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Lost and Found by Geneen Roth, Review by the Divorced Breadwinner Mom

Title: Lost and Found: Unexpected Revelations about Food and Money

Author: Geneen Roth

Synopsis: The latest book from Geneen Roth, best known for her teaching about the connections between how we eat and our inner lives, looks at our relationships with money and finds interesting parallels. Drawing upon her own experience of losing her life savings to Bernie Madoff in his well-publicized Ponzi scheme, Ms. Roth also weaves in the experiences of family members, friends, fellow investors, and retreat participants as she examines how we think about, relate to, and use money in our modern times and lives. The book is divided into two key parts:

  1. The Way We Eat is the Way We Spend
  2. Cash and Consciousness

The chapters in each part of the book include stories, observations and questions about elements of our relationships to money and finances, with a particular emphasis on women, though the topics may also have relevance for men. While Ms. Roth is not divorced and does not have children, the topics covered and the questions raised are relevant for all of us, including divorced moms.

Who Would Benefit? If you struggle with how you spend (or hoard) money or go into a blank trance when you try to think about or talk about money, the insights in this book might be helpful. This is not a book about investing or specific money management techniques; instead it is a call to become conscious about how we relate to money and to take responsibility – especially women, and, of necessity, divorced moms – for our own financial well-being.

Why I Picked it Up: My business coach recommended this book to me when we were talking about some ongoing issues I was having with maintaining my own financial well-being. I’d heard Geneen Roth speak on food, but I had not heard of this book and her experiences with her financial health, so I decided to give it a read.

What I Liked: The book is an interesting read, containing lots of details about Ms. Roth’s experiences with money and food from childhood to adulthood, and including her reactions to losing everything to Bernie Madoff. She writes with honesty and depth, and I appreciated the details of her experience even when I couldn’t directly relate to all of them. I particularly liked the questions and observations because I could take them and apply them to my own circumstances and see how they fit or what I might learn from considering them.

What I Didn’t Like: If you are reading the book for anything more than an informational read, it requires that you discipline yourself to stop and consider the questions and scenarios and apply them to your own circumstances. There are no worksheets or specific processes to follow. I don’t consider this a problem or something I didn’t like as much as a note to readers that it’s not a clear cut guide to addressing your own financial issues, at least not directly. Sometimes, though, that’s the best way to become aware when it’s too hard to tackle things head on.

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