I need fresh views on money and wealth
February 25, 2008 9:05 PM   Subscribe

Recommend me some resources (online or otherwise) - books, articles, videos, movies, websites, etc - that has challenged and possibly even changed your perspective of things - especially with regards to money and wealth.

I've read motivational books that has changed my old perspective that making a lot of money is bad - and that we should be generous with charity. I also learned that you don't need a lot of money to be happy - but it also sucks to not being able to do a lot of things without some extra cash around!

It seems like our lives are always being geared towards making money - work, investments, businesses, etc. I need fresh views on things.
posted by arrowhead to Work & Money (19 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Rolandkorn at 9:14 PM on February 25, 2008

millions. really.
posted by gursky at 9:26 PM on February 25, 2008

The book Your Money or Your Life offers a framework for thinking about money and its relationship to personal fulfillment that acknowledges the power and importance of both.
posted by jjg at 9:36 PM on February 25, 2008 [2 favorites]

So, I thought of this before reading the more inside and upon reading it, it might be slightly less well suited (and definitely not in the vein of what everyone else has recommended) - but honestly, if you haven't read the Communist Manifesto you should at least take a look. It didn't make me a communist, but it completely changed my perspective on money and wealth (not to mention history and politics) over the course of about half an hour's reading. Not bad for half your lunch break.

Again, I'm not saying it's right, but it's very interesting. Follow it with an existentialist drama chaser and maybe some Thorstein Veblen, and you'll be incredibly annoying for weeks!

Actually, really, I haven't read any Veblen but he might be of interest to you.
posted by crinklebat at 10:13 PM on February 25, 2008

The Origins of Virtue made me rethink a lot of things about human interaction and cooperation. It addresses economics, in the sense that it discusses what inherent human qualities drive exchange.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:33 PM on February 25, 2008

I have found Get Rich Slowly to be a great blog.
posted by jpdoane at 10:42 PM on February 25, 2008

Your Money or Your Life taught me a few good practical tips, but for a big dose of perspective enter your salary here and find out how your salary rates against the rest of the world. You'll be surprised.

Might not be worth your trouble locating and reading the whole book, as there's only one relevant sentence in it, but in 'The Permaculture Way' the author, Graham Bell, notes that what you think of as 'wealth', or 'enough' is as much up to you as anyone else. Hard in today's society, but still thought-provoking. I've yet to do anytning remotely permaculture-y apart from recycle, but that thought has stuck with me since I read the book in 1992.

(Background: I'll admit to a healthy interest in making as much money as I can in my chosen field, but there are a few simple pleasures that I wouldn't trade for any amount of cash: watching the birds at the other end of my garden, bunking off down the beach with my son - you know the kind of thing)

This mighty sound really wanky, but even as an avid reader, I think it's experiences that teach you this stuff rather than books. So as an example, it's having a day out on the beach and at sunset realising that the £5 a head fish and chips we ate sat on the beach gave me more pleasure than the £50 a head meal I've eaten before in the fish restaurant just behind us. Or that walking in the mountains was just as rewarding if I didn't have the absolute latest, lightest waterproof in my rucksack.

It's the doing and being rather than the stuff you do it with. No Buddhist connotations intended, by the way.
posted by dowcrag at 1:55 AM on February 26, 2008

Nthing Your Money or Your Life, for sure. Another book that profoundly changed my view of money and wealth is The Millionaire Next Door. It overturned all my assumptions about who has money, how they got their money, and what they do with their money. It's a brilliant antidote to a mass media that pushes manufactured images of "wealth" and "prosperity" in our face constantly to stimulate our desire to consume; after you read this book, you'll realize that bling is the antithesis of actual wealth.
posted by ROTFL at 3:40 AM on February 26, 2008

An old edition of The Whole Earth Catalog. In my youth I met a whole lot of adults for whom money, stuff and a really nice lawn were the bronze ring to be grasped. TWEC gave me an inside view of people who were trying to grab hold of verbs (making and doing) rather than nouns.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:17 AM on February 26, 2008

Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
posted by JohnnyGunn at 4:23 AM on February 26, 2008

The Richest Man In Babylon by George Clason is a series of parables illustrating basic principles of how to become wealthier. I was surprised by how much sense it made. And unlike most self-help books, it keeps the condescension to a minimum.
posted by bingo at 4:38 AM on February 26, 2008

Botched the link to The Millionaire Next Door, sorry. Here it is.
posted by ROTFL at 4:57 AM on February 26, 2008

Wealth 101: Getting What You Want-Enjoying What You'Ve Got.

Amazon link.

This book completely changed my attitude not only to money, but to wealth, and the rest of my life too. I can't recommend it highly enough.
posted by Solomon at 5:56 AM on February 26, 2008

Another vote for Your Money or Your Life... I think you'll find something (maybe many things) thought-provoking in it no matter what thoughts you start out with. I certainly did. (You don't need to follow all the steps in the book in order to get value out of it, BTW.)
posted by EmilyClimbs at 6:04 AM on February 26, 2008

Check out No Logo .

It's certainly changed the way I look at branding, and its effects. And, today, more than ever before, we are surrounded at all times by brands, and they affect our decisions in so many conscious and unconscious ways.
posted by ogami at 6:28 AM on February 26, 2008

Into the Wild
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:57 AM on February 26, 2008

Diehards.org has a great message board.
posted by philad at 8:30 AM on February 26, 2008

Nthing Your Money or Your Life, and thanks to dowcrag for the Global Rich List. Also useful to me were some anti-consumerism books:

How Much Is Enough?

The Poverty of Affluence

I don't think these books say it's "bad" to build wealth. They say it's "bad" to squander it on things that no one needs and that trash our world.

It has also been helpful to me to lend money to "third world" businesses through Kiva. I compare my small business to theirs and am either inspired out of a whiny funk or goaded into working smarter so I can make more money to lend to them.
posted by PatoPata at 9:59 AM on February 26, 2008

Status Anxiety

Intelligent book on "keeping up with the Joneses".
posted by muzzlecough at 1:00 PM on February 26, 2008

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