Each year hundreds, if not thousands, of books are published containing advice and in-depth examinations of credit and money management issues. Consumer Action highlights the best of these resources the Book Notes section. The Editor welcomes your feedback and suggestions. Click here
to e-mail the editor.
The Financial Diaries
The American Dream is backed by the belief that hard work and steady saving will ensure a comfortable retirement and a better life for one's children. But in a nation experiencing unprecedented prosperity, even for many families who seem to be doing everything right, this ideal is still out of… More About: The Financial Diaries
How to Be the World's Smartest Traveler
One of our favorite consumer advocates, travel expert Christopher Elliott shares the smartest ways to travel in this tip-packed guide from National Geographic. Drawing on more than 20 years of experience as a consumer travel advocate, Elliott gives you the inside scoop on how to navigate the landmines of travel, with… More About: How to Be the World's Smartest Traveler
Weapons of Math Destruction
In Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, a former Wall Street quant sounds an alarm on the mathematical models that pervade modern life. This is about the "dark side" of Big Data.
This is the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that… More About: Weapons of Math Destruction
Chain of Title
"Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street's Great Foreclosure Fraud" reveals the story of the enormous foreclosure fraud that caused millions of families to lose their homes based on false evidence by mortgage companies. The lenders had no legal right to foreclose—they messed up the chain of title to… More About: Chain of Title
All You Can Pay
You might not care who can access your data because you have nothing to hide. But you should care, because corporations are using your data to control your decisions. As millions of consumers carry on unaware, powerful corporations race to collect more and more data about our behaviors, needs and desires. This… More About: All You Can Pay
The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It...Every Time
This book investigates the minds, motives and methods of con artists—and the people who fall for their cons over and over again. While cheats and swindlers may be a dime a dozen, true conmen—the Bernie Madoffs, the Jim Bakkers, the Lance Armstrongs—are elegant, outsized personalities, artists of persuasion and exploiters of trust.… More About: The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It...Every Time
Author Adam Levin's new book, Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves, addresses an unfortunate fact of life: identity theft here to stay. Passwords and aggressive spam folders are good but it's going to be difficult if not impossible to stop bad… More About: Swiped
Watchdogs and Whistleblowers: A Reference Guide to Consumer Activism
This valuable collection of articles and information is a one-stop source of facts and insights about consumer activism and the consumer movement and how it led to the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other key financial reforms. The contributors explore hundreds of major consumer protections that… More About: Watchdogs and Whistleblowers: A Reference Guide to Consumer Activism
The Black Box Society
Every day, corporations are connecting the dots about our personal behavior―silently scrutinizing clues left behind by our work habits and Internet use. The data compiled and portraits created are incredibly detailed, to the point of being invasive. But who connects the dots about what firms are doing with this… More About: The Black Box Society
Navigating Life's Transitions
To be prosperous, one needs a deep understanding of who and what you are and what you want out of life. Getting there can be hard work but this book makes the chore easier. With prompts on how to reach financial decisions and plan for short- and long-term goals,… More About: Navigating Life's Transitions
Other People's Houses
In the wake of the financial meltdown in 2008, many claimed that it had been inevitable, that no one saw it coming and that subprime borrowers were to blame. This book is a response to such unfounded claims by Jennifer Taub, an associate professor at Vermont Law School. Drawing… More About: Other People's Houses
This is the readable story of one man's battle to save hundreds of jobs by taking on China and demonstrating the greatness of American business. With over $500 million a year in sales, the Bassett Furniture Company was once the world's biggest wood furniture manufacturer. Run by the same… More About: Factory Man
House of Debt
The Great American Recession resulted in the loss of eight million jobs between 2007 and 2009. More than four million homes were lost to foreclosures. Is it a coincidence that the United States witnessed a dramatic rise in household debt in the years before the recession—that the total amount… More About: House of Debt
Flash Boys is about a small group of Wall Street guys who figure out that the U.S. stock market has been rigged for the benefit of insiders and that, post–financial crisis, the markets have become not more free but less, controlled by the big Wall Street banks. Working at… More About: Flashboys
Capital in the Twenty-First Century
At the heart of political economy lie questions about the long-term evolution of inequality, the concentration of wealth and the prospects for economic growth. In Capital in the Twenty-First Century, French economist Thomas Piketty analyzes a unique collection of data from 20 countries, ranging as far back as the… More About: Capital in the Twenty-First Century
Worth It ... Not Worth It?
Worth It ... Not Worth It? Simple & Profitable Answers to Life’s Tough Financial Questions aims to demystify complex, real-world dilemmas and break down the answers into simple, Do This/Not That solutions. Organized around six basic topics-Getting Started, Shelter, Automotive, Investing, Family Matters, and Retirement-this handy book is the Swiss… More About: Worth It ... Not Worth It?
Financial Justice: The People's Campaign to Stop Lender Abuse tells the inside story of how an alliance of progressive consumer, civil rights, labor and fair lending groups (including Consumer Action) challenged Wall Street and the financial services industry in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008-2009. To the… More About: Financial Justice
The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement
If you’re one of the 25 million single women over the age of 45 living in the United States today, AARP’s The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement addresses many pertinent issues about feathering your nest. In fact, you don't have to be "mature" or single to find this book… More About: The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement
How Wall Street Rips You Off
This book makes important points, albeit in scary fashion via horror stories that have happened to ordinary investors who trust the institutions and industry-run regulators who are "Wall Street". It walks readers through obstacles faced by the average investor in dealing with Wall Street and explores the ways in… More About: How Wall Street Rips You Off
The Ultimate Consignment & Thrift Store Guide
The Ultimate Consignment & Thrift Store Guide is a great source of information for the bargain shopper. The book has practical and specific advice on where to shop to save thousands of dollars on nearly new designer clothing and accessories, furniture, household items, sporting goods, books and much more. It… More About: The Ultimate Consignment & Thrift Store Guide
No Slack: The Financial Lives of Low-Income Americans
The financial crisis lay bare how the financial system failed the nation but left hidden the many ways in which that system still fails the most vulnerable Americans. In this volume, Michael S. Barr, Michael S. Barr, a former assistant Treasury secretary for financial institutions and professor at the… More About: No Slack: The Financial Lives of Low-Income Americans
"Greedy Bastards: How We Can Stop Corporate Communists, Banksters, and Other Vampires from Sucking America Dry" is a rant with policy undertones by a mad-as-hell Dylan Ratigan. Ratigan, host of MSNBC's The Dylan Ratigan Show, is infuriated by government corruption and corporate communism, incensed by "banksters" shaking down taxpayers,… More About: Greedy Bastards
Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It's Necessary, How It Works
From the moment President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law in 2010, a steady and mounting avalanche of misinformation about the law has left a growing majority of Americans confused about what it is, why it’s necessary, and how it works. With cartoon illustrations by Nathan Schreiber,… More About: Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It's Necessary, How It Works
Living Large in Lean Times
"Living Large in Lean Times" is consumer advocate Clark Howard's comprehensive guide to saving money, covering cell phones to student loans, coupon websites to mortgages, investing to electric bills and more. Howard, Atlanta-based host of a talk radio and TV show and founder of the website clarkhoward.com, has lots… More About: Living Large in Lean Times
Once upon a time store prices were simple and fair, businesses stood behind their products with guarantees free of fine print and loopholes, and companies genuinely seemed to care about their valued customers—but those days are long gone. In his new exposé, consumer advocate Christopher Elliot details the broken relationship… More About: Scammed
Your Money: The Missing Manual
J.D. Roth is the creator of the popular GetRichSlowly.org personal-finance advice blog that opines on personal finance topics far and wide. The topics covered include advice on making sensible decisions on saving, spending, and investing, the best ways to set and achieve financial goals, setting up a realistic budget… More About: Your Money: The Missing Manual
The Haves and the Have-Nots
Who is the richest person in the world, ever? Does where you were born affect how much money you’ll earn over a lifetime? How would we know? Why—beyond the idle curiosity—do these questions even matter?
In The Haves and the Have-Nots, Branko Milanovic, an expert on wealth, poverty,… More About: The Haves and the Have-Nots
The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America—and Spawned a Global Crisis tells the story of the rise and fall of subprime lending by chronicling the rise and fall of two corporate empires: Ameriquest and Lehman Brothers. It is a true-crime exposé of… More About: The Monster
This is a report from the economic fringes by Gary Rivlin, who spent two years writing this expose of the "poverty industry." While doing his research, Rivlin hung out at the annual check cashers convention, spent time in Tennessee with the small-town debt collector who founded the $40-billion-a-year payday… More About: BROKE, USA
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Recovering from Identity Theft
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States and in many cases the victim has no knowledge of the theft until the situation is dire. Even then, most people have no idea what to do to get their lives back or how to regain… More About: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Recovering from Identity Theft
Bottled and Sold
Peter Gleick is scientist and freshwater expert as well as a MacArthur Foundation "genius." He drinks tap water. Why don’t the rest of us?
"Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water" follows how water went from being a free natural resource to one of… More About: Bottled and Sold
Avoiding the CON in Construction
Renovating a home is an expensive undertaking even when things go right. When things go wrong, unexpected costs and delays can be financially devastating. This book can help you make informed contracting decisions.
Kia Ricchi, a Florida-based contractor, says there are steps homeowners can take to ensure a… More About: Avoiding the CON in Construction
Memoirs of a Shopping Addict
Does shopping make you feel good or feel guilty? Do you buy more clothes than you really need? Spent looks at these difficult questions.
Little Avis Cardella devoured her mom's fashion magazines and learned to aspire to the images of a glamorous existence. Grown up, her relationship with… More About: Memoirs of a Shopping Addict
The Little Book of Safe Money
The Little Book of Safe Money: How to Conquer Killer Markets, Con Artists, and Yourself is a guide to keeping your money safe from The Wall Street Journal’s investing and personal finance columnist, Jason Zweig.
“Keeping your money safe,” says Zweig, “has gone from being a luxury to being… More About: The Little Book of Safe Money
Making the Most of Your Money Now
Jane Bryant Quinn's Making the Most of Your Money has been called the best personal finance book on the market. Now Quinn's bestseller has been completely revised and updated for 2010 as a guide to financial recovery, independence, and success in the new economy.
Getting your financial life… More About: Making the Most of Your Money Now
Shoptimism is a guided tour through the parallel worlds of selling and buying. Part I, “Them Versus You,” explores “the Sell Side,” where marketing, retailing, advertising, and consumer-research forces take aim on the American buyer. Part II, “You Versus You,” looks at buyers and examines what people are looking… More About: Shoptimism
Get a Financial Life
Get a Financial Life is a real-world guide for "millennials" that teaches young people tricks for becoming the masters of their financial universes.
Get a Financial Life focuses on what you need to know when you're just starting to pay serious attention to money matters. Whether you earn $20,000 or… More About: Get a Financial Life
Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture
Many of us feel conflicted when buying cheap goods. You ask yourself, "How can this thing be produced so cheaply and still honor worker's rights and environmental safeguards necessary for all industry today? In "Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture," an Atlantic magazine correspondent looks at what may… More About: Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture
Asset Allocation for Dummies
Consumer Action is somewhat turned off by the "Dummies" series, not by the content of many of the books, which is excellent, but by the supposition that people who have not been educated on a certain aspect of life are inherently "dumb." Everyone can learn new things if they… More About: Asset Allocation for Dummies
"Busted: Life Inside the Great Mortgage Meltdown" is a personal and journalistic look at the free-wheeling lending that led to our nation's housing crisis. A veteran New York Times economics reporter, Edmund L. Andrews was intimately aware of the dangers posed by easy mortgages from fast-buck lenders. But, eager… More About: Busted
Prescription for Real Health Care Reform
Conversations on how to reform healthcare are long-standing and varied. But healthcare costs have soared, health insurance companies get richer and even those who pay dearly for health insurance frequently find that their policies don’t adequately cover them when they need their coverage most.
Howard Dean—the physician and… More About: Prescription for Real Health Care Reform
In The Black
With economic uncertainty reaching unprecedented levels, Aaron W. Smith's nine-step plan is designed to help African Americans take control of their financial futures, emphasizing the importance of saving, budgeting, investing in retirement plans and risk management. According to Publishers Weekly, "Smith shares uplifting case studies of clients and public… More About: In The Black
But Wait, There's More
Whether it was a Ginsu knife, George Foreman Grill, Tony Robbins' motivational book, kitchen device by Ron Popeil, or any of the countless other famous products that have been marketed on infomercials over the years, you or someone you know has bought one—and you're not alone. Last year, one… More About: But Wait, There's More
Stopping Identity Theft
This book outlines 10 steps you can take to protect yourself or your family from ID theft and medical identity theft, the fastest growing crime in America.
By reading this book, you will learn what to do now to safeguard your bank accounts, online presence, credit record and… More About: Stopping Identity Theft
You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man
Since the Bernard Madoff "Ponzi scheme" scandal broke, shocking investors and the Wall Street community, this insider's guide to investment rip-offs, scams and con artists has been in demand. The book, published in the late '90s, is designed to educate consumers and make them aware of how scams work.
… More About: You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man
Who was Ponzi, the man whose name is synonymous with the classic “rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul” scam where money from new investors goes to reward earlier ones? (It's the kind of scheme that Bernard Madoff recently used to rake in $50 billion from gullible folks all over the world.) In December 1919,… More About: Ponzi
How much do we know about why we buy? What truly influences our decisions in today’s message-cluttered world? An eye-grabbing advertisement, a catchy slogan, an infectious jingle? Or do our buying decisions take place below the surface, so deep within our subconscious minds, we’re barely aware of them? In Buyology,… More About: Buyology
The New Deal
2008 marks the 75th anniversary of the New Deal, the series of programs initiated by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to help Americans recover during the Great Depression (1933-43). Programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Civil Works Administration, and the Works Progress Administration gave hope, support, and encouragement… More About: The New Deal
Hot, Flat and Crowded
Thomas L. Friedman's The World Is Flat helped millions of readers to see globalization in a new way. Friedman now looks at the crises of destabilizing climate change and rising competition for energy. He proposes that an national strategy—which he calls "Geo-Greenism"—is not only what we need to save… More About: Hot, Flat and Crowded
Stop Debt Collectors
Record numbers of people are falling behind on their financial obligations and their debts are being sent to collections. If you're one of them, you know that being contacted by debt collectors can be stressful, especially if they are harassing you, threatening you, and/or using abusive language.
The… More About: Stop Debt Collectors
See More Books at Book Archive