Personal Finance and Investing
The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins – Collins created his popular stock series that I have been sending to friends for years. His book puts that series in an easy to read format with much appreciated additional content. Collins is a huge fan of Vanguard mutual funds and his investing method is the simplest way to get rich. No gimmicks. Save as much as you can (ideally 50-80% of your income) and invest much of it in VTSAX. Once you’ve invested 25 times what you spend in a year, you are financially independent. If you think investing is too scary and complicated, read this book.
Early Retirement Extreme by Jacob Lund Fisker – The best personal finance book I’ve ever read. If you’re not familiar with extreme saving, this could change your life. It’s packed with ideas to get you thinking how you can save 50-75% or more of your income. You do not have to live as extreme at Fiskar to learn from his methods. Written like a textbook, Fisker takes a complete utilitarian approach to everything he owns and does.
The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing by Taylor Larimore – Bogleheads’ is named after John Bogle, the founder of Vanguard and godfather of index investing. I’m a big fan of index investing since I don’t like thinking too much and think picking individual stocks should be reserved for people much smarter than myself. I love the diversification of owning thousands of companies for just a few dollars. This book is a little long winded but it will convince you that index investing should be the method most investors choose.
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey – Since I’ve never had a meaningful amount of debt, I’m a little late to the game when it comes to this book. After reading through it, I’ve bought a handful of copies for family and friends. If your debt will take more than a year to pay off, you should at least skim through this book to improve your plan. Most people in debt are far too passive about it. Ramsey inspires you to pay it off like your hair’s on fire. He approaches getting out of debt the way I approach reaching financial independence.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo – The best non-investing book I’ve read all year. Previous generations are known to be hoarders because they grew up poor and didn’t want to throw anything away just in case they needed it at some point! Kondo puts this to rest and tells you to only keep items that “bring you joy.” She also breaks down how to organize the items that you decide to keep. Being tidy is extremely helpful on your journey to personal and financial independence! After reading this book I donated a couple of bags of clothing and other items that I didn’t really need.
Job Free: Four Ways to Quit the Rat Race by Jake Desyllas – Desyllas hosts a podcast called “The Voluntary” where is produces weekly thoughts and interviews on personal and financial freedom. A strong libertarian, he quit the “rat race” early in life after selling a business he created. In Job Free, Desyllas breaks down four ways you can quit the rat race with real life examples. My wife and I have been following the “extreme savings” path for a the past few years.
Vagabonding by Rolf Potts – Everyone should try to travel often and far. After reading this book you will agree. Potts discusses the philosophy of travel and why it’s important to our lives . This may not be practical for all but it will at least get you thinking about your next adventure. I used to consider myself a “vagabond” and I look forward to the day when I can become one once again!
How to Travel the World on $50 a Day by Matt Kepnes – Travel is usually on the top of everyone’s bucket list. I’ve been telling people for many years that traveling is cheap. I worked abroad from 2009-2012 and spend time in 15 different countries throughout that time. Matt is much more extreme than me and shows you easy ways you can travel for cheap including travel hacking your flights, staying in hostels and eating the local cuisine.
Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss – This is the best negotiating book I’ve ever read. Voss is a former FBI hostage negotiator so he’s dealt with the most stressful of situations. He explains in simple steps what puts people at ease. You will learn proven tactics to negotiate everything in your life from your salary to car value to the amount of rent you’ll pay. This book dispels some old negotiating myths as well. Highly recommended.
Health and Fitness
Get Serious by Dr. Brett Osborn – A neurosurgeon’s guide to health and fitness at any age. Dr. Osborn explains the five exercises you need to perform for optimal strength and fat loss. Some of the scientific terms went over my head so I will have to continue to re-read and reference. Also a great overview of supplements you should be taking. I picked up some Omega-3 pills hours after reading.
The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf – We all know that government has been lying to you with their food pyramid. The best way to lose fat and get fit is by going back to the caveman days and significantly reducing your grains.
Starting Strength by Mark Rippletoe – If you’re weak as hell but looking to get bigger and stronger, you should pick up this book. The basic moves and programs will give you a solid base and improve your confidence. My recommendation would be to hire an excellent trainer for a few of hours to learn how to squat, bench and deadlift properly. It’s amazing how strong you get once you start doing a strength training workout. An excellent alternative is StrongLifts which provides a similar, free program with an excellent phone app.