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The Money Code Reviewed (with Bonus Free Book and $25 Giveaway)

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The Money Code

The Money Code

I get a lot of books. It costs very little for the authors/publishers and blogger reviews help build a good buzz. I could spend the next 3 years reviewing a book a week and still have books left over. So why am I reviewing The Money Code today? Two reasons:

1. They've offered to give a reader a free copy + plus a $25 Visa card
2. It is a really good book.

To be entirely honest I only picked up The Money Code because it was a short 129 pages. Flipping through it, a large number of them are blank due to the chapter breaks. Much of the important content in the book was formatted with easy to read information boxes and bullet points. The whole thing was wrapped in a fictional story that tied the ideas in the book together.

About fives minutes into reading the book, I had the idea that author Joe John Duran was essentially selling what could be three or four 800-word blog posts for $14.95. However, as I read the book, I realized I was a dope for thinking such things. (Do people still use the word dope in that context, or is that too "Bugs Bunny"?)

It turns out that the book is very densely packed with a lot of good information. I don't read too many personal finance books (I prefer blogs), but I bet few cover the psychology of money better than The Money Code. Being an analytical person, I often gloss over the psychology of money. It just not part of my money mind.

What's a "money mind"? Glad you asked. That's the concept in the book that I found the most valuable. The theory in the book is that people fall into one of three categories:

  1. Fear (The Protector) - These people tend to hoard money, because they are fearful that something down the road will require it. On the plus side, they make for very good savers. On the minus side, they miss out on much of what life has to offer
  2. Happiness (The Pleasure Seeker) - These people spend, spend, spend to make themselves happy. Think Carrie's shoe habit in Sex and the City.
  3. Commitment (The Giver) - Do you have that relative that always gives money even though you know they really can't afford it? I do. They would fit into this category.

Now not everyone is 100% all of these, but usually one is more dominant than the others. You aren't necessarily born into a money mind; it is often shaped by experience. When I was unemployed by the dot-com bust around 2001, that pushed me towards a fear money mind, which still dominates my money thoughts today. That's why I write a personal finance blog. If I won the lottery, I would be more happiness and commitment money minded.

If you want to know what your money mind is, go to Find Your Money Mind. Also Honest Conversations has a lot of the tools and information in the book.

It is useful to know not just what your money mind is, but also what the money of mind of your spouse or partner is. If they are different and opposed as in the fear and happiness money minds, arguments on money are likely to ensue.

This money mind discussion covers only one of the 5 money lessons that make up The Money Code. I found this lesson to be by far my favorite and some of the others to be less interesting.

As for the narrative of the book itself, the money lessons are wrapped around a fictional character named Jack who is trying to figure out if he should spend the money to go on a vacation, which he feels will help him through a tough split with his wife. While it's not the same thing, my wife and I were planning on whether we should spend a large amount of money for one of her professional conferences this year. Usually she can go for free, but with the job change, reimbursement wasn't possible this year. Complicating things is our first baby that is four months old, it's not as easy to just fly across the country as it was in past years. In the end, we came up with a similar solution to Jack, go on the trip, but avoid the huge conference fees by going to other related events and avoiding the J.W. Marriott host hotel for something a lot cheaper.

The lessons that Jack learned also were applicable in dealing with our decisions to buy new cars too. Maybe, it's just great timing that these things come together or maybe the ideas in the book are universal enough to apply to a broad number of financial situations. I'm leaning towards the later.

As for the value of the book, it was well worth $15 in new things that I learned. That's significant because I've been writing about personal finance for more than 6 years now. I don't often come across new concepts. In addition, there's this little blurb on the back: "All book profits will go to causes that improve the lives of people around the world." That's a pretty loose statement, but when you read about the author's life, it really makes sense. Joe John Duran grew up in possibly the worst conditions possible, in an abusive family, in an African war zone (probably not the best term for what it is, but the most concise I can think of), with divorced parents. Today he's got his millions after having sold his company to General Electric. With MBA degrees from Columbia and Berkeley, I think it is safe to say he's a smart guy and probably worth reading.

If you want this book, you are going to have to wait. It isn't available until next Tuesday (January 22). The Money Code is available on Amazon for $10.17 (as of now). You can follow the book on Twitter (don't all your inanimate objects Tweet?).

As for the giveaway, leave a comment if you want to enter. Also be sure to leave your real email address so that I can contact you if you win. I'll rate all comments, giving anywhere from 1 to 4 entries with more thoughtful comments getting more value than ones that are simply "Show me the money." The winner will be randomly drawn from those entries. Comments posted before next Friday, the 25th at 11:59PM ET are eligible and I'll announce the winner soon after (most likely via Twitter). Prize fulfillment is being serviced by the media relations company.

Posted on January 18, 2013.

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18 Responses to “The Money Code Reviewed (with Bonus Free Book and $25 Giveaway)”

  1. Valerie says:

    I’d like to read this book… I’ve read a lot of personal finance books but from your review it seems like the author put a unique spin on the information. I can always use more good information to help me reach my goals!

  2. Dan says:

    Thank you for sharing this book review with us. I’m impressed with the author based on your description and am eager to learn the lessons that he has to share. 1 lesson I learned early on is that delayed gratification is the key to financial maturity. The money mind concept reminds me of the 5 love languages. Have you ever heard of that book? It really helped our marriage relationship. Thanks again!

  3. Amit says:

    Sounds like this book might read like a novel, not the typical personal finance book with details of IRAs, 401ks etc.
    Is it about how to save/invest/spend less? or generally about how to make smarter financial decisions in life?

  4. Ben says:

    I would love to read this book! From what you describe I may actually enjoy it! I am in a situation where I need to educate myself on (& implement) some money management strategies!
    I am in debt (not too bad) have a car payment…… I like to spend (unfortunately) and so does my wife (although she wont admit it & thinks that her spending is OK because it goes to things (we don’t need) for our kids, or expensive groceries.)
    I have not found a strategy (have not looked very hard) that works. (I think because as of now we get buy OK.)

    • Lazy Man says:


      Yes, this book is not a traditional personal finance book. I don’t think they mention IRAs, 401ks, etc. anywhere in it. It is really about the psychology of spending money.


      It sounds like you really would enjoy this book. It does have a good strategy of making a checklist that (to me) seems like it could work for you. Of course you don’t want to make a checklist for every tube of toothpaste you get, but for bigger purchases or even whether it makes sense to get expensive groceries.

  5. Steve says:

    I don’t feel that I personally fall into any of the three Money Mind buckets. I save a lot of money, but not because I am afraid of anything. Rather, I don’t see that spending it today would increase my happiness, so I might as well save it for the future.

    I experienced a similar response when watching Temple Grandin’s TED talk about the various ways people think. None of her listed options applied to me.

    • Lazy Man says:


      I thought the same thing. My mindset now is that money buys me freedom. It buys me freedom from taking jobs that I might not like. It buys me freedom of being able to choose the work that I want to do. The thing that I forgot to include in the post, is that there’s a website that will tell you how to figure out which money mind you are Find Your Money Mind. You answer questions to various situations and it tells you. It makes a lot of sense.

      If you really save a lot of money and spending it doesn’t increase your happiness, might I suggest trying to grow a little more of a giver money mind? You might find that your happiness is increased in helping others. I know I feel that way.

  6. Sharla says:

    I’d be interested in reading this book to better understand how myself and the people I know think about our finances.

  7. Mami2jcn says:

    I’m interested in Joe John Duran’s background. I also grew up in an abusive family with divorced parents. It’s amazing how successful he became having battled such adversity.

  8. Elena says:

    I would love to read this book! I am The Protector because I don’t have much money and fear to loose it, especially after our house was burglarized.

  9. I love books that focus on the psychology of spending and saving. I often analyze and then overanalyze all of my purchases and though I hate to admit it I often analyze the purchases of those around me too. I am fascinated by the way people spend money to make others feel better or bring themselves temporary joy. I am a Protector, no doubt about it. My husband is too. I often worry that I don’t spend enough money on today’s happiness, because I am bottling up the money for some future intent. That I feel safer with money in the bank than I do with spending a few bucks to make my life a little easier. I’ve been working on changing my mindset about these things lately as I try to find more balance in my finances and life in general. In fact, I have started to find ways to give more away and somehow this has opened my mindset to the power of how even small amounts of money can radically change the lives and others. Of course this in turn makes me happy, but since I’m able to do it on a budgeted basis it helps the Protector in me feel comfortable too :) This book sounds like it’s right up my alley and I would love to win a copy.

  10. Laurie Pysczynski says:

    Lazy Man, You have not steered me wrong yet. The only other book I can think of that you recommended (that I had not read before) was the Millionare Fastlane and it was a great book worth every penny! THANKS.

  11. stephanie teague says:

    looks really interesting and a great read

  12. Deanna G. says:

    I don’t know much about money or personal finance so this sounds like a great read for me.

  13. Wendy Meguess says:

    I started reading your site a few years ago. I don’t like the idea of my life being directed by consumerism and mass media. I get swept along with the tide now and then and come back to trying to direct my life intentionally. I started investing in peer to peer lending after reading about it on your site and that has been going pretty well. I like the cash flow availability that it builds, but seems like it will go down with the stock market and other mainstream investments. I have been thinking about investing in some property, more as a place to keep some money and for natural resource availability than for building value. I’ve also been thinking about diversifying into precious metals a bit. Cash-savvye is a real-estate investment company that looks interesting too. Does this book address some of these thoughts, or maybe present better options?

  14. Cathie says:

    To be entirely honest I only picked up The Money Code because it was a short 129 pages. Flipping through it, a large number of them are blank due to the chapter breaks.

    Perfect for a “lazy man.” Sounds interesting, and I may or may not tend to be a little less than energetic myself. Plus, I’m fascinated by the psychology of almost anything. (Except for sex, oddly enough. The singular most boring class I took in college was The Psychology of Human Sexuality. I’m yawning just remembering it. The most exciting part was that it was at 1:00, so those of us who had to suffer through it at least got to say that we “have sex after lunch.”) Sorry for the aside, but I hope it got me an extra point or two. I love to win stuff!

  15. Kristi L says:

    I’ve looked over the website and would be interested to see how this book can help my husband and I. We are avid financial watchers of Suze Orman and are hoping that we are doing everything correctly to ensure that we will be able to be financially secure and be able to retire one day so that we can spend more time with our families and hopefully future grandchildren. :)

  16. […] him a book. There are certainly some good books out there. However, I'd probably end up giving him The Money Code, the Millionaire Fastlane, and other books that are great, but not really a good introduction. Why? […]

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