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Customer Review

138 of 149 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive, fantastic book, October 13, 2010
This review is from: Early Retirement Extreme: A Philosophical and Practical Guide to Financial Independence (Paperback)
This book is for anyone who aspires to create a different reality for themselves. If you are comfortable slaving away at your "career" for the next 40 years, saving 5 to 10 percent of your income with the hopes of one day retiring, then this book is NOT for you. If you work so you can buy things, then work to service the debt required to buy even more things, then this book is NOT for you.

However, if you think that the American Dream is alive and well, yet albeit not in the traditional sense, then you need to read this book. If you can be focused, patient and disciplined to attain a goal that is within reach of anyone who wants it, then you need to read this book. If you dare to be different, if you enjoy finding an alternative to the mundane same ol', same ol', then you need to read this book.

More specifically, this book is for anyone who is looking for the philosophy of living a different lifestyle, one that frees them from the chains of the typical corporate life.

First, let me explain what you will not learn in this book. You will not learn the next great investment strategy. You will not learn how to flip real estate, how to make millions on the Internet or how to turn a small investment in a penny stock into millions. This book is about so much more than getting rich. In fact, it is not even about getting rich, rather it is about becoming wealthy.

What you will learn is a philosophy for living detached from the economy. You will learn how to provide for yourself by being efficient and sustainable. You will learn how to change your perspective so that you can see how it is possible to live on less while living more.

Really, one of the strongest points of this book can be found in the old adage "Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for life". And that is what the author has done here. You will not find a step by step guide to saving money to retire extremely early. What you will find are the principles required to change your life in order to make the changes required for early retirement extreme (ERE).

If anyone is looking for "21 simple ways to save money" then just do a search in Google and be on your way. This book is not for you...yet. But when attacking a problem such as ERE, which is unconventional to the majority, then unconventional means are necessary. Therefore, the author presents the principles that one can apply themselves in order to live on less and save more.

For me, some of the most positives came with the diverse contents of the book. For instance, the author talks about systems and models and learning common systems so that one can solve their own problems. This reminds me of what Charlie Munger says for investing...that is building mental models of businesses to see how they fit into the larger picture. This didn't make much sense to me until I read this book and it made much more sense.

Another major positive is just how thorough the book is. Just the sheer amount of information covered is impressive. For example, this book covered everything from eating, exercise, housing, transportation, clothing and a myriad of other things. The author had a knack for anticipating what I might question and provided an answer before I could finish my question. For example, when talking about walking in the rain, I had questions about getting wet, which of course was addressed in the subsequent discussion.

The only section that left me wanting more was the section on investing. The author alluded to the fact that he was a stock investor...of which I am one as well. Ironically, had the author said he was a real estate investor I would probably not have the same complaint, since I have no interest in real estate!

Anyways, since the assumption is that one will live in part or in full off their investment income, I was hoping for a bit more discussion on the mechanics of this, particularly from the authors point of view. However, this would have been seen as an "endorsement" so to speak for stock investing, which the author pointed out and we are all aware, there are multiple ways to invest (real estate, commodities, etc.). That said, I am not sure exactly how the author could have satisfied my need for more information on the investing aspect so perhaps this is something that would be better addressed in another book (a sort of sequel...after ERE is attained, perhaps?)

Overall, this book is certainly the most different and most complete book I have read that I can categorize as a personal finance book. The only weak point was a lack, or rather a perceived lack of detail around investing. Of course, this is EASILY overshadowed by the thorough content elsewhere in the book. As the author states, it is simple to learn about investing, one must only be willing to put in the time.

This book will provide the reader with the framework that is necessary to do something extraordinary with their life. This book doesn't give you the answers...it teaches you how to find the answers and in my opinion is much better than just a random collection of tips. I recommend that the novice read something a little simpler before tackling this work, perhaps Your Money or Your Life. Once a small base is built, I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone with the wherewithal to make a major change in their life.

As Morpheus said "You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes." Take the red pill....come down the rabbit-hole.
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