Notorious B.I.G. observed that “the more money we come across the more problems we see” and The Beatles proclaimed that they didn’t care too much for money, because money can’t buy you love. Both may well be true, but for most of us, a little more money would be a welcome relief. Luckily, a slew of new books addresses both micro and macro ways to protect our resources — financial and otherwise. Whether you’re looking for ways to save more and spend less or you’re interested in investing locally, these five books are on the money.
Publisher: Viking Adult
If you have a conflicted relationship with money, you’re not alone. Many people have trouble rationally and healthfully managing their finances, and Geneen Roth believes that our money issues can signify spiritual and emotional problems. Roth, New York Times bestselling author of “Women, Food and God,” was one of the first writers to link compulsive eating and perpetual dieting with personal and spiritual issues. Her latest book, “Lost and Found: Unexpected Revelations About Food and Money,” draws parallels between the way we eat and the way we spend. Roth was forced to acknowledge her compulsive relationship with money when she and her husband lost their entire life-savings in the Bernard Madoff scandal. What she realized was that there were direct parallels between her relationship with food and money, such as “binge-shopping followed by periods of budgetary self-deprivation, 'treating' herself in ways that ultimately failed to sustain, and using money as a substitute for love,” according to the publisher. With “Lost and Found,” Roth examines the deep sources of some common money issues and offers provocative and radical strategies for transforming how we feel about and utilize our own money.
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Many of us romanticize the Amish, and for good reason. They enjoy a simpler, quieter life, filled with tradition and community. They’re crafty and self-sufficient, known for the quality of everything from their woodworking to their fresh-baked breads. But look to them for financial advice? If you think it’s unlikely that the Amish would have any fiscal pointers for citizens of the 21st century, Lorilee Craker wants you to think again. During the financial fallout of 2008, the freelance author and mom of three found her family struggling to make ends meet. When she saw a news segment on how the Amish had emerged from the economic crisis unscathed, she decided to learn more about their approach to personal finances, and “Money Secrets of the Amish” was born. Craker interviewed a number of Amish families to learn about the financial habits and choices that have served them so well — even in tough times. Each chapter presents a different aspect of traditional Amish financial behavior, offering the reader a chance to undergo an Amish “money makeover.”
Ever wonder what government subsidies are actually costing you? According to New York Times bestselling author Thomas Kostigen, subsidies for commodities such as cotton, wheat and corn cost American taxpayers $200 billion per year — that’s more than $1,500 per household. As Kostigen wrote in an April 2010 MarketWatch column, “A subsidy is a grant by the government to a private business that is deemed advantageous to the public. But the subsidy system has become so perverse that we actually pay more in taxes than we save in price relief. In some cases we pay more for subsidized goods than we'd pay in a free market. And in the most obscene abuses of the subsidy system, we actually pay for goods that aren't even produced.” Kostigen, who has been a columnist for MarketWatch since 2000, is the author of “The Big Handout,” a book that exposes the enormous impact of bad subsidies and takes aim at America’s toxic subsidy system. The book shows how this kind of artificial pricing hurts Americans and people worldwide — from their health to their bank accounts — but it’s more than a treatise on bad fiscal, environmental, agricultural, water, energy, health and foreign policies: It’s a wake-up call that empowers readers to effect change.
Across America, people have been embracing the locavore movement, buying more of their produce, bread, meats and cheeses from local farmers and artisans. The locavore movement has gained popularity because choosing fresh, locally grown food can reduce your carbon footprint and support your community. Wouldn’t it be great if we could invest in the same way? Award-winning journalist Amy Cortese believes we can. Cortese, whose work has appeared in Business Week, the New York Times, Mother Jones and Wired, has penned her first book, “Locavesting: The Revolution in Local Investing and How to Profit From It.” “Locavesting” explores how by investing in local businesses rather than faceless conglomerates, investors can earn profits while building healthy, self-reliant communities. She introduces some of the pioneers of the movement: Residents from Brooklyn, N.Y., to Port Townsend, Wash., who are experimenting with concepts ranging from community capital and crowdfunding to local stock exchanges — all in an effort to “take back their financial destinies from Wall Street and the corporate fat cats while revitalizing the communities they call home.” A local investing revolution, locavesting offers an alternative to the Wall Street casino and a chance to save American main streets, small businesses and downtowns. For some amazing facts and figures that demonstrate the power of investing in local, independent business, check out Cortese’s website.
"The Wealth of Nature: Economics as if Survival Mattered" by John Michael Greer
Publisher: New Society
Fans of E.F. Schumacher's classic “Small Is Beautiful” may appreciate John Michael Greer’s latest book, which takes its lead from Schumacher’s work and delves into the world of ecological economics. Greer is a scholar of ecological history, an award-winning author and an internationally renowned Peak Oil theorist who blogs at The Archdruid Report. His latest book, “The Wealth of Nature: Economics as if Survival Mattered,” explores the intersection of the environment and the economy, and describes how an economy centered on natural capital — the raw materials that support human life — can move our society toward a more productive relationship with the planet that sustains us all. Offering suggestions for public policy initiatives and personal choices that can help alleviate the economic impact of Peak Oil, “The Wealth of Nature” examines the true cost of confusing money with wealth.