BUY THIS BOOK AND ANNOY SOMEONE

My friend Terry McAuliffe’s book hit the shelves yesterday.

You may have just seen him on ‘The Today Show’ minutes ago (I am fast asleep as you read this, but I have TiVo).

He’s on Jon Stewart tomorrow.

There are two reasons to buy What a Party! First, Terry’s story-telling is unabashed and irrepressible. (Find put what really happened with that John Kerry wind-surfing episode. And, yes, Terry really did once wrestle an alligator to raise $15,000 for the DNC).

Second, even if you can’t find time to read it, just having it on your desk at work – let alone boosting it onto the best-seller list – should annoy the right wing.

Small consolation, but still.*


* And lest you not see the gentle smile on my face, I mean this in a largely playful way. The truth is, we all need to learn to get along. I don’t want to annoy the right too much. I’d rather persuade them of the need to stay out of people’s private lives, avoid ill-advised military action, balance budgets, conserve the environment, and read the Sermon on the Mount.

DON’T BUY THESE BOOKS, THOUGH

There is something remarkable about Zac Bissonette’s AOL review below but I won’t tell you what it is until you get to the end:

Terrible books top this year’s personal finance best-sellers
Posted Jan 3rd 2007 11:58AM by Zac Bissonnette

The Wall Street Journal published a list of the best-selling personal finance books of 2006 in the weekend edition. The article focused on the fact that only one of the bestsellers was published this year. But there was something else that jumped out: How truly awful many of the best-selling titles were.

Number 1 was Robert Kiyosaki’s perennial bestseller Rich Dad Poor Dad, which is easily the worst of the 200-plus investing/personal finance books I’ve read. The fact that it’s written at about a third-grade level aside, it is chockful of hackneyed advice, bad advice, and just plain weird advice. He actually suggests insider trading as a way to make money in the stock market. There is also something vaguely creepy about Kiyosaki’s resentment of his father who devoted his life to public service. Kiyosaki needs some counseling. For an excellent write-up of all that is wrong with this book, visit the site of real estate guru’s guru, John T. Reed.

Kiyosaki also shows up at number three on the list, this time with the book Why We Want You to Be Rich, with the one, the only, and the all-too omnipresent Donald Trump. There’s something really amazing about this collaboration. Most intelligent investors have long suspected that Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki were full of it. By collaborating with each other, each has successfully destroyed any credibility he might have had. It’s like Michael Bolton’s duet with Kenny G. It just makes you hate both of them a little bit more.

For the record I actually did read this book, and it is truly awful (although I refuse to listen to the Michael Bolton/Kenny G duet). Kiyosaki suggests joining a multi-level marketing scheme as a way to build up your business knowledge, which is sort of like taking your son to a Royals game to show him how to play baseball. Trump babbles on about how great his father was, how great golf is … and mostly how great Donald Trump is.

While a couple good books did make the list (Jim Cramer’s Real Money and Joel Greenblatt’s Little Book That Beats the Market), the number of bad titles underscores the serious financial literacy deficit in America. The fact that books that anyone who knows anything about money would know are garbage are selling out, combined with the sub-zero national savings rate, indicates a serious need for financial education from reliable sources.

Let’s make 2007 a year for financial literacy. If you have a child, find out if his or her school teaches kids about money. If it doesn’t, find out why not. If Robert Kiyosaki is the most popular source for financial advice in America, we are in serious trouble.

☞ Okay? Ready? The author of that review, Zac Bissonette, is a senior in high school.*


*I expect we’ll be reading his book – with pleasure – in the not too distant future.

 

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