Poolside Guide to Money: 5 New Finance Reads for Summer

Poolside Guide to Money: 5 New Finance Reads for Summer

Revealing memoirs. Best-selling biographies. The thriller that’s the new “Gone Girl.”

Like most of us, you’ve probably got a sizable stack of books you’ve been itching to crack open all year.

And with lazier days on the horizon, summer means you finally have time to kick back and dig in.


Get started with a free financial assessment.

Well, we’d like to offer up a fun reading list of our own (yes, you’ll actually want to tote them on vacation) because summer doesn’t have to be about just guilty beach books.

From a bold guide to killing it in your career to entertaining essays from the Freakonomics team, these finance reads are primed for the summer season.

“When to Rob a Bank ... and 131 More Warped Suggestions and Well-Intended Rants” (May 2015)

By Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner 

When-to-Rob-a-BankThe Big Idea Unless you’ve been living under a very large rock, you’re probably aware of the phenomenon that is freakonomics.

Melding pop culture with economic theory, the 2005 hit book of the same name covered such intriguing topics as how your name plays a part in your success. After taking up residency on the New York Times best-seller list, the book sparked a sequel, a film, a podcast and a blockbuster blog.

Since then, authors Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner have published more than 8,000 posts on Freakonomics, illuminating the economics behind everything from library loans to chicken wings. Ten years later, they’ve curated a collection of their greatest hits—and they answer all the burning economic questions you never knew you had.

Why It’s a Great Beach Read Levitt and Dubner are as kooky as they are academic, offering wit and humor as they answer offbeat questions with basic economic principles. You’ll learn why flight attendants don’t get tipped, why taller people make more money and, of course, when to rob a bank.

Deets When to Rob a Bank; $15.59

RELATED: Are These 5 Buzzy Finance Trends Bad for Your Investment Portfolio?

“I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time” (June 2015)

By Laura Vanderkam

51dDweLYrsLThe Big Idea There are 168 hours in a week—so where do they all go?

In this era of “having it all,” work-life balance is a hotter topic than ever. And it’s not uncommon to hear that anyone who wants to advance their career has to make huge sacrifices—giving up a social life, a good night’s sleep and even time with family.

“I Know How She Does It” turns that kind of thinking on its head, using hard data to debunk common myths about work-life balance.

Compiling 1,001 days’ worth of detailed, hourly logs from highly successful working mothers, the book reveals how they really divvy up their time, gleaning smart time-management strategies from each case study in the process.

In fact, Vanderkam found that as many as 75% of these professionals checked off personal to-dos during prime work hours. By swapping tasks with co-workers or logging back online after the kids are asleep, the women are able to duck out early for family functions—without drawing attention to their time away from the office.

The bottom line: You can hack your 168 hours a weekand it starts by recognizing that you have more flexibility than you think.

Why It’s a Great Beach Read A lazy summer Saturday is the perfect moment to take stock of your usually crazed schedule and get your work-life priorities in check.

So while you’ve got a temporary break from the daily grind, get inspired by true tales of women who not only survive the work-life juggling act but thrive.

Deets: I Know How She Does It; $18.10

RELATED: 6 People, 6 Balancing Acts: ‘The Brilliant Work-Life Hack That Saves My Sanity’

“Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives” (March 2015)

By Gretchen Rubin 

Better-Than-BeforeThe Big Idea They say that habits make the man. So how can you realistically go about changing bad tendencies if they’re ingrained?

That’s the question Gretchen Rubin, author of the best-selling 2009 book “The Happiness Project,” tries to tackle in her new tome.

Coaching the reader on the basics of behavior change, she also walks people through her own journey to implement better habits in her daily life.

All in all, Rubin spells out 21 specific strategies for making positive changes—and harnessing more happiness. One of the most popular methods: treats, or using small indulgences to sway your behavior and boost bliss. 

Why It’s a Great Beach Read There’s no time like the summer to focus on happiness. And rather than just aim for it in the abstract, Rubin’s read reveals that with smart habit changes, you can claim happiness in a tangible, practical way.

Deets Better Than Before;  $18.20

Every single day involves negotiation—but we often miss the chance to make the most out of these exchanges.

“Getting (More of) What You Want: How the Secrets of Economics and Psychology Can Help You Negotiate Anything, in Business and in Life” (July 2015)

By Margaret A. Neale and Thomas Z. Lys

Getting-More-of-What-You-WantThe Big Idea Your salary. A new set of wheels. Whose turn it is to walk the dog.

Every single day involves some kind of negotiation—but we often miss the chance to make the most out of these exchanges.

Enter “Getting (More of) What You Want”a comprehensive guide to all things negotiable.

Operating on the premise that everything is open to discussion, business professors Margaret A. Neale and Thomas Z. Lys teach negotiating newbies how to navigate the world of deal-making by helping people understand the psychology behind people’s behavior in competitive situations.

Their blueprint for success? Thoroughly research your counterpart before coming to the table—and use smart body language to seal the deal.

Why It’s a Great Beach Read Whether you’re hashing out the camp carpool schedule, haggling for a vacation deal or gearing up for a mid-year review at work, summer offers all kinds of opportunities to flex your negotiating muscle.

And while you’ll surely grow your money mettle in the process, the book also shows that mastering negotiation isn’t just about increasing wealth—it’s about making the most of every situation in life.

Deets Getting (More of) What You Want; $19.88

RELATED: The Psychology of Negotiation: 4 Ways to Get What You Want

“Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job. Kill It in Your Career. Rock Social Media.” (May 2015)

By Aliza Licht

Leave-Your-MarkThe Big Idea Got a bad case of blurred boundaries?

In a world where personal and professional lines are increasingly jumbled, PR powerhouse Aliza Licht serves up fresh advice for growing your career game while still maintaining a strong sense of self.

Sharing her own experiences as a top publicist for DKNY, Licht acts as a tell-it-like-it-is mentor for anyone trying to build their personal brand in the professional world.

“How you brand and market yourself can weigh just as heavily on your success as your actual skills,” Licht declares. And with chapters like “Being Your Own Publicist” and “Presenting Like a Pro,” she spells out exactly how to make a name for yourself—in any field.

Why It’s a Great Beach Read Combining cheeky quips (“‘To Whom It May Concern’ never concerns anyone,” she claims) with professional know-how, “Leave Your Mark” is the perfect mix of career wisdom and entertaining tales—including the crazy career path that took her from plastic surgery to publicity.

Inspiring readers of every career stage—whether you’re juggling your first job or already own the corner office—Licht helps you get to the next level with personality, poise ... and a healthy dose of panache.

Deets Leave Your Mark; $17.77

RELATED: LinkedIn Super Secrets: 9 Tips for Job Seekers, Brand Builders and Hiring Managers


Financial planning made simple.

Get your free financial assessment.

Related Tags

Get the latest in your inbox.

Subscription failed!

You're Now Subscribed!