The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Shock Doctrine Edition

Over the weekend, I finished an utterly fascinating book that’s (largely) unrelated to The Simple Dollar but still worth mentioning: The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein.

The book is basically an alternative look at world history over the last thirty years, particularly in terms of the collapse of various governments and replacement by new regimes (Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Poland, Russia, South Africa, and Iraq, among others). Klein’s book points out a ton of common threads among these seemingly very different governmental shifts – mostly, that as these nations are going through the “shock” of a radical change in their government and way of living, the new government would push through some very radical economic reforms that usually resulted in much of the wealth of the nation as a whole winding up in the hands of a small number of people, leaving many of the rest in a state of poverty.

It’s a really fascinating, complex book that casts a different light on much of what I “knew” about recent world history. Very, very thought provoking and well worth checking out from the library. But be warned – it’s a pretty dense book. I found myself regularly turning to Wikipedia and other sources to find out more about certain people and events that Klein would discuss for just a page or two.

What Percentage of Income Should Be Saved to Be Financially Responsible? I don’t think there is a set percentage, because I think it varies quite a bit depending on your life situation. How secure is your job? Do you have any other dependents? There are lots of questions in the mix here. (@ consumerism commentary)

How to Be Frugal Without Being Miserable I can’t tell you how strongly I agree with the advice in this post. It pretty much sums up how I feel about frugality. Frugality is about being mindful of the real value in your life – and that doesn’t always mean spending as little as possible. (@ dumb little man)

Ask the Readers: How to Save Money on Books? In my opinion, PaperBackSwap is the greatest thing since sliced bread for saving money on books. It’s reached the point where it beats the library for me, since I can send out and request a book from home and don’t have to worry about late fees or anything like that. (@ get rich slowly)

Ramit’s Inbox: An email from a very confused guy who can’t find a job I like this quote (except for the use of the word “rich” – I think the more appropriate term is “financially sensible”) – “Rich people plan for things before they need them, while others are caught treading water when something bad happens.” (@ i will teach you to be rich)

Take the Time to Play I often feel like there is too much to do. Reminders like this help keep me mentally in line. (@ productivity 501)

Reverse Engineer the Best Time of Your Life Another great article from the always thought-provoking Philip Brewer. I find that when I do such a “reverse engineering,” I always find that the core of the moment was free – and that essence is something I can find again in my own life today. (@ wise bread)

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