Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Book Review: Zombie Economics

In Zombie Economics: a Guide to Personal Finance (which has the extended title of "How to Slay Your Bills, Decapitate Debt, and Fight the Apocalypse of Financial Doom"), Lisa Desjardins and Rick Emerson make the case that a tenuous monetary situation is not unlike being the protagonist in a zombie horror movie. The authors put forward the notion that having enough money to pay one's bills every month is like staying alive in a post-apocalyptic, zombie-filled world, and that not having enough is like getting devoured.

Quote from the Book: "Zombie Economics is about fighting the horde on its own terms--about coming face-to-face with the unthinking financial menace and giving as good as you get" (167).

The Good: One thing that I particularly enjoyed about this book is that each chapter started with a piece of a short story about a person who was in an imaginary zombie apocalypse, and the second half of each chapter told the lesson to be learned from the story. As an example, one of the early chapters starts with a narrative about how the main character is looking frantically for whatever weapons he can find to fight off the undead, and then the second half of the chapter goes through a workbook that helps the reader figure out how much pay he or she actually brings home (the metaphor being that weapons = money).

The Bad: While there is some good information in here, a lot of it is pretty basic info for people who are in a lot worse financial shape than I am (there is a chapter on whether one should or shouldn't consider bankruptcy), so it wasn't hugely helpful for me. Even so, I hope the clever subject matter draws those who would most benefit from this sort of book.

The Ugly: While the narrative sections aren't especially graphic, I could see how this book would immediately turn off those who have more delicate sensibilities (one of the recurring icons in the book that is meant to denote helpful hints is referred to as the "Headshot" icon [as in, shooting a zombie in the head]). The icon itself is fairly tame, but there are people who would rather not dwell on such things.

Conclusion: I really enjoyed the storytelling portions of this book, and the financial information that was included was definitely a helpful brush up. Still, I think this is likely a book that many people will judge by its cover, and, in this case, rightfully so. If you are entertained by zombies and are interested in personal finance, you'll probably like this book. If zombies gross you out, it might be best to move on.

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