The end of the year is the time when most businesses close out their books, and the time when most of us think about our own financials in terms of what we’d like to do differently, financially speaking, next year.

Whether your New Year’s resolutions involve making more money, spending less, saving and investing more aggressively better, or paying off your credit cards, one of my favorite personal finance books of 2012 is sure to be of great help.

Image courtesy of Tarcher/Penguin.

1: "The Prosperous Heart: Creating a Life of ‘Enough’"
Author: Julia Cameron and Emma Lively
Publisher: Tarcher/Penguin, 2012; 240 pages; $25.95

First, Cameron and Lively reset readers’ understanding of prosperity as a spiritual matter, not a monetary one, carving out a new definition of prosperity as having faith, satisfaction and "enough" — "having a life beyond need and worry." Then, they provide a set of five tools to help readers generate this expanded sense of prosperity. Finally, Cameron and Lively provide a 12-week course in prosperity, touching on everything from:

  • inventorying and examining your spending habits, money fears, relationships and past losses;
  • trusting in a higher power and in yourself to provide for your wants and needs; and
  • practicing kindness, forgiveness and velocity — the authors’ term for not too little and not too much action.

Image courtesy of Random House Inc.

2. "Rebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to Success"
Author: Rick Newman
Publisher: Ballantine Books, 2012; 256 pages; $26

Resilience, financially and otherwise, is the subject of U.S. News and World Report journalist Rick Newman’s new, hopeful and useful book.

The meat of "Rebounders" is a series of detailed stories of figures in business, politics, philanthropy and culture — stories of rebounders who experienced and recovered from all manner of devastating failures and traumatic disasters on their paths to achieving an assortment of heroics, from becoming our national heroes, like Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, to helming companies such as Pandora and Netflix. Newman uses these stories to surface dozens of nuanced insights with the power to spark and call forth the individual flavor of resilience within every reader.

Image courtesy of

3. "How to Be Richer, Smarter and Better-Looking Than Your Parents"
Author: Zac Bissonnette
Publisher: Portfolio/Penguin; 2012; 256 pages; $17

Zac Bissonnette spent his college and post-college years teaching his peers the ins and outs of securing a college education, without racking up the debt that seems to be its inescapable companion in modern-day America.

But Zac’s no longer in college, nor are his peers. So at the ripe old age of 23, Zac is back with a new mission: to provide detours around the many financial traps that ensnare so many newly minted college grads as they embark upon life as "grown-ups."

Image courtesy of Random House Inc.

4. "The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future"
Author: Chris Guillebeau
Publisher: Crown Business, 2012; 304 pages; $23

"The $100 Startup" synthesizes the results of a multiyear study Guillebeau conducted with more than 1,500 owners of super-scrappy, thriving businesses into an action plan for those who have very little or no money, and zero special or professional skills, but have the moxie and motivation to build a business, on the side or otherwise.

But this is not get-rich-quick stuff, nor is it magic. There are repeatable systems and do’s and don’ts for those who want to join the ranks of the microentrepreneurs featured in "The $100 Startup," whether in response to being laid off (like some of those included in the book), or just in an effort to turn their passion into a business

Image courtesy of Macmillan.

5. "The Seven Pearls of Financial Wisdom: A Woman’s Guide to Enjoying Wealth and Power"
Author: Carol Pepper and Camilla Webster
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, 2012; 352 pages; $25.99

What you won’t find in this book is a bunch of charts and graphs and links and bullets and short-attention-span gimmicks or cutesy phrases and acronyms. What you will find in "Seven Pearls," however, is 350-plus pages of straightforward, substantive, visionary, step-by-step guidelines for creating a truly prosperous life, including clear advice for managing your money, business, career, family and romantic relationships, and professional advisers toward that end.

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