The Art of Money or Happy Book-Birthday, Bari!

Maybe it was those timed arithmetic tests in first grade that drove me to run. Maybe it’s my time in the credit-trap so many college students experience. Maybe it’s my failed career as an activist fundraiser. Whatever it is, money is hard for me.

I entertain damaging beliefs, that I’m bad at math, that rich people are the devil, that money is imaginary and thus unimportant. I’ve done crazy things to feel more in-control and successful with money: frozen credit cards in ice, dipped money in glitter, sealed it in dated envelopes. I have also engaged all kinds of professional and amateur help to improve my relationship with money: accountants, bookkeepers, finance classes, workshops, and sympathetic friends.

Maybe you don’t need a gentle and creative way to think about money. Maybe you’ve already got a system or an attitude that works for you. If you never feel weird or bad or guilty or scared or ashamed about money, if you never fight about it with people you love, you probably don't need Bari Tessler’s book. The rest of us do. We need it desperately.b2ap3_thumbnail_bari-cafe-book-585x390.jpg

I think money is one of those things you have to work on over the course of a lifetime. It’s like time. It's like food. You don't figure out how to manage it once and then get on with your life. You keep learning and growing and getting better at it, getting underneath the parts of it you over-complicate.

Back when I was first launching Sexy Grammar, I went to a talk Bari Tessler gave about money. Her dance and therapy backgrounds and her philosophical approach totally won me over. Bari’s work, at least for me, is big. I’ve admired her, followed her career, and participated in her Art of Money online community over the years.

So I’ve hotly anticipated her book. The Art of Money: A Life-Changing Guide to Financial Happiness offers a sandbox-simple structure for the endeavor of mastering your relationship with money. If figuring out money is a lifelong journey, Bari’s new book is the essential map.

I'll be honest. Reading this book was both transformative and painful. As in previous experiences with Bari’s work, I ate up the first section, Money Healing, because it is so special and so much what I yearn for in my approach. But also, I abandoned it more than once and struggled to return to it because I cried too much and felt too much when I read this section.

I fought with my wife more than once while I read the Money Practices section, tossing out ideas I knew she’d hate like grenades. “I’ve tried your so-called money dates,” I shouted back at Bari as I read, arms crossed over my chest, eyebrows furrowed. “They are more like money torture chambers!”

But I kept reading. And I reaped rewards in the final act. The third section, Money Mapping, was exciting, fresh, and new for me. The idea of money koans made sense. Mapping my budget on three tiers felt freeing and flexible. Thinking about legacy made it easier to breathe.

I will cherish this book, mark it up and fold the corners on favorite pages. I know for certain, I'll give it as a conversation-referencing gift many times in years to come because I have so many meaningful conversations with loved ones about money. You can read or share it in pieces. The chapter on values-based bookkeeping, for example, could be an interesting alternative starting point. The book overflows with practical resources, like questions to ask before you hire a bookkeeper, accountant, or financial advisor and a spectacular, comprehensive further-reading list. It will serve as a resource book on my shelf over time. I will come back to it whenever I need support.

This book is an act of love. It's an accumulation of a decade of Bari’s generous, active, sincere growth as an entrepreneur and teacher. I am grateful for her unique voice in the money world. Artists, writers, freaks, and cheerleaders, this is the money book for you.



I really don't review books; I write them love letters. Even so, I post my thoughts among the other book reviews on Amazon and GoodReads. Buy Bari's The Art of Money or learn more about her programs here. Check out a few other money stars I love: Farnoosh Torabi's So Money podcast, JD Roth's Money Boss blog, and Danetha Doe's Managing & Growing Your Finances program. Shower somebody you love with a gift from my Money Money Money treasury on Etsy. Find me, and all the writing pros I follow on Facebook or Twitter.


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Friday, 20 July 2018

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