In The Total Money Makeover best-selling author and radio talk show host Dave Ramsey provides tough but achievable goals for the "fiscally flabby." The first five chapters are a wade through Ramsey's typical rants against denial (things can't be that bad, can they?) and his biggest enemy debt. Then readers are introduced to his "baby step" program. Step one is socking away $1,000 cash for the inevitable rainy day, while step two involves a "debt snowball" that pays off the smallest debt first for a quick morale booster. Everything but the house must be paid off before putting away more emergency cash and investing for retirement. The next steps are starting an education fund and turbocharging your mortgage payments. Ramsey admits his plan is ambitious; he expects the first two steps to take at least two years. Waiting this long to start investing may not be a great idea, and his opposition to debt is sometimes unrealistic. However, dozens of followers share stories in the book of how Ramsey's no-nonsense plan has worked for them. His tough-love approach is perfect for cutting through excuses and may be just the push you need to whip your personal balance sheet into shape.

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