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I've been working on sorting out my finances a bit more recently so this book seemed the perfect tool to do so. I have to admit I've never watched the TV series but have seen several of Alvin Hall's books in the shops.
While the tone of the book can sometimes verge on the patronising American "I know exactly how to sort your life out" tone, there is a wealth of valuable information in this book. I found the balance of the book about right in terms of debt management, savings, investments and other financial problems. A lot of books tend to focus on investments, when for a lot of people, this is a long way off being realistic.
In terms of practical advice, a major theme is changing your mindset to becoming more financially responsible and thinking before you spend - this is the emphasis in the first chapter "Money and Your Mind". Alvin proceeds to discuss consumer debt and how to get out of it, how to make a start at saving, and how (or whether) to get onto the property ladder. The latter is really useful as it made me realise the various expenses involved in buying a house - there's a few that many people wouldn't think of. The advice about saving a decent deposit is particularly salient in the current credit crunch.
There's a 2 chapter section on investing - at this point not very useful for me, but some might find it helpful. Quite a few financial guides make this a major focus, whereas here there are a few pointers but not too much information.
There's a brief discussion about retirement and pensions - I actually felt disappointed by this chapter, as it's an area I need to learn more about. The book was published in 2002 and there's not very much about personal pensions - no mention at all of SIPPs, and only brief talk of stakeholder pensions, so this isn't the book for you if that's a major requirement. There's also sections on inheritance planning, insurance, and finances and relationships. There's also some advice with regard to choosing a financial adviser (if you need to after reading the book). He finishes off with a brief guide to staying on top of your finances by reviewing them on a regular basis.
Overall the book is very helpful though not exhaustive - I'd say if you're looking for advice on a particular area of your finances this is probably too general However, as a guide to getting your spending under control and feeling comfortable with money, this is a near-perfect all-round book.
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society when it is, in fact, a vital component of a happy life. This book examines the way money and greed have taken over our lives and looks at ways of escaping its clutches. It intends to reintroduce a fun-loving medieval attitude to life, looking at how to avoid consuming.