Mini Reviews: The Code of Love and Happy Money

The Code of LoveThe Code of Love: An Astonishing True Tale of Secrets, Love, and WarThe Code of Love: An Astonishing True Tale of Secrets, Love, and War by Andro Linklater by Andro Linklater

This had the bones of a great book, but the story telling was dull and I never felt compelled to pick it up again. Took me months to get through it, and that is very rare for me. Also, both the subtitle and the publisher’s description led me to believe the book would have a very different feel and ending than it did. I was waiting for the “big secrets” to be revealed when the diary was decoded, but there weren’t really any big secrets. It is a tale of war though, and its aftermath so I’ll give them that. There are so many better WWII memoirs or biographies out there, save your reading time for them.

Publisher’s Description:
For fifty years, Pamela Kirrage longed to unlock the secrets of her husband’s encrypted war diary. She was on the verge of giving up when she at last found a mathematician who became as obsessed with learning the secrets of the diary as she was. After months of painstaking investigation, he was finally able to crack the code, and in the process uncover the ending to an extraordinary World War II romance.

Pamela fell in love with RAF pilot Donald Hill in the summer of 1939, just a few months before he was sent to fight in Pacific. Although they planned to marry soon, Donald was captured after siege of Hong Kong and spent the next four years in a Japanese POW camp. Donald ultimately returned to Pamela, but he was never able to tell her about those lost years–and Pamela became convinced that the key to their happiness lay within the mysterious diary he brought back from the war. In The Code of Love Andro Linklater uses the decoded diary as well as extensive research and interviews to paint a vivid portrait of the World War II era, turning this dramatic love story into an inspiring, unconventional epic.

Happy MoneyHappy Money: The Science of Smarter SpendingHappy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending by Elizabeth Dunn & Michael Norton
by Elizabeth Dunn & Michael Norton

Very similar to All the Money in the World, but I liked Vanderkam’s book a lot more. I didn’t always like the casual tone or jokes in Happy Money, and there were sections where they included some language that seemed out of place in the book. I assume the authors were trying to keep it from reading like a stuffy finance book, but All the Money in the World manages it without having me think that there’s no way I’d recommend it to my parents. Most of their new insights were also similar to Vanderkam’s book, and I found myself wishing I hadn’t bothered to read this one – there wasn’t enough new information to make it worth the reading time.

Publisher’s Description:
If you think money can’t buy happiness, you’re not spending it right. Two rising stars in behavioral science explain how money can buy happiness—if you follow five core principles of smarter spending.

Happy Money offers a tour of new research on the science of spending. Most people recognize that they need professional advice on how to earn, save, and invest their money. When it comes to spending that money, most people just follow their intuitions. But scientific research shows that those intuitions are often wrong.

Happy Money explains why you can get more happiness for your money by following five principles, from choosing experiences over stuff to spending money on others. And the five principles can be used not only by individuals but by companies seeking to create happier employees and provide “happier products” to their customers. Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton show how companies from Google to Pepsi to Crate & Barrel have put these ideas into action.

Along the way, the authors describe new research that reveals that luxury cars often provide no more pleasure than economy models, that commercials can actually enhance the enjoyment of watching television, and that residents of many cities frequently miss out on inexpensive pleasures in their hometowns. By the end of this book, readers will ask themselves one simple question whenever they reach for their wallets: Am I getting the biggest happiness bang for my buck?

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  1. I am sad to hear that The Code of Love wasn’t too great. The summary and the cover make it seem like it would be more exciting. Oh well.

    • Yeah, it was really disappointing, especially as it was one that I’d had waiting on me forever.

      • carole morris says:

        I was sad to read of your disappointment with this story but feel that you have missed the subtlety and depth of the story. It was never meant to be a block buster but far more than that. Its a story of love and courage and about so many that suffered through war and yet never really talked about it. The diary revealed so much more than ‘exciting’ whatever you were looking for, you perhaps should try again and see beyond that. I say this with the greatest respect as of course you are entitled to your opinion. It speaks for so many who suffered.

  2. I like these mini reviews! I love reading about happiness, but I’ve already read All The Money in the World, so it’s good to hear that I won’t miss anything if I skip Happy Money.


  1. […] fascinating look at an amazing woman. After slogging through a World War II book that had me feeling a bit burned out on that topic, I was happy to read this one that was very engrossing. Pearl (whose code name was Pauline, hence […]

  2. […] The Code of Love by Andro Linklater […]

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