Book reviews: Consume this - MoneySense

Book reviews: Consume this

These books and blogs are packed with consumer tips.

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1. HOW DOCTORS THINK by Jerome Groopman (Mariner, $17.95): This book, by a practicing physician, will confirm many of your most uncomfortable suspicions. Yes, doctors really are as susceptible to prejudices as any of us. Yes, doctors can fail to ask obvious questions. Yes, how much your doctor likes you can affect your diagnosis.
OUR TAKE: A wonderful book that will change forever how you view the person at the other end of the stethoscope.

2. THE LITTLE BOOK THAT BUILDS WEALTH
 by Pat Dorsey (Wiley, $21.99): Picking great stocks is like building a castle, says Dorsey. In both cases, you want to make sure you have a strong moat around you. When it comes to stocks, a moat is a built-in advantage that allows a company to defend its territory and churn out high profits, not just this year, but for decades.
OUR TAKE: A smart book about a neglected aspect of investing. If you want to know why Coca-Cola is a great buy for the long haul, but oil stocks aren’t, give it a read.

3. THE HAPPINESS PROJECT
(www.happiness-project.com, free): Gretchen Rubin was a lawyer before she decided to give happiness a try. Her personal project is to give every happiness tip and formula a test drive and report back to us on how well they work. Her site spans everything from 20 tips on reducing stress to 13 tips for dealing with a really bad day.
OUR TAKE: Oh, don’t be such a grouch. Give it a try! While some of Rubin’s tips are the type of thing you might expect from a cheesy motivational poster, more than a few strike us as genuine insights. If nothing else, we found it wonderfully reassuring to learn that someone else is just as stressed out as we are.

4. GETTING STARTED IN VALUE INVESTING
by Charles S. Mizrahi (Wiley, $23.99): There are tons of learn-to-invest books but this one stands out for its common sense as well as its deft balance of numbers and anecdotes. Mizrahi believes in buying good companies at a fair price and he shows you the simple techniques that can allow you to do the same.
OUR TAKE: One of the better introductions we’ve seen to value investing. Novice investors will learn a lot from this book; so will experienced investors who have enough bruises to appreciate the wisdom of what Mizrahi has to say.

5. MILLION DOLLAR JOURNEY
(www.milliondollarjourney.com, free): The young engineer who writes this blog hails from Newfoundland. His goal is to amass a million bucks by the time he hits 35. And, judging from the wide ranging material on his site, he’s willing to do just about anything to make that happen.
OUR TAKE: What makes this site work is the personality of the anonymous author. He describes himself as an “obsessive-compulsive personal finance guy,” but he’s actually immensely likable. While we could quibble with some of his views, there’s no doubting his spirit.

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