A few years out of college, Sarah Sparkman was struggling with debt. She pored over personal finance books, but says the advice was impractical and the tone often judgmental.

Then she came across Elizabeth Warren’s book.

First published in 2005 and written with her daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi, “All Your Worth” popularized a simple budget plan: 50% on needs, 30% on wants and 20% on savings.

Sparkman checked the audio version out of her library -- savings: $12 -- in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and listened as Warren and Tyagi offered advice, sprinkled with arguments that the rules of the financial system had made it harder for everyday Americans to get ahead.

For thousands of readers, Warren’s book on personal finance was their introduction to the Democratic presidential candidate, then best known as a Harvard professor who studied bankruptcy. Long before Candidate Warren had a plan for everything from cradle to grave, Professor Warren had a plan for getting your own finances under control.

The book also previewed the campaign she’s run so far: A nuts-and-bolts plan to deal with the large structural problems facing the American middle class with a folksy, can-do optimism.

“What I liked about Elizabeth Warren’s book was that it acknowledged that there are flaws in the system, that it’s more difficult to get on top than for our parents’ generation,” Sparkman said. “She didn’t treat it as a moral failing.”

The advice lines up neatly with her campaign: “All Your Worth” tells readers to pay off debt; the Warren campaign wants to cancel $640 billion of student loans.

The book advises keeping the cost of necessities such as child care below half of your income; the campaign wants to ensure that no family spends more than 7% of its income on child care. “All Your Worth” advises black and Hispanic homebuyers to watch out for racial bias; the campaign wants to create a down-payment assistance program for areas that faced racial discrimination in mortgages.

The book led some readers to support the Warren campaign. Jackie Spano read “All Your Worth” at the start of the Great Recession in 2009 to learn more about personal finance, but found herself appreciating the asides where Warren criticized big banks and credit card companies.

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