Book Review: The Wealthy Barber Returns

I’m not sure if you have ever had this option in your life, but if you have ever spent a hour or two just talking about money to someone who is knowledgeable and excited about the topic the time can just fly by.  This is more or less what reading The Wealthy Barber Returns by David Chilton feels like.  The mans knows his stuff and it is quick and easy to understand book and it also has lots of humor.

In some regards I do feel sorry for David, since after his first book became almost a bible to most personal finance geeks (not surprising since it sold over two million copies in Canada), his second was almost doomed to disappoint somewhat because he couldn’t live up to the hype surrounding the book no matter how hard he tried.  I don’t mean to say the book sucked or anything like that, but rather the expectations could easily be set far too high for the book.

I personally somewhat had this issue.  Why?  Well if you have to know the very first person finance book I ever read was The Wealthy Barber.  So like it or not, that book defined a lot of ideas in my head early on in life about saving in general.  So I did try to rein in my enthusiasm for the book, but I didn’t do that great of a job.  It was rather like Christmas when my copy arrived.

David himself manages to echo a lot of standard advice that you have already likely heard: spend less than you earn, be careful with how much credit you use and for the love of God save something!  Hardly earth shattering advice, but David does have a point about repeating it: the advice hasn’t sunk in yet for the majority of people.  Thus this book is aim squarely at the majority of clueless Canadians who rather talk about almost anything else other than their money, despite the fact a large amount of their problems stem from their lack of knowledge about their money.

So while I did enjoy David’s humour and his explanations of everything, I didn’t learn anything new out of the book.  Which is hardly surprising since if you look at the number of book reviews on this site and realize that is only a fraction of what I have read it becomes obvious I’m a personal finance geek from my toes to the tips of my hair that is standing straight up.

In the end I do think this is a great book for the majority of people to read, especially if they feel the topic of money is a dry and boring one.  Yet if you have already read a lot on personal finance you likely won’t learn much, but you will still enjoy the funny parts.

So did you read David’s new book?  If so, did you like it?

6 thoughts on “Book Review: The Wealthy Barber Returns”

  1. I read “The Wealthy Barber Returns” shortly after it came out. Like you, his first book was one of the first personal finance books I read, but it was the first that really meant anything to me, so I went into the second one with high hopes.
    Yes, it is a fun read. I feel that it would be quite inspirational to anyone who didn’t have any kind of plan, but I think for the type of person who frequents FI/RE blogs and is on track with their finances, the book might seem “lightweight”.

  2. I am yet to read “The Wealthy Barber Returns”. But the original “The Wealthy Barber” was the first personal finance book I had ever read. And I loved it. Not simply for the good ideas in it but primarily because of the easy going “story-like” manner of the book. Thats what made it a much easier read than any other personal finance book out there.

    I sure hope the new one is in a similar tone.

  3. Jim,

    IMO – the second is a better read mainly because of its 1-2 page chapter formats. It’s more like little nuggets of wisdom instead of a story like the first.

    And the humor is an added bonus that I wasn’t expecting.

  4. @ Jim – The first book is written like a novel, and outlines the basics that everyone should do and why (get a will, save 10% etc).
    The second one is written more like a blog in book form. Each topic is discussed, with a few ideas about how to implement.
    I feel it would be up to you and where you are with your knowledge about financial stuff that would decide which book is for you. Both are written in a way that is very easy to understand.

  5. The new book does reference the old often enough that I’d recommend someone read both.

    Overall I agree that The Wealthy Barber Returns doesn’t have any new information, but it’s very well written and entertaining enough that I didn’t want to put it down.

Comments are closed.