Win a book about work.

In honor of Labor Day I’m giving away three books about the working world — and how to approach it on your own terms. Three books, three winners.

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2005 Pennies © by Mat_the_W

To prepare for my current column at Get Rich Slowly, “25 ways to give (without breaking the bank),” I counted my found money collection. From last December through yesterday, I’ve picked up $13.24 in singles and coins.

Here’s the surprising part: $5.60 of that amount was in dimes. As many as 56 people didn’t bother picking up the 10-cent pieces they dropped. I routinely see dimes in those “need a penny, take a penny” cups at cash registers, too.

Maybe some shoppers added the dimes by mistake, and maybe those who dropped coins didn’t always realize it.

Maybe they just didn’t consider it a big deal — or maybe they were too embarrassed to pick the money back up.

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Instant breast lift.

On the first evening of my recent New York trip I went to the “Bloomers Party,” an event for bloggers aged 45 and up organized by the Boombox Network. It was associated with BlogHer 2012, which I wasn’t attending, but a Boombox publicist invited me anyway. Bless her heart.

As you may recall, the Aug. 10 giveaway was a selection of  intriguing treats that organizers sent home with me. But that’s not all I got.

Each attendee received a goodie bag full of items from party sponsors. The one that startled me the most was a product called Bring It Up instant breast lifts. I am not making that up. I couldn’t make that up. All I could think of was, “Instant breast lifts! Just add wobble!”

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insurance © by Alan Cleaver

(This post is part of the “Life Insurance Movement,” created by Jeff Rose of Good Financial Cents. Just as with his “Roth IRA Movement,” more than 100 PF bloggers committed to write about a single issue on the same day to raise awareness.)

About six years ago I was a midlife college student and in debt after a divorce that had dragged on for two years. During that time I’d been helping my daughter as much as I could as she waited for her disability claim to be approved. (That took two years as well.)

After the divorce I figured to finish my degree on $12,084 per year – a mix of short-term alimony and leftovers from scholarships and grants. I was also determined to keep helping my daughter, since her disability payment covered rent and utilities but not much else.

One evening I had the radio on while I studied. An insurance commercial came on, one that I’d heard before. This time, it clicked: What would happen to Abby if I got hit by a bus tomorrow? I have no savings to leave her.

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Ever wonder why you do (or don’t do) certain things? In “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” (Random House), author Charles Duhigg examines how patterns control our actions — and how those patterns might be thwarted.

It isn’t just the kinds of patterns that make someone like Michael Phelps a winner (although he’s in the book). It’s also about failures that become successes. One of the book’s teasers:

“Marketers at Procter & Gamble study videos of people making their beds. They are desperately trying to figure out how to sell a new product called Febreze, on track to be one of the biggest flops in company history. Suddenly, one of them detects a nearly imperceptible pattern—and with a slight shift in advertising, Febreze goes on to earn a billion dollars a year.”

Tell me you don’t want to win this book, just to find out what that “nearly imperceptible pattern” was — and whether the marketing guy got himself a nice bonus for pointing it out.

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