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Author: Rocannon Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 5069  
Subject: Choosing Simplicity - book Date: 8/7/2010 9:16 AM
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A few threads ago, Edlbym recommended the book "Choosing Simplicity" by Linda Breen Pierce:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=28605756

I decided to give it a try. I recently finished it. I'm sorry to say that I did not enjoy it. I figured I'd post my comments here for the record, for anyone who might be tempted to read it. And I mean no offense to Edlbym (or anyone else who enjoyed the book) by posting this review. I'd be happy if anyone would like to post their own positive report on this book. This is just my own view on it, take it with a grain of salt.

The book is based on a survey of 211 people who had chosen to simplify their lives in some ways. The anecdotes are interesting, I give that. But I found most of the stories too sketchy and brief to hold my interest. I've read blogs that were better done, because I like the first person voice, with more details, for these kinds of stories. The book does have the advantage that it accumulates a lot of anecdotes into a single place.

A big turn-off for me is that the book is sprinkled with author commentary, placed in a rectangular box, which takes up a large part of each chapter. I found this distracting and eventually so annoying that I stopped reading them about half way through the book. Probably I should have stopped earlier; I might have enjoyed the book more, if so.

I found the author's "voice" annoying - new-agey spiritual. Her commentary made me feel like she was observing the lives of the people in the study and doing a play-by-play of the choices they made. Further, practically speaking, her comments added no value.

Example: "Sally's work as a live-in nanny is an excellent illustration of a job that supports... a person's true vocations - in this case, Sally's art and spiritual practices...." Or "The Duran homeschooling experience is inspiring. Obviously, homeschooling is not for every family, nor for every child within a particular family. It works best with children who have an innate love of learning...." My gut reaction? Blech! Why not let the people themselves tell their own story and let the reader do their own interpretation?

I also found that too many of the stories involved some kind of spiritual aspect, which was emphasized too much throughout the book. In reading about simplicity, I'm more interested in the practical aspects (how did you handle health insurance? Did you need to take a part-time job? etc). I do read "woo-woo" books but the mix made me gag in this particular treatment.

For comparison, two books that made a big impact on me, which I really enjoyed, were "Your Money or Your Life" and "Die Broke". I read these over 10 years ago, and I should probably read them again.

Rocannon
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Author: TheBreeze Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 4898 of 5069
Subject: Re: Choosing Simplicity - book Date: 9/21/2010 6:33 PM
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For comparison, two books that made a big impact on me, which I really enjoyed, were "Your Money or Your Life" and "Die Broke".

I don't want to die broke. It would be horible to reach the last month of my life with one month of living expenses worth of money, and hope to die so that I don't run out. Maybe that's not what the book is about, but I've seen written on retirement boards "I want to die as I spend my last dollar."

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 4899 of 5069
Subject: Re: Choosing Simplicity - book Date: 9/21/2010 7:31 PM
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<<For comparison, two books that made a big impact on me, which I really enjoyed, were "Your Money or Your Life" and "Die Broke".

I don't want to die broke. It would be horible to reach the last month of my life with one month of living expenses worth of money, and hope to die so that I don't run out. Maybe that's not what the book is about, but I've seen written on retirement boards "I want to die as I spend my last dollar.">>



My recollection is that the Die Broke book recommends judicious use of annuities. The general plan is to buy annuities to insure you will have an income for life and to use up assets in the process.



Seattle Pioneer

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Author: Rocannon Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 4900 of 5069
Subject: Re: Choosing Simplicity - book Date: 9/29/2010 6:07 AM
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TheBreeze,

Maybe that's not what the book is about

No, that's not what the book is about. As one of the reviewers on Amazon put it, "The idea is not to live poor or foolishly, but to rethink entirely why you are struggling so hard now for a tomorrow that may or may not come."

I don't agree with all the points in the book; but it was a thought-provoking read.

Rocannon

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Author: hachmujt Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 4930 of 5069
Subject: Re: Choosing Simplicity - book Date: 12/22/2010 8:17 PM
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Greetings,

I stumbled across this board from the creators recent post on SA boards.

My name is Jason and I am a FIRE wannabe.

I thought I would put a word in for Vikki Robins and Joe Dominguez's (spelling going from memory here) "Your Money or Your Life."

This book changed my life and gave me the FIRE. Importantly it has a new ending and is recently updated. You can not only invest in 30 year treasuries as the author suggested in the earlier copies.

It was good to re read and we implemented one of the exercises we had never done. The Financial Independent chart. Up on our office wall we graph (old school) over time how much money we spend verses how much our investments will pay at a 4% draw per month. When the two lines cross we have achived FI or as you say FIRE! It is a good motivator to see the gap between the lines and think "I have to save more and spend less."

I have a more detailed FI story I can post but I am a little cautious of the public boards.

Thanks,

Jason

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Author: yttire Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 4931 of 5069
Subject: Re: Choosing Simplicity - book Date: 12/22/2010 8:21 PM
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Hi Jason,

Welcome to the FIRE club. "Your Money or Your Life" is certainly an excellent read. I should reread it there have been a few years and a few babies since last time.

Remember to spend a little bit of money just for fun. One thing I have sadly learned over the past few years is that a lot of my peers are not making it past their early 40's due to various illnesses.

I think the wall chart is a great idea.

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Author: mazske Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 4932 of 5069
Subject: Re: Choosing Simplicity - book Date: 12/22/2010 10:30 PM
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Hi, Jason,

Glad you found the board. Welcome. I'm glad I was able to get this board started. It has helped me to stay focused on my FIRE plans.

I hope more from SA venture over here.

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Author: mazske Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 4933 of 5069
Subject: Re: Choosing Simplicity - book Date: 12/22/2010 10:36 PM
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Remember to spend a little bit of money just for fun. One thing I have sadly learned over the past few years is that a lot of my peers are not making it past their early 40's due to various illnesses.

Ah, this is so important. Life is NOT all about FIRE or saving and/or making as much as possible. I have tried to dedicate my life to not only being a great husband and father, but I have tried to positively impact thousands of young people as well so hopefully they will go on to have great lives.

And, above that, we have to learn to live the best life we can. That does require spending money to enjoy life.

As an example, I recently purchased an expensive Temper-Pedic Cloud mattress. I could have bought one for much, much less. Yet, this mattress is the best I've ever slept on and it has improved my day to day life through the improvement of my nightly sleep. And, it's also fun just to lay on for a minute or two to drain away any stress I may be having.

Find good friends you can talk to. Love your family. Try to help others in some fashion when you can. Don't live for money, but do try to make money to make your life easier. Enjoy what you have, live below your means and try to save for tomorrow.

One of my goals is to live for today, to cherish my memories of yesterday and to plan for tomorrow.

Life can be tough and it can be a struggle. We are all in this boat together. Let's all try to make it the best world we can.

A saying I came up with a few years ago is this.

Smiles help the world to continue spinning in a positive direction.

So, smile a bit more, love life, smell the flowers, and try to help someone each and every day.

In the meanwhile, also plan to FIRE as you can better enjoy life when you can chose to work if you want, not when you have to work in order to live.

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