My yard is in full, glorious bloom right now. I've always loved the idea of having lots of flowers, but I think I would have felt terribly profligate spending big bucks on landscaping. So how wonderful that the flowers came with the house! I did pay for them, but spending on a house seems responsible. This is one of the little tricks one's mind plays, putting expenditures in buckets when, really, money is money.
That's kind of the theme of my "Change This" manifesto I wrote for 800CEORead (the business book portal). My manifesto, Laughing at the Joneses, is a condensed version of Chapter 4 of All the Money in the World. The subject is why we spend what we do on housing, when sometimes little pleasures might be a better bet. If you're on the fence about whether to buy the book, you can download the excerpt to get a flavor. To be sure, we all want homes that are safe, comfortable, and beautiful. The question is what the opportunity cost might be for spending on houses vs. other things.
As usual, I had 3 posts over at CBS MoneyWatch:
"5 ways spring fever can boost productivity." No one wants to sit at a desk right now, given how few of our breaths during this lifetime will be really scented with spring. Here are some ways to use that restlessness to your advantage.
"How to bust out of your rut." When you're really flailing, even small actions can help set great things in motion. And if it's just a small rut? Try changing locations. That often does the trick. I've been taking a lot of walks this week. I always come home with ideas after a good half hour spent stomping through the foggy green of this early spring landscape.
Over at Fortune.com, I'm writing about "The secret of success: needing less sleep?" While some people do fine with little sleep (Steve Reinemund, one of my "what the most successful people do before breakfast" subjects, gets 5-6 hours every night) there are successful people who get 8 hours. They're just very efficient with the rest of their time.
In other news:
The Gloss's Jen Dziura quotes me in a rather sprightly screed about how to really recreate. Warning: profanity is involved (not from me).
In case you missed the link above, I was QUOTED IN THE NEW YORK TIMES (I'm very excited about that).
The Fiscal Times runs an interview with me called How Much Money Does It Take To Be Happy? Sample question, as I take on the "more money, more troubles" mindset:
TFT: So why are some of the wealthiest people the most miserable?
LV: Some are, but some wealthy people are also very happy. There’s no data I know of on what percentage of wealthy people are miserable and what percentage are happy, so we tend to remember stories of the Scrooge type because we find those the most interesting. Overall, people’s satisfaction of their lives rises with their income.
Carrie over at Natural Moms Talk Radio runs an in-depth response to All the Money in the World. As she writes, she has resolved "to stop feeling guilty about small purchases like buying books (one of my favorite pleasures) or lattes. Research shows that small, frequent experiences contribute to overall happiness more than rare, big events."
Over at Scribd, Dan Walton's review of All the Money notes that it is "poised to become a classic on money philosophy." I'll take that! I also like being called a "rare bird."
(photo taken in my front yard this week)