Local Dollars, Local Sense

Michael Shuman explains how moving your money from Wall Street to Main Street is a sound business decision –– not just for the investor, but for the future and vitality of our communities.

249 pages. ©2012.
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Reader Reviews for this Book


Review posted February 1, 2023


I felt that the content of this book was now or would very quickly be out of date.


Review posted October 26, 2022


This one was checked out the day we received it. I had shared the order with the community and immediately had a local non-profit ask to read it. Awesome!


Review posted January 20, 2022


This was a great read. It explains the intricacies of how spending money locally supports the local community. I would highly recommend it.


Review posted June 3, 2021


Loved the personal stories! Really interesting about the opportunities investing in myself and my community.


Review posted June 13, 2019


Interesting perspective, more birds-eye view of main street investment


Review posted July 17, 2018


This is not an easy read however for those wishing to pull their money out of wall street and invest it in main street it is key.


Review posted June 12, 2018


excellent book for anyone looking for information on how to keep your local economy strong and engaged. it strengthens desire to promote a sense of local pride and how to attract others in this movement to improve and maintain our local businesses. keeping monies in your town can and does make a difference in how well your community thrives.


Review posted February 25, 2018


An excellent and engaging summary of the options available for creating local investment opportunities, but perhaps a little out-dated at this point. Many of the case-studies in the book were relatively new experiments, so the discussion was more about possibility than tried-and-true strategies. It'd be interesting to see a decennial follow-up.


Review posted February 8, 2018


This writing showed me the amazing ways to not only invest in our local community businesses but also gave so many amazing examples that are trending in this direction.

Richard LaPlante

Review posted September 26, 2017


This writing opened my eyes in an amazing way to not only the need to invest in our local community businesses in lieu of big corporate America but also gives many examples that are trending in this direction already and steps we can take to make this transition.


Review posted September 19, 2017


I always seem to invest in paying off my bills vs investing in myself. I found Chapter 10 Investing in Yourself was helpful and gives me the options of how to invest my money and make it grow instead of paying off the debt first. Warren Buffett, says, "Nobody ever goes broke that doesn't owe money." Besides being expensive and self-destructive, credit card debt winds up sucking money out of your community and into the hands of distant banks, back offices, and collection agencies...Like most Americans we got hooked on easy credit. Page 210


Review posted December 9, 2016


Despite my having worked in the investment banking industry, this book was awash in details about how the regulatory structure designed to "protect" investors makes it almost impossible for "ordinary" people to own shares in a local enterprise. The costs of equity investing mean that only very large concerns can offer stock, and only "registered" specialists - broker-dealers - may do transactions. Those of us who are "unqualified" investors have slim pickin's, indeed, when it comes to local businesses, which are typically family- or closely-held companies. Because these smaller enterprises are fleet of foot, innovative, or even lucky in the timing of their products or services, they have the potential to earn stake-holders very substantial returns, even with the risks involved. Then two sad things usually happen: their very success often means they might not be able to raise enough capital to grow sufficiently to maintain success, or to insure their success, they wind up selling the business to a large corporation - cashing out - so that their "local" quality may be lost. This is a must-read for people involved in promoting community vitality. The public is very ready to "invest," especially when returns are pumped into their own communities. They just don't have the opportunity to do so at the ownership (stock) level at present. What this book does is spell out some ways forward - and examples of folks who are doing just that - to make it possible for ordinary folks to invest locally. One can only hope that some of the books suggestions gain a hearing by people who can influence change in the regulatory environment. Linda Yoder, Florence, OR


Review posted September 20, 2016


Maybe it’s living in Portland. Maybe it’s working for an independent bookstore in a neighborhood with a great community focus. Maybe it’s just growing older and wanting my actions to make a positive impact but I’ve just gravitated towards the idea and movement of thinking/buying/living (or at least trying to) local. This book advocates just that and talks about the benefits of investing in Main Street rather than Wall Street. We may have overcomplicated our lives with technology but this book presents a back to basics approach. While some chapters or topics may not be as interesting as others or give a-ha moments like some, definitely consider each ideas and try to apply them into your life.


Review posted July 17, 2016


At first I thought the book was offering only "big" steps to take. Upon closer examination, I learned the steps could be broken down into smaller ones. I don't have to try to start a co-op in my town, I can try out another one first to see if I like it.


Review posted June 7, 2016


The title says it all: this book is loaded with ideas and ways to invest locally. It starts with some background of why it is so difficult for small, "unaccredited" investors due to federal laws in place since before World War II. The regulatory and reporting requirements put on small business interested in local investment capital is prohibitively expensive. Every chapter describes a method of investing and describes people and organizations exemplifying that particular method. The book is well-written and easy to follow in that it is not too technical or full of jargon. The material is so extensive and dense, for lack of a better word, that I could only read and absorb a chapter at a time. The author definitely has what I call a progressive political slant, but taken with a grain of salt, it doesn't get in the way of the information. I am motivated by the book to start investing in my community with cooperatives, crop shares, and buying locally. I plan to read more books by this author.


Review posted May 29, 2016


An inspiring reminder of how we can reclaim our local economies. I also really enjoyed Shuman's other book available on Select Books called The Small-Mart Revolution.


Review posted May 19, 2016


Very helpful and resourceful


Review posted May 10, 2016


great book.


Review posted February 27, 2016


Local Dollars, Local Sense got me thinking about money in a way similar to how I think about local food. Money seems so impersonal, so universal, that thinking about how I invest (not just through spending, but through investment strategies) my dollars just didn't hit me as a way to impact my local economy. Additionally (and again, similar to local food), I didn't realize that this is another instance of the scalability of regulations being skewed towards big business. Rewriting regulations to create avenues for local investing could reshape our world in much the way that regulations to support small-scale, local food could change the game - by putting trust in people and their relationships, rather than in forms, process and impersonal decision making. I really enjoyed how much this book got me thinking.


Review posted November 30, 2015


This book was a great book for those who wish to shop and keep money in their local community. There are great tools and resources provided in this book that can allow others to see what shopping in a local community and keeping money in local banks compared to big banks can do for a community. I would definable recommend this book to anyone who wishes to boost their community in their own way.


Review posted June 2, 2015


It was a great read. It really focused my attention on how to foster wealth locally. I am now investigating some of these models in my job. Thank you!

Nikki Scott

Review posted March 11, 2015


Not very well written book, but I appreciated the point the author is trying to make. I especially enjoyed the last chapter about investing in the community by first investing in yourself. It was nice to see a different investing approach other than the stock market. I found the graphs and examples against stock market investing very helpful. I plan on implementing many of the ideas presented by the Mr Schuman his book.