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review 2014-09-22 16:25
Good Advice from Bad People / Zac Bissonnette
Good Advice from Bad People: Selected Wisdom from Murderers, Stock Swindlers, and Lance Armstrong - Zac Bissonnette

Bestselling author Zac Bissonnette has gathered more than seventy-five jaw-dropping gems, including risk-management advice from the man who triggered the world’s largest hedge fund collapse and tips from gay-prostitute-patronizing pastor Ted Haggard on how to build a marriage that lasts a lifetime. The result will keep you smiling while you glean all the wisdom you need to build the life you want . . . if only you can follow it better than the people who gave it.

 

It was the title that attracted my attention—the potential was obvious. As it turns out, the book was less than I expected. There is a certain amount of humour in a book where Donald Trump gives advice on staying humble, Tiger Woods describes how to be a role model, and O.J. Simpson recommends taking responsibility for your actions. But the humour stayed at the gentle irony stage, where I had expected the author to take a bit more advantage of the incongruousness of the set-up. He limits himself to giving a quote from the bad person and then pointing out how far that individual has deviated from said advice. Once I determined that there was not going to be an emphasis on the ridiculous, I anticipated getting a bit more useful advice for identifying and avoiding the narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths of the world. This information was added, apparently as an afterthought, very briefly in the last two pages of the book. Summary: they are mostly men, they preach obvious things that we already know, people celebrate them without knowing very much about them and these folks milk their status for everything they can. Basically, narcissists and psychopaths dazzle us with charisma while taking advantage of our bedazzlement. Easy to say, hard to recognize when you are under the spell of the perpetrator in question. These are realizations that come with hindsight.

At least the book does not take too much time to read—the text is not dense, with many white spaces on the page and frequent portraits of the bad people in question. The format was to provide a quote and sometimes a photo on one or two pages, following by a page to a page and half of comments by the author. I was easily able to read the book while waiting in medical offices for blood tests, scans, etc. As it was easily interruptible, it was the perfect book to take as a time-passer during those waiting periods.

Neither very humourous nor very wise, this is a “self help” book that I would advise you to leave on the shelf. If you feel you must read it, borrow it from a library, as I did, rather than spending your own hard earned money on it.  

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text 2014-05-19 06:17
The Woo Group RBC Wealth Management Tokyo: Color of Money

COLOR OF MONEY: ‘GOOD ADVICE FROM BAD PEOPLE’ AND THE FINANCIAL TIPS ‘THEY’ GIVE  

 

 

Who are “they”?

 

That’s the question I often ask people when they want my opinion about some financial advice they’ve heard. Here are some of the things “they” say:

 

● Getting student loans is a good thing because it’s an investment in your future.

 

● Now’s the time to get a home because interest rates are low.

 

● Never pay off your mortgage, or you should keep a mortgage for the tax break.

 

● It’s better to pay off the debt by borrowing from your 401(k) retirement savings account because you will be paying yourself back.

 

My question about who “they” are often solicits chuckles because people realize that in their effort to help themselves, they’ve picked up pieces of advice from biased individuals or without doing the work to figure out if it’s prudent.

 

Millions of consumers have been duped by people — many once touted as icons — who turn out to be charlatans or who gave advice that they themselves didn’t follow, says Zac Bissonnette, a personal finance writer.

 

Time and again, we learn that self-help authors have become wealthy not by following their own advice but by selling the concept of a certain life or financial enriching strategy. We’re reminded that politicians, corporate and religious leaders, entrepreneurs, sports figures and relationship experts are not practicing what they preach.

 

It’s these folks that Bissonnette criticizes in “Good Advice From Bad People: Selected Wisdom from Murderers, Stock Swindlers, and Lance Armstrong” (Portfolio/Penguin, $15). It’s my pick for this month’s Color of Money Book Club. The murderers include cult leader Jim Jones and Gary Shawkey, who was given a life sentence for killing a 71-year-old investor he bilked out of $1.2 million. Shawkey’s self-published book was titled “If I Can . . . Anybody Can . . . ”

 

I couldn’t stop shaking my head as Bissonnette took me down memory lane, starting with the financial arena.

 

Remember the Beardstown Ladies?

 

They were part of an investment group from Beardstown, Ill., who wrote the bestselling “The Beardstown Ladies’ Common-Sense Investment Guide: How We Beat the Stock Market and How You Can Too.”

 

Along with some recipes for stew and chicken, we were told that from 1984 to 1993, the ladies had an average annual investment return of 23.4 percent. Their book sold almost 800,000 copies.

 

But some number-crunching from journalists and an eventual audit found the ladies hadn’t beaten the market or most money professionals. Their actual return during the time period had been 9.1 percent, compared with the 15.7 percent average annual return on the Dow Jones industrial average.

 

The women said it was a miscalculation. Their publishing company was sued. There was a settlement and now we have a good lesson about the importance of vetting people’s investment claims. While you can learn a lot in an investment club, “the ladies would probably be better off if they’d just put their money in time-proven mutual funds,” Bissonnette writes.

 

In the not-so-distant past, we had the falling of another “they” in Bernie Madoff. The once-prominent member of the securities industry and former chairman of Nasdaq is serving a 150-year prison term for bilking investors out of billions.

 

“And yet, when he actually took a moment to give personal finance advice after his fall from grace, he provided wisdom that everyone should follow: low-cost index mutual funds are the best option for most investors,” Bissonnette writes.

 

Bissonnette also introduces Angelo Mozilo, the former chief executive of Countrywide Financial. Although the company was approving risky home mortgages, in an e-mail that Bissonnette points out, Mozilo wrote that the no-money-down subprime loan is “the most dangerous product in existence and there can be nothing more toxic.”

 

But many borrowers listened to the “they” who said homes would increase in value exponentially so that they could refinance out of the risky loans Mozilo and others were peddling.

 

Then there is the story of Jesse L. Jackson Jr., the former Democratic congressman from Illinois who is serving prison time for using $750,000 in campaign funds for personal use, including buying Michael Jackson memorabilia.

 

Bissonnette pulls out this quote from a book Jackson wrote with his father, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson: “Living above your means is financial sin.” Their book was titled “It’s About the Money! How You Can Get Out of Debt, Build Wealth, and Achieve Your Financial Dreams.”

 

Says Bissonnette, “All too often, America’s smiling, inspirational prophets turn out to be comically — and sometimes darkly — horrible at following their own leads.”

 

I’m sure plenty of people might take issue with some of Bissonnette’s selections of “bad people.” But his book will at least make you pause before you start a sentence with, “They say.”

 

 

By Michelle Singletary

Source: qna.mortgagenewsdaily.com/questions/the-woo-group-rbc-wealth-management-tokyo-color-of-money
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review 2014-05-08 03:30
Missed a Great Opportunity
Good Advice from Bad People: Selected Wisdom from Murderers, Stock Swindlers, and Lance Armstrong - Zac Bissonnette

I saw this title and had to read it. What a fantastic title and idea for a book. Well for me the title was the best part. What was inside was not at all what I had expected. There was a quote from the "bad person" on one page then a brief what they did wrong on the next page. It read very dry and uninteresting for me. I really thought this would be funny, a slapstick look at the major screw-ups and their foot in the mouth comments.

In the end I did not like it. 

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text 2014-05-01 15:51
On Writing

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