All the Money in the World: What the Happiest People Know About Wealth by Laura Vanderkam
Which would make you and your spouse happier: spending $7,000 on an engagement ring that you’ll wear daily for years, or using that money to go towards weekly dates for the first three years of your marriage?
Questions such as this are at the heart of Vanderkam’s intriguing book. Unlike many money books, she doesn’t really discuss budgeting or investments or nitty-gritty financial details. It’s much more big-picture: how can you use money as a tool to bring you the most happiness, through how you spend, save, and give.
Sounds simple, and it is, but thinking that through into what it means for your life provides the impetus to really think about what kind of life you want to lead, and how you can use money to get there.
How happy would you be if you had all the money in the world?
The universal lament about money is that there is never enough. We spend endless hours trying to figure out ways to stretch every dollar and kicking ourselves whenever we spend too much or save too little. For all the stress and effort we put into every choice, why are most of us unhappy about our finances?
According to Laura Vanderkam, the key is to change your perspective. Instead of looking at money as a scarce resource, consider it a tool that you can use creatively to build a better life for yourself and the people you care about. Drawing on the latest happiness research as well as the stories of dozens of real people, Vanderkam offers a contrarian approach that forces us to examine our own beliefs, goals, and values.
Vanderkam has also written the fabulous book 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think , which I highly recommend. It’s very similar to All the Money in the World in its emphasis on opportunity cost – spending money or time on one thing means not spending money or time on something else, so think carefully about how you spend it.
If you like her take on time management, she’s also got three targeted ebooks: What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Mornings–and Life, What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend: A Short Guide to Making the Most of Your Days Off, and What the Most Successful People Do at Work: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Career. They’re all good, but if you’ve read 168 Hours the content may be repetitive. Specific examples are still helpful however if you want more ideas about how to put her ideas into practice. Those three have been compiled into a paperback: What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: And Two Other Short Guides to Achieving More at Work and at Home.
To see all the books featured in 31 Days of Great Nonfiction, go to the series page.
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