I picked up a copy of Peace and Plenty: Finding Your Path to Financial Serenity from my boss. I had also received The Total Money Makeover and Think and Grow Rich from her, so I had pretty high expectations of this book being full of applicable advice geared towards women, since most books about money management are not.
I think the problem was that I didn’t know what type of woman this book was geared towards. Apparently, Ban Breathnach’s advice is indispensable to women who fill their heads with lavender-scented visions of designer finds and fine furniture, and are constantly comforting themselves with a cup of hot tea. I love tea, but I am not sure what drinking tea has to do with me getting out of debt and managing my money better. It also doesn’t help that her writing style is weepy and sentimental and I don’t like being referred to as “sweetheart” from within the pages of a popular finance book.
I won’t deny that I didn’t finish this book. It would have been a waste of time. As one reviewer on Amazon put it, it’s hard to take this woman seriously when she advocates Simple Abundance but she clearly didn’t believe a word of it herself (after blowing through several million dollars from the proceeds of the book on an English estate, an army of personal assistants, and probably about 8,000 pounds of chamomile and green tea imported from remote regions of Asia). Stop talking about tea and tell me something useful.
In any case, I wanted to share some of the most ludicrous passages I found just skimming through this book. Keep in mind that this book is supposed to be about financial serenity, women and money.
Ridiculous Quotes and Advice from Sarah Ban Breathnach in Peace and Plenty
“If you’ve been crying on and off, dab your face with some [cucumber and chamomile tea rinse], rinse with cool water, and then pat your face dry with your softest towel.”
“Crying jags also leave us headachy.”
“…Gradually we’ll consciously make room in our busy days for restorative indulgences, elegant economies, and other bijou morsels of ecstasy: the charm of home comforts – pocketbook suppers, pin money stashes, or the morale of new curtains.”
“I take a pretty Tiffany-blue eleven-by-fourteen-inch box….Inside are all kinds of things that make me smile – clippings from different magazines…fabric swatches, photographs,brochures, a rapturous curl of salmon-colored silk ribbon.” (This is what she calls her Contentment Chest, which comes up again soon)
“Be on the search for a pleasing lidded box.” <———— (This one was my favorite. Can you imagine? Someone comes to her for financial advice, and she says, “Hmm, maybe you should be on the search for a LIDDED BOX! To keep all your bills in! I don’t have any financial advice, I spend all my money on teas and overpriced shabby chic crap!”
“So this is what I do to snap out of misery while I’m waiting for the tea to brew. I go to the kitchen counter, where I keep my scrapbooking basket…I open the Contentment Chest and select one magazine clipping.”
“Having special hand towels in the bathrooms and special tea towels in the kitchen fills you with feelings of contentment [….] You’ll be surprised how much whimsy, style, and elegance you can create with two hand towels.”
Now that I see all these quotes in one place, I am convinced that Ban Breathnach is a complete headcase. But still, in the interest of kindness: Dear Ms. Ban Breathnach, if you are reading this, you should be congratulated for completing a book. It is no small feat and one I hope to accomplish myself someday. I bet you would do great in the romance genre.