Happiness and Saving Money with Pleasure: 5 Books to Understand Finance and Economics {Review}


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When it comes to money, many are in a bad mood, and doing business with finances and naked numbers can be quite enjoyable. 5 books show how.

By the way: You can find many more hand-picked reading recommendations in our section Editorial book tips.


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Wolfgang Hanfstein 38Wolfgang Hanfstein is co-founder and chief editor of Managementbuch.de, the leading bookstore for executives, entrepreneurs and self-employed persons.

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Damian Sicking Damian SickingDamian Sicking has more than 25 years of experience as a specialist journalist and (chief) editor for management-journal.de or Roter-Reiter.de.

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Oliver Ibelshäuser 85Oliver Ibelshäuser is a journalist and owner of the editorial office Text und Vision.

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Spar book with pleasure

"Why there is still so much month left at the end of the money" is an intelligent consumer advisor that shows how we can all become masters of our money management again. The authors convincingly show that small changes in our buying behavior are often enough to end up with significantly more (or significantly longer) money in our wallets. -

And that beyond budget books, tedious price comparisons and above all, waiver! Because with the term “save” you may also associate household books, price comparison for buttermilk and above all, waiver.

Consume with open eyes

With the very useful and entertaining book "Why there is still so much month left at the end of the money", the Schwarz couple prove that they can save in a clever way without meticulously recording their expenses.

And even more, you do not have to give up any small or big wishes. After reading, they will surely consume with open eyes, not let themselves be seduced by advertising phrases, pseudo-offers and XXL promises. This alone makes up for a few months.

The temptations in the super- or electric market

And this is what the book says: Friedhelm and Ruth Schwarz are showing how our perception works in purchasing decisions and why we put things into the basket, which were neither on the list nor promise any benefit.

Neurological processes play a role here (which of course take place subconsciously), but above all habits that “take place automatically like cycling”.

The everyday self-deception

And of course the everyday self-deception, the inner voice that sets us up, that we have to have just that one product to make us feel better.

The calculation almost never works out, because “whether we buy a bar of chocolate or buy a sports car, once we have the thing, it is boring and not very desirable”. By the way, you can check it yourself if you take a look in your closet.

Red card for the credit card

Noteworthy: The social milieu and gender also decide which brands we prefer, where we buy and how much money we invest in a packet of butter or a color TV. But that does not mean that you can not change your decades-long spent consumer behavior.

The authors will help you with simple rules that you should call up before going to the checkout. Two of them are: "Avoid impulse purchases" and "Pay only with cash". Let's do it tomorrow! Bet that you can also save significant amounts every month without having to do without important products? Read the clever consumer guide "Why there is so much month left at the end of the money". From now on you will ignore "new", "reduced" or "short" offers.

Money alone does not make you happy?

A topic that moves the mind like no other: The question of whether richness is made happy, which is always a bit morose in Germany. The question would be different: How money makes money happy? A book about the paradigm shift in our society.

Money alone does not make you happy, they say. Nevertheless, most of them strive for status or security reasons to have as much money as possible. But does money make you happy? And how does money make you happy?

We will introduce you to an exciting book on the subject of how we use our money best, so that it also gives us a good feeling and we have as long as possible. Not necessarily on the bench, but in our lives!

Investment in happiness

Luxury problem - the term fits perfectly with the consumption streak of the mostly wealthy Germans: enough money in the account, but no real idea where to put it. Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton will be happy to help you with the equally enlightening and controversial book “Happy Money”.

Do not worry, it is not about strategy strategies or Spartipps. But on the contrary. The authors encourage you on almost every page to bring your deserved ones back to the people. The yield promise is: luck against money.

Material prosperity satisfies only temporarily

It's exactly this feeling of happiness, according to Dunn and Norton, that hunts many people who invest their savings in luxury cars, expensive record collections or a designer fitted kitchen.

Material wealth and the acquisition of status symbols, the authors say, offer only temporary satisfaction. They do not create constant satisfaction. But that is hidden in beautiful memories, in time savings or social investments.

Treat instead of accumulate

A total of five motives make the two authors for the systematic acquisition of happiness:

  • “Buy experiences” (instead of things),
  • “Treat yourself to something special”,
  • “Buy time”,
  • "Pay immediately, consume later" and
  • "Invest in other people."

Scientific underpinned: happiness can be bought

While “Buy experiences” and “Treat yourself to something special” make sense at first glance, the other principles are in need of explanation.

Dunn and Norton underpinned all the models with many evidence from scientific studies and their own experiences to reveal the most astonishingly simple logic behind it.

Anticipation is valuable

Example of a holiday: Book today, get off the plane in only half a year, so multiply the holiday fun with the numerous moments of anticipation. Folds also with large purchases such as an expensive stereo system or a car.

On the reverse, you should do without: the apparent 0% financing of many discounters is a way into the debt trap. You are still paying off when the purchase has long since ceased to be attractive to you.

Save time, not money

And you can also buy time by transferring unloved activities such as cleaning or car washing to household help. Or by more consciously consuming.

For disposable products worth neither a long journey nor a meticulous price comparison. Take the first offer when it comes to umbrellas, detergents or canned soup, and invest the free time in something useful - for example, your hobby.

Turn off the fog lamps

Dunn and Norton offer you world-class offerings to make better, more sustainable consumer choices in the future. Convincing, good book that will be remembered for a long time. The book we are going to introduce is about the emergence of financial markets and the economic crisis.

In a simple fable, the authors tell "how an economy grows and why it crashes". Incidentally, a great success in the USA: In the English original, the book by 'get abstract' was awarded the “International Book Award”. Now it's hot off the press on the German market. And I also think: An excellent book!

If you want to understand the financial market, you just have to turn off the fog

An important reason for the financial crisis was the fact that many have agreed not to understand due to the apparent complexity of the matter. "Will be fine" was the attitude with which economies Company, Financial professionals just as small private investors have driven to the wall.

The knowledge and determination of the often tried “Swabian housewife” would have sufficed to avert the crisis. Because how you twist and turn it, you can't spend more than you take. In order to make this basic knowledge visible again, Peter and Andrew Schiff blow away the fog that the supposed financial experts produce.

We do not serve the money, but the money serves us

The book was an enormous success in the US, it has been awarded the International Book Award and is now available in German translation. The story begins with three men who live on an island a day to catch a fish.

Until somebody starts to build a net. Gradually, the small island population is developing, developing loans, founding a bank, granting loans, and finally deciding to set up a public administration, that is, a state.

Great idea, we print money!

In the first part, the two brothers sketched the genesis, function and effect of the financial sector in a very simple manner. And as a function of business and the business (to provide loans for investment) and not vice versa! In the second part they describe a dramatic downhill ride.

Because in the meantime the state is no longer the executive body of society, but has itself become a powerful player. With the monopoly of printing money, he has created a powerful tool. An instrument, however, that he no longer has under control. The financial crisis does not appear here as a “black swan” but as a logical consequence of the political taking of money as a medium of exchange.

Silence over the madness of the financial markets

However, the two authors are silent about the madness that the market is able to produce - the privatization of profits while socializing the losses or the destructive handling of common goods such as air and water or the inhumane handling of the “goods” even today " Worker.

This may also be due to inner-family solidarity. The father of the authors Irwin Schiff, an American legend in the fight against the abolition of the gold standard and thus linked in the fight against tax, sits with 83 years inflexibly in jail in Indiana.

Fairy tale book to tell the truth

It quickly becomes clear that these are established anti-Keynesians, flawless market liberals. No wonder then that they blame the state for its interventionist policy as a reason for the financial crisis.

Nevertheless, the book is a first-class reading pleasure and also educational! My conclusion: It is worrying that the Schiff brothers have to write a “fairy tale book” in order to be able to say sentences like “we cannot consume more than we produce, we cannot borrow more than we save”. But all the more important.

No book with seven seals

“Discover Your Love of Economics” is the subtitle of Charles Wheelan's original book “Naked Economics”. And not for nothing: For many, economics is still a book with seven seals. Here they are finally explained clearly.

To say the prelude: Charle Wheelan has succeeded in an exciting, at times provocative, but above all informative introduction to economics. Only rarely is the economy explained so vividly, so close to everyday life and tangible.

Can national economy be exciting?

"Business reports are complicated, tiring and none of my business." This prejudice persists for the majority of non-economists, since it seems to be fed daily by long-winded contributions to state bankruptcies, the euro crisis and budgetary debates.

With “Naked Economics”, author Charles Wheelan proves the opposite: economic contexts are exciting, obvious and concern us all - if you explain them appropriately. And this is exactly what the author achieves in a playful, sometimes humorous, but always very vivid way, without ever exposing himself to the danger of platitudes or trivializations.

Good stories instead of mathematic equations

"Naked Economics" does not want to be a textbook for economics students, although it would certainly be good for that. Wheelan explains the laws of the market, competition and the relationship between costs and benefits without the aid of diagrams, mathematical equations or line-filling definitions.

Instead, he relies on razor-sharp everyday observations and stories from his personal environment to describe the basic principles of economic activity. He succeeds with such a light pen that the reader quickly forgets that “Naked Economics” is actually a non-fiction book.

Lively encounters in the lecture hall

He impressively enchants classic misconceptions and regulars' arguments like “globalization costs jobs” and with convincing evidence. At no time does Wheelan argue with his forefinger:

The reader feels more in conversation with a good friend than on the wooden bench of an anonymous university lecture hall. This adds to the charm of the book and increases the fun of reading. Wheelan finds words that everyone understands, who engage in the pleasurable discourse about money, barter, profits and losses.

Surprises against indented memorabilia

Moments of surprise are a stylistic device that Wheelan surely masters. For example, if he initially regrets Mexico City's air pollution and then unexpectedly turns to the topic of “harmful interference by the state in the free market economy”, this may initially be irritating.

But in this way he turns his attention to hitherto hidden patterns in the interaction between man, the environment and politics. Specifically, the Mexican government's move to introduce a one-day driving ban per week and vehicle proved to be a short-term economic boost, but an ecological disaster.

Because the pollutant content in the air was not reduced, but increased, because many Mexicans did not renounce car driving, but sat on a second car to meet the legal requirements. Including of course old models with enormous pollutant emissions.

Queries allowed

Of course, one can (and should) read this book chronologically - precisely because central theses and concepts are introduced at the beginning of the first two chapters. However, fun and understanding do not suffer when, for example, you enter into the treatment (and settlement) of the financial markets.

Wheelan always succeeds in “capturing” the reader anew and sensitizing them to the obvious and hidden connections between economic activity.

Abstract connections are conveyed concretely

Even if the reader does not agree with all of the statements, because Wheelan gives deep insight into his personal view of all the literature references and the relevant arguments. After reading the book, he is simply wiser.

Conclusion: Whoever ever wanted to know how markets and marketing mechanisms influence our thinking and actions, why a chaining of misjudgments inevitably had to provoke the financial crisis and what influence the political possibilities remain will be found in this book. Rarely was the economy so lively, so close to everyday life and tangible.

Educational and amusing head cushion cover for newcomers and old bunnies

Money is not only deserved but also well spent. Here the new book by Jessica Schwarzer helps those who want to deal more closely with the topics of stocks, stock market and investment. And: Well, it is also written.

Journalists, some say, are people who try to explain something to others that they have not fully understood. The sentence is of course not meant very seriously. And he does not vote too. Because there are many journalists who not only write well, but also understand a great deal about what they write about. Jessica Schwarzer is such a journalist.

Tips from the chief correspondent of the Handelsblatt

The chief correspondent at the Düsseldorfer Handelsblatt specializes in the subject of stock exchanges and investments, and that she has penetrated this topic, she proves once again with her new book “Back and forth makes pockets empty? What the stock market wisdom of Kostolany, Buffett and Co. is still good today ”.

The book is the continuation of her 2013 book “Sell in May and go away?” And this much can already be said: It is just as knowledgeable, educational, entertaining and enjoyable to read as Part 1.

“You earn more with your butt than with your brain”

In her new book, Schwarzer also examines numerous stock exchanges, analyzing through many examples and historical developments, whether they actually keep what they promise and whether they are above all recommended as a recommendation for action.

In addition to the relatively well-known sayings like "back and forth makes bags empty" there are also some amusing sentences that are not yet so common. Would you like an example? "Stock market prices are like high heels, the higher the better" or "You earn more with your butt than with your brain".

Advice and recommendations when buying

In addition to the analysis, Schwarzer also gives explicit advice and recommendations in terms of investment behavior. For example, it recommends that private investors refrain from buying individual stocks (ie shares in a particular company) and instead invest in ETFs instead.

The new book by Jessica Schwarzer is recommended for anyone interested in stocks, stock markets and investments. What particularly pleases is that it is well written and wonderful to read despite all expertise and seriousness. Also newcomers to the market are not overwhelmed on any page, so that the book is also well suited as an introduction to the topic. In other words, the title is a clear purchase.


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