How Much Is Enough?

How Much is Enough?

Harness the Power of Your Money Story
and Change Your Life

By Pamela York Klainer
Reviewed by Uma Outka

This book is an excellent addition to the growing body of literature devoted to exploring how we think about money. Like other theorists of “money psychology,” Pamela York Klainer writes from the basic assumption that how we conceive of money—how much we want, need, deserve, what our money says about us—is a significant and too-rarely acknowledged part of the way we live and interact with our market-driven world. It’s a convincing argument, and Klainer adds her own spin to it.

How Much is Enough? asserts that each of us is living out a “money story” we didn’t write ourselves. Who did? The usual suspects—mom, dad, grandparents, siblings, teachers, bosses, media, society at large. What we’ve gleaned from all these sources over the course of our lives has produced a script that we “read” with unwarranted and uncritical dedication day after day. Klainer suggests that if we’re not happy with the role money’s playing in our lives, we need to take a look at the script we’re following—and consider tossing it.

What if you wrote your own money autobiography? How would it be different from the story you’ve been acting out so far? To help you get your mind around this concept, Klainer offers questions that help clarify the contents of your current script, along with tips for constructing your new story. She’s asking for an investment here, of your time and your genuine engagement, but if money’s something you’ve struggled with, it’s likely worthwhile.

The way Klainer writes about money also offers something of genuine value to your conversations as a networker. How many times have you spoken with people who want the money in this business—but can’t seem to find their psychological way into earning any? They’re looking over the fence at the potential: they can see it, but don’t know how to get across. You might suggest How Much is Enough? as a useful and comfortable way to tip these folks in the right direction. It’s also a book that inspires the kind of personal accountability that’s so necessary for succeeding boss-free—and that’s a quality you want in your business partners.

Hardcover, 222 pages
$26; Basic Books.