanks for your help in this effort and happy reading!

Filed under Book Review, Budgeting, Credit and Debt, Investing, Mortgage, Retirement, Saving, Wealth

This week’s book review is Right on the Money by Pat Robertson.

The first thing many readers would probably want to know about Right on the Money is the amount of spiritual influence found in its pages.  Author Pat Robertson gained fame as a televangelist, founding the Christian Broadcasting Network and hosting The 700 ClubRight on the Money is not at all preachy.  While Robertson’s beliefs are certainly evident within the book (particularly in the introduction and the chapter on families), the book reads much more like it was written by a true financial expert with strong spiritual beliefs rather than a preacher who also knows something about finances.  Robertson balances his actions (”In my financial planning, giving takes precedence”) with the caveat that you may have different priorities and should tweak his generalized advice to your particular situation.  In one part, he specifically states that an implementation strategy is intentionally omitted, since you’ll need to tailor that to your situation.

The book starts with a concise summary of how the financial crisis occurred. So few people realize the chain of events that led to our current economic state that many would be well serve to read the book just for this point. I liked this book right from the start.  To paraphrase an early excerpt: “Ignorance is no excuse….nor has it served finances well.”  I couldn’t agree more.

Robertson advocates using the

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Filed under Book Review, Real Estate, Wealth

It’s a good thing that we all know not to judge a book by its cover, or I may never have opened Rich Like Them by Ryan D’Agostino.  The cover pictured an opulent mansion.  To correlate such excess with being rich is exactly the type of sentiment that makes those of us in the personal finance realm cringe.  Often, such lavish housing accommodations indicate poor money management, rife with waste rather than financial acumen.  I’d rather hear from the owner of a modest home with no outstanding mortgage than a mansion dweller with mortgage debt larger than their faux marble foyers.

Reading the introduction, I quickly learned that the title was somewhat misleading.  The premise of the book was to uncover how it was that the inhabitants of impressive looking houses came to live there.  I suppose “Living in a Mansion Like Them” wouldn’t have been as catchy a title.  Even though the obvious continuation of the premise was that people living in such large houses might reveal previously undisclosed secrets of wealth, I was willing to overlook the potential flaw in that logic.

To realize his project, D’Agostino compiled a list of the 100 wealthiest zip codes in the US and then simply began knocking on doors in some of those locations.  More than five hundred houses later, he had met enough people to compile his project into Rich Like Them.

The most poignant takeaway from the book occurred in the first few pages.  Summarizing what he had learned from the people he met, D’Agostino reported that

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Filed under Book Review, Making Money

Ignore Everybody, and 39 Other Keys to Creativity doesn’t fit the genre of books normally reviewed here at Richer by the Day.  Some would say that creativity and personal finance have little in common.  I disagree.  Finding creative solutions to life’s challenges, financial or otherwise, is a beneficial skill.  You may even find that your creativity generates alternative income streams or the idea that becomes your life’s work.  My goal is to help readers of Richer by the Day enrich their lives, and improving your creative skills is one way to do that.

The series of events that led to Ignore Everybody seem to begin with Hugh MacLeod’s unconventional medium for his art.  His doodles and cartoons, on the backs of business cards, ultimately led to the creation of his blog,  A shining achievement of was the wildly successful post, How to Be Creative.  By expanding on those ideas and others explored on the blog, Ignore Everybody captures the evolving wisdom of Hugh MacLeod on the subject of creativity.

With few other books on creativity under my belt, it’s hard to say where Ignore Everybody ranks.  I won’t even bother to critique the art, which requires a skill I’m even less qualified in.  What I can tell you are my impressions of the book as a whole and a few of the things I learned along the way.

Despite the title, the author clarifies that the best ideas (at least during the early phases) may seem too strange for others to ‘get it’.  And so you’ll need to ignore criticism and doubts of others and nurture the idea by yourself.  As success and acceptance slowly grow, you’ll be more able to rely on the support of others.

I completely agree with the analogy that

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Wealth

The latest book review here at Richer by the Day is The Richest Man in Town: The Twelve Commandments of Wealth by W. Randall Jones.

W. Randall Jones had a wonderful idea to explore in his research which led to this book:  by interviewing the wealthiest person in towns large and small, all throughout the United States, he hoped to uncover common trends that led to their success.  The book is split into three parts.  First, background information about the project is given.  Next, the “12 Commandments of Wealth” are described.  These are the common traits Jones consistently found among the richest man or woman in each town (RMIT).  The final section described the lifestyles of the RMIT and gave a short biography of each man or woman.

I am excited by the premise of some some books.  For others, I am pleasantly surprised, despite my preconceptions.  In The Richest Man in Town I found the rare combination of both.  The idea behind the book set my expectations quite high, yet Jones was still able to exceed my expectations by a wide margin.  I ignorantly assumed that a book by the founder of Worth magazine would be dated, stuffy, elitist, and dull.  I sincerely apologize for those assumptions.  The Richest Man in Town was none of those things, was ripe with pop culture reference from the Simpsons to Zillow, and could better be described as destined for a place among the other breakthrough books on the rich, such a The Millionaire Next Door.

A premise of the book is

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Economy

The latest book review here at Richer by the Day is False Economy: A Surprising Economic History of the World by Alan Beattie.

The stated aim of False Economy is to “explain how and why countries and societies and economies got to where they are today” without succumbing to fatalism.  Analyzing the past, it is argued, often leads to improper conclusions, since the eventual outcome is already known.  As such, ’causes’ of an outcome may have had far less actual influence than hindsight allows us to credit.  To prove the point, the author uses some events in US history that might have been used as evidence of the inevitability of failure, had failure of the US actually occurred.  For example, rather than import the graceful and artistic game of soccer from Europe after our independence, as isolationists we instead created the brutal and violent game of football in its place.

Comparisons have been made between Alan Beattie and Thomas Friedman, though after reading False Economy I doubt it will receive such popular support as the works of Friedman.  That is not to say that False Economy isn’t a good book –it’s quite good — just that the appeal is

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Giveaway, Review, Taxes, Wealth

The latest book review here at Richer by the Day is Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You with the Bill) by David Cay Johnston.

Author David Cay Johnston followed a similar formula that brought success to Perfectly Legal when writing his next book, Free Lunch.  He again uses extensive research, a breadth of topics, and largely maintains political neutrality throughout Free Lunch, which explores the giveaways, tax breaks, and subsidies that are taking away from the majority to make the über-rich even more so.

Free Lunch covers more topics than time permits me to mention, though everything from Profession Sports Franchises to Eminent Domain, Title Insurance to Exploding Student Loan Debt and many topics in between were included.  Many titans of industry, including Buffet, Bush,

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Giveaway, Retirement, Review, Saving, Wealth

 The latest book review here at Richer by the Day is Passion Saving by Rob Bennett.

Note to Readers: I was given a complimentary copy of the book by the author, but believe that my review was not influenced by the fact in any way.

Passion Saving is billed as an alternative to the way many of us traditionally try to save, which author Rob Bennett refers to as the Sacrifice Saving method.  He contends that the spending urge is simply too great to overcome.  Rather than fight this urge, we are supposed to redirect it towards saving to achieve more desirable results.  The goal is to transform saving into as emotionally satisfying experience as spending.  Passion Saving is basically about motivation.  If you can’t get motivated to save following traditional methods, then following the Passion Saving method

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Investing, Review

The latest book review here at Richer by the Day is A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton Malkiel.

In this book, the author systematically disproves virtually all methods of predicting future stock performance.  He goes beyond discrediting both technical and fundamental analysis to include more exotic methods as well.  He shows how consistently beating the average return of the market is rare, if not impossible.  Mr. Malkiel presents a reasonable and believable case for efficient market theory.  Rather than prove that the market always sets the price correctly,

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