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Beach Reads

Leave the financial-planning books on your shelf and pack some fun for your vacation.

By Maggie Leyes

Before you sling your suitcase into the trunk and head for your week at the beach (or mountains), be sure to pack a few books that will keep you entertained, motivate you to actually go back to work post-vacation or just help you while away an afternoon. Here’s what Advisor Today suggests you take along for a good read.

Who reads The New Yorker anyway?
If you’re like 99.9 percent of the population, the only reason you ever pick up a New Yorker magazine is to check out the cartoons. Now you can skip the magazine and go straight to the good stuff.

While money is serious business, like everything, it has a lighter side and The New Yorker Book of Money Cartoons—The Influence, Power, and Occasional Insanity of Money in All Our Lives (Bloomberg Press) is your source for some levity. While a short “read,” this compendium of money-focused cartoons will get your vacation off to a good start.

Picture this: A balding, paunchy man at the Pearly Gates faces St. Peter, who says to him, “You had more money than God. That’s a big no-no.” Or how about the one with two men hunched over a computer screen at their workplace with the caption: “Up a hundred and sixteen points! If only we’d had the foresight to invest 10 minutes ago.” Once you’re finished with it, remember to take it back with you to leave out in your office—your clients will get a chuckle out of it, too.

Charm school on the beach
If you are ready to exude “magnetic attraction and charismatic influence,” then you need to read The Power of Charm—How to Win Anyone Over in Any Situation by Brian Tracy and Ron Arden (AMACOM Books). This brief book (at just 138 pages, it’s perfect to finish in a couple of hours parked under a beach umbrella) is packed with great ideas on how to make your charm—which everyone has—work for you. The book’s premise: “The most valuable commodity in the world isn’t gold or diamonds—it’s charm.” When you learn how to use the power of charm to make people feel special, the authors promise that rewards are soon to follow.

The book outlines specific techniques you can practice to help you cultivate the ability “to create extraordinary rapport that makes others in [your] presence feel exceptional.” In 39 chapters—of just a few pages each—you will learn about “the flick” as well as “noddies,” and how to use your voice and your body language to set you firmly on the path to being charming.

Nothin’ doing
And then, in keeping with vacation, there’s Doing Nothing (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Didn’t think you needed a book on doing nothing, did you? But here it is, because deep down you know how truly hard it is to “do” nothing. Tom Lutz offers you a “history of loafers, loungers, slackers and bums in America.” The author, of the generation of Kerouac-inspired itinerant loafers, struggles as he witnesses his son, of the generation of Office Space slackers, take his own sweet time figuring out life.

As Lutz comes to terms with his son’s reticence to face the real world of work, he leads you through an entertaining look at some of the most successful slackers (actually not an oxymoron), from “idler” Ben Franklin to “classic lazy kid” Anna Nicole Smith. “The history of slackers,” writes Lutz, “is the history not just of our distaste for work and our fantasies of escaping it (as well as our vilification of those who do escape it) but also a history of complexly distorted perceptions.” And it is only in the last chapter that you find out if his son does, indeed, get off the couch.

Mastering success
Sometimes it’s good to look outside your industry for motivation and role models. In Masters of Success—Proven Techniques for Achieving Success in Business and Life (Entrepreneur Press), Ivan R. Misner and Don Morgan gather the advice of “greats” from every walk of life, from astronaut Buzz Aldrin to motivational guru Tony Robbins to activist Erin Brockovich. These and more than 60 other inspirational men and women write about how they followed their passion, set and achieved seemingly unreachable goals and overcame adversity.

Harvey Mackay, in his section “Success Is Getting Up More Than You Fall Down,” reminds readers of the hard path many successful people have walked: 23 publishers turned down Dr. Seuss’ first book; Michael Jordan didn’t make his high school basketball team; Albert Einstein’s Ph.D. dissertation was rejected by his university—it was termed “irrelevant and fanciful.” They didn’t give up, says Mackay, and neither should you.

In another interesting section of the book, “The Failure of Success,” Michael E. Gerber cautions against one of the greatest downsides of success: It is almost always accompanied by the fear of losing it. He suggests that as you journey on toward success “you understand, from the very first step, that the road is endless.”

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