Monday, January 14, 2008

Mini-Review & Giveaway: Jerrold Mundis' How to Get Out of Debt...

This past Saturday I received my second copy of Jerrold Mundis' wonderful book How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously.

I reviewed How to Get Out of Debt way back in 2003. It was, in fact, the very first book I reviewed at IYM, and shortly thereafter Mr. Mundis was one of the first personal-finance authors to contact me with his thoughts on IYM. I felt then, and still do today, extremely fortunate and gracious to have had the opportunity to communicate with him via email.

So why'd I purchase the book again? Well, How to Get Out of Debt was revised in 2003. I figure five years is long enough to put off repurchasing one of the best "get out of debt" books ever printed.

There's a reason it's on my Personal Finance Reading List, you know.

My Thoughts on the Revised Version

For starters: It's much easier to read! The book itself is larger; now it's about 8.75" tall by 5" wide. The print is larger and not nearly so cramped, which makes for a much-easier-on-the-eyes experience. This alone, in my mind, was worth the repurchase cost. It's a much more "comfortable" read.

Additionally, Mr. Mundis updated his work (it was originally published in 1988, as I recall) in several ways. He adjusted prices and salaries for inflation. As he writes in the new preface:

This new edition of How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously retains all the essential material of the original. I have revised it to reflect changes in society, to update numbers because of inflation, to expand some material, and to add an entirely new chapter, called "Couples and Families." If there was anything I would have done differently when I first wrote the book, I decided in later years, it would have been to include counsel specifically for people who were part of a couple or family or were raising children alone, to help them practice the rest of the program more easily.

...If you are new to How to Get Out of Debt, I promise you that you'll find the same freedom and joy in it that I and so many others have and continue to find. If you are revisiting the book here in this new edition, I promise you that you will find in it renewed enthusiasm for this way of life and powerful reinforcement for living it.

The new "Couples and Families" chapter Mundis references above is about 31 pages long. In a book that's 300 pages total, it's a significant addition. Where Dave Ramsey, in Total Money Makeover, fairly blows off the marital aspects of money management (" and you spouse must work together. This last sentence requires a standalone book to describe how!"), Mundis doesn't crater.

Instead, for couples, he offers a sharply detailed, step-by-step method for approaching the subject, talking through it rationally, and making sturdy changes. It's a process that, to me, seems taken straight from some financial counselor's or psychologist's practice book. As for expectation of results (good ones!), I think the plan offers as fine a chance of success as any.

How About Your Old Copy?

Ummm ... yeah ... about that. Leave a comment on this post, guessing the total number of personal-finance books on my top two bookshelves today, Monday, January 14.

First Prize: The commenter whose guess is closest will receive a brand-new, revised-in-2003 copy of How to Get Out of Debt from I'll order and have it shipped to you. (U.S. residents only, please. I really don't want to stand in line at the post office with a customs form.)

Second Prize: The next closest guesser gets my old copy (still in good shape) of How to Get Out of Debt. Again, U.S. residents only, please. (Did I mention how much I love standing in line at the post office?)

You can either (1) leave me an email address in your comment (coding it so that bots can't read it, of course), or (2) leave a comment and then send a separate email to ** letting me know which comment/entry was yours.

I'll post the winners here Wednesday, January 16, then notify the winners by email and get the necessary shipping information.

Entries must be received by Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 9am CST.


— Posted by Michael @ 9:07 AM


I'm going to guess 55.

You can reach me, if necessary, at onealk at hotmail dot com.


I Will guess 23 books.

Michael Sparks
saxnflute (at) yahoo


I'll have to guess 27 books.

My email is mwlshopper at gmail.


How bout 44.

oreyessr -at- gmail


My guess is 37 books.

justplainchips -at- gmail
Thanks for the contest!


My guess is 41 books.

matt_slavick at yahoo.



Well, most are pretty thin paperbacks... I will guess 39. My email is mjspence {at} gmail. Thanks!


my guess is 31. leah (at) moxiephotoanddesign (dot) com


Thanks for the entries! My first two bookshelves contain a whopping 47 personal-finance books.

First place goes to Omar, and second place goes to Matt.

I'll contact you guys later today for shipping info and such!

** Comments Closed on this Post **

Thoughts on my personal finances, goals, experiences, motivations, and accomplishments (or lack thereof).

My financial life began turning around when I took responsibility for it.
— Dave Ramsey


Start (2005-12): ~$21,900
Currently: $0
[About Our Debt Paydown]


Savings Goal: $15,000
Currently: ~$15,115
[About Our Liquid Savings Goal]