Greed, in Jonathan Hoenig's estimation, is passion. It's lust. It has nothing to do with single-minded accumulation and everything to do with freedom, with the ability to pursue the things that make you happy. Hoenig received his first real introduction to greed while working at Starbucks as a teenager. He found that the money he earned after buying a few shares of Starbucks stock greatly exceeded what he made as an after-school wage slave. While in college, he started a radio show called Capitalist Pig
, which now plays in 18 states. Greed has been good to Hoenig.
In Greed Is Good, he wants to share the wealth with his post-baby-boom generation by preaching the gospel of investing. But investing isn't just about choosing mutual fund A over mutual fund B. It's about not spending money on useless stuff, leaving more money for the things that are meaningful. Hoenig understands how frills like designer clothes, CDs, and, yes, Starbucks coffee can seem like necessities, when really they're lifestyle add-ons that can be eliminated. Doing without such excesses can be painful, but that's something else Hoenig believes in; not only is greed good, so is discipline, sacrifice, and self-denial. Greed is written in an eclectic style that includes Yiddish phrases, street slang, and generational cultural references ("Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Willis?"), which serves two purposes: it's very entertaining to read, and renders the often-dry message of "Save and invest" infinitely more palatable. --Lou Schuler
Given the "slacker" stereotype perpetuated for so-called Generation Xers, it is certainly ironic that adults under the age of 33 are saving at a much higher rate than their "boomer" brothers and sisters. According to the Retirement Confidence Survey, more than 19 percent of this younger group have already set aside $50,000 or more. Beth Kobliner broadly targeted these savers with Get a Financial Life
(1996), her cover-all-the-bases guide to financial planning. Now Hoenig zeros in with this advice strictly on investing. Only 23, Hoenig obviously knows how to get the attention of others in his age group. In 1996, he developed a personal finance talk show called Capitalist Pig
for Northwestern University's student-run radio station. Since then, the program has expanded to two hours and can be heard in 18 states. Hoenig's approach is decidedly youthful and irreverent. Underneath the fun and games, though, his advice is thorough, sensible, and conservative. He focuses on stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, but he also introduces options and futures trading. David Rouse