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The slew of new personal-finance books range from superb to just
plain silly. Among the superb: the latest version of Jane Bryant
Quinn's comprehensive layman's manual, this year called Making the
Most of Your Money (Simon & Schuster, $27.50). Below, you'll find
MONEY's analysis of five other recent releases appearing in
-- How to Make Your Shrinking Salary Support You in Style for the
Rest of Your Life by Michael Evans (Random House, $22). Even if your
boss is still giving you decent raises, you will find this to be one
of the most useful finance and investment guides around. Economist
Evans, a highly entertaining writer, focuses his attention on
preserving your money. Says he: ''Never add to a losing stock
position. . . . The theory apparently is that if you liked the stock
at 30, you'll love it at 15. . . . The last thing you should consider
doing is throwing good money after bad.''
-- Sprouse's Two-Earner Money Book: Making Your Money Work as Hard
as You Do by Mary Sprouse (Viking, $19.95). Tax attorney Sprouse is
at her best explaining the tax angles of such things as estate
planning. But when she ventures into other areas, her tips -- like
saving time balancing your checkbook by having your kids add up your
canceled checks -- are often less helpful.
-- The Mutual Fund Wealth Builder by Michael Hirsch (Harper
Business, $19.95). What you'll get from Hirsch, a professional money
manager who invests exclusively in mutual funds, will depend on how
much you already know about funds. If you're a novice, the advice
will be invaluable. Otherwise, many of the author's rules -- for
example, don't invest in a mutual fund just because of its superior
short-term performance -- will sound awfully familiar to you.
-- Your Dream Vacation Home by Mary S. Ludwig (Liberty Hall Press,
$14.95). This guide explains clearly how to choose a vacation home,
finance it and turn the place into an investment property. Ludwig
shines when discussing rentals: she says you'll have more success
advertising for tenants in a free pennysaver weekly than in your
daily newspaper, where second-home owners tend to run their ads.
-- Think and Grow Rich: A Black Choice by Dennis Kimbro and
Napoleon Hill (Fawcett Columbine, $20). Talk about a gimmicky book.
Small-business consultant Kimbro has taken Think and Grow Rich,
Hill's 1937 classic guide to turning positive thinking into financial
gain, and basically inserted anecdotes about black achievers such as
Oprah Winfrey and Ebony founder John Johnson. Readers looking for
concrete suggestions on investments or careers will be disappointed.