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Dave Barry's Money Secrets

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Dave Barry s Money Secrets

Dave Barry's Money Secrets
DAVE BARRY'S | ASIN: N/a | 2007 | MP3 | 154 Mb

In his latest parody of a self-help book Dave Barry takes on two daunting tasks: trying to match his other achievements in this genre ("Stay Fit and Healthy Until You're Dead," "Claw Your Way to the Top") and trying to be funnier than the real thing. Since the real thing is the facile and pedantic get-rich-quick guide, Mr. Barry faces a steep challenge.
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He delivers, however, a hoot-filled volume loaded with "sure-fire, can't-miss, no-nonsense, common-sense, easy-to-apply, on-the-money hyphenated phrases." And he is on-the-money about more than hyphens when he plays this game.
"Dave Barry's Money Secrets" also skewers the condescension, rhetorical questioning, simple-minded illustrations ("but the lazy grasshopper spent the summer frolicking and downloading Internet porn") and bogus utility in which real advice books specialize. In a chapter titled "How to Get a Job," he describes the applicant's ideal demeanor: "You must appear confident without being cocky, relaxed without being indifferent, and tall without being short." But he warns that there will be many others competing for each employment opportunity. And "there is simply no practical way you can kill them all."
Since he began to write less frequently for The Miami Herald, Mr. Barry seems to have accumulated a hilarity surplus. That's the kind of broad, quasi-economic concept that he himself might analyze here. Here is the Internal Revenue Service's tax code, as Mr. Barry understands it: "Every day at 3 p.m. a taxpayer is selected at random, audited, then thrown into this vault. There's usually a scream, followed by silence, followed by a massive burp. The next day the tax code is bigger." As for the gross national product, he notes that one-third of it goes directly to Bill Gates.
"Dave Barry's Money Secrets" is set up like a standard guide, divided into practical-sounding chapters like "Why You Need This Book." True to the form, he exchanges Socratic dialogue with an imaginary reader until he loses patience. " 'But,' you say, 'what if OUCH!' " Mr. Barry writes. "I apologize for slapping your face, but if you keep interrupting with your stupid questions, we're never going to get through this introduction."
It goes without saying that Mr. Barry must dole out advice from the standpoint of the super-rich. Ever since an initial $10,000 investment brought him $47 million two days later, he reveals, his circumstances have changed dramatically. "My money worries are over forever!" he writes. "And why? Because I did not trust my friends. They're not even my friends anymore, now that I'm extremely rich. I hang out with new friends that I met at the helicopter store."
The book then devotes itself to dangling similar possibilities in front of the gullible. "Ask yourself this question: Could you use an extra $200 million or more in income per year?" he writes. If so, try becoming a hedge-fund manager. "These people don't vacation in Maui. These people leave Maui as a tip."
As with all the best parts of a book so funny it may be dangerous to your health, Mr. Barry stays close to the genre's hard-to-beat realities. Donald Trump and Dennis Kozlowski are not people he could have made up. Neither is Suze Orman, the toothy financial guru whose picture is used throughout the book as both punctuation and a way to keep Mr. Barry from getting lonely. While explaining how interest rates on credit cards work, he writes: "Suze and I are laughing because we know there is no way in hell that you can do the math."
"Dave Barry's Money Secrets" is more than just a string of gags. It's a rib-tickling recapitulation of the way these books actually work, beginning with the use of straw men to dumb down their authors' reasoning. Suppose "Bob" and "John" have much in common, including the use of quotation marks around their names. Why is John a big success while Bob can't even afford name-brand toilet paper? What secret method does John have? Simple: he is stealing Bob's cash, food, electricity, cable and small appliances, and also having sex with Bob's wife.
Mr. Barry also addresses standard money matters like teaching children about money. ("What is a fair allowance? The answer depends on many factors, by which I mean: three dollars a week.") He also discusses the best way for parents to pay for college: lower tuition payments by finding a bad college. "You're looking for a college with a one-page application devoted almost entirely to explaining how you can pay by major credit card."
In discussing the stock market, he provides samples of how stockbrokers' advice can be made to cover any circumstances. Say you're a vampire: "We can make special arrangements to sell you stocks at night." Say Earth is about to be struck by a giant asteroid: "There are some terrific stock bargains to be had in this type of market."
As for saving money on everyday expenses, he recommends negotiating "a win-win outcome" whenever possible. You are advised to offer only 75 cents when lined up for a $1.50 toll. Just say: "That's your retail price. You didn't pay that much. Listen, I understand you need to make a profit. But let's work together here. Let's find a middle ground we can both be happy with."
Mr. Barry's money book can make you smarter and thriftier.


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