Synopses & Reviews
What does it mean to be cheap? When is it mature to stow money away and when is it miserly, even Scrooge-like? And how might Americans navigate the economic downturn in an era when everything seems disposable and when credit has felt dangerously unlimited?
In answering these questions, IN CHEAP WE TRUST combines a consideration of cheapness as it relates to personality, lifestyle, and philosophy with a colorful ride through the history of thrift in America, from Ben Franklin and his famous maxims to Hetty Green, the 19th-century millionaire named by Guinness as "the world's most miserly person," to the branding of Jews, Chinese, and other ethnic groups as cheap in order to neutralize the economic competition they represented. Weber also explores contemporary expressions and dilemmas of thrift, from Dumpster-diving to Keynes's "Paradox of Thrift" to today's recession-driven enthusiasm for frugal living.
This is a book in the tradition of Mary Roach and Andrew Solomon--a compulsively readable, popular biography of thrift itself.
"An entertaining, wide-ranging - and very timely - exploration of thrift."--O, The Oprah Magazine
"Lessons steam up from this terrific book about the history of thrift (and spending) in our great country." --Washington Post
"A defense of thrift, but a sincere, inquisitive one."--Slate.com
"A fascinating account of our nation's binge-and-purge cycle of spending and sacrifice."--Fast Company
"What's the fine line between thrift and stinginess, self-control and compulsion, purpose and obsession? Lauren Weber's fresh take on the quirky side of saving and spending couldn't be timelier."
--Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind
About the Author
Lauren Weber was formerly a staff reporter at Reuters and Newsday.
She has also written for the New York Times
, the Los Angeles Times, American Banker
and other publications. A former resident at Yaddo, Lauren graduated from Wesleyan University and was a Knight-Bagehot fellow, a fellowship that invites 10 business journalists each year to study finance and economics at Columbia's Graduate School of Business.
Weber grew up with a father whose creative and eccentric ways of saving money included rationing household toilet paper and developing a gas-saving method of driving in which light pedal taps substituted for full braking.