One of Business Insider’s “50 Women Who Are Changing the World,” Helaine Olen is an expert on money and society with a deep understanding of public policy. She writes, speaks and consults on issues including Social Security, retirement, healthcare, student loans and women’s financial issues.
“A highly readable antidote to the snake oil of the personal finance industry. Suze Orman, watch out!” –GREG CRITSER, author of Fat Land
“The most notable personal finance writing of 2013 . . . was a handwritten 4 × 6 index card.” –MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE
“Helaine Olen explains in simple language why most Americans are never going to understand the myriad complexities of investing and borrowing, leaving us all vulnerable to being ripped off in oh so many ways. Combining thorough research with passionate writing, Pound Foolish tells us what to do to protect ourselves and our hard-earned money.” –DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Fine Print
“As Helaine Olen shows in this powerful exposé, ‘personal finance’ is the ultimate oxymoron. The financial challenges that most Americans face are not simply personal—they reflect the failure of our polices and our leaders to tackle growing middle-class insecurity. And the advice that self-proclaimed money experts provide is far from sound finance. Too often, it’s snake oil that only adds to the problem.” –JACOB S. HACKER, director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies, Yale University, and author of The Great Risk Shift
“In this gripping account, Helaine Olen pulls out the rug from under the finance industry, and does so in time for at least some of us to find alternative solutions to financial security.” –DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF, author of Life Inc. and Present Shock
“Wow, does personal financial advice need debunking. And Helaine Olen does it like an old master. Clear, witty, takes no prisoners, and right as hell. Olen will wake you up. There is no financial trick to make you rich.” –JEFF MADRICK, author of The Age of Greed and senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute
“All parents should buy The Index Card for their children. If they refuse to read it, consider disinheriting them.” –Robert H. Frank, Professor of Economics, Cornell University
“The most important financial advice is stunningly simple and fits on an index card. The newbie investor will not find a better guide to personal finance.” –Burton G. Malkiel, author of A Random Walk Down Wall Street
“The Index Card offers engaging stories, persuasive explanations, and fascinating data. It’s realistic, honest, wise, and compassionate, as well as socially and politically astute.” –Joe Conason, Editor in Chief at The National Memo
“This thought-provoking book alerts us to important issues in today’s postrecession economy.” –Mary Whaley, Booklist
“In a world of relentless financial noise, Helaine and Harold are here to help. This is the best and most important financial book of the year.” –Zac Bissonnette, author of Debt-free U and The Great Beanie Baby Bubble
“The world of personal finance is an economic sideshow filled with illusionists, conjurers, and snake-oil salesmen of every stripe. Thankfully, Helaine Olen has spent enough time inside the circus to be able to guide us wisely and wittily through the hall of mirrors—and come out smarter on the other end.” –JAMES LEDBETTER, opinion editor, Reuters, and author of Unwarranted Influence
“Ten simple, amazingly effective rules unencumbered by the agendas of fee-sucking fund managers or reckless business-media pundits. Highly recommended.” –Nomi Prins, author of all The Presidents’ Bankers
“The cult of ‘personal finance’ sells itself—and preys on pocketbooks—with a wildly false message: that American middle class families only have themselves to blame for their economic troubles. With wit, simple math, and relentless sleuthing, Helaine Olen shows how the personal finance industry has led savers and investors astray, and what you can do to avoid its traps.” –ALYSSA KATZ, author of Our Lot
“Pound Foolish is a fabulously well-reported, lucid, and witty tour of the train wreck that American finance has become. Olen has the rare ability to demystify the countless swindles and frauds that lately comprise the basic operations of the investment scene. As a kind of bonus, she depicts with verve and intelligence the panoramic freak show of personalities who infest the money scene.” –JAMES HOWARD KUNSTLER, author of The Geography of Nowhere and Too Much Magic
Helaine regularly writes for Slate.com.
© 2017 Helaine Olen | Photos by Willy Soma & Andrew Walker.
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