My review of Money: A Love Story by Kate Northrup

kate northrup


Another month, another review in my Book Value column in BetterInvesting magazine!

Find out exactly what I think about Money: A Love Story by Kate Northrup right here.


Instruments we’ve heard/seen played on Berlin public transportation

ubah accor

You’ll always find the most recent additions at the top of each category – my last update was 14 July 2013.

On an S-Bahn (train)/U-Bahn (subway) car:

  • A solo acoustic guitar player on the U3 line, one of the quieter U-Bahn lines (it’s mostly outside the main part of the city) and one whose trains musicians rarely ever board to play. Too bad, because the guitar player I heard the other day was not only one of the most talented, he was also one of the most delightful I’ve yet encountered (and quite the contrast to Mr. Surly Accordionist below). After an incredibly beautiful performance that stretched the distance between three stations, I gladly gave this musician a 2 Euro coin and was not at all surprised to see almost every other passenger give a little something, too. This should have surprised me because the typical percentage of “paying” passengers is usually quite low, but in this case, his talent was too hard to ignore, as was the genuinely warm and grateful smile he gave each and every one of us, whether we added a little jingle to his cup or not. Truly a highlight of this past year of public music…
  • Another first! While the instrument was familiar (accordion) and the playing was only so-so, the musician bearing said instrument was not only completely aggressive in his demand for money (leaning over the seats of my visiting parents for a full forty or fifty seconds while pushing his plastic cup for donations practically in my poor jet-lagged father’s face — a behavior I’ve never before seen in Berlin — yet somehow still continuing to play), he also cursed at me and then gave me the finger after I gave him a firm “Nein, danke” in an attempt to get him to leave. While some of the musicians we see on the trains aren’t very “good” in a technical sense, they do follow a fairly established etiquette of moving on after just a second or so if you don’t make eye contact or start to reach for money. I suspect this (not quite a) gentleman figured we were a sure thing since we were speaking English and I was showing my parents a map of the transit system when he walked up. At least my parents now have an exciting story about their first full day in Berlin, and I now know to get up and switch cars if I ever see this particular accordionist again…
  • A very talented trio whose instruments included an accordion, a violin, and — a first for me on a train — a cello! Their rendition of Johnny Cash’s I Walk the Line was fabulous and I happily added an Euro to their outstretched cup.
  • Melodica with egg-shaker/amplified recorded music (My all-time least-favorite performance ever – both lazy and derivative, and the two “musicians” were part of a roving pack of similarly outfitted buskers hauling small amps on luggage carts from one subway car to the next at each stop in a clearly organized strategy to score the most amount of coins with the least amount of effort.)
  • Accordion (a few too many times, but only because that’s one loud instrument in crowded quarters!)
  • Spanish Guitar (only once but so beautiful – one of my favorite performances yet)

In an S-Bahn (train) or U-Bahn (subway) station:

  • Country Western Guitar (once)
  • Harp (only once so far, sigh)
  • Classical Guitar (once)
  • Blues Guitar (once)
  • Electric Guitar (once)
  • Accordion (a few too many times)
  • Keyboard (a bunch of times)
  • Violin (too many times to keep track of)
  • Cello (once)
  • Banjo (once)
  • Flute (once)
  • Saxophone (at least twice)

I should add this category while¬† I’m at it…

Musical-y sounds I’ve heard from our apartment window:

  • Car horns, from a procession passing by (a wedding, it looked like)
  • Recorder, being played by either a young neighbor or a student at the Montessori school nearby (hard to tell because of the way our building echoes)
  • Church Bells (daily at 8:15 am, noon and 6 pm, Sundays off and on all morning, lucky me!)
  • Trumpet (almost every Tuesday, mid-morning)
  • Operatic singing (just once so far, coming up through a basement-level apartment building ventilation grate)

Hey Motley Fool, thanks for saying nice things about my first book!

investing to grow income

It’s always nice getting a little press of my own even if it is for a book that’s now more than a decade old.

Curious to hear what The Motley Fool said about Investment Clubs for Dummies (co-written by Douglas Gerlach and yours truly) in TMF’s syndicated newspaper column? Read all about it here!