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‘Stuff’ My Dad Says

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Every once in a while, I try to read a book that isn’t somehow related to the economy, personal finance, or motivation. While I don’t write reviews of these books here, they are a big part of the reason I’m still sane…or at least a version of sane anyway.

I rented ‘Sh*t My Dad Says’ by Justin Halpern from the library and didn’t anticipate sharing it with you based on the fact that it isn’t about finance AND, let’s be honest, the name of the book makes it a rough sell – but hear me out.

Halpern moved home with his father at 29 after a particularly difficult break-up. Eternally amused and occasionally miffed by lessons from his father, he decided to write them down. The stories and quotes are funny and weirdly touching. Don’t tell anyone but – I cried during the last chapter.

It seemed like a good idea to read it on the train. ‘Seemed’ being the operative word.

I laughed so hard, people started to stare. Once I realized this, I attempted to stifle my laughter by closing my mouth… which only made my giggles come loudly out my nose as snorts. What seemed like 10 minutes into my commute, I looked up and realized I had missed my stop…3 stops ago.

After work, on the way home, I thought I fought the urge to burst into laughter a little better but when I went to exit the train, a gentleman touched my arm and asked what book I was reading. A little embarrassed, I showed him the cover and he said, ‘I have never seen someone laugh so much in a 45 minute period. I’m buying that book. Thanks for the afternoon entertainment.’

Here are some of the reasons I couldn’t stop laughing…

ON THE DEATH OF OUR FIRST DOG
He was a good dog. Your brother is pretty broken up about it, so go easy on him. He had a nice last moment with Brownie before the vet tossed him in the garbage.

ON MY BLOODY NOSE
What happened? Did somebody punch you in the face?!… The what? The air is dry? Do me a favor and tell people you got punched in the face.

ON SHOPPING FOR PRESENTS FOR HIS BIRTHDAY
If it’s not bourbon or sweatpants, it’s going in the garbage… No, don’t get creative. Now is not a creative time. Now is a bourbon and sweatpants time.

The worst thing you can be is a liar… Okay, fine, yes, the worst thing you can be is a Nazi, but then number two is a liar. Nazi one, liar two.”

“Are you wearing perfume? …Son, there ain’t any cologne in this house, only your mother’s perfume. I know that scent, and let me tell you, it’s disturbing to smell your wife on your thirteen-year-old son.”

WARNING WARNING WARNING: This book contains profuse use of profanity. If you are at all sensitive, don’t read it.


The Difference by Jean Chatzky…

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I recently read ‘The Difference’ by Jean Chatzky. The book focuses on the differences between the four financial classes of people – Wealthy, Financially Comfortable, Paycheck to Paycheck, and Further into Debt.

Merrill Lynch and Harris Interactive conducted a study of 5,000 people and created a list of the very specific characteristics that define each financial group of people. Chatzky emphasized that most wealthy people are not wealthy because of an inheritance or because life ‘gave them all the breaks’, they are wealthy because of their decisions and attitudes. For example, wealthy folks are generally socially connected, married, competitive, hardworking, physically fit, optimistic, have good attitudes about finances, and believe in risk.

Yeah, sure Jean, those are super easy qualities to come by.

Don’t worry, she doesn’t leave you on the ledge. Chatzky gives you daily exercises to help you change the way you think and even the way you feel. The book is 50% financial information and 50% motivational material.

I listened to this book on CD but I recommend you rent the actual book from the library. Some of the exercises would be far easier to do without pushing pause after each chapter.

I enjoyed this book and if nothing else, felt encouraged about my path.