Both Brigid Schulte’s best seller, Overwhelmed, and Liaquat Ahamed’s brand new, Money and Tough Love, have been mentioned on Andrew Sorkin’s NY Times book blog, Dealbook.

Here’s a book for the true finance nerd: “Money and Tough Love: On Tour With the I.M.F.,” by Liaquat Ahamed. Mr. Ahamed is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Lords of Finance,” one of the great historical narratives about central bankers. My colleague Joe Nocera called that book “a magisterial work.” Mr. Ahamed’s latest effort is not nearly as ambitious — it is more like a financial travelogue than a full book (it includes pictures) — but it made me interested in the International Monetary Fund, an institution that I never fully appreciated. Most people think the I.M.F. is some kind of financial U.N., but have no real understanding of how it works. “Money and Tough Love” isn’t as rich as “Lords of Finance,” but it is an instructive text. The I.M.F. is, with the exception of central banks, the world’s chief bailout provider. This book isn’t personality-driven — there’s not much new color on Christine Lagarde, the French managing director of the fund — but there is a lot of detail about the inner workings. “This was to be about the troops, not the generals,” he writes early on. Still, it is full of fun anecdotes and telling descriptions. He quotes John Paul Getty saying: “If you owe the bank $100, that’s your problem. But if you owe the bank $100 million, that’s the bank’s problem.”

We don’t like to admit it, but most of us are besieged by all of our commitments to work, family and friends. Brigid Schulte, a reporter for The Washington Post, has written “Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time,” which not only captures the conundrum so many people face but also offers some practical solutions. It’s not a self-help book per se, but I found many of the anecdotes and stories personally instructive. Note: “Overwhelmed” is written in large part for women in the work force — Ms. Schulte writes a lot about her own experiences — but I found it to be just as relevant for me. My biggest takeaway: Try finding activities that force your mind to stop spinning about whatever you’re obsessing over. It’s called “active play.” So instead of going to the gym, for example, Ms. Schulte goes for a trapeze lesson — whatever you were obsessing over before, it’s hard to think of much else when you’re dangling high above a net. In the end, however, she learns, as I did, “the overwhelm never goes away. But you can change how you think about it.”


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