The Opposite of Spoiled [Book Review]

The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money by Ron Lieber

The Opposite of Spoiled: Description

In the spirit of Wendy Mogel’s The Blessing of a Skinned Knee and Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman’s Nurture Shock, New York Times “Your Money” columnist Ron Lieber delivers a taboo-shattering manifesto that explains how talking openly to children about money can help parents raise modest, patient, grounded young adults who are financially wise beyond their years.

For Ron Lieber, a personal finance columnist and father, good parenting means talking about money with our kids. Children are hyper-aware of money, and they have scores of questions about its nuances. But when parents shy away from the topic, they lose a tremendous opportunity—not just to model the basic financial behaviors that are increasingly important for young adults but also to imprint lessons about what the family truly values.

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Written in a warm, accessible voice, grounded in real-world experience and stories from families with a range of incomes, The Opposite of Spoiled is both a practical guidebook and a values-based philosophy. The foundation of the book is a detailed blueprint for the best ways to handle the basics: the tooth fairy, allowance, chores, charity, saving, birthdays, holidays, cell phones, checking accounts, clothing, cars, part-time jobs, and college tuition. It identifies a set of traits and virtues that embody the opposite of spoiled, and shares how to embrace the topic of money to help parents raise kids who are more generous and less materialistic.

But The Opposite of Spoiled is also a promise to our kids that we will make them better with money than we are. It is for all of the parents who know that honest conversations about money with their curious children can help them become more patient and prudent, but who don’t know how and when to start.

The Opposite of Spoiled: Review

“Finally, an honest, modern, comprehensive and nuanced book about kids and money. Parents report that conversations about money fill them with so much dread and confusion that they change the subject rather than dive in. The Opposite of Spoiled comes to the rescue.” (Wendy Mogel, author of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee)

The Opposite of Spoiled is a thoughtful, and often inspiring, book that also delivers dozens of smart, practical tips for turning conversations about money into lessons about living. If you’ve got kids, want kids — or heck, have been a kid — read this book.” (Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and To Sell is Human)

“All of us worry about how to give our kids a proper dose of perspective and gratitude. Ron Lieber’s explanation of how money conversations imprint these good values (and so much more) is just the thing parents need to read right now.” (Madeline Levine, author of The Price of Privilege)

“We all want to raise children with good values, yet we often neglect to talk to our children about money. This engaging and important book breaks new ground by suggesting that the next generation deserves to be better at money than we are. A must-read for parents.” (Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project)

New York Times columnist Lieber makes a strong argument that money is something that children notice and talk about. . . . Lieber’s easygoing style will encourage parents to raise a new generation that’s both confident and compassionate.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Lieber guides parents in conveying the value and significance of money and how to use it wisely, how to spend and save, how to give and invest. Parents will appreciate the sound advice and broad perspective Lieber offers on this important subject.” (Booklist)

“Ron Lieber’s tips are practical, accessible and, best of all, rooted in the desire to foster an honest dialogue with our children.” (Heather Stevens, “Balancing Act” column in The Chicago Tribune)

“I started reading this book and cannot put it down. . . . I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to raise their kids to have curiosity, patience, thrift, modesty, generosity, perseverance, and perspective. A godsend of a book.” (Jessica Seinfeld)

The Opposite of Spoiled is flush with practical ways to incorporate money lessons into family life. . . . Lieber’s style is conversational and frank, with a sense of humor. . . . It’s rare to find a book about finance with so much heart.” (Associated Press)

From the Back Cover

We may not realize it, but children are hyperaware of money. They have scores of questions about its nuances that parents often don’t answer, or know how to answer well. But for Ron Lieber, a personal finance columnist and father, good parenting means talking about money with our kids much more often. When parents avoid these conversations, they lose a tremendous opportunity—not just to model important financial behaviors, but also to imprint lessons about what their family cares about most.

Written in a warm, accessible voice, grounded in real-world stories from families with a range of incomes, The Opposite of Spoiled is a practical guidebook for parents that is rooted in timeless values. Lieber covers all the basics: the best ways to handle the tooth fairy, allowance, chores, charity, savings, birthdays, holidays, cell phones, splurging, clothing, cars, part-time jobs, and college tuition. But he also identifies a set of traits and virtues—like modesty, patience, generosity, and perspective—that parents hope their young adults will carry with them out into the world.

In The Opposite of Spoiled, Ron Lieber delivers a taboo-shattering manifesto that will help every parent embrace the connection between money and values to help them raise young adults who are grounded, unmaterialistic, and financially wise beyond their years.

About the author

Ron Lieber is the “Your Money” columnist for The New York Times. Before joining The Times in 2008, he wrote The Wall Street Journal’s “Green Thumb” personal finance column, was part of the start-up team at the paper’s “Personal Journal” section, and worked at Fortune and Fast Company magazines. He is the author or coauthor of three books, including The New York Times bestseller Taking Time Off. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, fellow New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor, and their daughter.

Pre-order The Opposite of Spoiled: Ron is thrilled to report that he’ll be collaborating with DonorsChoose.org, the online charity that helps public school teachers raise money to fund classroom projects. For every copy you pre-order of the book before February 3, 2015 publication date, you’ll get a $27 DonorsChoose.org gift card that you can use with your family to pick out classroom projects to support. If you’d like to participate in this exciting cause, please visit http://ronlieber.com/books/the-opposite-of-spoiled/ for instructions to donate.

The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money by Ron Lieber