There are various schools of thought in the personal finance literature. Some focus on practicing frugal living, some on obtaining assets for passive income, and others still that emphasize stock portfolio balancing. One branch stands apart from the rest in that it focus on your personal mindset. According to this school of thought, the biggest obstacle to becoming wealthy is combating your doubts and developing faith in your ability to make enormous amounts of cash. Jen Sincero’s book “You are a Badass at Making Money” falls into this category, where she tells you her life story of spending years at the poverty line as a freelance writer before reinventing herself into a publishing coach for other writers and making far more money. Along the way she delves into the various techniques that you can use to also overcome your hang-ups about money and develop the drive to succeed.
The best part of this book is that it is simply funny and memorable. Her story about a time when she babysat two pet goats and a horse at a house in California, and the disaster that ensued, is one for the record books. The humiliation she felt about being poor after accidentally re-gifting a present to the same friend who gave it to her a year earlier is heart breaking. And the discipline and chutzpah she needed to ask an extremely frugal friend for $85,000 to attend a coaching seminar is truly inspiring. While the attempts at cleverness can be overdone at times, the book is a good example of what personal finance writers can do to make the genre interesting!
One element that readers may like is that the book collects the ideas behind the wealthy mindset in one place, whereas other authors cover the subject more haphazardly. That being said, there is nothing really new in this book that you won’t find elsewhere and even when put into one place the advice is rather thin gruel. The book is ridiculously padded. While it’s not so obvious since the author is a better creative writer than the likes of Robert Kiyosaki or Michael Covel, the book could easily be brought cut by 60 pages with no loss of meaning. Rather more unfortunately, interesting ideas like “money is currency and currency is energy. Money is a blank slate that gets its value from the energy and meaning we give it” are not discussed more fully.
Another issue that may give many readers pause is Sincero’s emphasis on a “universal intelligence”. She talks about this concept by saying that the universe is governed by an intelligent mind that really wants to give you what you want, but since most people don’t really “want” to be rich, gives them poverty instead. To put it lightly, this is prosperity gospel nonsense. To put it more harshly, Sincero exploits the average person’s desire for the divine without actually dealing with any of the religious debates on the subject – debates that, regardless of the religion, uniformly agree that money and wealth is the last thing God or the universe cares about. It’s a shame that an author who stresses the need for doing the hard, laborious, and risky work of gaining wealth was unwilling to do the same when it came to exploring the ideas in her own book.
In all, the book is a hilarious read and is good for people who are just beginning their personal finance journey. It gathers up many ideas in the mindset school of thought in one place and saves you a lot of time you might waste reading other books. It is not a good book though for anyone looking for any sort of technical advice or strategies to make more money.