subscribe to the RSS Feed

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Minimalists Book Tour

Posted by Tim Stobbs on July 25, 2014

Last night in Regina, I finally got to meet two people that I have admired for a while Joshua Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus otherwise known as The Minimalists who were in town as part of their 100 city book tour for Everything That Remains.  While they have a highly successful blog, I admire them for realizing their old lives sucked and wasn’t making them happy and then actually did something to change it.

IMG_0003

In their case, the solution they came across was minimalism.  So first they started getting rid of their excess stuff and they came to realize that that if you focus on what is useful and what you love you tend to actually change your life for the better.  In the process they also reduced their cost of living as you can live on a lot less if you get rid of the excess that is what people have in the majority of their homes.

Then they both took it a step further and left their high paying corporate jobs to do more work on the things like cared about.  That step is what I admire most about them.  The jump off the cliff into a new career, which is sort of like I am planning to do, but unlike them I won’t require any money from the new line of work to support my lifestyle.  So the their ideas are similar to mine, they just went about it a different fashion.

The book, Everything That Remains, if a memoir style book that tells their story of where they started out and then ended up after finding minimalism.  What I liked most about the book was it was less of a ‘how to’ book but much more of a ‘why to’.  Getting rid of stuff is actually fairly easy, the issue comes down to knowing why to do it.  So I found learning what they thought about their situations and how they dealt with the emotions of the decisions.  That is where I personally have been stuck myself for years, so I found the book inspiring and useful to ask myself some tough questions like:

  • What do I deem as a successful life?
  • Who is the person I want to become?
  • What is truly important in my life?

These aren’t easy questions to answer and frankly I’m still working out the answers ever after I have been at it for a while.  So I found the book an enjoyable read that also helped push me into doing a better self examination on my life.  So I found the book helpful.

So overall it was great to meet them.  They talk largely like they write and they are very nice guys.  Also they were nice enough to sign my first edition of their book, so I’m kinda thrilled about that.

Book Review – Strategic Dividend Investor

Posted by Dave on February 25, 2014

I saw this book at the library a few weeks ago, and decided to pick it up. The title drew me in, because really, who wouldn’t want to “Strategically” invest – maybe the alternative is an elaborate dart-board system, where you only purchase stocks on a full moon? Without reading this book, I think I would still have a strategy – it just wouldn’t perhaps be as organized as is laid out in the 163 pages.

With both personal finance and fitness/diet books, a significant amount of the book is spent selling the reader on why the author’s way of thinking is different or better than everyone elses, and why you should employ their way of thinking on your life. This book is no different – 92 of the previously mentioned 163 pages are spent going into the history of the stock market and how messed up it has become in the last couple of decades. The author builds his case on why dividend-producing stocks are the best investment vehicle available. Given the title of the book, I would think that if the reader has gotten to the point of actually picking up the book and leafing through it – they are probably already sold on dividend investing and just looking for insight.

The last third of the book is the reason why I will be purchasing an e-book for future reference in my investing “career” ($13.16 on Kindle, $19.50 on Kobo….not sure how Kobo can sell for 50% higher) . There is a possibility that I haven’t read enough books on investing, but the way the author provides insight on stock analysis both from a technical perspective as well as what should be looked for off of the financial statements made his message easy to understand.

For someone interested in investing for cash-flows as I am, the book provides a long-term, sustainable investment strategy. A useful screening process is provided, which will provide a good starting point at identifying potential investments. Also provided by the author is criteria that can be utilized when deciding on whether or not to sell the stock, outside of the price – which I also found very incitive.

So, that’s my sale on this book. The author – Daniel Peris has a second book out that I will be reading in the near future. The “Strategic Dividend Investor” isn’t huge, is written in an understandable manner and provides good information – all qualities I enjoy when looking at a technical non-fiction book.

I am a fairly voracious reader, always looking for book suggestions. Do you have a go-to investment book that you keep on your shelf?

Review: New Escapologist Magazine

Posted by Tim Stobbs on July 25, 2012

Mmm, I’m a bit unsure on how to best describe something that tends to be so far reaching, but I will make the attempt.  New Escapologist (NE) magazine, which by the way also has a blog, is best described by its introduction:

New Escapologist is a magazine for white-collar functionaries with escape on the brain.

Drawing from philosophy, literature and original humour; we discuss practical escape routes from the present-day predicaments of demeaning work, status anxiety and urban lethargy.

Each issue is a compendium of funny and practical essays on the subject of escape. We promote freedom, anarchy and the absurd.

So while the Canadian Dream blog tends to fall into the financial independence and early retirement bend, NE takes it a step further of getting out as soon as possible.  How?  Well in issue #3 which deals with the practical issues it suggests the following format as an option.

  1. Cut Expenses – Any going for FI would have already done this, but its good to start with stop buying crap that doesn’t make you happy and doesn’t serve a purpose.
  2. Save Like Mad – The more you save the sooner you can get out.
  3. Beef Up Your Skill Set – Use work as a training ground to learn as much as possible on different skills sets.
  4. After Developing a Escape Fund, Quit – Yes, rather than going for full FI, get a beefy escape fund and get out now.
  5. Enjoy your Escape – Consider it a sabbatical or long vacation rest and recharge from the horrors of work with up to half your escape fund.
  6. Seed Money – Use the remainder of your escape fund to start your own cottage industry or small business.  The idea is to have a business the covers your basic expenses leaving you time to actual enjoy living your life.

Overall I rather like the concept as it mirrors somewhat my current plan to some degree, but it just gets you out the door sooner.  It’s more of FI by starting your own business route, but that isn’t the only way ‘out’ and points out what others have done to escape the odd world of work in a cube.  I should note that they just released the entire back catalog as a PDF, so I got all six issues for $40 and highly enjoyed reading them.

Since the issues also look at the somewhat absurd things it is a fun read which I often felt was very well written.  Some examples include essays on the absurd things they teach us in school in the theory of getting a better job (which of course doesn’t get used at all), on the practical side a report card on someone’s escape just one year into their plan, and even a essay on the digital bohemian.

If you have any doubts on if you would enjoy it or not I would suggest reading the blog as you can get a good feel for the publication by the posts.  I personally enjoyed the entire back catalog and read all six issues in just a few days, but do keep in mind the publication isn’t serious all the time.  You have to laugh sometimes just to get through the day.