Monday, April 9, 2007

The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy

The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy
by StanleyThomas, William Danko

According to authors Stanley and Danko there are seven wealth factors that set the wealthy apart from the rest of the population - and it isn't fancy cars, cigars and pinkie rings!

Check yourself off against this list and see if you've got what it takes…

  1. Millionaires live well below their means
  2. They allocate their time, energy and money efficiently in ways conducive to building wealth
  3. Millionaires believe financial independence is more important than displaying high social status
  4. Their parents didn't provide economic out-patient care i.e. they were left to make and correct their own financial mistakes
  5. Their adult children are economically self-sufficient
  6. They are profiicent in targeting market opportunities
  7. They chose an occupation that they enjoy and that best suits their talents
Essentially the book advocates frugality and caution with finances that at times borders on miserly, but the results speak for themselves. The individuals interviewed for the book amassed wealth and held onto it through economic downturns and trained their children to be financially independent. Food for thought!

This book has now spawned other titles including Millionaire Women Next Door

Sunday, April 8, 2007

312 Sanity Savers for Women

Billed as Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life Sanity Savers is a collaboration between Dr Dale Vicky Atkins and Barbara Scala. The book does have a lot of helpful tips but the index could be improved to help stressed out people find what they're looking for before they go "insane" and toss the book at the wall.

Dr Dale, is a popular psychologist and media commentator and appears regularly on NBC's The Today Show. According to Dr Dale the Five S's of Sanity are:

  1. Self - maintain a healthy Self
  2. Support from people you care about and who care about you
  3. Surroundings that you connect with and allow you to feel peaceful and grounded
  4. Stimulation including living a life with purpose
  5. Savor including having fun and gratitude

Barbara Scala describes herself as a Life Transition and Divorce Coach. I had to look these terms up. There are lots of coaches but this is the first time I've heard of a Life Transition and Divorce Coach. Barbara offers help with career and lifestyle changes as well as dealing with divorce.

According to her website
One on one personal life coaching with Barbara Scala helps you work through your blockers, create your future and attain your goals.
Sanity Savers contains 312 tips - one for each day of the week, plus an extra tip for the weekend. The tips aren't presented in any particular order but the authors suggest that any advice that isn't relevant to you may be useful to your sister, best friend or mother.

Each of the tips are short, ranging from approximately 150 to 500 words, and broken down further into helpful sub-headings.

For example, under the section 'well-being' is the tip 'Fitting Into Those Jeans'. The authors suggest that
Getting yourself in shape is not about forfeiting weekend pizza parties with family and friends or going on crash diets, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
They then recommend that you portion your portions, stop eating like a caveman (or woman for the politically correct), dress for success and feed your starvation.

A selection of topics chosen at random include:
  • Buying your own home as a single woman
  • Living with chronic pain
  • Pressure to find the perfect mate
  • Teaching kids manners by being polite
  • Retired without driving each other crazy
  • Relationship tune-up
  • Being taken advantage of by people who work for you
  • Learning that your child is gay
  • Loving people whose choices disturb you

The Verdict:
While Sanity Savers is easy to read the topics are too short to be of much help. The format would be better described as ideas to meditate on or a quick reference book. Most of the ideas in the book are sound but the brief presentation makes the advice appear trite.

Personally I didn't find the book useful. It appears to be geared towards women with children or women who aren't happy. Despite this I couldn't find anything in the index under the topic depression.

I found myself flicking through the book to find ideas that might be helpful for me personally. I have stress in my life but I had difficulty matching my situations to the book. The index is poor and it is extremely difficult to find the exact topic you seek unless you happen to stumble upon that page.

Thanks to HarperCollins and BlogHer for providing this book as part of their Virtual Book Tour #6.