Giving it some thought, I'd have to say that all in all, Your Money or Your Life is the best book on money I've read - both on the philosophical side (the life-hour to dollar conversion is a very similar metric to what I've been operating from my own conclusions for the past few years) and on the nitty gritty of tracking expenditures and such.
The main place where I'd say this book falls short is the investing advice. The recommendations both for calculating financial independence (projecting capital against the current long-term interest rate) and for investing (100% investment in a long-term treasury ladder) seems to me to be a strange combination of extreme conservatism wrapping into foolishness because:
Still, this is a great book and I'm surprised no one has created a Web 2.0 version of the income/expense/capital daily wall-chart
The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need (what's with financial books and their drama-queen titles?) is also a pretty good book, and despite its grandiose title I think it mostly lives up to it. It's been recently updated so includes descriptions of new stuff like ETFs, iBonds, etc while being completely on target as far as the "forest from the trees" goes: tax efficiency (tax drag, tax sheltered investments, CGT strategies), inflation, risk vs time horizon, and of course your likelihood of beating the market (really low) and why you're probably better off not trying to.
If there's any weakness to the book is that despite that warning, and despite the author's claims of being "chickenhearted", the book is peppered with anecdotes of deals/trades he's done, which while entertaining, gives a slight of "do what I say, not what I do" feeling.
That being said, the actual advice is sound and there's a lot of interesting stuff to follow up on.
Also, there's some really great financial math in there (calculating annualized returns off of what you'd finance for buying items in bulk; how saving 10% a week by buying in bulk on a consumable equates to an annualized 177%) and Chapter 11, on retirement investing is very reasonable, both in asset allocation and in calculating realistic withdrawals.
Y! Answers has its problems (about half the questions can be answered better by Google searches, and about half of the questions are retarded), but sometimes, there's an absolutely brilliant question or answer. This is one of the brilliant questions, sheerly in terms of how compelling it is.
Which products, used by few today, will be essential in five years?
Think about how much technological innovation has changed our lives in the past 5 years…and what products we use every day now. What's the next big thing that will change the way we live?
There's quite a few ways this can be interpreted, which is great, "since the next big thing that will change the way we live" and the "products, used by few today, [but] essential in five years" could be completely different (ie, global warming and alternative energy), or it can be taken purely as speculation on technological trends. (either way, it's intellectual catnip for armchair futurists).
On the former perspective, I think global climate change and increasing energy prices will be definitely the things that change the way we live in the next few years. Barring cataclysm though, most alternative energy technologies are actually designed to allow us to sustain our lifestyle with mostly minor or unnoticed changes (E85 at the pump, switching to alternatives to natural gas and oil at the power station).
In a similar way, most biotech (disease cures, etc) are being designed to hold the line on how we live or affect only a minority of the population. The exception perhaps is the breakthroughs that are currently be made in anti-aging and rejuvination therapies. It's quite possible that some of the develops being made recently and in the near future wend their way through the FDA in the next 5 years and reshape how we deal with aging.
In terms of pure technology changes, the most interesting thing to do is to probably turn the dial back to 2001 and think about the biggest differences I can think of (admittedly biased toward net/tech):
What's interesting is that most of these things that are now dominant already had a fair amount of penetration, but just hadn't gone mainstream yet.
So here's my technological hitlist for 2011 (still no black monoliths in sight):
This was another book I had recently got. I started it waiting for dinner, and it was pretty light reading, so I ended up zipping through the 200 pages or so last night.
About half-way in, I started getting pretty peeved. The whole book is really just an argument for why the dollar is screwed, which while somewhat cogent and interesting, has nothing to do with the "investing" part. Of the 198 pages, there's one or two pages telling you to invest in gold, and then more detail starting on the bottom of pg 188.
If you're interested in this book for their "thoughts" on investing, you can just skip to the last 10 pages. But, since this wasted a couple hours of my time, I'll list them out and you can skip the book entirely (the argument and analysis on the US economy is decent but by no means comprehensive - I've read much better and I also spotted some of the very same errors in their charts that they've pointed out in others, so I'm not sure I'd recommend this on that basis either):
I'm (maybe) finishing Optimal Thinking, and then have a number of books on finance/personal finance lined up. Here's a few of the books from my latest Amazon delivery:
Amazon.com recommended this to me, and it looked vaguely interesting, but I'm about 20 pages in and I have to say it's been rubbing me the wrong way. (the 2 pages of quotes from "famous" people? the sunshiney ass-kissing of CEO-types? the laughably bad dialogues?)
Anyone read this? Does it get better? Is this worth finishing?
Well, this is my first post here with TypePad. I've been lagardly with regards to getting this all set up, but it's one of those weeks, just flying by, way too busy. On the bright side, I've been feeling pretty productive, and although it's all flying by quite fast, I feel as if I have a handle on things, and am knocking stuff off of my TODO list, both at work and at home.
I don't write a lot about my personal life on my blog. There's really not any particular reason, I suppose. My blog started out primarily as a way for me to keep some history of my journeys on the web, not in real life. Still, as we increasingly see, and of course, as we intrinsically know, these various elements are inextricably intertwined; they are facets, components, parts of the whole that makes our self.
At this point, I think I've lost grasp of the narrative, overpowered by flowery prose and and overly-articulated, overly-self-reflexive pseudo self-narrative. Hmm, this hall of mirrors doesn't really stop, does it?
[Perhaps there's a good reason that I don't write about my personal life.]
In any case, as with everyone, there's of course an inner voice, and an inner turmoil. Sometimes I'm surprised when I see people act so blithely, as if their life did not have this; but I suspect that everyone does. Perhaps some chose to bury it, but there it is, lurking. Ooh, how dramatic, and of course, cliché.
The power to convey this drama, without awareness, or cynicism is perhaps beyond my ken. It is too ingrained, as a tool, as a way of seeing and knowing, and as ... a shield and a crutch. But I am not so inured that I do not believe in it, that I can not see the numinous when it is in front of my eyes.
Well it's late, and the police helicopters are circling in the city tonight. To be continued at a later date...