Not Oprah’s Book Club: The Soul of Money

Lynne Twist, global development expert and founder of The Soul of Money Institute, pushes readers to get way below the surface when it comes to money, power, and social change in this book, The Soul of Money. In an interview, Twist explains her main approach to digging deep:

Money drives so much about human behavior in the world today, and we can see the adverse consequences in global terms when we look at patterns of violence, oppression and other social, political and economic inequities. At a personal level, we’ve all seen the way money often undermines relationships with family, friends and work associates. Now, more than ever, it’s imperative that we understand our individual relationship with money so that we can begin to align our decisions about money with our deepest core values and highest commitments.

The basic premise of this book–that money can be a force for greatness and a force for evil, depending on our consciousness and behaviors–is incredibly important. Particularly for women, who are socialized to feel estranged from financial power in all kinds of ways, Twist’s unapologetic involvement with fundraising and fighting hunger is an important model.

Having established that, there were times when Twist’s stories felt a bit “law of attraction” to me (ala The Secret). She talks a lot about “energy” and other amorphous forces that influence our relationships with money, and thus, our capacity to make change in the world. I worried that, at times, she took a lot of license interpreting cultures of which she was not a part and underplayed systemic forces that continue to perpetuate wealth preservation and creation among the elite.

But even so, I found this book incredibly valuable. If you are someone interested in the prices of privilege, or even just compelled by the idea of closing the gap between your values and the way you interact with money, Twist offers a unique and radical perspective.

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