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April/May 2012

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Learning By Ear Your Money and Your Life One of the things that writing these columns has taught me is that talking about personal growth is easier than doing it. Managing money, for example, sounds like it should be a simple matter of arithmetic and restraint, but it's problematic for a lot of people, including me. When I was a young artist of sorts with the lethal combination of ADD and blind optimism, money was a perennial irritant because life was pretty much all about what feels good now, baby. But we all make progress. Knowing there are more years behind than ahead leads almost everyone to better thinking and self-control in the present, and a stronger focus on the future. I've also learned a lot from the many excellent personal finance audios I've reviewed for AudioFile. In these books, core ideas, such as knowing the differ- ence between needs and wants, don't hit you like a lightning bolt. They get into your head gradually as you hear them expressed by a variety of authors and talented narrators. These audios, like all the personal growth lessons I've reviewed over the years, remind us that living well doesn't happen by accident. It unfolds in the best possible way when we take the time to articulate the life we want and put into practice the habits that will get us there. But sometimes the most sensible advice is no match for the power of desire and human frailty. Any of the personal finance audios discussed on these pages will help you get a start on making sound financial principles and practices a more pleasing and affirming part of how you handle your money. Bon Courage!—Tom Walken THE NEW GOOD LIFE: Living Better Than Ever in an Age of Less John Robbins Read by Paul Boehmer This is a thoughtful book on how truth and purpose in our relationship with money can give us more opportunity to feel fulfilled, creative, and free. The author's personal narrat ive—he rejected his Baskin Robbins inheri- tance, lived off the grid, lost a fortune to Bernie Madoff—is poignant and inspiring. With accessible writing, he explains how to spend on transporta- tion, housing, energy, health care, housecleaning, and children without slipping into wasteful, planet-damaging habi ts. Paul Boehmer's f lawless performance, both arrest ing and comfortable, adds a classy patina to this transformational book. He modu- lates his intensity imperceptibly to convey surprise or sanguine wisdom, humility, and introspection. Boehmer has total control. T.W. Tantor Media 12 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD (also MP3 Library Ed.: CD , DD ISBN 9781400116973 $34.99 ) ISBN 9781400146970 $69.99 46 s AudioFile/www.audiofilemagazine.com THE 10 COMMANDMENTS OF MONEY: Survive and Thrive in the New Economy Liz Weston Read by Heather Henderson Heather Henderson's pleasing perform- ance is a steady presence in this up-to-date guide to managing money. Her reassuring voice strikes the right balance between sounding perky enough to give the reading a personality and mature enough to make listeners respect the information and advice. Her delivery is a soothing vehicle for unfold- ing the author's wisdom on budgeting, insurance, rainy-day saving, spending, investing, thoughtful borrowing, and managing debt. Weston is a detail- oriented, broadly experienced financial journalist. But she writes in a person- to-person manner that, with the help of Henderson's friendly reading, will speak to listeners' deeper feelings and shake up their most stubborn financial habits. T.W. Blackstone Audiobooks 11.75 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD (also MP3 Library Ed.: CD (also CS , DD , DD ISBN 9781441773777 $29.95 ) ISBN 9781441773760 $90.00 , PRE ) DEBT FREE FOR LIFE: The Finish Rich Plan for Financial Freedom David Bach Read by Erik Davies Erik Davies's vocal urgency, both hushed and intense, is a prominent feature of this step-by-step guide to paying off, reducing, or eliminating debt without bankruptcy. Listeners used to hearing the author narrate will miss Bach's boyish enthusiasm, but Davies's more consistent enunciation and slower pacing in this production make the ideas easier to absorb. Bach provides a lot of helpful background as he describes the particulars of handling various kinds of debt—installment loans, bank card balances, student loans, mortgages. He uses math to justify his recommendations but never overwhelms with numbers. What works best about Bach's book is not just his creative can-do strategies; he's also a supportive advocate who makes people believe they deserve to be happy and less burdened by financial distress. T.W. Random House Audio 7.5 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD Books on Tape Library Ed.: CD ISBN 9780739368879 $30.00 (also DD ISBN 9780307751539 $30.00 )

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