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In this compelling, heartwarming parable, Bach and his bestselling coauthor John David Mann (The Go-Giver) tell the story of Zoey, a twenty-something woman living and working in New York City. Like many young professionals, Zoey is struggling to make ends meet under a growing burden of credit card and student loan debt, working crazy hours at her dream job but still not earning enough to provide a comfortable financial cushion. At her boss’s suggestion, she makes friends with Henry, the elderly barista at her favorite Brooklyn coffee shop.
Henry soon reveals his “Three Secrets to Financial Freedom,” ideas Zoey dismisses at first but whose true power she ultimately comes to appreciate. Over the course of a single week, Zoey discovers that she already earns enough to secure her financial future and realize her truest dreams—all she has to do is make a few easy shifts in her everyday routine.
The Latte Factor demystifies the secrets to achieving financial freedom, inspiring you to realize that it’s never too late to reach for your dreams. By following the simple, proven path that Henry shows Zoey, anyone can make small changes today that will have big impact for a lifetime, proving once again that “David Bach is the financial expert to listen to when you’re intimidated by your finances”
This story is a fictional narrative of how an ordinary person, with an ordinary income and life, can make extraordinary decisions about how to live their life and ultimately live the life of their dreams. As such, whit is not a normal non-fiction David Bach book, but a parable. The last 25% of the book includes charts that support the theme of the parable.
3rd person limited, Zoey
Wisdom prevails when Zoey learns that she is already rich
Object of Desire
Zoey wants to earn more money; Zoey needs to be financially free
Obligatory Scenes (Worldview)
An Inciting Opportunity of Challenge: Zoey is burdened with student loans and credit card debt
Protagonist denies responsibility to respond to the opportunity or challenge: Zoey questions Henry’s advise and listens to her friend Jeffrey and her mom.
Forced to respond, the Protagonist lashes out against requirement to change behavior: Zoey listens to everything Henry says, but ultimately thinks that she needs to take the higher paying stressful job to make her life better
Protagonist learns what their external Antagonist’s Object of Desire is: The antagonist is the society that promotes this way of life, and she learns that those around her live that life and so embrace it and can’t escape and influence others to live the life of debt (friends inviting her to lunch and out for after work drinks that she can’t afford)
Protagonist’s initial strategy to outmaneuver antagonist fails: Zoey caves to her friend’s judges to take the new job at her company
During an All is Lost Moment, Protagonist realizes they must change their black/ white view of the world to allow for life’s irony: While on her deathbed, her mom makes Zoey promise not to settle in life
The action moment is when the protagonist’s gifts are expressed as acceptance of an imperfect world: Zoey takes the steps suggested by Henry, sets up her 401K and automatic savings plans
The Protagonist’s loss of innocence is rewarded with a deeper understanding of the universe: Zoey gets closer to her mom in the last six months of her life and her dad after her mom’s death, goes on her vacations, learns photography. Her gift is that she is richer than she thinks, and she can be rich on her income doing what she loves.
Strong Mentor: Henry
Big Social Problem: Not having enough money
Shapeshifters as hypocrites: mom
Clear Point of no return: after her mom makes her promise not to settle in life
Ironic win-but-lose or lose-but-win bittersweet ending: mother dies of cancer, but Zoey gets to spend quality time with her and life her dream life in the end
Zoey is in oppressing debt when her friends gets her an interview for a higher paying, more stressful, and less fulfilling job which she pursues in order to overcome her debt problems.
Zoey meets a barrister named Henry who mentors her that she already makes enough money to meet her needs if she just thinks about money a different way, but she remains set in her beliefs that she needs more money to be free.
On the verge of telling her boss that she wants to quit to take the other job, she finds out that her mother has cancer, and while visiting her mother in the hospital, her mother tells her not to settle in life. Zoey decides then to follow the advice of Henry and sets everything in motion to reach the financial freedom that Henry said can be hers.
Zoey returns to work, sets up her 401K and automatic savings dream accounts and credit card payments on automatic, and asks her boss for 6 weeks vacation every year. He mother dies of cancer, but Zoey is able to spend quality time with her beforehand, and she starts spending quality time with her father. 3 years later she is living her life on her terms, eradicating debt slowly and saving for retirement.
What I liked
1. Everyman/ woman idea overcoming their financial problems
2. I like the parable and the narrative is told well
3. The ending has a bittersweet ending, her mother passing away, so it’s not all rainbows and butterflies
What I didn’t like or thought could have made the book better
1. I almost want to say it could have gone a few more chapters and shown the struggle to keep on the right track, the temptation to take money out of your accounts to address emergencies and the alternate options during those times. No doubt her mother would have large medical bills that her dad would need help to take care of, so there are some real issues that will plague her until her mother’s death, and more bills that she will have to pay after it is all over. I think there was an opportunity to show those difficult decisions that people have to make in the real world.
If you want to learn more about writing a story using the Story Grid methodology, go to the Story Grid Webpage to find free videos and articles on how to implement the methodology.
These articles contain information about the 5 Commandments of Storytelling and the Editor’s 6 Core Questions from the book The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne. They also give details on obligatory scenes and conventions for specific genres, such as the thriller, love story, war story, crime story, and more.
For an example of how these techniques are used, read Jane Austin’s The Pride and the Prejudice with annotations by Shawn Coyne.