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Welcome new readers

If you're a new reader, welcome. Here's a quick guide to get started on this site (including popular articles). If you still haven't bought your Christmas gifts, you can get an instant download of my ebook, Ramit's 2007 Guide to Kicking Ass. Thanks and Happy Holidays.

What’s the difference between these two images?

Look closely. My friend got both of these offers mailed to him recently. * * * (Click to see larger photos.) Notice the different offers, the different designs, even the salutation "Dear ___." This is how real marketing is done--not by handwavy marketers saying "I think red is better!" but by actual, rigorous data analysis. Many sophisticated web sites use split tests to see ...

Have some cookies and a 177% APR

Angela writes: I guessed that this was a credit card offer and opened it anyway. As I scanned down and saw the APR, I assumed it was a misprint, so I calculated it myself. Its not a misprint, they really are charging that much. And the collection arrangements sound interesting too. Sigh. Yet another example of targeting poor people and ...

2 seconds to trade!!!

Ari writes: Easy to get caught up in the "excitement" of trading stock when you can time the market down to the second. Too bad quibbling about who has the fastest trades entirely avoids the question of whether you should be trying to market time at all. Send other interesting personal-finance pics to

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Here are 50 books I recommend

I get a lot of emails wondering what books I read, so I decided to make a list of them. Here are 50 of my favorite books in personal finance, social psychology, entrepreneurship, and design. Each one has been pretty influential to me. Check them out. Note: This damn Amazon thing was the easiest way out there, but it still ...

Look at this sign I saw in San Francisco

I saw this on King St. in SF while driving a little while ago: What pictures do you have of funny/weird/interesting personal-finance things? Maybe a hairdresser with $200 haircuts, or a homeless man trying to find $1 to eat, or the bill when you last went out with your friends? Send them to me and I'll feature them ...