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'The Wealth of Choices: How the New Economy Puts Power in Your Hands and Money in Your Pocket' by Alan Murray

Books on Business: ‘The Wealth of Choices’

Sunday, February 04, 2001

By the Business Librarians at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh


The Wealth of Choices: How the New Economy Puts Power in Your Hands and Money in Your Pocket

By Alan Murray

Crown Business, 2000


Alan Murray, who hails from the Wall Street Journal, CNBC and public television’s “Washington Week in Review,” creatively blends a smidgen of economics and a dash of practicality to show us how we got into the New Economy in the first place and how we can take advantage of it. This book is characterized by an engaging tone, lucid explanations and a trove of ideas and advice that you can immediately use.

He begins by chronicling the familiar financial maxims of the past (i.e., your home is your nest egg; the bigger the mortgage the better) and explaining why they do not apply in today’s world. To show how the Old Economy has been transformed into the New, he briefly reviews the history of the U.S. economy since 1975, set against the background of his personal experiences. He then concentrates on specific areas that are being revolutionized: shopping, health care, education, jobs, investing, starting a business and retirement.

What today’s economy gives the consumer is far greater access to information and to choices than ever before, with the Internet playing an enormous role. Those not yet ready to commit to e-commerce will find how the Internet can help them make wiser buying decisions in real stores.

Privacy concerns that arise with expanded Internet use are addressed, and the author tells us how to identify secure sites that offer the most protection.

Even to the already Web-savvy, Murray reveals new roles that this enhanced capability can play in our lives. The chapter on health care, for example, recommends sources of health information and questions to ask when considering major medical procedures. However, his discussion of utility deregulation (He uses electrical generation in Pennsylvania!) will have you shaking your head in agreement that the availability of more choices is not necessarily a boon for the consumer.

Although checking this book out of your public library is definitely the best way to read it, you can find much of the content cleverly displayed at wealthofchoices.wsj.com.

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