Thursday, November 11, 2010

Jess' Review: The Simple Dollar (Trent Hamm)

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Author: Trent Hamm (Web site)
Publisher: Financial Times Press, 2010
Notes: I received this book as an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from the publisher, Financial Times Press. I have reviewed it honestly and personally. As part of this opportunity, I was also asked to apply one chapter from Trent's book to my life, which you can read about here.

A brief summary: Trent Hamm is best known on the Web as the man behind The Simple Dollar, a popular personal finance blog. In The Simple Dollar, Trent explores personal finance in his own life, offering many personal narratives, as well as constructive, useful techniques for readers to apply to their own lives.

My thoughts: I am a long-time reader of The Simple Dollar, and so when the opportunity came about to receive an ARC from the publisher, I jumped on it. I was curious to see how this combination memoir/self-help book differed from others, and if Trent's fantastic blogging personality would come through in the book.

Trent's book is well-written and to-the-point, which is consistent with his blog style. I like the personalized anecdotes and interesting tidbits. One thing I'm curious to see is if the aesthetic nature of the book changes with publication; it seems very textbook-like in paper, font, and plain book style. (The book is published by a subsidiary of Financial Times Press.) Most memoirs or books similar to this are published with a more reader-focused, audience-oriented feel. This is not so (though I do recognize that my copy is an ARC, so I'll have to compare after publication).

As much as I liked the book, I think it repeats a lot of what Trent already discusses on his blog. I also think that his writing is especially well-suited for blogging because he proposes questions and is able to engage the audience in a different way. Much of the same material is covered in his blog, but in fact the blog posts cover it at much greater length and with a greater number of resources.

Overall I think Trent's book is a worthy, wonderful read. It has given me new perspective on where his writing comes from, and where the motivation to get financially fit, originates. I especially think that people who have not yet read Trent's blog will benefit from the book in a major way.

Rating: 4 stars


  1. Oh boy do I need this book! This sounds fascinating. What sorts of things does he address in the book?

    Off to check out his blog!

  2. I also need this book! I need to improve on my money management skills. I was just looking at the blogs archives and I'm definitely saving this article (Should I Buy Now Or Should I Wait For Better Features at a Lower Price?) for future use. I ask myself "should I buy this now...or wait to see if it goes on sale" wayyyyyyy too much.

    Thanks for reviewing this book, Jess!


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