A few months ago, I was contacted by someone at Rand Publishing to see if I would be interested in receiving “proof” copies of a couple of books by Jim Randel:
“The Skinny On the Housing Crisis”
“The Skinny On Credit Cards”
The “skinny” part refers to the fact that the books are actually a VERY quick read . Each of them can easily be completed in under an hour. In essence, they are graphic novels, which is the latest term for comic books, I think. Each of the books follows a fictional stick figure couple as they learn about the topic at hand.
I left them sitting on my desk a bit longer than I had originally intended, but I recently read both of them in one evening. Here are my thoughts/impressions of each of them.
THE SKINNY ON CREDIT CARDS
Bottom line: This book gives some very solid tips about getting out of consumer debt. I think it would be a great gift for a teenager or a young adult who is getting started financially. Come to think of it, it would probably be a welcome lesson for a lot of people that I know.
All of the information is presented in a way that makes it very easy to digest and understand. Additionally, it is at a similar level to the Dummies books, meaning that you don’t have to have much previous knowledge to benefit here. Having heard many financial gurus over the years, I think this is one of the better plans for becoming debt-free (or for staying out of debt in the first place).
THE SKINNY ON THE HOUSING CRISIS
The other book, which focuses on the recent collapse of the housing market, is also very informative. Randel did a great job of explaining the mortgage process, which would certainly help any first-time buyers to better evaluate what they are getting into these days.
Overall, Randel’s analysis of the crash that occurred beginning in late 2006 was a solid one. Of particular interest to me was how Randel would address real estate agents and their role in the crisis (since I have been in real estate for over 12 years now). He notes correctly that the commission structure could induce agents to do things that are not necessarily in their client’s best interest.
Randel makes three interesting points that I think are worth mentioning here:
- There are simply too many real estate agents. This has probably shifted back toward a more manageable number since the book was published last year.
- Real estate agents operate in an “all-or-nothing” compensation model. I actually addressed this very topic in a previous post earlier this year which garnered a lot of attention and some terrific discussions: How many other professionals work on contingency ALL THE TIME? A sincere look at the real estate business model
- Real estate agents want the same respect as other professionals, but the licensing/training requirements don’t really keep the less desirable elements out of the business. This last statement really requires no further explanation.
I would definitely recommend checking out both of these books if you have a chance. The ebooks are available for just $9.95 each, and the hard copies are $14.95 + shipping. Both of them can be found right here: http://www.jimrandel.com/.
Thanks for reading!