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I borrowed this book from the public library (first time I have borrowed a book from the library a long time *in fact, I had to get a new library card because it’s been so long!*, better practice my frugal habits right?) via an ebook from my new Kobo.  I set a personal finance goal earlier this year for 2015 to read four personal finance books.  This was available from the public library (immediately) so I downloaded it.  To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to reading it (maybe because there were no holds on it so I thought it would be bad) but it was surprisingly really really good.  I would say one of the best personal finance books I have read in a while.  Now, I haven’t read his first book, apparently this sequel is more focused on family and what happens through life, but apparently the first book is better than the second.

Here’s my review on The Cold Hard Truth on Men, Women, and Money by Kevin O’ Leary:

First of all, who is Kevin O’ Leary?  You might know him from the Dragon’s Den (that’s how I know him) but he is one of Canada’s most successful entrepreneurs.  He created educational software out of his own basement and ended up selling that company (The Learning Company) to Mattel for $4 billion.  He was also on CBC’s Lang and O’ Leary exchange and is now on ABC’s Shark Tank.

What I Liked about The Cold Hard Truth on Men, Women, and Money

  • I liked Kevin O’ Leary’s no nonsense ways.
  • It was an easy read and I really found myself wanting to read more and more.  I read it in 4 hours (thanks Kobo for keeping track of how fast I read books!).
  • I liked that he was pretty funny in the book, in fact, I “laughed out loud” while reading parts of the book, something I rarely do… for example, in regards to flowers for weddings, he says might as well fold $5000 into origami shapes and then proceed to light that money on fire because that’s pretty much what you’re doing when you spend $5000 for flowers at a wedding.
  • I really liked that he shared about his life, I liked that he shared his stories, how he became who he became, his thoughts, and also the pictures from when he was growing up– I think it really added a personal touch to the book and made him very personable (something that is not the case from what I remember on The Dragon’s Den!)

What I Did Not Like about The Cold Hard Truth on Men, Women, and Money

  • There wasn’t much that I didn’t like
  • There were some suggestions that were a little extreme, such as not getting a pet because they are money pits.  Or not getting an engagement ring because it is a waste of money (I’m sure a lot of people agree with him though)… I think there has to be some “give and take” I mean, if you really like animals and you don’t get a pet, what’s there to bring you joy?  I suppose he has different values 🙂

Some Key Points From The Cold Hard Truth on Men, Women, and Money

  • I liked how he suggested using a low interest credit card when shopping online (to protect you against Internet fraud etc.)
  • I liked how he made the analogy that the first stages of credit card debt (e.g. that first late payment) is akin to a cancer cell, it is hard to get rid of and grows and grows
  • Interesting that he labels “Ghost Money” (e.g. daily lattes, daily lunches) which is similar to the Latte Factor
  • I liked how he said never invest more than 5% of your portfolio in one single stock and never invest more than 20% of your portfolio in one sector
  • Which includes “home” (or real estate) and it should be less than 20% of your portfolio
  • Don’t lend money to family or friends, and watch out for yourself (e.g. your own retirement) before you think about your childrens
  • He will teach you how to spot a gold digger 🙂

Readers, have you read this book?  Or the book before that?  What did you think?

Article comments

Chris says:

I actually have not read the book because I find Kevin O’Leary annoying. He comes across an an blowhard know-it all and I have little patience for that. He may very well be a great guy, and his persona on TV may very well be an act, but I don’t enjoy his “I’m smarter than you” perspective, and therefore would not read his book. It may be enlightening, but I’ll get my information from other sources.

Kyle says:

Fair enough Chris. I read somewhere that Kev spent some time in production with Don Cherry early in his career. It explains a lot right?

I really miss Kevin O’Leary on Dragon’s Den. It’s just not the same without him. Although he takes to take things to the extreme, I agree with a lot of his points. Too bad I have 80% of my net worth invested in real estate. I don’t see how you can’t be top-heavy when you’re buying in an expensive market like Toronto or Vancouver. All I can say is this is my last house for a long time!

BeachBoy says:

I personally didn’t like the book.
I have read tons of books and a few on other dragons/sharks. I found the book too simplistic. I wante dmore of learnng about him and less of easy cookie cutter advices.