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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
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*        = Good, with reservations


***Dave Barry's Money Secrets

Like:  Why Is There a Giant Eyeball on the Dollar?

by Dave Barry

Reviewed March 5, 2006.
Crown Publishers, New York, 2006.  229 pages.

Available at Sembach Library (MCN 814 BAR).

This was the funniest book by Dave Barry that I’ve read yet.  Perhaps I found it particularly funny because the day it came to the library, I was to attend an informational meeting about applying for financial aid for my son to go to college.

If only I’d gotten Dave Barry’s advice earlier!  He says, “So we know that sending your child to a good school will cost a lot of money.  What does this mean?  It means that, as a responsible parent, you need to start planning now.  I don’t mean planning how to pay for a good college:  I mean planning how to get your child to go to a mediocre or actively bad college.”

I can’t help but think my sons might like this approach.  “Your best bet, of course, is low grades.  A child with a crappy grade-point average is almost guaranteed not to get into a good school.  But bad grades don’t just happen by themselves.  You need to closely monitor your child’s study habits and set strict guidelines.  (‘There will be no studying until after you’ve watched your five hours of television, young man!’)”

He’s also got a great tip to keep your kids from moving back in with you after they’ve graduated from college.  “Another good idea is to tell your child:  ‘You’re welcome to move back in with us, under one condition:  Dad will cut your hair.’”

And there’s more!  Dave Barry enlightens us on why the Tax Code is so difficult to understand.  “The reason for this is simple:  You’re not supposed to understand it.  It’s designed specifically to prevent you from understanding it.  That’s right:  The truth is that the U.S. Tax Code is written entirely in code.  Hence the name ‘Tax Code.’”

For travelers, he explains the airport security system.  “Once you arrive at the airport, you need to get into a line.  It doesn’t matter which line.  Just get into one.  This is the heart of the airport security system.  The idea is that when the terrorists get to the airport, they’ll see these big lines everywhere, and they’ll say the hell with it and go into some other line of work, such as customer service.  If, when you arrive at the airport, you don’t see any lines, you should get together with other travelers and organize one.”

There’s some good insight buried in Barry’s jokes.  I liked this paragraph in the chapter, “How To Argue With Your Spouse About Money”:  “But when you’re arguing, you must keep things in perspective.  No matter what particular issue you’re arguing about, no matter how serious it seems at the moment, remember that in the long run, the truly important thing—all psychologists agree on this—is that you must win the argument.  If you win, you receive points that can be redeemed for valuable merchandise at the Marriage Argument Prize Redemption Center.”

Reviews of other books by Dave Barry:
Dave Berry Turns 40
Boogers Are My Beat

Copyright © 2006 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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