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$12.21 $11.29 list($17.95)
1. Baby Bargains: Secrets to Saving
$16.50 $16.16 list($25.00)
2. The Official Overstreet Comic
$19.95 $13.05
3. The Piano Book: Buying & Owning
$11.86 $9.99 list($16.95)
4. Consumer Reports Best Baby Products,
$8.99 list($9.99)
5. Used Car Buying Guide 2005 (Consumer
$7.16 $5.33 list($7.95)
6. Pocket Guide to Low Sodium Foods
$13.59 $12.95 list($19.99)
7. The Complete TightwadGazette
$12.71 list($14.95)
8. The Ponder's Bible
$10.85 $8.99 list($15.95)
9. The Safe Shopper's Bible : A Consumer's
$10.17 $5.87 list($14.95)
10. Clark's Big Book of Bargains :
$4.78 list($18.95)
11. Get Clark Smart : The Ultimate
$10.80 $8.03 list($12.00)
12. Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, 2005:
$114.95 $73.00
13. Economic Issues for Consumers
$69.94
14. 2005 PowerBoat Guide
$10.17 $8.64 list($14.95)
15. Mystery Shopping Made Simple
$9.99 $5.20
16. The Buying Guide 2005 (Consumer
$24.50 $35.00
17. Wristwatch Annual 2004: The Catalog
$11.55 $9.97 list($16.99)
18. Frugal Living for Dummies
$17.82 $16.78 list($27.00)
19. The Pill Book, Eleventh Edition
$10.20 $6.00 list($15.00)
20. The Consumer's Guide to Effective

1. Baby Bargains: Secrets to Saving 20% to 50% on Baby Furniture, Equipment, Clothes, Toys, Maternity Wear, and Much, Much More!
by Denise Fields, Alan Fields
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1889392197
Catlog: Book (2005-04-10)
Publisher: Windsor Peak Press
Sales Rank: 361
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Congratulations, you're expecting a baby!What you may not be expecting is all of the requisite gear you "need" to look after your dear bundle. Fear not. Denise and Alan Fields, authors of Bridal Bargains, are here to tell you what's super and what's silly, and how to find it at the best price. You'll learn all about how (and where) to shop for a crib and dresser (including how to get European styling at reasonable prices), what you need in bedding and what can be skipped (a hint: no baby requires the $200 quilt!), which clothing brands are safest and least expensive, and how to shop for monitors, toys, car seats, strollers, books, videos, and more. The authors have field-tested every major brand (and several of the minor ones), and they provide star ratings and annotations at the end of every chapter. A helpful feature in each chapter called "Wastes of Money" will steer you away from $35 Baby Air Jordans and frilly diaper stackers that match your bedding. If that's not enough, they offer a money-back guarantee: If the book doesn't save you at least $250 in baby expenses, they'll refund the price of the book. Well researched and written in a witty and comfortable tone, Baby Bargains should be required reading for every safety- and money-conscious parent-to-be.--Rebecca A. Staffel ... Read more

Reviews (318)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent broad coverage
Provides both a succinct and detailed review of the essential baby products.If you are in a hurry they have excellent summary sections, if you want to complement your online research there are detailed reviews of various products.An excellent buy.

5-0 out of 5 stars An absolute purchase!!!
This book is worth buying! As a mom of twins, savings is ALWAYS on my mind! We used this book a ton the first year and also before they were born and then again when we went to purchase a new stroller. It's so worth looking at!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Have!
Not only was this book indespensible for our family before we had our first child, but I've gone back to it a number of times.For instance, we purchased an infant carrier for our daughter, but as she was outgrowing it, I returned to the book for advice on standard carseats.About the same time, we also purchased a highchair and new stroller (as we had opted for the stroller that was simply the frame for the carrier, rather than the large travel system).In all of our major purchases, we referenced Baby Bargains and we haven't been disappointed yet.We will be purchasing Toddler Bargains soon.All in all, a great resource for new parents!

5-0 out of 5 stars Must-read for new parents!
Being pregnant with my first child, it seems like getting ready for a baby is my part-time job. Between signing up for birthing and breastfeeding class, locating and interviewing pediatricians and whatnot, when do you have time to ensure you buy what you need and not waste money? Friends and relatives weigh in, and you can do your own research online, but it's STILL a lot to think about.

So far some of the best advice is from my friend Kate, who has twin girls and recommended this book.I got it from Amazon last Monday and finished reading it three days later. I mean, I stayed up late reading it! Yesterday I walked into the monster Babies 'R' Us store with a plan of action and bought our crib with confidence.

As a long-time Consumer Reports subscriber I was a bit skeptical this book could be better, but it is!!!It's thoroughly researched, concise, and written in a practical and conversational tone of voice that parents will appreciate. There are a lot of safety resources and tips as well as contact info for each manufacturer and sources for buying.Plus, the tips for finding online discounts and coupons are great -- I went to a few recommended sites and have already saved money on my new crib mattress.

I can't imagine a better consumer guide for infant to toddler products. Buy this book, give it as a gift. It's a must-have before you go to the store.

5-0 out of 5 stars These guys know what they're talking about!
This book is FABULOUS.I was a first time mom and looking for a way to decipher the huge amount of baby products out there - some of which I wasn't sure what they were!This book has a chapter on all the major types of products you would need and is well-organized and indexed.

It's kind of like a cross between Consumer Reports and your best friend.I would read and highlight the products that had gotten good reviews and then I have to admit to carrying it around with me when I went out to shop for things.Great advice on everything you will want to buy for your kiddo initially.

They give good recommendations on everything from car seats to bedding to high chairs to babyproofing to diaper bags.They rate items for quality and let you know if more money buys you a better product or not.They also have a healthy perspective on the idea of what is "sufficient"!They give good info on things you might want to pass up or that you really don't need (but that someone will be happy to sell you!)

They go thru maternity stuff too, so buy it well before you have the little one!

I have followed Denise and Alan Fields since they wrote their first Bridal Bargains books.They have proceeded to document and provide excellent advice for all of life's major events (and purchases)!!!They now have a Toddler Bargains book for toddler stuff.AND Denise has co-authored Baby 411 with a pediatrician.It's a fabulous book also for advice on baby care.

I think they're on version 6 of this book, so make sure you have the latest one.Can't recommend all their books enough! ... Read more


2. The Official Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, Edition #35 (Official Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide)
by ROBERT M OVERSTREET
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 037572107X
Catlog: Book (2005-05-10)
Publisher: House of Collectibles
Sales Rank: 1123
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3. The Piano Book: Buying & Owning a New or Used Piano
by Larry Fine, Douglas R. Gilbert, Keith Jarrett
list price: $19.95
our price: $19.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1929145012
Catlog: Book (2000-11)
Publisher: Brookside Press (MA)
Sales Rank: 18445
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This bible of the piano marketplace is indispensable to buyers and owners of pianos, amateur and professional players alike. Hundreds of thousands of pianos are bought and sold each year, yet most people buy a piano with only the vaguest idea of what to look for as they make this major purchase. The Piano Book evaluates and compares every brand and style of piano sold in the United States. There is information on piano moving and storage, inspecting individual new and used pianos, the special market for Steinways, and sales gimmicks to watch out for. The supplement lists current prices for more than 2,500 new piano models. ... Read more

Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars THE comprehensive reference for piano buyers and owners
After carefully reading this easy-to-understand book, you will be more knowledgeable and better-informed than virtually any salesperson you'll meet. Rather than relying on salespersons' "soundbites," you will have a comprehensive knowledge of the truly important aspects of quality for any piano, used or new, grand or vertical, and be able to compare features from brand to brand or dealer to dealer. Having played the piano for over 30 years, I very much enjoyed learning so much about the construction and features of this instrument. The book validated many of the perceptions which I already held about certain brands, and allowed me to expand my horizons and look at others I hadn't really considered. In fact, I ended up purchasing a higher-quality brand than I expected to, which I hadn't even really considered at the beginning. If you are in the market for ANY piano, or just interested in learning more about pianos, this book is worth far more than its small cost.

A final note- if shopping for a new piano, it is ESSENTIAL to also purchase the current Annual Supplement to The Piano Book, which provides cumulative updated information since the publication of the full book, and most importantly, it gives list prices for every new piano available in the U.S., which in my experience were accurate. Mr. Fine also provides extremely helpful advice on expected discounts from list price, and negotiating the selling price with the dealer.

I've had two piano teachers and at least one technician recommend The Piano Book to me, and they were absolutely right.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Must-Read
The Piano Book by Larry Fine (not the same of 3-Stooges fame, I take it), is a must-read if you are thinking of buying a piano. Fine names names--the skinny on all available modern pianos you are apt to find in a dealers' showroom, new and used. Reviewed are servicability, construction quality,tone, and street prices. Armed with this book, a consumer takes a big step towards getting the most piano for his or her money and, most important, reduces the likelyhood of being stuck with an overpriced dog.

To put it another way, I have not met a piano salesperson or dealer who had anything really bad to say about any piece in his or her inventory. Tone quality is something you can distinguish after hearing a few good pianos, but the actual quality of the instrument and how it will hold up over time is known only by those who regulary service them in the field. This is good to know, especially with so many asian-made pianos of questionable quality floating around on the used market.

If you're looking for an entry-level practice piano or a full 9' concert grand, this book will help you cut through all the manufacturers' and dealer hype.

Fine's knowledge of the instrument is great.

2-0 out of 5 stars For JapanChina only; Not helpful for quality European pianos
I purchased this book based on the glowing reviews on Amazon as well as on other piano related sites. The book IS a great concept and appears to be quite comprehensive on first glance.

However, if you are shopping in Europe or are interested in including in your search quality European piano manufacturers (many of which have been around 100-150 years) the book is hopelessly incomplete and, more than once, severely out of date and inaccurate. On the entries for various German brands Mr. Fine keeps repeating phrases such as "no pianos appear in our survey", "I have heard that...", "I played on one once...", "it is difficult to make distinctions" or simply copies text from the advertising brochures of the manufacturers.

The ratings and rankings in the summary section and classification of quality are clearly indicated to be the opinion of Mr. Fine, yet are based on only anecdotal evidence. Worse yet, information on changes in ownership or farming out of manufacturing which has taken place in some instances during the last years -- with an enormous impact on quality -- is not reflected in the rankings.

In summary, this is a great book if you know nothing of pianos and are shopping in the States on the low end for cheap Chinese knockoffs or consumer products from the likes of Young Chang, Kawai, Yamaha, etc. If you are trying to sort out the middle/quality or top of the market, include European brands, or buy a traditional grand piano, the book is incomplete and based on heresay/opinion rather than research. It is not terribly useful and can be at times misleading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Differences between editions...
I own the first edition of this book and it has some advantages over the subsequent editions. In particular, he gives specific ratings for each brand of piano. As I understand it, some piano makers who felt offended by this (i.e. their piano's didn't rate as well as they wished) threatened to sue Mr. Fine, so the ratings were removed from subsequent editions.

Ideally, if you really want the best reference, get the latest edition and supplement, but augment it with the first edition if you can find a copy (yellow cover).

5-0 out of 5 stars influences salespeople
There's not much to add to the superlatives written about this book except to note that simply having it in your possession can influence salespeople!

I took this book with me in Sept. 2003 to buy a "nearly new" piano at the annual sale of the prestigious Peabody Institute in Baltimore. The salewoman noticed it and said, "I see you have Larry Fine's book. I bet you'll leave here with a good piano at a great price."

Throughout our tour of the many pianos on sale, I felt as though she was being more factual because I had the book! And, because I had read parts of it, I was able to ask more questions about the types of materials used in construction of the various parts.

I bought a 2 month old Kawai GM-10 for about 2/3 list price! Not only did the book give me independent in-depth information on the Kawai, but several paragraphs (p.118) to read comparing it to other brands in terms of sound, feel, durability, warranty, etc.

Now, every time I sit at my piano, I feel an added confidence that I'm playing the finest instrument I could afford. ... Read more


4. Consumer Reports Best Baby Products, 8th Edition (Best Baby Products)
by Editors of Consumer Reports, Sandra Gordon
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.86
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0890439869
Catlog: Book (2004-04-06)
Publisher: Consumer Reports
Sales Rank: 5109
Average Customer Review: 3.82 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Few events are more exciting than having your first child, but hand-in-hand with that goes a whole multitude of new decisions.

Consumer Reports Guide to Baby Products is your personal baby shopping consultant.Over the years, this invaluable guide has helped thousands of new parents navigate the sea of complex and sophisticated baby merchandise, pointing them to the best products, and steering them away from the less-than-the-best.Consumer Reports allows buyers to streamline the selection process, avoid shopping pitfalls, and help keep the baby budget in balance, includingpractical advice on:
·"Building" the baby's nursery from crib to diaper bag
·At-a-glance details on hundreds of items in the all-new Product Guide
·Ratings of car seats, carriers, play yards, and travel systems
·A comprehensive list of recent safety recalls
·A guide to the most commonly prescribed medications for babies
·Shopping guide to websites, catalogs, and stores
·Checklists and worksheets to help organize the shopping process.
... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Money well spent--don't buy BABY BARGAINS!
I'm picky when it comes to baby products and I couldn't disagree more with the previous reviewer's comments.
I thought CONSUMER REPORTS' BEST BABY BARGAINS was much better than other baby books because it includes solid ratings for lots of baby products. We just got the book as a late shower gift (our son was just born 2 weeks ago). I took the book with me when I went shopping and I found it so helpful because it tells you how to buy as well as what to buy. And, how do the folks at BABY BARGAINS do their product testing? How do you know their information isn't biased? When it comes to making sure I buy the safest and best product for my baby, I chose CONSUMER REPORTS BEST BABY PRODUCTS because their advice is based on scientific product testing. I was happy with the book and I plan to use it on more shopping trips, as I add to what I've already bought.

3-0 out of 5 stars Useful, but not authoritative
I'm glad I bought this book, reading it explained a lot of things to me. However, the individual product reviews are cursory. A product will get a high score but you won't really get any details as to why. You're better off reading user reviews on an online site for detailed information.

5-0 out of 5 stars A sanity saver--with recent product reviews!
Since baby products change quickly, I bought BEST BABY PRODUCTS because it's the most recent baby products book on the market, plus it's by Consumer Reports and I'm a long-time subscriber to their magazine. Go with this book if you want up-to-date baby product advice. I used the book to restock some things we needed to replace. My wife is about to give birth to our third daughter and we needed a new infant car seat, baby bath tub, and a stroller. But I also used the book to narrow the field on which digital camcorder to buy so I could record the birth. The book was invaluable!!! If you want to save your sanity in the baby products store and the camcorder department--don't go shopping without it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Buy this book for the unbiased advice
I bought this book for my daughter who just gave birth to our first grandchild three weeks ago. I chose it because it has Consumer Reports behind it. My daughter has used it to buy a crib and a mattress and safety gates as well as a new car. The other books tell you what to buy based on their testing, but I don't know how they can compete with Consumer Reports, when they're not a major consumer advocacy organization who has been in business for decades. My feeling--when it comes to babies, especially my grandchild, go with the pros!

1-0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your money!!!
There are very few products actually reviewed in this book. In many cases, all the book does is list what's available without giving any ratings. The only really thorough chapters are on camera equipment; definitely not what I was looking for.
Supposedly comes with "FREE" membership to Consumer Reports' website, but you have to enter a credit card number to get this "free" info! ... Read more


5. Used Car Buying Guide 2005 (Consumer Reports Used Car Buying Guide)
by Consumer Reports
list price: $9.99
our price: $8.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 089043994X
Catlog: Book (2005-03-02)
Publisher: Consumer Reports
Sales Rank: 424664
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Book Description

The experts at Consumer Reports help take the risk out of buying a used car.

Buying a used car is a greater risk than buying a new one, but can also be the best automotive deal around if the proper homework is done.The 2005 edition of Used Car Buying Guide helps minimize risks by steering readers toward the better-performing and more reliable models and away from those with a troubled past or substandard performance.It is best to be armed with as much information as possible before stepping onto a used car lot, and this book will provide everything needed, including:
o How to navigate the entire buying process, from selection to shopping
strategies, negotiation techniques and more
o Details about all the checks necessary to perform on a car, whether or not a mechanic is
involved
o Lists of the best and the worst vehicles and how to avoid a lemon
o Making sense of safety information
A major part of this book is devoted to the profiles of 256 cars and trucks, presenting all major 1997-2004 models.Each profile contains a photo from the representative year, a write-up of the vehicle, reliability history, crash-test data, and the model years when key safety gear was added and when a major redesign was made.
... Read more

6. Pocket Guide to Low Sodium Foods
by Bobbie Mostyn
list price: $7.95
our price: $7.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0967396913
Catlog: Book (2003-09-01)
Publisher: Indata Group
Sales Rank: 10286
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This nutritional counter is an indispensable reference for anyone who is watching his or her salt intake. It is small enough to put in a pocket or purse to enable one to make wise food choices at the grocery store and while dining out. Intended for the estimated 60 million Americans with high blood pressure and severe kidney disease, this guide addresses which supermarket products and fast food items have the lowest sodium counts and simplifies supermarket choices by listing only low sodium products. Each food is analyzed by calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, carbohydrates, fiber, sugar, and sodium. Also included are brief descriptions of each of these nutrients and their effect on blood pressure, explanations of food labeling guidelines, and clarification of nutritional content claims. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent resource and shopping guide
Now in its 2003 edition, Pocket Guide To Low Sodium Foods by Bobbie Mostyn is a no-nonsense, but thoroughly "user friendly" informational pocketbook resource comprising more than 3,000 entries for generic and brand-name foods suited for low-salt diets. Each entry lists the estimated sodium content per serving, and often calories, fat, cholesterol, carbohydrates, fiber, and sugars as well. An excellent resource and shopping guide for anyone looking to lower their salt intake, the Pocket Guide To Low Sodium Foods can be easily slipped into any purse or pocket for use when dining out or shopping at the supermarket. ... Read more


7. The Complete TightwadGazette
by AMY DACYCZYN
list price: $19.99
our price: $13.59
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375752250
Catlog: Book (1998-12-15)
Publisher: Villard
Sales Rank: 6366
Average Customer Review: 4.49 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Though tightwad seems like a derogatory term, author Amy Dacyczyn wants to assure you that it's okay to be a penny-pincher. This self-styled "Frugal Zealot" wrote and published The Tightwad Gazette for over six years to spread the frugal gospel. Each issue contained tips from her personal experience and from her many readers. The wealth of information contained in all these issues has been compiled into one volume for the first time. You'll find literally thousands of ideas for saving money, from the simple or practical to the difficult or bizarre. On the simple, practical side, Dacyczyn advises would-be tightwads to keep track of price trends at several stores in a "price book" and to buy in bulk when prices are low. Other, stranger offerings include tips for turning margarine-tub lids into playing-card holders, old credit cards into guitar picks, and six-pack rings into a hammock or volleyball net. More helpful are inexpensive recipes for making homemade versions of pricey, well-known products and ingenious ways to fix broken or damaged items. The book's disorganization encourages browsing, but the detailed index will point you to the exact page for specific items. Dacyczyn's occasional "thriftier than thou" tone is balanced by the friendly support for frugality that infuses every page. She even reminds her readers that it's okay to "sweat the small stuff"--because this small stuff is the essence of frugality. --C.B. Delaney ... Read more

Reviews (128)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Bible for Stay-At-Home Mom's on a Tight Budget!
When I decided to stay at home with our daughter ,instead of putting her in a daycare, I knew it would be tough. Our income wasn't much but our family was more important than the money. I quit working and did a lot of research for money saving ideas. When I came across Amy's books I could hardly contain my excitement. There are tons of great ideas. It has become my second bible and a divingboard for my own creativity. My husband has been able to spend more time at home and less time working. Lots of family time! Our child is happier. Our marriage is happier. At a yearly income of $15-18,000 (never been on welfare), we are a testiment to the fact that money really doesn't matter.
Yes, some of the ideas can seem extreme. I think when you prioritize you life, you'll see it really isn't. If you are truely serious about changing your life/situation, you'll open your mind to anything.
This book isn't just great for stay-at-home parents, but college kids, newlyweds, even folks who want to get rid of debts. I recommend the Tightwad Gazette books to anyone who wants to save money.
The true tightwad will make a run for the library. I also recomment the monthly Tightwad Newletter.

5-0 out of 5 stars Yet another sparkling review
I will not repeat a lot of what has been said already about the quality of information contained in this book and the talent of the author. I will admit that I have read and used this one book more than any other I own, besides the bible. There is an endorsement! Besides tons of money saving advice, Amy shares her sense of humor, creative spirit and deep philosophical insights which make this a value for any person to read, regardless of financial status. Personally, I have never really struggled financially, yet feel committed to be a good steward of the resources I have been blessed with. Please keep in mind that she is not any type of expert on investing, so look elsewhere for better reading on that topic. This is also not a parenting book, although it amuses me that a couple who have sacrificed to retire early and raise their family full time are under such scrutiny as parents. I would sooner label parents who work full time, buy fast food and come home to watch T.V. until bed time abusive, even if their kids wear designer clothes and get new toys at Christmas. It just goes to show you where many peoples' values lie. I could not say enough good things about this book and even if some ideas are over the top, there is not a more comprehensive book on the subject of saving money anywhere to be found. Enough said.

4-0 out of 5 stars Encouraging and a bit discouraging, all in one!
This book is the compilation of The Tightwad Gazette newsletter issues, and I subscribed to The Tightwad Gazette back when it was still a subscription newsletter. I started reading it because our family was facing some serious financial difficulties and I needed help NOW! The first time I read the newsletter, I was able to pick up tips that turned our family's financial situation around right away.

The author is a black-belt tightwad and has been from the beginning of her marriage. She and her husband did things "right" from Day One. Which is great for them, but that's where the discouragement from this book came in for me. My husband and I didn't do things "right" from the beginning and consequently weren't going to be able to live in a big, beautiful farmhouse in the country while our children were still small. It was sort of depressing to read about all the wonderful benefits that frugal living brought to the author's life. We'd made some major mistakes in the past (both of us were raised in spend-thrift homes so we really didn't know another way until we'd hit rock bottom ourselves) ... and all of the penny-pinching in the world now wasn't going to allow us to live out our "dream."

Anyway, please know that I LOVE this book for it's tips and ideas! Frugality really is an alternative lifestyle in this day of easy credit and disposable everything, so the author's voice is desparately needed by those of us looking for some frugal encouragement.

But because of the depressing aspect of feeling like the author doesn't "get" the situation of people who've made financial mistakes, I found that reading Mary Hunt's books (especially "The Cheapskate Monthly Money Makeover") has helped to balance things out a bit for me. Mary Hunt's family overcame more than one-hundred-thousand dollars in consumer debt (her family's debt made my family's finanicial situation at its worst look GOOD!).

A good friend of mine -- who's made "right" financial decisions her entire marriage -- thought Mary Hunt's books were just plain "stupid." But then she LOVED The Tightwad Gazette and found it incredibly encouraging -- she also couldn't figure out how I could find The Tightwad Gazette depressing. But she'd never seen life from the view I have. So I think it's a matter of perspective how people relate to the different books. That's why I'm so glad there are numerous people writing on frugality. Somebody's voice is bound to speak to you whereever you're at in your personal financial journey -- if it's not Amy Dacyczyn ("The Tightwad Gazzette") or Mary Hunt ("The Cheapskate Monthly"), maybe it'll be Jonni McCoy ("Miserly Moms") or Deborah Taylor-Hough ("Frugal Living For Dummies").

If you're facing a mountain of debt -- or living the consequences of bad decisions in the past -- be warned that this book could make you feel a bit "down" ... but keep a stiff upper lip, buck up, read this book, and apply its tips ... you -- and your bank account(!) -- will be glad you did!

3-0 out of 5 stars Good, but irritating
While I enjoy and have used much of the information in this book, my big gripe is that the index is done terribly. It seems like they just copied the indexes from the three books instead of re-doing them, so nothing is listed under the proper page number. It makes trying to find anything a nightmare.

3-0 out of 5 stars Nice book but not for everyone!
I agree with some of the authors advise like not to spend money on disposable things like diapers,paper towels,paper plates etc...some of the advise in this book is a bit too extreme like trash picking but still makes a nice reading . ... Read more


8. The Ponder's Bible
by Gosta H. Lovgren, Gösta H. Lovgren
list price: $14.95
our price: $12.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1929741081
Catlog: Book (2000-02-01)
Publisher: Carolelle Pub
Sales Rank: 21791
Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Ponder's Bible is the compleat guide to building and maintaining your very own pond. It has it all from digging the hole to the towering waterfall, including costs.

It is "Fun and easy to read and most importantly ... Informative."

"Just incredible. I'll bet you have no idea how inspiring it is for average ponders to read this."

"Wow! When I read your book, I though 'WOW! We could do that!... And we were right."

"... a very good job! I'm sick of reading books using language only a biologist could understand."

"A virtual treasure trove of information."

"Your simplicity in guidelines has made my pond building a pleasure." ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars The BEST book out there on the subject of ponds!
When I decided to build a big pond, I got such conflicting information about how to filter the pond. I found this book and it not only explained everything I needed to know about filtration but showed me how to build it myself and save a fortune. I now have a great pond!

5-0 out of 5 stars Wisdom begins in wonder
Considering how much time I spend thinking about nothing I thought this would be an interesting read, which it was.
Yet, I'm still left to ponder what this book has to do with pondering. It's ponderous to say the least.

5-0 out of 5 stars Down to earth Ponding 101
I had already started a small ABS plastic pond before I bought the book. The author has a much larger pond and explains everything about it. He covers it from A to Z.
I am a do it yourselfer and really enjoyed his explanations and innovative ideas.
Eventhough the construction part did not apply to my situation there is plently of other things that do apply.
The author makes no secret that he is giving you his opinion on how to do things and what he likes and doesn't like. For example, he does not like UV clarifiers and prefers to balance the ecosytem to take care of the water borne algae. He states that if the clarifier kills the algae, what elese does it kill but admits that it can kill parasites, etc. that can harm your fish.
Interesting stories of things he had done and mistakes he had made. Not techinical at all but yet it covers about everything.

4-0 out of 5 stars Down home and folksy
Widely praised as 'easy to read' and common sense. Yes, it does appeal to 'horse sense' thinking, but it doesn't really get into the whys. I think some of the advice was not that good - especially the 'just throw a handful of food in there' one (disaster in a very small pond...even in mine with very good filtration). Otherwise I liked reading it and it was humorous and cute. I suggest finding the color one tho - the black and white one is pretty nasty - the pictures are murky and I would have liked to have seen the examples!

5-0 out of 5 stars Down to Earth
Finally a really down to earth book by a great guy who really loves ponds and has done it all. He gives details way beyond the typical book on ponds. Its clear that he has been experimenting with techniques for a long long time. I own about 25 pond books and this one is absolutely the best and is indispensible. I have learned more from this book than all the others combined. Get this book if you want to do it right the first time, or if you want to learn how to keep a pond healthy. You cant go wrong with this book. ... Read more


9. The Safe Shopper's Bible : A Consumer's Guide to Nontoxic Household Products (Bible)
by DavidSteinman, Samuel S.Epstein
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0020820852
Catlog: Book (1995-07-10)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 21324
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Anyone concerned about the health effects of ingredients in the items they buy every day -- from soup to flea powder, mascara, or car wax -- will find The Safe Shopper's Bible indispensable. Finally, here's a complete guide to settle such questions as: Can your hair coloring cause breast cancer? Is this brand of apple juice safe for babies? Will the additives in this salad dressing harm you? Which shampoo won't sting your eyes? The Safe Shopper's Bible rates thousands of household products, personal care products, foods, and beverages. Its extensive charts list products by brand name and rate them each for short-term and long-term health hazards. Readers can find out at a glance which products are more or less likely to provoke allergies or irritation, cause birth defects or cancer, trigger neurological problems, or pose other health hazards. In addition, the charts provide recommendations for the safest foods, toiletries, and everyday household purchases. ... Read more

Reviews (12)

3-0 out of 5 stars You may not find YOUR products in this book!
Informative and yet disappointing when I tried to find products that I use. I've indeed eliminated a few items from my shelves - the book just needs to be updated! I wonder why she did not touch on big company named products alot. Many items recommended cannot be found in regular stores which is a bit scarey!! What are we buying out there!! A wonderful quote from the book and a real eye opener is on page 185 re fragrances and perfumes."...Yet manufactureres are not required to list on product labels the ingredients used in formulating their fragrances, scents, and perfumes. In other words, if these products are carried to a hazardous waste site in your community, you have the right to kow, but if you are going to apply them to the skin, you do not." This book took a lot of time and research. I think she could update, dedicating one book to household cleaners, and another book to personal care items. I would buy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Valuable information on keeping your family safe.
In a world where there are soo many products it is hard to tell which ones are safe. This book, however, manages to take out some of the chore involved in researching product safety. I recommend this book for everyone who makes the purches in the family.

1-0 out of 5 stars Leaves You Feeling Desperate
On the one hand, it's nice to know that many products I purchase have known carcinogens: Colgate toothpaste, Pantene shampoo, Cover Girl makeup, Halibut from California, cashews, sesame seeds, anti-perspirant, Clairol hair dye, etc. Unfortunately, I have never heard of the recommended alternatives, and they are unavailable at any store, ie: Logona, Ecco Bella, Aloegen Biogenics, Paul Penders cosmetics, etc. What is a person to do?

The authors of this book are doing us a favour by making us aware of how toxic these everyday items are, but does little to help the consumer who does not live in an area where alternatives are readily available. The real question is why our governments are allowing these companies to poison us. It's truly depressing.

3-0 out of 5 stars Great...But In Dire Need Of An Update
This is a great guide but needs to be updated badly. There are graphs of specific company's products with their pro's and con's listed beside them. The problem is that many companies have changed the formulations of their products since the book's original publish date of 1995 and many of the specific products listed are no longer made...some by companies that no longer exist.

However, as a reviewer noted below, it is an essential guide for knowing which harmful ingredients to look for.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great guide
This is an excellent guide to products that we use daily. You can find the safest alternatives and information about what ingredients are harmful. The only drawback is that it does not include ratings on the newest products on the market but you can use the other info about harmful ingredients as a guideline. If you are concerned about product safety this book is a must. ... Read more


10. Clark's Big Book of Bargains : Clark Howard Teaches You How to Get the Best Deals
by Mark Meltzer, Clark Howard
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786887788
Catlog: Book (2003-04-23)
Publisher: Hyperion
Sales Rank: 12066
Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

America's money-savings expert shows readers how to get the most bang for their buck on food, shopping, restaurants, clothing, leisure activities, and more.

In his first national bestseller Get Clark Smart, Clark Howard showed you how to save money. Now in his new book, he wants to show you how to spend it wisely.

Clark Howard, the bestselling author of Get Clark Smart and host of the nationally syndicated radio program The Clark Howard Show, wants to show you how to get the best bang for your buck -- whether you are at the supermarket, buying new clothes, renovating your home, or going to the movies. Learn how to pay $12.95 for a CD that costs $19.95. Find out why a $90 VCR just may work better than a $300 VCR.

Chapters include smart-spending tips on: --Food: Save at the supermarket, and in restaurants, on fast-food, wine, and bottled water
--Events: Find bargains when buying gifts for weddings, births, or holidays
--Family and Children: Get great deals on back-to-school items and clothes for your children
--Necessities: Pay reasonable prices for clothing, shoes, eyeglasses, and cosmetics
--Leisure: Have fun and save money on movies, CDs, books, and tickets to sports events
--Emergencies: Learn how to avoid shelling out too much money on unforeseeable problems like plumbing, car trouble, etc.
--Home Improvements: Get the best price on painting, blinds, shutters, carpet, etc.
--Cars: Find great bargains on tires, oil changes, car washes, and more
--Appliances/Electronics: Save on TVs, digital cameras, camcorders, home theater systems, toasters, and refrigerators ... Read more

Reviews (5)

2-0 out of 5 stars Mostly common sense. Why buy common sense?
I'm a big fan of Clark Howard and his other books and radio show. They contain oodles of great money saving info. Clark's radio show and books have saved me well over $900 this year with useful info I did not know about. However, this book was a letdown.

Most everything in this book was common knowledge or common sense. Example: Want cheap clothes, then buy them from a thrift store or discount store like TJ Maxx. Want cheap books, borrow them from the library, or buy them used on the internet. Too often the answer is buy used, or buy at a warehouse club.

I can't recommend this book unless you are a novice at saving money. You are better off saving your money and buying Clark's far superior book, "Get Clark Smart: The Ultimate Guide to Getting Rich in America", which despite its title is not a get rich quick book. That book has all sorts of useful and less known money saving ideas, and a lot of information on how to avoid getting ripped off.

2-0 out of 5 stars not satisified
I have to agree with the other reviewer. I listen to clark Howard as often as I can so I was very disappointed by this book. If you listen to the show and consider yourself relatively frugal anyways, you probably will not learn anything from this book. A lot of it seems like common sense to me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Very good Info!
I like Clarks show. This book is great. I didn't really think it was a good idea to take your bottled wine to a fancy restaurant to save $ but the rest was really really good!

5-0 out of 5 stars Spend the least and get the most from it
Spend the least and get the most from it; from TVs and clothes to cosmetics and drug prescriptions, with an audio which tells how to locate bargains, whether they be on the web or in the store. From saving money on event tickets to buying a car, Clark's Big Book Of Bargains will prove a bargain hunter's dream ticket.

2-0 out of 5 stars I love Clark, but this book is thin...
If you've heard Clark Howard's show more than 5 or 6 times, the information in this book is going to be very redundant for you.

I love Clark Howard - I honestly listen every chance I get. His syndicated talk show is one of the most empowering consumer programs on the radio today, second only to Bruce Williams. But I would recommend passing on this book, and perhaps read another of his books instead.

The topics and advice in this book are not very creative. The book is organized by subject heading: best deals on medicine, clothes, cars and car parts, furniture, etc. Roughly half of the book is simply a pitch for Costco (if Clark isn't getting royalties from Costco, he should be!). This is not an exaggeration - he goes on and on and on about how he found great prices for shoes, clothes, books, music, hardwood floors, food, etc., at Costcos.

There are several problems with this recommendation. First, I think these wholesale clubs are way too expensive! If you're looking for creative ways to save money, there are MUCH cheaper ways about it (i.e., the internet, garage sales, flea markets, salvage yards, etc.). In the past, he's talked about saving a dime per stick of deoderant at Costcos, when one can buy a box of 100 sticks of deoderant on eBay for about $10 (I know - I did it last week!). Second, places like Costco & Walmart's Sams Club are destructive to the environment and exploit third-world and domestic labor...and many people (myself included) cannot support organizations like these with a clear conscience. Third, this recommendation doesn't really get radical about saving or conserving.

Instead of shopping at cheaper stores, how about shopping less? Our little country consumes nearly 2/3 the world's resources - we don't need more stuff! Instead of buying a new "energy-efficient" fridge, how about fixing the old one? Or finding a radical alternative (like my inexpensive solar fridge) that requires no electicity at all? These big corporations exploit workers and consumers, then convince us there aren't any real alternatives to mainstream consumption habits. Unfortunately, Clark's book doesn't question this model at all. If you want one that does, try: "Your Money Or Your Life", "Voluntary Simplicity", & "The Solar Living Sourcebook", just to name a few.

There are a few useful tid-bits in the book - like his recommendation for buying tires online at tirerack.com - but it sucks up about 4 pages (nearly an entire chapter) to make this one recommendation! And to make it worse, each chapter has a lengthy summary at the end, which simply restates (in bullet format) exactly what was said in the previous pages. This is extremely repetitive - I got through the entire book in less than 30 minutes, and didn't learn much at all.

Sorry Clark! Keep up the good work on the radio. ... Read more


11. Get Clark Smart : The Ultimate Guide for the Savvy Consumer
by Clark Howard, Mark Meltzer
list price: $18.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1563526298
Catlog: Book (2000-09-01)
Publisher: Longstreet Press
Sales Rank: 161306
Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Consumer advocate Clark Howard is a rising star on America's airwaves, with his popular The Clark Howard Show syndicated in more than seventy cities nationwide. Five days a week, Clark brings his common-sense approach to consumer issues to millions of listeners, and this new handbook is the perfect companion for his fans. Filled with practical tips about everything from used cars to wireless deals, from health club memberships to affordable travel options, Get Clark Smart will help readers avoid rip-offs and successfully navigate through the dozens of consumer decision we face every day. With up-to-the-minute sections on the Internet including on-line investing and the best Websites, this book offers advice on every topic of importance to today's concerned consumer. Presented in a clear format that his listeners would expect, Clark's wealth of knowledge makes this book essential reading for anyone who likes to get their money's worth. ... Read more

Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW!
Author Clark Howard's goal is to make you an even more educated consumer, who knows how to spend less and save more. This books offers tips on shopping more wisely and avoiding rip-offs. He covers investments, credit cards, cars, real estate, insurance, travel, stocks and funerals. Equally helpful, at the end of the book, is a workbook with sample logs for keeping track of complaints. Mr Howard also lists Web sites and phone numbers for gathering information on services and products. Knowledge is power. This practical guidebook shows you how to protect yourself-step by step.

5-0 out of 5 stars The ultimate graduation present
Without a doubt this is the best consumer information book on the bookshelf today. Clark Howard presents a no nonsense, straight to the point look at what everybody should already know before you go out into the marketplace. I sincerely wish that I had this book before I left my parents house to start out on my own. If universities were really interested in informing the average student, this book would be a required class at schools across America. PLEASE GIVE THIS BOOK TO ANY RELATIVE WHO IS GRADUATING HIGH SCHOOL. IT WOULD BE THE BEST PRESENT THEY COULD GET

5-0 out of 5 stars Information every consumer should be armed with.
This book is awesome. It should be required reading for consumers prior to considering autos, homes, investing, insurance, warranties, long distance, cell phones, travel and many other topics. This is the kind of information a parent would want their child to be armed with before leaving home and learning the hard way. I feel like I owe the author more money because the price of the book was so low compared to the thousands of dollars I will save in the upcoming years. Would make a great gift for any friend and especially someone who struggles with finances.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must have for people who have no financial sense, like me
I've been listening to this guy for a couple weeks on his talk radio show. I have to say that the common principles of personal finance and consumer rights presented in this book are invaluable lessons that we were never taught in high school or college (at least I wasn't). So, if you 're interested at all, check it out--you won't be dissapointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Should be required reading for EVERYONE!
Clark Howard should be regarded as a scholar and classified as "required reading" for everyone after the 10th grade. I don't always agree with everything he says and he does come off as a little goofy sometimes as well as unnecessarily cheap (at a salary of over $2M a year, Clark, you can "Super Size" your lunch- it's okay!) but the man knows how to make money and- most importantly- keep money.

Unlike most other wealthy business-savvy professionals, Clark's not pretentious and does not mind sharing his beliefs, experiences, and advice for the rest of us. The man has experiences in just about all areas of consumerism- he knows his stuff and these books are more like reference books than "nighttime reading". I always refer to Clark when beginning a financial transaction and have been very thankful I have more than once! ... Read more


12. Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, 2005: The Best Toys, Books, Videos, Music & Software for Kids
by Joanne Oppenheim, Stephanie Oppenheim, James Oppenheim, Joan Auclair
list price: $12.00
our price: $10.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0972105026
Catlog: Book (2004-07)
Publisher: Oppenheim Toy Portfolio
Sales Rank: 18832
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

As featured on NBC's TODAY Show! The experts from the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, the independent consumer organization rate the best (and worst) in children's toys, books, videos, music and software. Don't waste any more money on products that are a waste of your money and your child's time. Here's the guide that every parent (and grandparent) should have before they go shopping.

Guide includes important child development information, basic gear checklists, product comparisons, best shower and birthday presents for every budget, multicultural products, science toys, educational toys and a full chapter on adapting ordinary products for kids with special needs. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars The next best thing to being Santa Claus
Thanks to the Oppenheims, I am the best gift giver in my family. I'm not letting anyone in my family know about my secret weapon...but you should all know that my nieces and nephews think I am the best uncle ever. The book tells you what to get for every age and every budget. I love being the hit of every family party.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wish I could give more than 5 stars....
This book is INVALUABLE. I have seven neices and nephews, but no kids of my own, and I rely on this series as a reference for gift-giving ALL the time (I've used these books since 2000). Before that, gifts I gave to them were often not age-appropriate, didn't appeal to the kids, or drove the parents NUTS with the noice levels.

And then, I started using the Portfolio!!! I know, this sounds like a bad infomercial, but I'm being honest, I promise. So far, it's been ABSOLUTELY FLAWLESS - no kidding. I've given my nephews (ranging from newborn to 10 years old) several gifts, books, and videos, all of which have been perfectly age-appropriate, well-recieved, and played with for long periods of time. It's easy to follow, has great hands-on tips, and is cross-referenced for easily finding ideas and tips.

The best part, however, is that not only does it cover toys, books, and games... but it also explains developmental stages, provides tips for making up your own games, and creative inspiration for thinking outside the toy-box! I cannot recommend this highly enough for parents, aunts/uncles, grandparents, or anyone who needs to buy gifts (or anything else) for kids! This is one review book that is WORTH THE PRICE, every time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Toy Portfolio takes you where you need to go
I was so impressed with this new book. I have purchased several other editions and always keep one with me when I go kiddie shopping. I have never found age appropriate shopping such a joy. The reviews are always on and being able to know approximate prices has been a real help.

My children are partial to Groovy Girls and all their accessories. I have seen the Oppenheims on NBC many times and know this is one of their favorites.

I usually find myself baffled when it comes to particularly young children under the age of 2. I refer to this book for great ideas.

Congratulations to the Oppenheims for another wonderful book. ... Read more


13. Economic Issues for Consumers (with InfoTrac)
by Roger LeRoy Miller, Alan D. Stafford
list price: $114.95
our price: $114.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0534628524
Catlog: Book (2003-10-22)
Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing
Sales Rank: 487776
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Book Description

This text employs an "issues approach" to consumer economics. Each chapter has one or two consumer issues that are highlighted through engaging, real world examples. These real world examples are highly applied aspects of everyday consumer situations. ... Read more


14. 2005 PowerBoat Guide
by Ed McKnew
list price: $69.94
our price: $69.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0962213489
Catlog: Book (2004-08)
Publisher: American Marine Publishing
Sales Rank: 185433
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Book Description

For more than a decade, the PowerBoat Guide has been the undisputed source for information on new and used powerboat models from 27 to 85 feet. Covering over 1,700 of the most popular current and out-of-production models, the new 2005 edition is by far the largest PowerBoat Guide ever. If you’re shopping for new or used trawler, motoryacht, sportfisherman, or family cruiser built in the past 25 years, there’s a good chance it’s included in the PowerBoat Guide. Pictures, specifications, and floorplans are presented for each model along with concise, often candid, editor’s comments. Often called "The Yacht Broker’s Bible," no other reference publication compares with the PowerBoat Guide in its coverage of today’s big-boat market. ... Read more


15. Mystery Shopping Made Simple
by IlishaNewhouse, Ilisha Newhouse
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 007144002X
Catlog: Book (2004-04-23)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Sales Rank: 37457
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

How to start a new career as a mystery shopper--immediately!

"Mystery shopping ranks among the most popular not-for-credit evening courses, rivaling computer-skills and wine-tasting classes."
--The Seattle Times

In Mystery Shopping Made Simple, you will learn to take advantage of the mystery shopper opportunities available in virtually every city in the United States and abroad! Successful mystery shopper and a leading industry authority, Dr. Ilisha Newhouse tells you how to break into the business and find the kinds of mystery assignments you want, in apparel, auto repair, real estate, restaurants, hotels, and many other industries. Step-by-step, she shows you how to:

  • Connect with the mystery shopping companies in their areas
  • Create shopping presentations and fill out evaluation forms
  • Comply with all industry-related business law
  • Prepare for KASST, a Mystery Shopper Certification test offered by the National Center for Professional Mystery Shoppers
... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Mystery Shopping Made Simple by Ilisha Newhouse
Niccole Rogers - NCPMS, Inc. from Tampa, FL USA
Dr. Newhouse did an excellent job creating this book. It covers all of the essential information independent contractors need to get started in this complex and often confusing industry. She took a different approach and included links to message boards and e-list. She did a great job...and I would encourage any new contractor to purchase this book.
Niccole Rogers, M. A.
National Center for Professional
Mystery Shoppers & Merchandisers

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Wonderful
Mystery Shopping Made Simple is the perfect title for this book. I am glad the author, Dr. Ilisha Newhouse, did not sell her work to the "for dummies" or "for the complete idiot" franchises. Mystery Shopping is not for idiots and neither is this book. But it is made simple!
Mystery Shopping has to be the most incredible job and/or hobby in existence. No bosses, no starting costs, the freedom to do only the specific assignments you enjoy, and the opportunity to bring your children with you if you want. There are an estimated 600 Mystery Shopping companies currently offering assignments in the United States. Because of the unique way the industry works, it is not as simple as walking into a local business and filling out an application. Mystery Shopping companies by and large do not advertise in newspapers because they need shoppers from every geographic area in the country. Therefore getting started in this business can be a perplexing challenge.
Mystery Shopping Made Simple is a great tutorial. I specifically appreciate the web addresses of all the MS companies that have applications online- my preferred way of finding assignments. There is a wealth of information in this book. Although some of this information is available on-line, having it all distilled into one book makes it easy to organize my efforts to expand my business.
The small business and tax information is concise and practical. I personally appreciate this section because I would have probably not given much thought to these issues if left on my own.
The listing of companies that do not have a web presence is extensive. It is also information that one does not generally find on the Internet. Mystery Shopping is an old profession and many companies and shoppers conduct their business via phone and mail. This requires an entirely different approach to the business than what you learn from other sources. This information in particular makes this book a wonderful gift for someone who does not regularly use a computer. The last thing that separates Dr. Newhouse's book from other information sources is the warm and personal tone. Reading this book you get to know her; her humor, her strong ethical sense, and her joy in what she does.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good book, great industry.
This book is very informative and I can attest to most of its accuracy. I have been mystery shopping for National Shopping Service for years and love it. They have some really fun mystery shopping opportunities and the pay is pretty good. This would be a great company to get started with as they are very big and have a ton of clients. You can sign up online on their website at http://www.nationalshoppingservice.com.

5-0 out of 5 stars Rich resource tool
This book is filled with rich resources for the beginner as well as the advanced shopper. It covers more avenues of obtaining different types of shopping and review jobs than any I've ever read. The materials are well organized and the accounting information is a bonus for anyone not already running their own business. Ilisha Newhouse has an organized and personal style of writing that is inimitable. Count on the truth about mystery shopping from this book and buy it for the rich lists she includes from her personal experience and extensive research.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not Simple at All
I learned from my own interviews with mystery shopping companies you do not need to be a certified mystery shopper to get jobs as one. No need to take the KASST test. Mystery shopping is far simpler than this PH.D. makes it seem. You don't need a PH.D. to enter mystery shopping, but this PH.D. seems to parade her PH.D. credential throughout the book. Her book is self-glorifying and covers too much where it is confusing and NOT simple. I'm not a gold or silver or purple mystery shopper, but I know enough to keep me working. Too complex, too confusing for the reader who wants to be a mystery shopper. Too vague for those wanting to open a mystery shopping company. I can't believe how poorly written this book is, too. So many typos and spelling errors I lost count. Don't be fooled by the Ph.D. and publisher name, this is poorly written and edited. Horrible. Cheaper, but you get what you pay for and I still want my money back! ... Read more


16. The Buying Guide 2005 (Consumer Reports Buying Guide)
by Consumer Reports
list price: $9.99
our price: $9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0890439915
Catlog: Book (2004-11-03)
Publisher: Consumer Reports
Sales Rank: 19325
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

Smart shopping advice on all your buying needs from the source you trust

Whatever your shopping style - diligent researchers, casual browser, or determined time saver - the current shopping scene holds new and expanding options.While shopping alternatives have grown, and the economy has shrunk, the basic smart-shopping rules remain the same:do your homework to determine the best value.

Consumer Reports is there with its all-new 2005 edition of The Buying Guide, to help with trusted product reviews and comparisons, test results and Ratings.With more than 900 product ratings plus exclusive brand repair histories for many product categories, the expertsidentify the best:
-·camcorders
-·cordless drills
-·digital camers
-·PDAs
-·refrigerators
-·vacuum cleaners
-·washing machines...and more

Plus, we'll give you reviews of the 2005 cars, minivans, SUVs, and pickups.
Whatever your shopping needs, the Buying Guide 2005 can help solve the problems of modernshopping life.
... Read more

17. Wristwatch Annual 2004: The Catalog of Producers, Models, and Specifications (Wristwatch Annual)
by Peter Braun, Elizabeth Doerr
list price: $35.00
our price: $24.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0789208032
Catlog: Book (2003-11-01)
Publisher: Abbeville Press
Average Customer Review: 3.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Every year hundreds of new wristwatches are introduced. Some feature innovative designs or mechanical improvements, and others are available only in limited editions, keeping the field interesting for collectors. Following the success of the previous edition, this new annual highlights hundreds of the year's most extraordinary wristwatches in close-up color photographs accompanied by complete specifications, giving collectors a wealth of up-to-date information, all in one volume. The specifications for each watch include price, movement, special features, complications, casings, dial, band, and available variations of a particular model. In addition, general histories of each manufacturer provide an overview of the company's background and style.

The annual's elegant photography and organization will encourage readers to peruse the year's offerings watch by watch. And the range of styles, from classic to modern, will appeal to watch enthusiasts the world over, who will find this current edition both a handy reference and required reading.

Included in the 2004 edition:

Audemars Piquet; Baume & Mercier; Bell & Ross; Bertolucci; Blancpain; Blu; Bonneville; Rainer Brand; Breguet; Breitling; Bulgari; Bunz Collection; Vencent Calabrese; Cartier; Charriol; Chase-Durer; J. Chevalier; Chopard; Chronoswiss; Frédérique, Constant; Corum; Davosa; Dubey & Schaldenbrand; Ph. Du Bois & Fils; Roger Dubuis; Dufeau; Dunhill; Ebel; Eberhard & Co.; Louis Érard; Eterna; Jacques Etoile; Fortis; Gerald Genta; Paul Gerber; Girard-Perregaux; Glashütte Original; Hanhart; Harwood; Hublot; Ikepod; IWC; Jaeger-LeCoultre; Daniel JeanRichard; Junghans; Urban Jurgensen; Kelek; Kobold; Kurth; Maurice Lacroix; A. Lange & Sohne; Longines; Jean Marcel; Marcello C.; Mido; Minerva; Montblanc; Movado; Mühle; Franck Muller; Ulysse Nardin; Rainer Nienaber; Nivrel; Nomos; Omega; Oris; Pacardt; Officine Panerai; Marmigiani Fleurier; Patek Philippe; Pequignet Perrelet; Piaget; Paul Picot; Poljot; Porsche Design; Rado; Revue Thommen; Auguste Reymond; RGM; Rolex; Daniel Roth; Jorg Schauer; Schwarz-Etienne; Alain Silberstein; Sinn Spezialuhren; Sothis; Stowa; TAG Heuer; Temption; Tissot; Tutima; Union Glashütte; Vacheron Constantin; Ventura; Raymond Weil; Harry Winston; Xemex; Zenith

Other Details: approximately 1,700 full-color illustrations. ... Read more

Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars comprises all major luxury watch brands
This annual bible for watch experts is also a good starting point to look for a new exclusive and beautiful watch. All important models are pictured with very detailed information about the Movement, Functions, Case, Dial, Brand, Price and Variations of the wristwatch available. The guide comprises all major luxury watch brands such as Audemars Piguet, Baume & Mercier, Blancpain, Breguet, Breitling, Bulgari, Cartier, Chopard, Corum, Ebel, Eterna, Girard- Perregaux, Glashuette Original, Hublot, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Maurice Lacroix, Lange & Soehne, Franck Muller, Ulysse Nardin, Nomos, Omega, Oris, Officine Panerai, Patek Philippe, Piaget, Paul Picot, Porsche Design, Rado, Rolex, TAG Heuer, Tissot, Zenith and many more.

3-0 out of 5 stars A good book for information, but loaded with typo's
The book has lots of information if you want to get a general knowledge of which companies make the best watches, however, I have found several typos that range from silly to embarrassing. For starters, the date on the Da Vinci in the IWC section is set to Friday September 11, but as we all know, 9-11 was a Tuesday. Most of the reported diameter measurements for the Breitlings are far too large (compare to the Breitling catalogue), and several watch pictures and descriptions are switched so that the description does not match the watch (Mostly with Patek Philippe and IWC). If you are already confused by why these watches cost several thousand dollars and are less precise than a Timex that cost $25, you will be even more confused by the description of a perpetual calendar watch that is shown with a picture of a "no complication" hand winded piece.

For wives/girlfriends out there...If your man is a budding watch enthusiast, DO NOT buy him this catalogue! All those pretty pictures of $200K+ watches will begin to make him feel like a $4K watch is a bargain, or worse, may instill him to become a collector of several of similarly priced watches. If he has collecting tendencies, get him a Swatch catalogue and save yourself the burden of a second mortgage to feed his "Swiss Made" habit.

5-0 out of 5 stars New to Hobby - Good Book
I am new to the hobby of horology and enjoy owning this book. It provides a lot of detail and good photos of all the major brands (the competing buying guides leave out some significant brands). Well done and worth buying BEFORE you spend 30 times its price (or more!) on a watch. See the different styles and open your eyes. Take the TIME to appreciate it!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Bible of the Watch Industry, The Best tool available
This is an excellent tool if your a collector, admirer, in the biz or anyone considering a watch purchase. An incredible reference tool, great in helping one narrow down their likes and dislikes...my 3rd year in a row. There are a couple of others...however this one is the most objective and useful.

2-0 out of 5 stars Ho-hum, not much different than prior years
This year is much like last, with few new models and the same "puff piece" descriptions of the companies. They still don't give much info; for instance, the dial is never described. Watches International manages to include far more information on the pieces, though no prices and fewer brands. Nevertheless, Wristwatch Annual 2004 does give prices this year and also includes model numbers, unlike last year.

If you're a watch newbie, this is a MUST for learning about the brands and models. If you're a watchaholic like me, you will undoubtedly order this volume anyway, but don't expect much reading pleasure. The market remains wide open for someone to step up and do a comprehensive annual catalogue. ... Read more


18. Frugal Living for Dummies
by DeborahTaylor-Hough, Deborah Taylor-Hough
list price: $16.99
our price: $11.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0764554034
Catlog: Book (2003-01-16)
Publisher: For Dummies
Sales Rank: 82907
Average Customer Review: 3.62 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Feel like you’re trying to dig out from under a mountain of debt without a shovel? Tired of working your tail off just to break even? Is the high cost of living taking all the joy out of life? Unless you’re one of the top two percent of wealthiest Americans, all of the above should sound painfully familiar. While they’re trying to decide between the ski lodge in Telluride and the Tuscan villa, for the rest of us, it’s an endless litany of corporate lay-offs, stagnant wages, crushing credit card debt, skyrocketing medical costs, exorbitant utility bills, the high cost of higher education.... And they call this “the good life.” Is there a better way to live? Can you get what you need and what you want without killing yourself to get it? “Absolutely,” says frugal-living guru Deborah Taylor-Hough, and in Frugal Living For Dummies, she shows you how.

In this warmhearted guide to living the good life on less, Deborah shows you how to live within your means and enjoy doing it. Among other things, she shows you how to:

  • Eat like a king on a peasant’s budget
  • Take the sting out of gift-giving
  • Dress well on a shoestring
  • Save big bucks on family expenses
  • Slash household expenses
  • Save on medical expenses
  • Involve the whole family in saving money
  • Save more for the things you want

From basement to attic, cradle to grave, Frugal Living For Dummies covers all areas of life with common sense advice and guidance on:

  • Working with your partner to achieve financial goals
  • Going to the grocery without being taken to the cleaners
  • Quick and thrifty cooking techniques
  • Providing kids the basics on a tight budget
  • Putting kids through school without going broke
  • Looking good and feeling good on a tight budget
  • Frugal holiday fun year round
  • Saving money around the house and driveway
  • Finding quality in pre-owned merchandise

Packed with tried-and-true techniques for cutting costs and stopping the insanity, Frugal Living For Dummies is the ultimate financial survival guide for the rest of us. ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Things in Life Are Nearly Free (And Timeless Too!)
Congratulations, Deborah Taylor-Hough, on another book well done! Simplicity, frugality, good old-fashioned common-sense. It's all there in one very easy read.

There are two things about this book I'm most impressed with. First, this book tackles the solid, time-honored principles associated with frugal living head on. The author knows first-hand the information generations of reckless spenders need to develop new habits and consolidates these time honored ideas really well. Second, Deborah's honesty and enthusiasm for simplicity is contagious. Who knows? I may even give make-ahead cookery another try!

If you're looking for quick fixes, frugal fads, or the latest and greatest ideas on how to live cheaply without having to sacrifice or change your spending habits, I can promise you there is a lot of junk out there to read which will continue to amaze you and amuse me. But, dearly beloved fellow dummie, if you want to know what works-- read this book. You'll be glad you did!

5-0 out of 5 stars Money-saving solutions for every aspect of your life!
Whatever your reason for wanting to save money (job loss,
suddenly single-income, another child on the way, rising
college tuition costs), arm yourself with Frugal Living for
Dummies for super saving success.

This book details so much more than coupon-clipping. Some
of the chapter topics include ideas for frugal family fun,
thrifty cooking tips, ways to cut utility bills, setting a
budget and lots of inexpensive gift ideas. And that's just
the beginning! Frugal Living also provides icons in the
margins that alert readers to important reminders, tips,
super savers, special warnings, great ideas and handy
checklists.

Each section is jam-packed with cost-cutting ideas for baby
showers, back-to-school needs, dinner parties, gift giving,
auto maintenance, home cleaning, dining out, laundry,
family trips.... Basically, Deborah Taylor-Hough offers
money-saving solutions for every aspect of your life.

Frugal Living for Dummies is an essential reference for
your family collection. This book will make a practical and
thoughtful gift for young couples just starting their lives
together, college students on their own for the first time,
single-income families, new parents, and anyone who needs
proven ways for cutting costs while keeping their sanity.

A must-have guidebook for the novice penny pincher as well
as the seasoned dollar stretcher.

5-0 out of 5 stars Keep in mind, this is a "FOR DUMMIES" book!
Just a quick reminder for all of those reviewers who seem to have forgotten this one little fact: "FOR DUMMIES" books are written for self-proclaimed "Dummies" ... people who know nothing about a given topic, but want to learn the basics.

For example, when I wanted a basic book on birdwatching (because I knew NOTHING about the topic but wanted to get a good, solid start with basic, accurate information) ... I bought "Birdwatching For Dummies". When my teenage daughter needed help with her classes in Algebra and Biology ... I bought her copies of "Algebra For Dummies" and "Biology For Dummies".

These "FOR DUMMIES" books have a particular place in the book market ... they're written for BEGINNERS -- people who know absolutely NOTHING about a topic. "Frugal Living For Dummies" accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do ... it provides a basic introduction and simple framework for people unfamiliar with frugal living basics.

Keep in mind when reading reviews of this book that say things like, "It barely scratches the surface of frugal living," that this book is part of the trademarked "FOR DUMMIES(R)" series ... it's a book that's obviously NOT written to people who've been living frugally their entire adult lives and already know a-thousand-and-one ways to recycle styrofoam meat trays.

If you're a long-time frugal person, buy a copy of "Frugal Living For Dummies" as a gift for your spendthrift friends ... but if you've read every frugal book on the market, you'll honestly be happier just sitting around hugging your Tightwad Gazette books.

REMEMBER: Don't buy a "For Dummies" book on ANY topic if you're not looking for a simple overview of the absolute BASICS! I just hate seeing people bash a perfectly good book just because they don't "get" the purpose of the book. Silly, silly people. What are they thinking?

But ... if you're brand new to frugal living and are looking for a basic introductory overview, then THIS, my friend, is YOUR book! If you have a sense of humor, can laugh at yourself a bit, and need a simple introduction to frugality, run -- don't walk! -- to the "Buy Now" button on this webpage. You won't be disappointed!

2-0 out of 5 stars Not worth buying; barely worth reading.
Frugal living is such a broad topic that one really can't expect all advice offered to apply to them; however, this book was evidently aimed at people living in at least moderatly large cities, and with families. It is also much more oriented toward the homeowner as opposed to the apartment dweller.
Even granting that, it is not really a worthwhile book. Some of the information is questionable; much of it that is really valid is so basic it's really below even common sense level (buy generic brands...duh!).
The book is in several parts, each of which I will review independtly.
Part one is about the adjustment to frugal living. It's really a mixed bag. I don't have kids, and my fiancee and I agree on the budget and goals, so most of the tips on how to cope with combative family members are lost on me. However, most of it is incredibly basic: catalog your expenses. Catalog your income. Decide what your priorities are. The one decent section is where she talks about how to maintain a positive outlook after the shift to being a cheapskate. Suggestions include a log of good things in ones life, and ideas of that nature. Still basic, but a step up from the other sections of Part 1.

The rest of the book is based on saving in differing areas: saving on groceries and food, saving on education, saving on clothing, saving on furniture, etc.
These sections really aren't all that great. For the grocery/food section, a large percentage of her ideas depend on having a lot of freezer space; the buying in bulk (esp. of perishables), the cooperative cooking (wherein a group gets together one day week, everyone cooks a full meal per group member; you freeze the meal and eat later). Probably at least half of the possibly good ideas dictate a chest freezer. If you want to impliment most of them, you might need two chest freezers. For those of us in apartments or small houses, that ain't happening. Lots of the other advice on foodstuffs is at best simplistic: buy generic brands. Buy (and freeze) massive amounts of stuff on sale. Duh. Buy stuff on clearance.

As for her advice on saving money on clothes, furniture, etc. most of it boils down to buy it second hand. The problem here is that many smaller towns don't have any decent second hand shops, and are frequently short on garage sales. I currently live in a town of maybe 10,000 people. I doubt that there are full million people within a 2 hour radius or better. We simply don't have the number of people to support the type of second hand market she's apparently used to having. If you live in or near a decently sized city, it's potentially good advice. However, one needs to be carefull, as searching high and low for clothing and furniture can actually wind up being expensive in terms of transportation, time, etc. Also, for people who have odd dimensions, second hand shops for clothes don't work too well. I have a hard enough time finding shirts that fit a short, thick torso with long arms as is. There's also the problem of quality. She mentions this in her book, and says to keep an eye out for the "gold nuggets", but in my experince, pawnshops don't have enough of those for it to be relaible.

Most of her advice on budgeting for kids and family stuff is beyond my reach; I've never had kids, and I'm not yet married. However, she fails to mention many good ideas for cheap recreation--memberships to zoos and gardens typically pay for themselves after a few visits. The National Park service sells annual passes for parks and refugess. Most states sell annual park passes. All of these are good cheap recreation, which my family used while I was growning up. None of them are mentioned.
Also, her idea of fun sounds odd, at least. She metions scheduling tours of resturants, factories,a nd the like as a fun family outing...I'd rather have a root canal than tour a factory or resturant (after working them...).
The advice on how to save for college and whatnot is sound enough, but basic: consider a two year school for the first year of college. Take AP and CLEP test, etc.

For those of us without families...well, at least 1/2 this book is about family expenses (education, proms, etc.). For those of use who live in rural settings...well, this book seems to written for a house owning city dweller, who can actually get to a good second hand market and keep two or so chest freezers in thier home. Even for those people, the info is so incredibly basic it's really laughable. I mean, c'mon, buy generic brands. Watch the sales. Prioritize your budget. Ya think?

5-0 out of 5 stars Just the information I needed to live more sensibly
I have been a stay-at-home mom for the last three years, after working for 18 years and spending money foolishly. I am always looking for ways to cut corners and this book has been a God-send to me. My boys are 19 years apart and I was determined to find a way to raise this child myself without relying on daycare and after school care. Thanks to the tips in this book, we are able to afford for me to stay home, and the best part of it all is we are almost debt-free, we are eating much healthier foods, and I am finally learning how to appreciate the simple things in life without really feeling like I am losing out on anything. This book and the author's other resources have been inspiring me to do what really matters--being a loving wife, mother, daughter and friend to those I love. ... Read more


19. The Pill Book, Eleventh Edition (Pill Book)
by HAROLD M. SILVERMAN
list price: $27.00
our price: $17.82
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 055338161X
Catlog: Book (2004-04-27)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 11726
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Valuable Resource With Room for Improvement
As a returning reviewer who has purchased Dr. Silverman's book for each of the last three consecutive years, I would once again like to state that while I applaud the product as a whole, there are issues that continue to present themselves. In this particular case, the issue concerns the potential adverse interactions when combining a psychotropic drug (drugs used to treat mental and/or emotional disorders) with caffeine.

My attention was drawn to this after having a somewhat harrowing experience while on Prozac many years ago. After consuming a cup of coffee that was not the decaffeinated brew I requested, I experienced an array of disturbing symptoms approximately two hours later. I felt a sudden head rush, followed by lightheadedness, agitation, restlessness, racing thoughts, aggressive impulses, and other symptoms. Because I was at work at the time, I left early, but the symptoms grew worse during the commute home. Finally, after several hours of bed rest and food, I returned to normal and then back to work the next day.

Besides disavowing my usual practice of buying decaf coffee on my way to work (for obvious reasons), I determined that caffeine, perhaps especially for those who are already sensitive to the drug, reinforces the effects of Prozac and other drugs in its class. Not only were the symptoms disturbing, but they virtually incapacitated me for an entire day, costing me a day at work.

Similarly, I have found that other drugs, namely, Strattera (used to treat ADHD), may adversely interact with caffeine as well. On one day in particular while I was taking this drug, I drank two caffeinated beverages. Later that day, I experienced such severe anxiety that I was once again forced to abandon my activities while the apparent effects wore off.

For the most part, I could not attribute the reactions I experienced to anything else in my routine. Yet astonishingly, I have not come across any related cautions or warnings from medical professionals, pharmacies, drug inserts, or The Pill Book on prescription drugs and caffeine. And I believe that this needs to change.

Caffeine use is so prevalent in our society that its role in combination with medicines should be investigated and addressed. Unfortunately, I believe that it is precisely this reason--its common use--that allowed for the apparent assumption that it has a negligible effect on the human body in this and other contexts.

Mental health professionals, physicians, Dr. Silverman, Bantam Books, and the like: if you read this, please take this feedback under advisement.

5-0 out of 5 stars Making Sense out of sorrow
Excellent source for reviewing in depth different prescriptions. ... Read more


20. The Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices: Practical Advice from the Union of Concerned Scientists
by Michael Brower, Warren Leon
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 060980281X
Catlog: Book (1999-03-30)
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Sales Rank: 14415
Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Paper or plastic? Cloth or disposable? Regular or organic? Every day, environmentally conscious consumers are faced with the overwhelming catch-22 of a capitalist society--reconciling the harm we do by consuming, while still providing ourselves and our families with the goods and services we need. It's enough to make a city dweller crazy. Fret no more! The Union of Concerned Scientists has put together a well-researched and eminently practical guide to the decisions that matter. The authors hope that the book will help you set priorities, stop worrying about insignificant things, and understand the real environmental impacts of household decisions. For instance, you may be surprised to learn that buying and eating meat and poultry is much more harmful to the environment than the packaging the meat is wrapped in, even if it's Styrofoam. This guide takes on both sides of the consumer-impact argument, goring sacred cows of the environmentalist movement (like the strident emphasis on recycling) and the industrialist perspective (like the relentless message to buy more, more, more). If you're confused and overwhelmed by all the environmental decision-making in the modern world, you'll find new inspiration in this book. --Therese Littleton ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great practical book for the environmentally-concerned
This book, written by two PhD scientists, documents and explains what actions consumers can take to help the environment. Unlike some other books on the subject, it is not just a laundry list of ideas...The authors have built a model which attempts to assess the environmental impact of various consumer products ranging from refrigerators to diapers.
The basic conclusions are that some things are worth worrying about (e.g., what kind of car you drive and how much you drive, how energy-efficient your house and the major appliances you own are, what sort of food you eat). Others are not (e.g., "paper of plastic", cloth or disposible diapers, occasional use of disposible cups and silverware). Perhaps the best summary of the conclusions is provided by Denis Hayes (Chair of Earth Day 2000) as quoted on the back cover: "Too many people drive their Land Rovers to the grocery store and think 'paper or plastic' is a meaningful choice. [This book] will help you to distinguish the crucial from the trivial and make choices that are congruent with your values."
I found this book to be an excellent attempt to assess the environmental consequences of one's lifestyle choices. It is not the last word on the subject, of course. No such study is perfect. However, the results are cogently and honestly presented (and with good humor too). I think it sets a new high standard for discussions about how to protect the environment through your purchases.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful information for concerned but confused consumers
The "Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices" offers an excellent and inspiring look at choices that we consumers make every day in a clear, objective and interesting way. The authors offer plenty of information to help concerned folks make decisions on a daily basis, keeping in mind that most people would rather focus on several changes in lifestyle that will make a big impact rather than worrying about small or negligible actions. They also suggest steps for improving policies of local, state and national government. Excellent resources are included for further information on a number of issues, including websites. This is an empowering, extremely practical book, which I would recommend for everyone, especially well-intentioned but guilt-ridden, overwhelmed people like me.

4-0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking
This book is a guide to spending your money in a way that does less harm to the environment than the way you are spending it now. The authors began their book by undertaking a project to identify the greatest environmental problems caused by consumer activities, and find ways to measure which consumer activities cause the most damage. First, they gathered data about environmental problems, compared the data and analyzed the numbers. Through this research, they determined that the greatest environmental problems in the US related to consumer activities are air pollution, global warming, habitat alteration, and water pollution.

Having determined the greatest environmental problems related to consumption, they then looked at all the ways a household consumes, and quantified the percent of the household's total environmental damage caused by each item on their list. This enabled them to determine which items on the list are most damaging. Another way they looked at consumption was to take the average cost of each item on the list, and calculate the environmental damage associated with each dollar of expenditure in that category. This is used to find which items on the list give us the worst bang for the buck.

Based on these numerical calculations, the authors determined that the worst consumer activities that the average household engages in are cars and light trucks, meat and poultry, fruit, vegetables, and grains, home heating, hot water, and air conditioning, household appliances and lighting, home construction, and household water and sewage. With the worst activities identified in this way, they go on to make the following suggestions to address these specific items: choose a place to live that reduces the need to drive; think twice before purchasing another car; choose a fuel-efficient, low-polluting car; set goals for reducing your travel; whenever practical, walk, bicycle, or take public transportation; eat less meat, buy certified organic produce; choose your home carefully; reduce the environmental costs of heating and hot water; install efficient lighting and appliances; choose an electricity supplier offering renewable energy.

The authors also point out some non-issues, like landfill space, paper vs. plastic shopping bags, disposable vs. cloth diapers, styrofoam cups, and cotton vs. synthetic materials for clothing. In each of these cases, either the environmental harm of the item is often played up out of proportion to the harm caused by other consumer activities, or the two choices are more or less equal in terms of environmental damage caused. The authors argue that if we really want to make a difference, we need to focus our efforts on the big items, like transportation, food, and housing, rather than on these minor items. There's no sense putting a lot of effort into using cloth napkins instead of paper while ignoring the fact that you have an old water-hog clothes washer and an electric full-time water heater in a room lit by incandescent bulbs.

The authors also include a chapter on priority actions government should take to decrease damage to the environment. There is an epilogue by Susan Strasser covering the history of consumption in America, an appendix, where the authors describe their research methods and results, a second appendix providing resources for concerned consumers, footnotes citing sources of data and statistics, and an index.

Overall, I found the book quite interesting. In reading the appendix covering the methods and results, I am not completely convinced I agree with all of their methodology. In general though, the results the authors come to are plausible. One direction I would like to investigate next is to complete the cost-benefit analysis. In this book, the authors mainly focus on costs- -what are the environmental costs of each activity? But what if we were to focus on benefits instead, and ask, what are the environmental benefits of taking each action that they suggest? For example, if all Americans gave up their private cars and trucks tomorrow in favor of public transit and bikes, the environmental benefits would be obviously tremendous. But what would happen if all Americans became vegetarians tomorrow? How would the environmental impact shake out then? It would be interesting for the authors to do a follow-up study that quantifies potential environmental improvements based on each type of consumer action aimed at reducing environmental costs. These results could be compared with the costs of the associated actions to the consumers in terms of money and time. Then we would have even better answers about prioritizing our actions aimed at lessening our environmental load.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very interesting and easy to apply in your life
This books is very good and gives clear updated information about what are the choices you can take in your life to avoid causing bad consequences to the environment.

They can easily be applied in your life, often saving you money too.

I feel that people need to be educated about the consequences and repercussions that their daily choices and lifestyles can cause. It is essential to realize that our children will not be able to live in the same beautiful environment we grew up into, if we don't revise our wasteful, egocentric and inconsiderate behavior.

Also check their web site, http://www.ucsusa.org/
a lot of information there as well.

Roberto

4-0 out of 5 stars You really CAN make a difference!
If you're like me, you feel overwhelmed at times with environmental problems: global warming, water depletion and pollution, ozone alerts, animal waste runoff, garbage, plastic, etc. etc. So much seems to be broken that it's difficult to figure out what to begin fixing--especially when you're just an average consumer. Where to begin? And even if you do begin, can you really make a difference?

The virtue of this *Consumer's Guide* is that the authors help us separate the urgent from the not-so-urgent, the easily doable from the this'll-take-more-time-and-effort. They pinpoint three major areas in our consumption in which we can make immediate changes that really do impact for the better on the environment: vehicle usage, how we heat/cool our homes,and what we eat. Almost all of us use our cars more than we need to, and a growing number of us have vehicles much larger than we really need; all of us can do better about insulating our homes, cutting down on electricity, and using environmental-friendly appliances; and we don't really need to eat as much meat as we do--growing food animals is a colossal waste of grain protein as well as a major water and air polluter.

Just as handy, the *Consumer Guide* gives tips for social and political as well as individual action. Changing one's own behavior is essential; but building coalitions with others and putting pressure on corporations and the government to be more eco-responsible is essential too.

Finally, Susan Strasser's concluding essay, "From Walden to Wal-Mart," a reflective analysis of our consumerist culture, is by itself worth the price of the book. Very nice indeed!

So get this book, read it, and take hope: you CAN make a difference! ... Read more


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