This month I’ve finished reading two books: Vicki Robin’s Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence and John and Julie Gottman’s Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. Both are secular books, the first one on finance and the second on marriage, and are each easy to read, helpful and potentially enriching.
Eight Dates includes wonderful conversation starters for couples on finances, sex and intimacy, dreams, play and more, and makes solid suggestions on how to frame these conversations in different settings, whether a romantic spot or restaurant or during a cozy evening at home. Stated differently, you can spend some money or you can go cheap and accomplish the same aims. Some of my readers might want to know that the Gottman’s include examples from both same-sex and opposite sex couples, conversations between people who are in committed relationships.
The Gottman Institute researches all kinds of relationships in our modern world, with a focus on what makes a relationship healthy and happy. They also uncover what makes relationships break apart. They study “masters” and “disasters,” passing along their discoveries. The principles in this book are the strength. The examples are there to illuminate.
Your Money or Your Life has been around. I read the updated version, published last year. I want to be a better steward of my resources, which is more than my money, but money is a significant part of that. I want to save as much as I can, give as much as I can, and do a good job taking care of my family. This is a program worth considering, and exalts the virtues of simplicity and generosity. Robin also does a good job of de-stigmatizing money talk and combats our addiction to consumption.
On my desk are a couple of other books. I’m reading Walter Sinnott-Armstrong’s Think Again: How to Reason and Argue and Seeking God Together: An Introduction to Group Spiritual Direction by Alice Fryling (which I’m reading for a class). One of the next books on my stack is by Timothy Carney, Alienating America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse.
I spent some time looking through the book deals this month on Amazon, and the only one that caught my eye was Matthew Crawford’s Shop Class as Soul Craft, which examines work. The link will take you to a physical copy, not a Kindle book, at a nice price break. Crawford is a sharp guy.