Download Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry Audiobook

Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry Audiobook, by Helaine Olen Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Helaine Olen Narrator: Lyn Landon Publisher: Recorded Books: Gildan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2013 ISBN: 9781469024073
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (175 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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If you have ever bought a personal finance book, watched a TV show about stock picking, listened to a radio show about getting out of debt, or attended a seminar to help you plan for your retirement, you’ve probably heard some version of these quotes:

“What’s keeping you from being rich? In most cases, it is simply a lack of belief.”—Suze Orman, The Courage to Be Rich

“Are you latte-ing away your financial future?”—David Bach, Smart Women Finish Rich

“I know you’re capable of picking winning stocks and holding on to them.”—Jim Cramer, Mad Money

They’re common refrains among personal finance gurus. There’s just one problem: those and many similar statements are false.

For the past few decades, Americans have spent billions of dollars on personal finance products. As salaries have stagnated and companies have cut back on benefits, we have taken matters into our own hands, embracing the can-do attitude that if we’re smart enough, we can overcome even daunting financial obstacles. But that’s not true.

In this meticulously reported and shocking audiobook, journalist and former financial columnist Helaine Olen goes behind the curtain of the personal finance industry to expose the myths, contradictions, and outright lies it has perpetuated. She shows how an industry that started as a response to the Great Depression morphed into a behemoth that thrives by selling us products and services that offer little if any help.

Olen calls out some of the biggest names in the business, revealing how even the most respected gurus have engaged in dubious, even deceitful, practices, from accepting payments from banks and corporations in exchange for promoting certain prod­ucts to blaming the victims of economic catastrophe for their own financial misfortune. Pound Foolish also disproves many myths about spending and saving.

Weaving together original reporting, interviews with experts, and studies from disciplines ranging from behavioral economics to retirement planning, Pound Foolish is a compassionate and compelling audiobook that will change the way we think and talk about our money.

Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “It’s rare to come across a realistic and readable book about personal finance. Most are laden with rosy promises, followed by acronyms and turgid advice. Helaine Olen, a freelance journalist, offers an exception with Pound Foolish…It’s a take-no-prisoners examination of the ways she says we have been scared, misled or bamboozled by those purporting to help us achieve financial security.”

    The New York Times

  • “A cautionary tale that you need to read.”

    The Washington Post

  • “This thought-provoking book alerts us to important issues in today’s post-recession economy.”


Listener Reviews

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  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beth | 2/2/2014

    " In this book the author looks at the personal finance industry. She goes over the history of the field, starting with Sylvia Porter back in the 1930s when there wasn't much written on the subject and most middle-class people weren't involved in the markets. She follows the history of the industry up to the present where we have TV shows, magazines and websites devoted to personal finance, and a proliferation of authors and personalities. She takes a close look at popular gurus such as Suze Orman, Dave Ramsey, David Bach, Jean Chatzky, Julie Stav, Robert Kiyosaki and others revealing some disturbing information (many of these experts make lots of money on endorsed products, or have given conflicting or poor advice). She discusses problems with the conventional wisdom about investing, and takes a critical look at financial products such as 401(k)s and annuities. She reveals that many financial professionals make their money through commissions and by recommending products to clients from which they receive a cut, and talks about the tactics used during free dinners combined with financial sales pitches. She talks about the common line used for marketing to women, who supposedly are less savvy about financial matters, to just tell them to go to an advisor. She questions the sizable advertising money received by personal finance magazines for financial industry products that are often recommended in their pages. She also mentions how the financial literacy movement hasn't helped much, and programs are often sponsored by companies such as banks and credit card companies. It is also brought home that there are no sure things and timing the market is nearly impossible without a crystal ball. The author admits that she herself, a financial reporter for the Los Angeles Times, had no knowledge of the field or credentials when she started writing articles on financial topics. She does a great job of raising questions and red flags about the industry and critically analyzing it. However, she does not offer much in the way of any solutions or ways for consumers to find reliable help, which would have been nice. But the book is an eye-opener and cautionary tale for readers about the state of the financial industry today. (I had to skim the last couple of chapters to get the book back to the library on time.) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dave | 2/2/2014

    " Started off pretty decent as I was most interested in hearing the authors comments on Suze, Dave, etc. While I agree with some of the comments, I also take them with a grain of salt as I do not consider those people experts on finance, but more of self-help guru's who are selling a product. The remainder of the book went too far down the psychological path and really lost my interest as the pages turned. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael | 1/29/2014

    " Excellent read and resource. Olen exposes personal finance "experts" and gurus like Suze Orman, Dave Ramsey, David Bach (the phony Latte Factor), 401k farce, variable annuities, stock trading, real estate investment (the fiction of Rich Dad, Poor Dad) and the financial literacy myth. I won't spoil how Olen concludes, but I found it confirming my belief that the Personal Finance industry is about converting your personal finances into their personal finances. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrew | 1/18/2014

    " Well researched and unapologetic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 victor | 12/30/2013

    " Before you make your next investment or meet with a financial adviser, I recommend you read this book first. The author also gave an excellent interview on C-Span Book TV. One of the most worthwhile finance books I have ever read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 12/23/2013

    " A must read for anyone with a 401k "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gena | 12/17/2013

    " Anyone with a 401K should read this book. Actually everyone should read this book. And then Congress, with the knowledge that we've all read it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mary | 12/17/2013

    " A rant against financial services industry with little constructive to add. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 BetsyD | 6/26/2013

    " A really important book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Megan | 4/19/2013

    " Any interesting take on the personal finance industry. It is good to see in print that these "famous" personal finance experts are being paid by the companies for the products they promote. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 William | 4/12/2013

    " A tour of the American personal financial industry. Gives you a lot to think about. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bob | 3/26/2013

    " Not a self help book or a book of solutions. This book is simply an alarm clock to remind everyone to take a stake in their retirement plans and stop relying on the financial planning for help. Unless they are a fiduciary, their first obligation is to themselves. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robert | 3/15/2013

    " Covers a lot of ground in a fairly superficial manner. Moves along and fun to read, but I wanted more information about many of the issues discussed. "

About the Author

Helaine Olen is a free­lance journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, Salon, Forbes, Business­Week, and elsewhere. She wrote and edited the popu­lar Money Makeover series in the Los Angeles Times. She lives in New York City with her family.

About the Narrator

Lyn Landon is an audiobook narrator whose readings include Everyday Oracles by Ann Bolinger, Pound Foolish by Helaine Olen, and Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success by Colleen Stanley.