“. . . as an introductory text on financial topics, How to Speak Money makes what is mystifying and complex for many clear and simple. That alone is the worth the price of admission.”
If you work in the world of finance or regularly deal with complex financial issues, this isn’t the book for you. If, however, you only have a basic understanding of finance and its relationship with politics, international relations, and business, How to Speak Money: The Language and Knowledge You Need Now deserves a hard look.
For regular watchers of CNN, authors Ali Velshi and Christine Romans are household names: Ms. Velshi is currently the network’s chief business correspondent and regularly helms the shows “Wake Up Call” and “American Morning” while Ms. Romans is a seasoned CNN correspondent and anchor.
Both are also hosts of CNN’s weekend business TV show, “Your $$$$$,” where they cover personal finance issues with lively banter. It is this convivial onscreen relationship that they try to bring to printed form—and largely accomplish in How to Speak Money. This is done by virtue of several breakout boxes titled Argue Box throughout the book whereby the two give different perspectives on various aspects of finance. Athough a bit gimmicky, it works for the most part, as both authors’ personalities shine through what might otherwise be fairly dull topics such as Asset Allocation: The Key to Results and The Importance of Rebalancing. Moreover, in addition to the usual suspects such as debt, retirement, and investments, the authors also bring to bear their knowledge of current events.
Take the clever section on globalization, which is made very clear via a fascinating story about how fish, caught here in the U.S. are shipped to China for processing and then shipped back to the U.S. as finished product. Thus “chances are that the fish you are eating at Cap’n Bill’s or Squid Row or any similar restaurant traveled as many as 14,000 miles, depending on where you live. From Alaska or wherever it was caught or farmed, to China to be processed, back to the West Coast ports, then onto trucks and tail cars to destinations in the U.S. interior.”
And once again, the Argue Box makes an appearance in which Ms. Velshi holds that those looking at career options should look at those that are global in scope while Ms. Roman considers that impractical.
On balance, there’s a good deal to like about How to Speak Money. Both authors are talented communicators with an uncanny ability to distill some very complex ideas into simple concepts that most will find easy to understand. On the flip side, however, there’s a certain depth that is missing in the relatively slim volume as no one topic feels fully developed.
Yet this may well be the point; as an introductory text on financial topics, How to Speak Money makes what is mystifying and complex for many clear and simple. That alone is the worth the price of admission.