Monday, August 16, 2010

Mini reviews of 5 books that deal with seduction, personal struggles, credit, stress, and commodities — you know, the usual

Of the five books below that were recently summarized by The Associated Press’ personal finance team, three are from venerable business book publisher Wiley.

The one pictured at right sounds the most intriguing to me, but that may just be me judging a book by its cover...

By The Associated Press

TITLE: The Art of Business Seduction: A 30-Day Plan to Get Noticed, Get Promoted and Get Ahead

AUTHOR: Mark Jeffries

PRICE: $22.95

SUMMARY: Seduction is a powerful art form, even in the workplace. In “The Art of Business Seduction,” author Mark Jeffries teaches readers how to get ahead by using strategies similar to those employed in the dating world. In another new release a popular financial blogger describes how he conquered daunting debt to achieve financial success.With nearly 15 million Americans out of work and unemployment at 9.5 percent, job seekers must stand out these days. Jeffries, a business coach and communications consultant to major corporations, shares tips on how to get an edge whether it’s landing a job or a promotion. As the title suggests, Jeffries emphasizes many of the same skills that can also help attract a mate. For example, there are tips on honing your “elevator pitch,” the business world’s equivalent of a pickup line in a bar. Other advice focuses on how to own your image, speak persuasively, and translate subtle cues from others’ voices, body language and handshakes.The book pitches a personal program to make behavioral changes over 30 consecutive days, and ensure they become ingrained. One obvious target audience: Out-of-work professionals who possess great credentials on paper, but lack the personal polish needed to get a foot in the door.
QUOTE: “They say that a healthy diet — one that keeps the weight off — is a lifelong commitment, a revolution in the way that you select and eat food. Business seduction is the same. You cannot seduce for a month and then return to your old ways and hope for the success to continue.”
— Mark Jewell

TITLE: The Simple Dollar: How One Man Wiped Out His Debts and Achieved the Life of His Dreams

AUTHOR: Trent Hamm

PRICE: $19.99 (paperback)

E-BOOK: Available for Kindle, Nook and Sony Reader

SUMMARY: Trent Hamm, who writes a popular personal finance blog with the same name, tells the story of how he got out his from under massive debt and learned to live a frugal life in this engaging book.Hamm shares the principles he’s developed over the last four years. And advocates what some will see as radical strategies. This ranges from selling every item you rarely use to making your own laundry detergent, if that’s what it takes to pay off your credit cards and other debt.Hamm also challenges readers to ask themselves hard questions about what’s really important. He maintains that everyone must be prepared for the unexpected — good and bad — and the only way to take advantage of positive opportunities or handle problems is to be financially independent.While there are few prescriptions that won’t be found elsewhere, Hamm has an engaging writing style and sprinkles his personal experience throughout the book. That makes it an easy read and a potentially helpful motivator for the financially distressed.

QUOTE: “I always find that people equate frugality with some form of misery — they either see it as being cheap or see it putting themselves through misery. I argue that it’s neither — that instead it’s joyful and life-affirming.”
— Eileen AJ Connelly

TITLE: Credit 911: Secrets and Strategies to Saving Your Financial Life

AUTHOR: Rodney Anderson

PRICE: $24.95

SUMMARY: “Credit 911: Secrets and Strategies to Saving Your Financial Life” offers a mortgage lender’s perspective on lending industry practices that too often become debt traps for individuals. Anderson, a mortgage lender, has seen customers trash their once-stellar credit scores by taking bad advice from bankers. He’s seen compulsive spenders buy 20 pairs of shoes a day online. The common denominator is that while it’s usually easy to get credit, it’s also easy to end up deep in debt.Anderson offers an inside look at the operations of banks, credit card companies and mortgage lenders. He also examines how predatory practices can trip you up. It’s a practical book with clear examples on avoiding credit trouble; and how to maintain good credit and repair poor credit.
QUOTE: “From my vantage point, I see a growing crisis in our country, and it gets worse every time we turn on our computers and connect to the Internet. As good as the marketers and credit card companies are at influencing your spending habits, they probably couldn’t have done such a thorough job of transforming the American consumer into a spending machine without the emergence of online shopping.”
PUBLISHER: John Wiley & Sons Inc.
— Eileen AJ Connelly

TITLE: Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure and Others Don’t

AUTHOR: Paul Sullivan

PRICE: $25.95 (Release date: Sept. 2nd)

E-BOOK: Will be available for Kindle, Nook

SUMMARY: The book “Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure and Others Don’t” explores the traits that enable some of us to thrive in win-or-lose situations. It’s useful reading for those who often seem to crumble under pressure.We’d all like to be the “clutch” player, the go-to guy or gal who can get things done under pressure. But it’s not in the cards for all of us, or maybe it is. In the forthcoming “Clutch,” Paul Sullivan, a columnist for The New York Times, examines strategies essential for remaining composed when the pressure’s on. Sure, there are plenty of sports references. But Sullivan uses those to illustrate larger points, such as the perils of overthinking. Anyone who feels that they tend to lose their confidence when the stakes are high can glean something from this analysis. For many that might mean prepping for that all-important job interview.

QUOTE: “The trouble is, when financial pressure mounts, most people do not and cannot think dispassionately until it is too late. They choke. They wait too long, thinking their situation will improve, and when it doesn’t, they have burned through their reserve funds and are still going to lose what they were struggling to keep.”

PUBLISHER: Portfolio
— Trevor Delaney

TITLE: The Little Book of Commodity Investing
AUTHOR: John Stephenson
PRICE: $19.95
SUMMARY: In the world of investing, a discussion of commodities can be about as dry as it gets. Though they’re items that we’re familiar with — like oil, wheat, and gold — learning about futures contracts can be off-putting to an average investor. But in this volume of “The Little Book Big Profits” series, Stephenson, a portfolio manager with First Asset Investment Management, makes the discussion both informative and accessible. With gold and other commodity prices surging this year, this book can be a useful starting point for investors eager to learn more.
QUOTE: “If you want to swill vodka and eat caviar like a Russian oligarch, nothing will get you there faster than a well-timed investment in industrial metals. Whenever cars, washing machines, and fridges are selling like hotcakes you can be certain that metals and the mining companies that produce them will be moving higher.”
PUBLISHER: John Wiley & Sons
— Trevor Delaney

1 comment:

Seduction said...

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