“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin.
I’m not sure what I would do without books. On weekends, I can be found in antique stores searching out volumes written in many instances, over 100 years ago from authors most of us never knew existed. These treasures don’t cost much. The words are priceless.
I find that absorbing fiction and self-improvement as well as financial or economic titles, fosters an ability to think creatively. As much as you’ll hear that money is about numbers, it’s equally about emotions and intuition.
After all, what are investments but stories?
The next 5 tomes for 2020 are mostly tied to emotional and physical health. The health + wealth connection is one of the most important equations of our lifetimes. Although, one of my favored authors on economics, Robert Shiller also appears.
Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events – Robert J. Shiller.
Professor Shiller’s latest is off the beaten path when compared to previous writings. In this book, he explores how stories go viral and have the force to fuel major economic events. It’s a very human analysis for a man usually immersed in math, which many Shiller zealots find disconcerting. I find it refreshing. As I lament often – Economics is a social science and as humans, we live and breathe the subject every day The world is one big Petri dish; investors cannot discount emotions or ‘animal spirits’ to shift economic winds. The professor shares plenty of historical references to make his case; he studies how words spread throughout society. Think about how specific narratives have sparked economic tinderboxes on Main Street – Houses always go up in value, we’re in a stock market bubble (or not), robots are stealing jobs. What are stocks but stories spread by biased sell-side analysts and investors, overall? What Shiller doesn’t adequately cover is why certain phrases infiltrate the lingo of the masses while others die in transit. Regardless, this book is a fascinating read into the economic wildfire of emotions.
Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It – Kamal Ravikant.
My friend Kamal revisits, refreshes his work on torturous personal growth. Kamal is a modern-day Stoic; he objectively examines his life as a successful CEO who fell apart emotionally after his company failed. Kamal documents his trials of ‘getting in his own way.’ How many of us do the same? The urge to self-sabotage must be exposed, brought to the light, and cleansed. Kamal examines how living in the past can destroy the present. His methods to emerge from a dark place will provide profound sense of encouragement for those who feel lost. We all play, re-play patterns in our heads. They in turn, trigger feelings. The loops that roll in our minds, our thoughts, can free or imprison. Once caught in a negative-feedback loop, how do you break it? Kamal shares what he’s done to free and love himself because his life depended on it. This book never leaves my nightstand.
Super Human: The Bulletproof Plan to Age Backward and Maybe Even Live Forever – Dave Asprey.
Ok, so Dave’s goal to live to 180 is indeed, lofty. However, as the ultimate human bio-hacker, in book 5 of his “Bulletproof” series, he does provide worthwhile tips on how to gain and maintain health. As a child, he was classified as “premature aging.” His body was its own worst enemy. Dave improved his health dramatically based on aggressive diet, lifestyle, supplementation and specific biohacking methods outlined in the book. There are several unconventional tactics that require further homework. However, Dave is also solid about reminding us about the basics of better sleep and intermittent fasting. Last, readers are provided with specific ideas on the proper supplements and strategies to not only live a longer life, but a robust healthier one. I see his methods as a pathway to lowering healthcare costs. Keep in mind, a couple may incur anywhere from $280,000 to $387,000 in total healthcare expenses throughout retirement. Good habits employed to become aggressively preventative will ostensibly lead to lower expenses and an increasingly active lifestyle.
The Simple Life Guide to Financial Freedom – Gary Collins, MS.
Gary has been a guest on our 700AM KSEV radio show on numerous occasions. He’s a minimalist, ‘ruralist’ and many other ‘ists’ that pertain to financial independence through small yet enriched living. He employs simple math – addition, subtraction, division (unlike the mainstream financial industry which wields obfuscation like a Japanese sword), to make clear the reasons as to why the vast majority of Americans live one paycheck away from disaster, why the health=wealth connection is most important, how primary residence can be your greatest American nightmare, and presents a primer on basic consumer debt. Gary is my brother from another mother; he walks the talk of financial independence. His philosophy is almost in perfect alignment with RIA’s Financial and Debt Guardrails. Want the financial truth such as what you read in our RIA blog? Here’s the book. My copy is highlighted, dog-eared and resides on a bookshelf in my office.
Blood – Allison Moorer.
In 1986, Allison Moorer awoke to a gunshot. Her father shot and killed her mother then turned the gun on himself. Blues, folk, country singer/songwriter Allison Moorer and recording artist sister Shelby Lynne, live in this shadow every day. This work is Allison’s story of recovery written in a form only a songwriter can pen. The words, her perceptions, are poetic, biting and flow like a dark song which transforms into a melody of warmth and sunlight. For those who have suffered a family trauma and carry it daily, Allison’s writing style is overwhelmingly healing and loving. I’ve already recommended her tome to friends who bear similar burdens. Candidly, a topic such as this is a departure from my usual reading material. However, I’m personally fond of Allison and her award-winning older sister Shelby Lynne, a songwriter and actress in her own right. The sentiments shared in this book will stick with me. I bet they will with you, too.
I consider the written word a tap dance for the synapses. With each step, new visions are born and new thoughts forged.
Through a tumultuous childhood, books were one of my greatest escapes; a salvation of sanity and calm. During summer break as a boy I’d grab a stack of paperback books, depart our apartment early and head to the interior of a local funeral parlor (a friend’s dad was the director), where I’d sit in the corner nearest the largest plate-glass window I’ve ever seen. The morning sun at maximum light was all I needed. I loved the feel of the luxurious wall-to-wall deep red carpet of that place. Quiet floated on the faint aroma of flowers. The time made my reading that much more rewarding and memorable. Today, that large window is replaced with concrete. However, the memories of my reading time can never be sealed away.
This spring, I’ll provide my next five for your summer reading pleasure. I read, study, highlight, 40-50 books a year and happily share my top selections. Currently, I’m re-reading several classics including – Jack London’s White Fang, Shelley’s Frankenstein and Stoker’s Dracula.
If you read any of these selections, please let me know what you learned!
Richard Rosso, MS, CFP, CIMA is the Head of Financial Planning for RIA Advisors. He is also a contributing editor to the “Real Investment Advice” website and published author of “Random Thoughts Of A Money Muse.” Follow Richard on Twitter
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