Book Reviews

Anne Arundel County, Maryland

Life is Uncertain… Eat Dessert First
Finding the Joy You Deserve
By Sol Gordon & Harold Brecher (Hardcover)
ISBN 0-385-29899-4
Book Review

I like the title most of all.

If you do nothing but read the title and think what this book could encompass, you would gain from it.

I actually did that. I had heard term “Eat dessert first,” spoken by a local talk show host Ron Smith on WBAL in the Baltimore area probably a month ago. I pondered that question he posed to us in the form of laughing comment about how nothing can be guaranteed when it comes to the future, except death. One day I decided to find out if a book by this title existed since Ron is very well read. Apparently there are two with this phrase in the title, the other written by Steve Wilson. The one at the library was by Sol Gordon & Harold Brechner, so I read this one.

So what is great about this book? The healthy use of anecdotes makes the book enjoyable to read. His approach adds a personal touch not found in many self-help books as they talk of theory and processes rather than give insight through storytelling and humor.

Money is where Gordon creates a compelling analysis of how it isn’t money that creates joy or lack of it, but instead how it is spent. Admittedly, I focus on this area, but find his examples the gem, though others exist, I was looking for in this book.

Mortality therapy is an excellent concept that the author described in detail. Rather than having to face your mortality through a health problem or a near tragedy, it seems that his approach can shake loose the fear of death that prevents joy. He also uses this approach to get the penny-pinchers to shake loose their fear-of-death-grip on their hoard of savings.

I will follow the advice of the author and save the less enjoyable for last, those things that took away my joy in reading.

I found his suggestions that negativism pushes out positive thoughts common in many other self-improvement books, though Gordon has given his specific insight on how to end this habit.

He uses coined terms like “Joystification,” that tend to annoy focused readers. Is he is being cute or trying to cause a shift in thought. I think cute is the more probable intent and so is the outcome, which causes me to jump pages and chapters. So I guess this proves I need some joy management myself since cute word creation can take my joy when reading.

The author mentions that the title can be taken as a metaphor for life so possibly he justified including some trivial things as a balance, as in life.

He included filler in a few chapters such as at the end where dessert recipes were included.

I normally can’t sit through a book like this, seemingly a feel good primer that melds serious philosophy with catchy humor. It is a skimmer at first glance, but is worthy of reading.

This book on audiocassette or compact disk would be an easier way to get everything from it.

Take those things you find useful in the book and put them to use. I found a few there for me.

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You can find it at your local libary or at

Disclaimer: Please consult a financial professional for your specific retirement objectives. The ideas presented here are for informational purposes only and do not represent legal or professional advice. Make any financial decisions at your own risk.

Reprinted with permission given by the reviewer: Brent Herrick

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