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September 2008 Issue | Volume 34 Number 6| Page 12
FRONTLINES

Reading Minds

Top Titles on Pecuniary Matters

In tune with the financial theme of this issue of Law Practice, four savvy contributors share with us their favorite books on the topic of money. The group of titles they recommend is both diverse and unexpected, making for an insightful blend.

Joan Haratani RECOMMENDS:

It’s Not About the Money: Unlock Your Money Type to Achieve Spiritual and Financial Abundance

Book after book on money management focuses on getting rid of debt, diversifying your portfolio, or socking money into an IRA. For me, though, thinking about budgeting and financial strategies is about as much fun as going to the dentist—without the benefit of novocaine. So why read yet another book on the topic? I was intrigued by the title of Brent Kessel’s It’s Not About the Money (HarperOne, 2008)—and I was pleasantly surprised upon reading its contents. Kessel, one of the nation’s top financial advisors, has taken his yoga training and applied corresponding spiritual teachings to help us understand our attitudes toward money. After starting with a fascinating explanation of how the mind approaches life, he introduces eight financial archetypes and guides readers in determining their type, along the way exploring the nuts and bolts of creating a successful (and happy!) relationship with money. This easy-to-read book also contains real-life stories about people and their feelings about money, which I especially liked because the stories gave me guideposts for assessing my own interactions with the financial side of life. Try this book; I’m betting you will like it.

Joan M. Haratani is a partner in the litigation practice at Morgan Lewis, where her practice focuses on products liability and complex commercial litigation. She is also a frequent speaker on matters of diversity.


Patton Hyman RECOMMENDS:

Orley Farm

The Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope was a shrewd observer of human interactions and psychology, masterfully illuminating the often mixed motives of his characters. In his 1861 work Orley Farm (Oxford World Classics), he tells the story of a desperate young woman who sets in motion events that come to fruition two decades later, with a forged codicil to a will being the crucial focus of the tale. And as money and property are involved, so are lawyers—in the form of the solicitor, Mr. Furnival, and the seedy barrister, Mr. Chaffenbrass, who are involved in the climax of the tale. For readers accustomed to Dickens, Thackeray and Collins, Trollope’s work is surprisingly modern in its outlook, reflecting the changing (but not yet changed) attitudes toward women and profound alterations in communication and transportation. This book was a reminder to me that issues of money and wealth have been with us for a long time and that relevant (the operative word) wisdom isn’t limited to our own times. But most of all, Trollope is a great read.

Patton Hyman , formerly a partner in Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan, LLP, is President and Development Director of Tail of the Tiger, Inc., a nonprofit joining mindfulness meditation with professions, business and the arts.


John Warnick RECOMMENDS:

Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier

Many consider Dr. Robert Emmons to be the world’s foremost authority on the benefits of gratitude and its power to elevate our internal thermostat for happiness. His latest book, Thanks! (Houghton Mifflin, 2007), is based on 10 years of empirical research and masterfully blends science, wisdom literature, and the personal stories of diverse individuals into a most enjoyable read. One of the great discoveries I made in this book concerns the dangers of “adaptation,” a psychological phenomena that explains how most lottery winners experience a euphoric surge of happiness in anticipation of the receipt of their good fortune, but then in a remarkably short period find their sense of well-being sinking. I quickly saw the parallels between the plight of lottery winners and the sudden inheritors and trust beneficiaries I work with in my law practice. Thanks! opened a pathway to applications of gratitude that will help me and the trust beneficiaries whom I serve. The final chapter contains 10 specific exercises you can try to discover the power of gratitude. I put the “travel” exercise to the test and within 24 hours experienced firsthand an incredible series of events that psychologists describe as “elation.” I recommend Thanks! to anyone who would like to discover how practicing gratitude can elevate your professional and individual sense of well-being.

John A. Warnick describes himself as a “recovering tax attorney.” He is a senior partner with Holme Roberts & Owen LLP in Denver.


Diane Levin Recommends:

Ask for It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want

If you look at the statistics compiled by the American Bar Association on J.D. enrollment from 1947 to 2007, you can see that the number of women enrolled in law schools has substantially increased over the past half-century. This data attests to the advances women have made in overcoming age-old barriers to achieving professional ambitions. But according to the new book Ask for It (Bantam, 2008), another barricade still stands: While men have little trouble negotiating their salaries to get what they want, women hesitate or fail to ask at all. Written by Linda Babcock (a professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon University) and Sara Laschever, this book explores the roadblocks that stop women from negotiating effectively and that consequently produce long-lasting economic harm. “By not negotiating a first salary,” they write, “an individual stands to lose more than $500,000 by age 60—and men are more than four times as likely as women to negotiate a first salary.” The book provides strategies to conquer the gender divide at the negotiation table and also discusses well-documented subconscious biases that influence our judgments about a woman’s abilities and worth. It should be required reading not just for every law student, but for anyone—professors, law school administrators, law firm partners, associates, judges and others—who will guide and mentor these lawyers-to-be.

Boston-based attorney and mediator Diane Levin has instructed people from all over the world in negotiation and mediation. She blogs at MediationChannel.com.

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ReadingMinds invites sage professionals to recommend favorite books on a chosen topic. If you have a book you’d like to share, contact Stephanie West Allen.

About the Editor

Reading Minds editor Stephanie West Allen is a writer, speaker and mediator who presents seminars on harnessing brain power for improved business development and conflict resolution. Formerly a lawyer, she blogs at idealawg.net and brainsonpurpose.com.

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