4 Books you should absolutely read

Chances are that if you’re reading this blog, you have two things: 1) a desire to improve your financial situation (or simply the subset interest of travel hacking) and 2) the preference of learning through reading. If that’s the case, there are 4 books you should absolutely read. I’ve read a lot of books of finances, life, travel, philosophy, psychology…it amazes me how so much of the material relates to money. Earning it, spending it, showing it off, using it to changes lives, etc. These 4 books I recommend cover the full spectrum of topics, from the very tactical budget-keeping, to the philosophical questions about why we work. Some of the material might be redundant, or boring, or irrelevant to you, but some of might change your life.

Here are the 4 best books on financial well-being and happiness. Click on the titles to link to half.com where you can buy them cheap.

The Millionaire Next Door

This was the first book I ever read on the topic. My parents recommended it to me when I was younger and it introduced me to the idea of stealth wealth—there are people around you every day that are quite well off, perhaps even quite wealthy—but you’d never know it. And that’s what they want! The book, among other things, really challenges your perceptions about people based on their chosen lifestyle. This is a pretty famous book and a great introduction to the world of financial independence. If you’re going to read only 1 of the 4, read this one. I’m pretty sure it will jump-start your thinking.

Cashing in on the American Dream : How to Retire at 35

A little extreme for a title, I know. In fact, some of the steps the author lays out in the book are no longer relevant, such as high-paying CD investments, which you can live on. But what’s still relevant about this book is the strategy of assets vs. cash and controlling your expenses. Assets tie up all your cash—and then also create costs to maintain them (think: house). Freeing up cash allows you to avoid upkeep expenses in your life as well as providing the ability to earn a return on investment and to go do whatever you want. This is a great book if you want to get a little more practical about long-term financial independence.

Early Retirement Extreme : A Philosophical and Practical Guide to Financial Independence

Another extreme title, literally. I would consider this an advanced book. While there are some specific financial components to the book, it’s more philosophical than practical. The author challenges the conventional wisdom about working life, in that you save slowly over time, spend everything you make and then “earn” your luxurious later-life. What I found the most profound was the concept of specialization in life—having few skills other than your primary job, outsourcing everything and spending a ton of money in the process. The book spends a bit of time describing the “Renaissance Man ideal”, where someone goes out of their way to learn new skills, DIY, and generally become more self-reliant. This leads to a more fulfilling life, full of hobbies, passions, satisfaction and, of course, money-saving along the way.

Your Money or Your Life : Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence

This book is my favorite and it has had the greatest impact on my life. There are many powerful messages and I can’t possibly do them justice in a paragraph. There is a ton of very practical information in the book, but the philosophical analysis of work and life is the most profound. Money is something you trade your life for, the authors explain. And the details of this message will make you question everything about your career and your pursuit of money—in a great way though—a way that will help you make important changes in your life.

There you have it. 4 life-changing books that you can buy super-cheap online. I’ll leave you with a couple quotes from Your Money or Your Life, that might help paint a picture for those of you who might question the pursuit financial independence:

“We build our working lives on this myth of more. Our expectation is to make more money as the years go on. We will get more responsibility and more perks as we move up in our field. Eventually, we hope, we will have more possessions, more prestige and more respect from our community. We become habituated to expecting ever more of ourselves and ever more from the world, but rather than satisfaction, our experience is that the more we have, the more we want—and the less content we are with the status quo.” – Your Money or Your Life

“We look to our jobs to provide us with a sense of identity….redefining works allows you to step back and see your dreams for what they are, and your job for what it is—and to make both work for you.” – Your Money or Your Life

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