Reading List

This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.

In my spare time, I tend to read books.  When I don’t have time to actually read a book, I listen to books while I’m cooking or cleaning around the house (I listen at double speed on my i-pod – it took a little while to get used to, but single speed just seems slow now).  My problem is likely the same as most people’s – what books do I read?

This being the holiday season, maybe you have a few days to read right now.  I thought I would tell you what books I enjoyed over the past year, and what books I am looking forward to coming out in the new year.  This is not really a personal-finance post, but some of the books are finance-related, so it loosely falls into the scope of this site.

I’m not really going to provide an in-depth summary of the books, I’m basically just putting some titles forward as books I like, and you might too.

Finance Books:

I actually don’t really read too many of these books anymore.  I read dozens of these books while I was conceiving my personal finance plan a few years ago.  As a personal finance writer, maybe I should read more of this kind of book, but I’ve found that blogs like this one and others tend to inspire me more than books.

1.) Early Retirement ExtremeTim wrote a review of this last year.  My wife got me this for Christmas last year (my request).  I agree with Tim’s review and have taken a lot of great information from it.

2.) Liar’s Poker:  This was Michael Lewis’ first book, and other than Moneyball probably my favouitetitle.  It reminded me that I care a lot more about my money than the majority of money managers.

Diet and Exercise Books:

1.) The Primal Blueprint:  If you’re looking to eat healthier, feel better and lose some weight in the New Year, I’d highly suggest reading this book and following it.  My wife and I have been following the essential premise of this book for about 18 months.  My wife has lost about 40 lbs, I have lost about 15 (and we have both maintained this weight-loss easily) in that period.  I would say that we have a much better idea of what food makes us feel better and seems healthier compared to what we were eating before.

2.) The Vegetarian Myth:  Think you’re helping the world by going vegan/vegetarian?  I’d suggest you read this book written by an ex-vegan and perhaps get another viewpoint.  At one point in the past I thought about dropping meat from my diet, mainly to cut back on food costs.  After reading this book and several others about the North American food system I went another way.  Now I buy my meat locally.  I visit the farms and talk to the farmers, I see the area that the animals are raised and what they are being fed.

“Fun” Books:

These are books that I read and think some people might like, some are older and some are new, but I really enjoyed them.

1.) Voyageur by Robert Twigger:  My brother leant me this book earlier in the year.  He is not a reader, and maybe gets through one or two books per year but he was excited about this one.  I read it in a weekend – It is about a guy who has never canoed before, but attempts to follow Mackenzie’s route through the Rocky Mountains on a birch-bark Canoe.

2.) Ender’s Game:  Even if you don’t like fantasy/science fiction (which this book is) I would say that the “base” story of this book is fairly universal.  I have given this book as a present many times to people and have never really had any complaints (and my friends are not polite people).

3.) Beat the Reaper:  I listened to this book on my vacation a couple of weeks ago, it’s an interesting book that kept my attention while sitting beside the pool in the Dominican Republic.  It is a fictional drama ex-hitman turned doctor whose past comes back to bite him (not really sure if that is a genre or not, but that’s where this would fall).

Books I’m looking forward to in the New Year:

1.) A Memory of Light:  This is the last book of 14 of The Wheel of Time – I didn’t start reading these until about 5 years ago, but the series started in 1990 so the ending has been coming for a while.

2.) Sacre Bleu – Christopher Moore:  If you have never read this author, you are missing out.  One of the most consistently funny writers I have come across.

3.) The Wind Through the Keyhole – Stephen King:  I really enjoy Stephen King’s stories.  Sometimes the writing isn’t great, but the ideas in the stories always take me away.  I love the Dark Tower stories, and this is a prequel to that tale.

So, that’s my list of books that I’ve read in the past year or so and think other people might like.  Any books you would suggest?

One thought on “Reading List”

  1. On the vegetarian myth book, I went to Amazon and looked at the reviews of the book. Here’s part of a excerpt from the first review:

    The author cites 207 references in this book.
    62 of those references are websites (~30%)
    18 are newspapers and magazines (~7%)
    32 are journals (~15%)
    95 are other books (~46%)

    First of all, think about that. 30% of the references in this book come from website information. Five of those 62 website references were Wikipedia. Wikipedia! One was Google Answers. I wont let my freshmen students use Wikipedia as a reference in their papers, why would it be acceptable for a book? Like websites, newspaper and magazine information needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Of the 32 journals less than half come from well known, peer-reviewed sources. The remaining 46% are books, which can truly say anything the author cares to print (as this one does) and only show that the author is getting her information from another source (and another opinion) aside from the primary one. The point of this is to make clear that this is a book that is sold as (and which many positive reviews hype as) providing scientific, factual, intellectual knowledge on the vegetarian/diet/health debate. In reality less than 8% of the book is coming from peer-reviewed, fact-checked sources which can provide unbiased, neutral information.

    If anything I hope this review encourages people to get away from the bias on either side, find factual scientific sources instead of second-third-fourth hand knowledge, check information for yourself instead of blindly believing an author, and to question published material and push for it to actually be factual if it presented as such.

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