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Summary

An extraordinarily candid personal account of the ups and downs wrought by money, We Need to Talk About Money is a vital exploration of stories and issues that will be familiar to most. This is a book about toxic workplaces and misogynist men, about getting pay rises and getting evicted. About class and privilege and racism and beauty. About shame and pride, compulsion and fear.

In unpicking the shroud of secrecy surrounding money - who has it, how they got it and how it shapes our lives - this boldly honest account of one woman’s journey upturns countless social conventions and uncovers some startling truths about our complex relationships with money in the process.

©2021 Otegha Uwagba (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"In this compelling book, Otegha confronts the British aversion to discussing money and in doing so reveals she is one of the most original and talented young writers we have." (Sathnam Sanghera, author of Empireland)

"A brilliant book that moved, amused, challenged and made me re-evaluate my own relationship with money. Otegha Uwagba writes with real intelligence and insight about the things many of us suspect but leave unsaid. A must-read." (Elizabeth Day, author of How to Fail

"One of the most original and talented young writers we have." (Sathnam Sanghera)

"A must-read." (Elizabeth Day) 

"A beautiful, searingly personal account of a world defined by money, full of courage and truth telling." (Owen Jones) 

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Written by a privileged person...

who writes with the narrative that she is not. I feel like it comes from a "woe is me" perspective and lacks authenticity to what it really means to be under privileged

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beautiful, painful reminder of why this matters

I saw myself in this book. Specifically having grown up frightened of poverty, I shook at how similar this story is to me and so many women of colour I know. I started the book looking for financial advice and ended it understanding myself so much more. Thank you for this.

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I really wanted to like this book, but....

I really wanted to like this book...but I just didn't. I bought it after hearing the author interviewed on 'The Guilty Feminist' and liked the interview and the premise of the book.

Early on, the book makes some good points and has some interesting observations. But, the author is just soooo whiny. Her self-entitlement reaches a crescendo around chapter 10. I think my biggest problem with the book is that despite clearly defining the difference between social capital, cultural capital and actual capital (money) early in the book, she remains mystified and aggrieved that "education, education, education" (good grades and virtue) doesn't equal money and property. It's like some sort of weird form of a social/cultural purity test, where she thinks that being bright and hard-working and 'doing all the right things' make you 'worthy' of home-ownership. When instead, what you need to purchase a house is cash (earned, inherited, borrowed). It's not a moral test.

It also doesn't appear to have occurred to her that the people who gave her this unfounded financial advice were both degree-educated, working full-time, living in a council flat and poor. She has confused smarts and a work ethic with cold, hard cash. Completely bizarre, given she attended a private school in the City of London and then Oxbridge. It really feels like the anger of someone who has built their life on the received wisdom of a particular narrative they were fed as a child, and then discovered, as an adult, that it is not true and the world does not, in fact, work that way.

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The conversation starter we needed

I can’t rate this audiobook highly enough. It’s come at a crunch time, with so many money-related life choices made harder by a succession of societal issues. While I know that I’m not the only one worrying about buying my first home and building a business in the midst of a pandemic, it’s so rarely openly discussed, either with friends or in wider spaces. In this book, Otegha takes that first brave step to lay her cards on the table, inviting us all to do the same, in the hope that transparency will highlight the way for everyone to earn what they deserve and buy their own home in the not too distant future. Read it and share it.