Sheer lack of thrift has caused more financial failures than anything else. How many men there are to-day who might have become wealthy had they only known how to save money! During the course of their careers they have earned large sums, but these have slipped from their fingers from day to day. They had the natural gift of making money, just as their successful rivals, but they lacked the quality of permanent success-which is thrift. -from "Money-Making and Money-Saving" The United States in the late 1910s was a nation reeling economically from the cost of fighting World War I, a cost that was ultimately borne-according to Simon William Straus, president of the American Society for Thrift-through a prudent parsimony. Here, he entreats the nation not to forget this vital lesson of the war, and to begin a new battle against the "crime of wastefulness."
No mere matter of simply saving money, thrift is, Straus explains, the strength of character to spend wisely and with a thought toward the future, toward conserving natural resources, and toward freedom from the shackles of mindless consumerism-Straus' wise and sensible philosophy positions thrift as a necessary cornerstone of morality and patriotism. As startling relevant today as it was in 1920, when Straus laid out his plan for a frugal America, this is a book to make us reconsider, as individuals and as a nation, our financial strategies and priorities.