New book: All the Money in the World: What the Happiest People Know About Getting and Spending, by Laura Vanderkam ’01 (Portfolio/Penguin)
The author: A freelance journalist, Laura Vanderkam also is the author of 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think and Grindhopping: Build a Rewarding Career Without Paying Your Dues. She writes the 168 Hours blog for CBS MoneyWatch and her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, and USA Today, among other publications.
The book: Money – we never seem to have enough of it. But Vanderkam argues that we have more than we think we do and enough to lead the kind of lives we want to. And she offers readers ideas on how to better use the resources they have. “We must stop thinking about money as something evil or soulless, or something that is interesting only in terms of how our pile compares to our neighbors’. Instead, we have to start thinking of it as a tool, a means to acquiring, doing, and taking care of things that bring us joy,” she writes.
Opening lines: “One Saturday afternoon, as I was skimming digests of the e-mail lists I subscribe to, a curious headline on a parenting list caught my eye: ‘The sudden acquisition of wealth.’
“With a title like that, I had to read more. Early that morning, a longtime subscriber had posted that a major tech company — which you’ve definitely heard of — had just acquired her husband’s employer. In order to keep key employees around and happy during the transition, the deep-pocketed buyer had offered them various monetary incentives, including raises, stock options, and retention bonuses. The poster kept mum on the exact dollar figure, but she did announce that, thanks to this windfall, she and her husband were now joining the ranks of the rich.”
Reviews: “[Vanderkam] walks readers through rethinking retirement, eschewing keeping up with the Joneses, filling time with favorite activities, giving to charities, and, overall, figuring out how to create the life they want,” wrote Publishers Weekly. A reviewer for Kirkus called All the Money in the World “quirky, insightful, and enjoyable.” She provides “thought-provoking examples of how it’s possible, even in a depressed economy, to explore new entrepreneurial opportunities to supplement income as an alternative to penny-pinching self-denial.”
Read more: Vanderkam’s essay in the October 24, 2007 issue of PAW.