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.