06 August 2008

Green with Envy by Shira Boss

I just finished reading Green with Envy: A Whole New Way to Look at Financial (Un)Happiness. It is a book about what we know and what we think we know about our friends' and neighbors' finances. The author, Shira Boss, intersperses individual stories (her own included) with statistics that illustrate how common the situation is throughout the US. Some of the topics Boss covers are bankruptcy, matching your lifestyle to that of your friends, and what it is really like to be super-rich.

The chapter that fascinated me was the one about how our elected officials really live. I had no idea that many state representatives sleep on their couches while Congress is in session because they can't afford housing! They also don't have budgets for expenses such as moving or treating constituents to a meal. Yet they still have to look like they don't have money problems or else voters will wonder if they know how to do their jobs.

I would recommend this book to everyone I know. It is very easy reading; it goes down smooth like a milkshake. Although it is light on practical advice, it does remind us that everyone has issues concerning money. Hearing someone else's story can help you put your problems in perspective.

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