Round up: spring fever and productivity

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.

Do concierge services save you time?” I was quoted in the New York Times this past weekend about concierge services. I think that they can save you time, but it’s trickier than it first sounds.

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, 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)


2 thoughts on “Round up: spring fever and productivity

  1. Regarding the concierge services…I felt the same way the one year I had someone do my taxes. It was SO much work to get him all the information necessary to file a return, it ended up being only very slightly easier than doing the return myself.

    Needless to say, I’ve done it myself every year since then.

  2. I’d really like to see you review this book.. which I enjoyed but I Think which still comes off as the SAHM take on entrepreneurship…. what I find truly interesting is the moms among us — and who are featured in her book – who have the Gary Hirshberg in us even at 50% of how he has it.. but who still for the most part execute in a world where womenare primary parent… Just finished this book: For Better of For Work -wife of founder of stoneyfield yogurt .. really enjoyed it and the founder’s take on it… I’d like to give a shout out to all the woman-owned (especially mom-owned) businesses and entrepreneurs out there… for the men the business can always win in the life juggle but for those of us women at least for me, the business is also my child but my kids come first… which is very hard ! Hirshberg’s stress exercise and also amex award points for family vacations as key to survival and both of these are in my 2012 year plan !
    gary hirsberg: In a tug of war, the business always wins. Of course, you say that the family needs the business to survive financially, so that prioritizing the business is really prioritizing the family. But that’s just a made-up debate in your head. The fact is, you’re going to deal with emergencies first. And until it stabilizes, the business is the critical-care patient. ”

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