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:
- 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
- Happiness (The Pleasure Seeker) – These people spend, spend, spend to make themselves happy. Think Carrie’s shoe habit in Sex and the City.
- 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.
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.