Monday, October 29, 2012

DOUBLE Book Review Monday

Greetings fellow readers! I am going to undertake an ambitious double review post today, because I feel that these books should be read together, not necessarily at the same time, but definitely in succession. Both of these books (as well as a box of others) were given to me by Our Sunday Visitor (OSV) in exchange for an honest review.

The first book I am going to review is called, Why Enough is Never Enough. In this book Gregory Jeffrey fills the pages with personal stories about "Making Peace with God and Money." There are chapters on trusting God, figuring out how much money it takes a person to truly be happy, giving to others in charity, and attitudes of greed vs. gratitude.

By design, this book will not give you advice on how to make money, budget your money, or what to do with your money. Instead, the whole premise is about helping the reader to become comfortable with the money they have and hopefully help them realize that they do have more than enough money to be happy.

I found this book to be good to very good, but lacking for me. I liked that each chapter included reflections and tasks/questions to complete/answer to make you think and grow in your understanding of your own personal and unhealthy want for more money. But I was disappointed with how many personal stories there were in the chapters and felt the entire book was a little too "fluffy" for me and could have been condensed. The message was solid, but you had to wade through a lot to get to the message I would give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars, because it was good, but not what I would want out of a finance book.

The second book I am reviewing is 7 Steps to Becoming Financially Free. OSV was GENEROUS enough to send me not just the book, but an entire kit to lead a small group session. The kit included the book, DVDs, a leader's guide, a workbook, etc. I was blown away by not only OSV's generosity, but the quality of this product. I have a small group study that I help lead now, and I know they would enjoy this as much as I did.

I don't have enough space or time to say enough good things about this book/kit, but I will do my best. Each chapter is well-laid out and in a logical order. It starts with us realizing that everything we own belongs to God and progresses from there. Chapters include finances with marriage, with kids, charitable giving, buying a house, getting off debt, saving, investing, etc. etc.

The advice is straightforward and backed up with Scripture references. The tasks to do at the end of each chapter are practical. The workbook supplements the book nicely. And the leader's guide (if you choose to buy the whole kit and lead a group) is immensely helpful and gives you great advice, not only on how to lead each session, but how to be a better small group leader overall.

On a side note, I had ambitions of writing a book with exactly this purpose in mind of personal finances from a Catholic perspective. After reading through this book and watching the DVDs, I can see my time is better spent elsewhere. Phil Lenahan does a masterful job of providing just such a product for Catholics (or any flavor Christian).

I wish I could give this book more than 5 out of 5 stars, but that's the highest rating possible. If your finances are a complete mess and you need to get them in order, buy this book or see if your Parish is offering this class and take it. If your finances just need some tweaking, or you need some practical advice, buy this book. I think anyone and everyone can and will find something beneficial from this book. It should definitely be on the bookshelf of every newly married couple too!

Well, that's all I have for you today. Thank you for taking the time to read these two reviews. I don't anticipate making Double Review posts in the future, but these books had a common theme of personal finances, and I just felt like it worked. Thank you all for taking the time to read this review! I'll see you next time in Stuart's Study.