“Zombie Economics” by Lisa Desjardins and Rick Emerson

Is surviving a zombie apocalypse “like” anything else?  That is to say, is it similar to any other activity? 

On May 3, 2011, Avery Publishing will release Zombie Economics: A Guide to Personal Finance by Lisa Desjardins and Rick Emerson (MSRP $16), a book predicated on the idea that managing money is like surviving during a zombie apocalypse, and contending that the lessons of one can be used to inform the other.

What interests me right away about this book is that it is, apparently, serious. 

A few years ago I wrote a satire of money-management and career-advancement books called Z.E.O.: A Zombie’s Guide to Getting A Head in Business.  It was 1.) intended to be funny, and moreover, 2.) not serious. 

But apparently, Zombie Economics is.  What are we to make of this? 

It has always seemed to me that “How to Manage Your Money”-books fail to answer (or even to address) the real, vital, difficult dilemmas involving money-management that Americans are forced to face in their lives.  For example:

  •  Your much-beloved uncle has just died.  He lives five states away.  You are a poor grad student and no one can pay for your trip to attend the funeral.  However, you can go if you dip into your savings or use a credit card.  Should you skip the funeral?
  • You are in love with a significant other who is moving to a small town for work.  Should you follow him/her/it, even though it will mean a diminishment of your own earning capacity, because you are “in love”?
  • You have the skill-set appropriate for a career where you would make $100,000 a year, but you find the day-to-day work of this career boring, and those who participate in it vapid and unpleasant.  There is an alternate career path you could choose– that would mean fun work and interesting co-workers– but you would only make $40,000 a year.  Which career should you select?
  • If I believe that I’m happy– but I lack the things a financial expert says I “should” have (a house, diversified investments, no debt)– am I truly happy, or just deluding myself? 
  • On my death bed, will I be happier having spent money on life experiences, or having lived modestly and put all my money in the bank?  (True Story: A Catholic priest– who had many times sat with the dying– once told me that nobody on their death beds ever talks about what they own, where they live, or how much money they have.  I often think about this.)  

Will Zombie Economics by Lisa Desjardins and Rick Emerson address these vital, difficult questions of money management– or will it just be a “zombied-up” rehashing of gentle suggestions to avoid bank fees, eschew credit card debt, and save money?

The authors– TV and radio journalists (whose “About The Author” blurbs make clear they want you to know the names of their dogs and which sports teams they support)–appear to have no financial-management  qualifications whatsoever.  Given the poor quality of most financial-advice books from “qualified” authors, this may not be a bad thing. 

However, to my not undiscerning eye, neither do the authors show signs of having any sort of “zombie qualifications.”  (You have named each of your dogs, but not your favorite zombie movies. . !?)   Will a tome by zombie neophytes adequately sate a reader hungry for sub-references to Dawn of the Dead, Cemetery Man, and Fido

I certainly hope so.  Everybody has to start somewhere.

4 thoughts on ““Zombie Economics” by Lisa Desjardins and Rick Emerson

  1. I’m a big fan of both zombies and making money. Both subjects are capably fun. My imagination is pretty good but I can’t see the two genres being mixed with true dedication.

    I haven’t read the book. Generally I’m a very open minded guy. In this case, I have to admit skepticism. Surviving a zombie apocalypse has nothing to do with economics. In the event of a zombie apocalypse, money will have little to no value so I have a hard time figuring out where these folks are coming from.

    If they pull it off, I’ll be very impressed. That would take mad skillz (<—note the ultra groovy, super modern spelling?). In the meantime, I think I'll keep reading the likes of Robert Allan, Guy Kiyosaki and Randy Gage for money advice. I'll stick to my favorite zombie/horror bloggers for the goods on zombies.

    Now that you've brought my attention to it (thanks Scott), I'll keep my eyes open. I'll probably even read it just so I can find out how they do with their genre-warping merge.

    Have a good one. May your loved ones never try to eat your brains.

  2. As someone who has read the book, I should help you better understand the subject. The book isn’t about “making money”. It’s about managing your money and your attitude toward it. It’s a typically overlooked common sense guide that would probably not be necessary if common sense were more common. This is the guide for all the people out there who can’t keep up with the trouble they’ve gotten into and for the young people out there who didn’t have the fortune to come from a family that practiced and taught sane money handling.

    Also, it’s not that hard to imagine finances and zombies being mixed together. It’s called a ‘metaphore’.

    Having read it, I’d absolutely give it to anyone who is bad with money and needs to pick up the life skills to handle it better – especially if they’re unlikely to focus their attention on a bland presentation of the topic.

  3. Oh, by the way, if you look Lisa Desjardins up on CNN, it states that she has an economics degree. I would say that qualifies her to discuss issues of finance and economy as much or more than most authors out there peddling books that are just filled with “get rich” gimmicks.

    1. Hi Maaagh. I feel a bit trolled, but I’ll bite.

      1. I hope it was clear that I was praising the authors for NOT having a bunch of phoney-baloney economics self-help qualifications.

      2. At the same time, I think a lot of people with “a BA in Economics” (ooh la la) are stupid and bad with money. (I have met these people personally. They are not theoretical.)

      3. I remain confident that I understood the premise of the book, based on the materials the publisher sent me.

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