I recommend these things solely because I’ve found them to be helpful along my own journey to financial independence.
This blog is not monetized and there are no conflicts of interest.
Websites | Books | Calculators
Personal Finance for Dummies – A good starting point for a newcomer.
Mutual Funds for Dummies – Another good n00b book, to be read right after PF above.
Common Sense on Mutual Funds – This was the single most influential book on investing I’ve ever read. It’ll be a better read once you have the basics down. John C. Bogle, thank you.
Your Money or Your Life – Revolutionized the way I thought about money, and motivated me to take control of my finances — and, yes, therefore, my life. It’s a little preachy, but holy MOTHER did this excite me when I first read it. If you’re going to buy it, get the updated edition as the investing advice is better.
Four Pillars of Investing – Investment 101. Rich, detailed, and undeniably awesome.
Early Retirement Extreme – This is Jacob Lund Fisker’s book. It’s a little difficult to read at times, as his writing style doesn’t exactly flow, but there are tons of good ideas to pluck. It is, more or less, his blog distilled into a couple hundred pages. Not for everyone, to be honest. To those who find it to be too radical, I’d like to suggest implementing the ideas that work for you, and ignoring the rest — there’s good stuff here.
The Millionaire Next Door – A classic. Illustrates the habits of regular folk who become millionaires. Hint: It’s mostly about conscious spending and discipline throughout the years.
Stocks for the Long Run – Another valuable classic. The author argues that stocks are, in many ways, safer vehicles than any other asset type to fund a retirement which spans decades. I agree.
Retirement and Lifestyle
The writing in the following books is a little wonky for an Engi-Nerd like myself — the delivery can best be described as overly optimistic and energetic, which has the effect of sometimes feeling forced — but despite my stylistic objections, many of the ideas are sound. Recommended for people on the brink of retirement.
How To Retire Happy, Wild and Free – Ernie Zelinski’s guide for folks who are getting ready to quit their jobs and move on to the next phase. He tells stories about other people who have successfully made the jump, and offers some great suggestions for managing the transition.
What Color is My Parachute? – Helps readers to think about switching careers, and how to address the question of purpose in life. The author urges people to consider what skills they have to offer the world (or an employer) and focus energy in that direction. There’s a ‘retirement’ edition of this book as well.
You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think – A practical guide to living within your means in retirement. Some of the real-life stories are inspiring.
Revolutionary Road – You can cheat and watch the movie, but Richard Yates’ book is better. It’s about a couple who try, in their 30s, to escape mainstream culture and do something ‘different’ with their lives. Turns out, it’s a difficult thing to do.
Asimov’s Chronology of Science and Discovery – A history of human discovery. Fascinating.
Asimov’s Guide to the Bible – Looking at the world’s best-selling book through the eyes of modern historians.
Adaptation to Life – I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s about the Grant Studies. A group of Harvard grads were scrutinized over their entire lives by a team of qualified investigators, who then analyzed the data and produced reports. The goal? To discover traits that correlated with success in life, and general wellness (both physically and emotionally) as one ages. There are multiple followup books, and they’re all interesting as hell. I won’t give away any spoilers, but there are definite conclusions drawn regarding which qualities are more helpful for humans to cultivate than others. If you’re interested in longitudinal studies of humans, and what makes us happy, you’ll enjoy the read. Fair warning, though: It has an academic’s writing style, and is somewhat dense.
On Writing – Stephen King is not one of my favorite authors. However, his insights into the craft of writing are substantial. If you’ve considered being a writer yourself, this is a must-read. The advice applies to both aspiring fiction and non-fiction writers.
The Gym Bible – For working out. Enough said.
The Artist’s Way – If you have any desire to get into doing creative stuff — writing, drawing, composing, dancing — you should read this book. It’s at once inspiring, practical, and educational.