The skinny on credit cards book review

By glblguy

the-skinny-on-credit-cardsOne of the perks of being a personal finance blogger is that I get to receive copies of personal finance books to read and review. I seldom ever receive a book I don’t like, and every so often I receive a book that literally “wows” me. The Skinny on Credit Cards is just one of those books.

The skinny on credit cards

If you haven’t heard of the “skinny on series” (which I hadn’t), is a unique series of books that is inspired by the Manga literary phenomenon which combines the use of simple pictures and a story to convey a message. Trust me, they are like no other book you’ve ever read and I mean that in a good way.

When you first open The skinny on credit cards, you’ll very quickly note that each page in the book contains what looks to be PowerPoint slides with stick figure diagrams. Stick figures? Yes, stick figures. My inclination was to shake my head and think no self respect adult would read a book like this, but I decided to give it a fair shake. I’m glad I did

To be honest, I loved the book. I read the entire book in literally a few hours and never feel asleep once! The book tells the story of Bill and Beth and their interaction with the author and founder of RAND Publishing, Jim Rand. It would seem Billy and Beth have gotten themselves into a bit of mess. They’ve used credit cards to buy things they couldn’t afford and unfortunately have a huge chunk of debt they are now faced with paying off.  To make matters worse, they are struggling to make the minimum payments too! Fortunately, Billy and Beth get some help from Jim Rand (the author) who is nice enough to not only educate them about credit cards, but also helps them get started on the path to getting that debt paid off. Jim also helps Billy and Beth’s son who is off at college and unfortunately is heading down a similar path.

The story is funny, informative and all too familiar for many of us. The best part of the book is that you never get bored, never feel overwhelmed with finance information,  and it’s entertaining. Frankly I love Jim’s “corny” sense of humor. Whether you know all there is to know about credit cards or not, you’ll enjoy reading this book.

If  you’re curious to see what I mean, check out the free PDF excerpt.

Topics covered in the Skinny on credit cards

The The Skinny on Credit Cards covers many topics and includes:

  • How interest and minimum payments on credit cards really work
  • What credit card companies think of you and in particular how much they love people who don’t pay off their balance each month
  • What drives people to use credit cards and how they end up with huge amounts of debt
  • How credit card companies “prey” on college students
  • Why sacrifices are needed in order to pay off all of that debt that’s been accrued

Things you can expect to learn include:

  • Escaping from credit card debt
  • Improving your credit score
  • Lowering your interest rate (APR)
  • Identifying credit company tricks
  • Selecting the right credit card
  • Protecting yourself against fraud
  • Teaching your kids about debt
  • How to avoid paying fees

Would I recommend it?

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone that is interested in learning more about credit cards, how credit cards work, and how you can get them paid off. I’d particularly recommend the book for teens and college students. I feel very strongly that spending 2 hours reading this book could literally save them from potential financial disaster. Both my 14 and 12 year old sons read the book, liked it and learned about credit cards.

Final thoughts and purchase options

Again, I loved the book and it’s format. The Skinny on credit cards is incredibly refreshing, unique, and is able to take a very serious and complex financial concept and make it not only fun to learn about, but easy to learn as well. In a world filled with long, dry and overly complex finance books it’s nice to see somebody writing books that will appeal to the masses.

The book is available for purchase in a standard book format, as an eBook in PDF format (only $9.95)and in Kindle format for the Amazon Kindle.

The Skinny on Credit Cards Giveaway!

RAND Publishing was kind enough to provide me with an extra copy to giveaway. As always, entry in the cost is simple: just add a comment! Add a quick comment sharing why you would like to win the book or about your experience with credit cards and you’ll be entered. I’ll announce the winner a week from today on Wednesday, 6/27 5/27 (thanks Paul for catching this). Make sure you leave a valid email. Also, keep an eye out, as I’ll be posting reviews of RAND’s other two books: The Skinny on Willpower and The Skinny on The Housing Crisis very soon. Both were great reads as well.

23 Responses (including trackbacks) to “The skinny on credit cards book review”

  1. DDFD at Says:

    Sounds like an interesting read. Anytime someone says that they were “wowed” by something, it is usually worthwhile. The last book that “wowed” me was Tim Ferris’ 4 Hour Work Week.

  2. Tom at NowMyMoneyIsMine Says:

    Looks like a great book for students. Enter me in the drawing.

  3. Joe Says:

    Looks like a good book. Please enter me in the drawing.

  4. Lauren S Says:

    I just dug myself out of some credit card debt and hope I never let it happen again!…This would be a phenomenal read!

  5. jon cross Says:

    I would enjoy reading this as it has always been to easy to get caught in this trap please enter me

  6. Linda B Says:

    Please please enter me in the drawing! My husband needs to read this book. The newspaper articles this morning about credit card legislation prompted us to have yet another conversation about the need to pay off our credit cards/quit living beyond our means/start being realistic about our financial situation. He works on commission, and for 15 years has said he’s not worried about overspending, because he just needs to work harder.

    But whenever he works harder, he also plays harder, and his hobbies are never cheap. (He’s been through phases of gourmet cooking, collecting cameras, and the latest is bike racing…) So at best the balances incurred early in our marriage stay the same, and at worst they keep growing. Just this morning I used the “stop digging” analogy yet again.

    So I’m stressed out from constantly juggling the $60,000+ of credit card debt that never seems to get reduced, and would love for him to read this book.

    Anyway, thank you for all of your postings and for giving us a shot at winning!

  7. Emily G. Says:

    I wish I had this book 10 years ago when I started my credit card damage! Ah, but we live and learn from our past mistakes moving forward. Looks like a great book! I hope I win! =)

  8. Kim Says:

    This sounds like a REALLY great book, and I’d love to win it to give to my teenage nephews. They will be looking at colleges soon, and could use this advice to get off on the right foot financially, especially since I’m sure they will be inundated with credit card offers. And, with their father laid off and no jobs in sight, and me only a temp (with permanent employment a distant, slim, possiblility!), and, worst of all, we live in southeast Michigan, every little bit of info and advice helps! Thanks for all the great advice and inspiration! Keep it up!

  9. Kim-#2 I guess... Says:

    :-) Great review! Always on the look out for helpful book to put in the youth group library.

  10. Paul Says:

    Isn’t a week from today 5/27, not 6/27? Or have I messed up the space/time continuum once again?

    Regardless, I’d love to win a copy of the book.

  11. Candice Says:

    Working on paying off credit cards. My problem is that I love to travel.

  12. Margaisa Says:

    sometimes, just ordinary common sense, which seems to be uncommon these days, makes the most sense and cents!
    Thanks for skinny! Less IS more!

  13. Gina Says:

    I was that college kid the cc company likes the most. I always had a job so I figured I would just pay it off later. I even took out a term life ins policy to ‘pay my debts’ if I die. Luckily I found Dave Ramsey to kick me in the backside (not literally) to keep me focused on not paying anymore ‘stupid tax’.

    Now, I’m in the same boat as Linda B. and my weakness used to be ‘love to travel’ like Candice. That is why I like this blog so much … I can find people who made the same mistakes as me and are trying to come out on top, no matter what.

    I hope to ‘win’ a book to teach the youth at my church & the school I volunteer at on weekends.

  14. Diane Says:

    Yes! I want this book to teach my sons’ – ages 18 & 22 about credit card use.

    I’ve discussed this with them and explained as best I could, but I think the book will make a deeper impression at their ages than advice from Mom!

    Thanks for the opportunity.

  15. dramon Says:

    I would love to get a copy of this for my college age son. I have never had a credit card balance ( which is painful some months to pay off), so I have avoided most of the traps.

  16. sandyhill Says:

    My 23 son needs to read this. He works for a ngo in Cambodia. He has over 5k in credit card debit plus student loans and needs a plan to get rid of his debt if he’s to continue serving others at low wages.

  17. Liz Says:

    I would love a copy!! Looks like just the book I need to be reading to get through my financial mess.

  18. susan Says:

    This sounds like a great book to give my daughter who is a teacher and is always spending her own money for supplies for her classroom.

  19. Renate Says:

    Need a book like this for my 3 kids, (2 in college and thinking spend, spend spend)
    Thanks for offering the book

  20. susan Says:

    Another great book for students to read is “Ooh Baby Compound Me” Which is a satire that compares credit card lending to fratenity hazing. It is educational and entertaining

  21. Venecia Says:

    “Ooh Baby Compound Me” is another exceptionally written quick read so that anyone can better interpret the credit card “˜fine print’. It has a great sense of humor to keep you interested especially for young adults with an attention span of ‘0’. I gifted the book to all 4 of my children 18-21 to hopefully give them an advantage of understanding the credit world as they embark into adulthood”.

  22. Lou Says:

    I gave up credit cards 9 years ago. They are still in the house somewhere, but I just use my debit card for purchases. I had a traumatic brain injury 10 years ago and doing things promptly – like writing a check & mailing it by the due date – became a quagmire of confusion. I tried opening a card with an airline & never activated or used it, but got bill after bill from the issuer – confusing.

    I should probably study today’s basics and learn to use a card responsibly again. Is it possible, do you think, at 67?

  23. Orestis Says:

    Of course, if you were not lucky enough to win this book you could always visit a book swap site like bimbambim and try and get it by swapping a book you no longer want :-)