1 Star: Money Secrets of the Amish by Lorilee Craker

CONS: I had high hopes for this book, because the Amish are known to be thrifty and saving lots of money. So I thought I might learn some really good tips. However, I was very disappointed. What should have been a book packed with USEFUL tips, really was a silly book filled with tips that we all already know and choose to NOT do (or do) and useless tips that no one would use. I felt like the book was a sales gimmick - use the Amish name to sell a book.

Examples of the useless tips this book gives:

- Don't buy anything new until you have worn it till it breaks

- Lawn Mower: Use a hand mower instead of the gas mower

- Socks: repair the holes

- Jeans: Cut your frayed-ended jeans shorter and hem them to make them into capris

- Electric Mixer: Don't get one, just mix with your hand/arm

- Children's Clothing: Only use hand-me-downs, never buy new

- Digital Camera: Keep the old model with the broken battery door - just tape it closed

- Insect Sting: Use meat tenderizer

- Tray Tables: Suck it up and keep the very old ugly 1960s tables instead of buying new ones

- Compost: Use a plastic garbage can for $4, instead of $90 for a Home Depot spinning composter - wait... but we don't know if it will work or how well, because the book tells you that the author and user haven't tried this long enough to know if it really works!

- New Furniture: Instead of buying new, just re-arrange what you have. Take from one room and move it to the next room

- Appliances: Fix them instead of replacing them

- Impulse Items: Check bank statement to see how much money you waste on impuse items

- Bills: Pay them on time, don't get late fees or interest

- Borrow: Don't do it!

- Gift Wrap: Use old newspaper instead of wrapping paper

- Gifts: Scale back and give baked cookies or used books instead of new gifts

Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge from the publisher Thomas Nelson. Still, I will give my full honest opinion of this book.

2 Stars: Average Joe by Troy Meeder

This book meant well, but in the end, it's not worth buying.

PROS: The idea is that America is built on Average Joe men. They are the backbone of our society - honest, loyal, hard-working men with integrity. Your fireman, gardener, cashier, etc... normal, average men with character. Each chapter goes though a "meet an average joe with a lesson to teach" about God. So you meet the Gardener that the author met when going through college. And you learn the lesson the gardener taught the author.

CONS: If the lessons in each chapter were profound, I would have rated this book higher. But since the lessons are weak (in my opinon), they are normal everyday things you and I already know, I don't think this book is worth it. It had a good idea - to show money and status men with no integrity aren't more valuable than average joe men with character. Just because you have a "lowly job", doesn't mean you are lowly inside.

Some of the "lessons" you will "learn" but you and I actually already know them, are these:
- let your yes be a yes and your no be a no
- a little sin is missing the mark, so don't even cheat on your tax return
- stay the course, don't go lose focus on the goal
- have honest, integrity and character
- the wise listen, so don't be one of those chatty people who always have to be center of attention
- remember the important things in life - God - and the rest is noise
- become a mentor and find one for yourself
- meet your challenges head-on, don't let fear win

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher but am giving an honest review.

1 Star: The Final Summit by Andy Andrews

Disclaimer: Got this book free of charge but still giving honest review
I would never recommend reading this book.
This book was a quick easy read.

SLOW START: Pgs 1-71 are all about nothing: useless employees respect and love the main character David. David lost his wife and thinks about suicide. Then Gabriel takes him away to a meeting.

THE QUESTION & GOAL: Gabriel takes David to "the final summit", the last chance to save humanity, where he will meet with other time travelers to decide HOW to save humanity. They have 5 chances to guess the correct solution and Gabriel will tell them if they are correct or not. The question that must be answered is this: "What does humanit ned to do, individually or collectively, to restore itself to the pathway towards a successful civilization". The guesses and answers don't make a lot of sense and the solution is the worst "guess" of all. It doesn't even make sense. The end of the book is SUCH a let down and disappointment. Anyone who is a "thinker" will hate this book. Just to proove it to you, I have put the guesses/solution below. Don't read it unless you really want to know the answer to the book.

HERE IS THE ANSWER/SOLUTION (Don't read if you don't want to know the solution)
"DO SOMETHING" is the "answer". "Just do it" as Nike says. Do anything. Just do something.
The author is telling us that if everyone would just go use their talents, the world would be saved? RIGHT..... Everyone is already doing something! It is the WRONG something - that is why humanity is going down the tube

2 Stars: Tithing by Douglas LeBlanc

This book is worth skimming, getting used, or borrowing at the library, but I would not recommend you spend your hard-earned money on this book.

PROS: The general idea is great - find generosity in your heart and trust God enough to tithe (give 10% of your gross income to the house of God - the church). However, I found the Introduction to be more insightful and beneficial than the actual book chapters. Based on the concept and the Introduction, I would have given 4 stars to this book - it had SOOO much potential to be life-changing and insightful!

My favorite parts of the book:
Pg XXI of Introduction
Tithing is like prayer in the sense that God is working out his purpose and offers us a voluntary place in his purpose. God doesn’t need our money; however, to the extent that we tithe and are ready to cooperate with God’s goals, God will use us.

As we loosen our tight grip on our money and reach out to help others, we are building relationships and spreading the love of God to others. We are also building our trust in God to take care of us after we have given. Tithing is one way of becoming an instrument of God.

One couple in Chapter 2 did a "graduated tithe". They took the base amount needed to simply live and tithed 10% on that. Anyone who made more than this, increased their tithe by 5% for every additional $1,000 they made. The idea was this “The rich must live simply that the poor may simply live” Dr Charles Burke (1975)

CONS: However, I found the chapters dull, lifeless, long, boring and drawn out. What could have been detailed and emotional descriptions of life challenges or hardships, were just unemotional lists of "so and so went to college, then got a job and was still poor but still tithed." There were no emotional detailed descriptions of difficult times.

Being a 27 year old, I also found it impossible to relate to couple in their 80s because of the inflated dollar. The author spent a lot of time reviewing the lives of people who made $10/week back in the 70s, while my first job in year 1996 was $16/hr. How are we supposed to relate? When someone says they were in poverty in the 70s and the author is using $10, how can I understand this? Houses were $15,000 back then. Today my house was $360,000. I don't know what $10/wk would get you today. I can't relate and the author makes no attempt to adjust for inflation.

Disclaimer: I received this book free through Book Sneeze http://www.booksneeze.com/
I always give an honest review all books. I lean towards being extra critical of books because there are so many out there and I understand you and I have limited time and resources. If I am going to recommend a book, I want it to be one that you will put on your bookshelf and keep. I want it to be the kind of book you will come back to and will also recommend to others.