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Forrest, D.V. (2015). The New Psychology of Money, by Adrian Furnham, Routledge, London and New York, 2014, 322 pp., $53.95.. Psychodyn. Psych., 43(2):307-310.

(2015). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 43(2):307-310

Book Reviews

The New Psychology of Money, by Adrian Furnham, Routledge, London and New York, 2014, 322 pp., $53.95.

Review by:
David V. Forrest, M.D.

This book is an updated version of a 1998 book by a professor of psychology at University College London who says in his preface that he, like most academics, is incompetent at practical matters and most money issues are handled by his wife. For those curious he has a “confessions” section at the end of the book that reveals he has never had a credit card and doesn't invest in stocks (that's his wife's work) since buying Japanese stocks in the 1980s and 1990s that went slowly down. He has been poor himself, but thanks to his wife's working they own three houses. His most lucrative work has been motivational speaking.

Despite all this professorial inexperience and perhaps naiveté, the book is a treasure house of psychological studies and sociological surveys (oodles of charts). There are descriptions of attitudes toward money, some peculiar, among the rich and famous (I loved his full page chart on eccentric millionaires), ideas about instilling proper money attitudes in children (“separate money and love”), gender differences (men are more vulnerable because we link masculinity with money), behavioral economics, money and mental health (the chapter is unfortunately entitled “Money Madness” and inconclusively airs the question of paying for psychotherapy), workplace management and motivation, and persuasive techniques regarding money and sales.

His final advice for us all is “Work out what you need, as opposed to want: cost it and aim to earn that amount of money rather than to earn large amounts that have no effect on well-being, perhaps even the reverse” (p. 284).

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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