Your Money: The Missing Manual went to a second printing while I was in Alaska. Not bad for a book that’s only been out for a couple of months!
The book has been doing especially well at Amazon, where it’s consistently been in the top 5,000 in sales, and has even creeped into the top 500. (I consider this very good for a personal-finance manual.) For a brief time, it was even outselling books like Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover!
My publisher seems pleased with the book’s sales and with my promotional efforts, but I get the feeling they wish I’d mention it more often here on Get Rich Slowly. But the thing is, I’m not a hard-sell type of guy. (That’s one reason I didn’t do so well as the salesman for my family’s box factory.) I’m happy to write the book, but flogging it is another matter; I’m not about to make this the Your Money blog. Still, I thought it would be fun to set aside a Saturday afternoon to share some of the reviews the book has received.
Here are excerpts from a few of the reviews I’ve found elsewhere on the web (emphasis mine):
- The Financial Philosopher: “As for the ideal audience for (and people who should consider buying) Your Money: The Missing Manual, the appeal is quite broad. In fact, I can’t think of a personal finance topic that Roth does not cover in the book. The tips and guidance might also be considered basic but I am a Certified Financial Planner (TM) and I have dog-eared many pages for later application to my own financial purposes.“
- The Digerati Life: “Being a fan of behavioral finance, there’s a lot in Your Money that I could appreciate. Lots of great guidelines, anecdotes and encouraging words here. I also found the book very comprehensive; it struck me as a very well rounded way of tackling the subject of wealth, money and personal finance — from the practical stuff all the way to the psychological. If you’re after the big picture on this subject, this would be the ideal book to get.“
- Wise Bread: “My few disagreements are all [...] minor nits. If you need a book on personal finance, Your Money: The Missing Manual is a solid choice. It gets all the important stuff right, and does a great job of distinguishing between that stuff (that you have to get right) and the peripheral stuff (that you can do any of several different ways, as long as you do it).
- The Simple Dollar: “What makes Your Money: The Missing Manual stand out? To put it simply, it’s the voice. J.D.’s voice comes through loud and clear in this book, much more than I expected it to given that it’s an O’Reilly title (which sometimes means a very technical voice). It’s that approachable, real tone that has made Get Rich Slowly a top personal finance blog, and it also works to make it seem like the advice in the book is actually real and that you can actually do it, too. This is something that’s missing in an awful lot of personal finance books, and it makes all the difference.”
- An Island Life: “All I can say is, where has this book been all my life! This book is full of down-to-earth practical tips that will help you to become, if not a money expert, at least a well-informed consumer of money related issues.“
- ChildWild (from GRS staff writer Sierra Black): “There are more in-depth books on every topic this one covers. J.D. unhesitatingly recommends them. He’s read dozens of personal finance books over the past four years. His own book distills the best from the best of what he’s read. You’ll come away with a decent handle on every major financial issue most adults face, and a reading list to help you dive deeper into the areas you need more help with.”
- Duffbert’s Random Musings: “This is the perfect book to give someone who is trying to dig out from a mountain of debt, or more ideally, to someone who hasn’t yet fallen into that trap. Either way, the value of the information here is priceless if read and followed.”
- Blogcritics: “If you have any questions and concerns about budgeting, saving, investing, spending, and getting the most out of your money you need to read this book. Your Money: The Missing Manual will get you on the road to financial security in a sane reasonable manner. It’s a great investment.”
Meanwhile, Your Money: The Missing Manual has garnered thirteen reviews over at Amazon for an average of 4.5 stars. Ten of these reviews give the book five stars, one review gives it four stars, and two give the book two stars. In the interest of balance, here are excerpts from the two negative reviews:
- “Not a bad idea as such — but way too focused on American standards, and therefore of little use if you live and work in an exotic place like, em, Europe. The same goes for the book’s tone, which is that kind of buddy-like, naïve voice that makes you feel like a five-year-old.”
- “Lacks original thoughts, i.e. on nearly every page, J.D. references another author or website. Which makes me wonder what percentage of the material is re-used from elsewhere. He touts himself as an personal-finance expert, but lacks any sort of qualifications to justify that self-appointed title. He presents a brief description of concepts (from the perspective of a “regular guy”) but relies heavily on redirecting readers to online resources to gain clarification. His 14 guidelines are solid, but they appear to be derived from someone else’s work.”
That first negative review is valid though puzzling (of course the advice is U.S.-centric — the book is for a U.S. market!), but the second one really hurt at first. Eventually I realized that there’s nothing I can do about it, so I’ve just come to accept it. Yes, the book points to tons of other resources (that was the plan from the start!), but I know there’s no plagiarism here, and that I’ve done my damnedest to make the book stand stand apart from the blog instead of just borrowing material published here previously. But you can’t please everyone, right?
It’s edifying that the book is getting good reviews. I poured my heart and soul into this book for four months (five, if you count editing), and gained 20 pounds. (I’m finally down to the weight I was at after walking the marathon at the beginning of October.) I did my best to write the book I wish I’d read five years ago, and I’m proud of what I produced.
Have you read Your Money: The Missing Manual? What did you think? What did I get right? What could be improved? Who would you recommend the book for? (And would the book make a good gift for graduates?)