I’m an avid reader and my views have been deeply affected by the books below. Note that all these links are Amazon ‘affiliate’ links – meaning that if you click through and purchase something, I’ll get a small % of the sale price. This doesn’t the price you end up paying nor did it impact which books I’m recommending.
New: Most books include a cool Kindle preview which lets you read a bit of the book right on this page!
Early Retirement Extreme
Who is this for? Those who want a bit of financial freedom, those who don’t want to work in a corporate job till 70, or those who want to get out of debt quickly.
Summary This book is a must read. I refer to this as my “Red Pill” book (as in “The Matrix”) because it allowed me to see how our current financial/employment system works against us to essentially steal our life away till we retire at the ‘normal’ age of 70.
If you follow the traditional path to retirement you can only do what YOU want to do when you are on the edge of failing health, not during the prime of your life, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
This book has you take a step back at your own life and see how your daily financial decisions keep you chained to jobs you don’t like and in debt. Jacob shows you how it is not only possible but a mathematical certainty that with proper life strategies, you can break free from the system in a handful of years – AND how to do it.
Do yourself a favor and take the red pill!
Beyond Success and Failure
Who is this for? Anyone who wants to improve their life in any way.
Summary I stumbled on this gem while reasearching the topic of “Self Reliance” and have never been the same since. The book is honestly the best self-help book I’ve ever come across. It has concepts in it that I had not seen in the many other books I’ve read.
The central idea behind the book is that much, if not all of our mental distress/unhappiness is due to patterns of manipulation and helplessness we developed in childhood that we never grew out of.
I love this book so much I wrote two articles on it (Want To Be Happier? Depend On Yourself More and notes from the book.)
Who is this for? People who want to move from a mundane life to one of constant challenge.
Summary Great, short book that’s all about how to fight ‘The Flinch’. The Flinch is that small (or large) feeling fear we walk around with telling that we shouldn’t do this or shouldn’t do that. The book drills into your head that in order to lead the best life you can you have to constantly push against The Flinch daily. This book really resonated with me.
Feel the Fear…and Do it Anyway
Who is this for? People who feel trapped, stuck, or whose life seems drab or meaningless.
Summary This is a spectacular book. It discusses how fear avoidance merely causes us to live in a smaller and smaller box, and instead you should start confronting your fears head-on in order to expand your comfort-zone (which gives you a much richer life)
A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy
Who is this for? People who want to either toughen themselves up or be more appreciative of what they have.
Summary Introduces a modern audience to the ancient philosophy of Stoicism. Stoicism is all about purposely introducing small bits of hardship into your life to make yourself both tougher and more joyful. Stocism purists often deride this book as introducing too much of the author’s opinions in the mix, but I personally find it to be a great book.
Who is this for? People who enjoy more abstract observations about modern life and how fragile the man-made world is compared to nature.
Summary Discusses the concept of being ‘antifragile’ – things that not only don’t break when they experience stress, but actually get stronger. Many man-made creations are considered fragile since they were carefully designed to do a few things well but not much else. Nature, on the other hand thrives on stress and it’s creations come out stronger after a period of stress (think of a forest after a fire or a population of animals after a disease). I highly recommend this book but you have to be in the mood for it – it can be mentally taxing.
The Slight Edge
Who is this for? People who need to be reminded that every hour of every day matters for a positive future.
Summary This book’s premise is that every moment of every day can either make your life a little better or a little worse and all those little moments add up to a massive difference in your life over the long run. Those moments will either end up sucking you down and making your life miserable to lifting you up to great heights. A great read.
The Power of Full Engagement
Who is this for? People who want more energy to achieve their goals.
Summary Most people think they don’t have enough time in the day – this book claims that it’s not time that is the precious commodity in our lives, but energy. This book is all about energy management – from physical to mental, to spiritual. Starting to develop habits that up your energy is a key part of changing your life for the better.