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Going Broke: Why Americans Can't Hold On To Their Money Hardcover – January 29, 2008
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"In this lucidly-written and very timely book, Vyse has brought recent empirical research by psychologists and economists to bear on the question of why so many people are currently getting themselves into unmanageable debt. Vyse makes astute suggestions as to what we can do individually and collectively to reverse this frightening situation. I highly recommend the book to anyone who is currently in such straits or who is in danger of getting into them -- and, as Vyse makes clear, that could be any of us." -Howard Rachlin, PhD, Psychology Department, SUNY Stony Brook
About the Author
Stuart Vyse is Professor of Psychology at Connecticut College, in New London. He is the author of Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition, which won the prestigious William James Book Award in 1999.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Moving beyond the stories that open each chapter, Vyse looks not only at the internal, "psychological" processes associated with financial difficulty--such as the seemingly inexplicable tendency to overpay for items on eBay--but he also uses a broad lens to examine the social and political forces that conspire against our best efforts to stay ahead in the financial game. Rather than simply attributing the bankruptcy epidemic to "shopaholism" or endemic self-indulgence (as many others blithely do), Vyse weaves together hard science, cultural criticism, and macroeconomic analysis to create a disturbing image of our personal--and national--economic landscape.
Finally, the majority of Vyse's suggestions for not going broke are practical, common-sense solutions that almost every American can employ. But even in presenting his suggestions, Vyse acknowledges that there are larger forces which need to be addressed before a majority of Americans can enjoy financial security.Read more ›
I also appreciated Vyse's compassion toward modern Americans and the trouble he took to detail the kinds of necessary expenses that our parents did not have. For just one example, he points out that there are thousands of medications that did not exist in 1970. Even with good insurance, these medications can cost hundreds of dollars a month.
If you enjoy reading about money, this book is very different from all of the other cookie-cutter money books out there.
But, this is more than an abstract book of research psychology on debt. Between each chapter, Vyse has a 2-3 page "case study" of a real live person and his or her, or the couple's, problems with debt. In the body chapters, he also injects information from his life and that of other real people.
He also offers simple suggestions to lessen the debt temptation. Of course, most of these will be hugely UNpopular with many people, despite their professed worries about debt. The suggestions include:
1. Basic cable if you have to have TV beyond rabbit ears, plus converter box; no premium cable.
2. Dial-up internet access only.
3. Use cash for more, debit card for less, in "everyday" buying.
All very good suggestions, no matter their popularity level.
If you're serious about understanding the psychology of debt and how it might be impacting YOUR life, this is a very good read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An interesting read and worth the time. It's going to get your attention. Not sure what to think in this time of absurd debt.Published 22 months ago by joevas
Interesting analysis of how business has made it easier for Americans to part with their money. Written in an easy-to-read style, with real-people examples of how personal finance... Read morePublished on August 11, 2013 by Rowdy Yates
Good read about how we as individuals are broke and how the country is also going broke. Will share with the rest of my family.Published on November 10, 2012 by suki mccarthy
Vyse takes you on a journey through the history of American personal finance. From anecdotes about our grandparents' shopping trips to detailed bankruptcy stats; the first five... Read morePublished on December 14, 2011 by Kyle Brotherton