Here are the books I read in June, as well as a few noteworthy blog posts that I came across.
A Truck Full of Money by Tracy Kidder
A Truck Full of Money was an interesting look at the life of Paul English, a co-founder of Kayak.com. Kidder detailed the highs and lows of English’s career as a coder and entrepreneur, as well as his personal life and struggle with bipolar disorder.
The world of coding and internet startups is so foreign to me, but watching the show Silicon Valley gave me a solid base to understand what the heck Kidder was talking about in this book. I couldn’t help but think of T.J. Miller’s character, Erlich Bachman, when English was trying to find investors for his tech incubator-by-day, nightclub-by-night idea. Kayak may have been English’s greatest financial success, but it was just one project off of his long list of ideas. When English would fail at other ventures, he would quickly pivot to a new idea, never letting one failure define him.
Kidder describes Paul English as a mad genius that could assemble the best team of coders and business partners based on his reputation alone. English’s friends knew that one day he was going to be hit by a truck full of money, and they wanted to be standing next to him when it happened.
This book had an interesting flow to it. Each chapter was a small vignette, with other parts of English’s life and childhood weaving in and out of the Kayak story. Overall, it was a fascinating read, and if you’re interested in the world of tech startups, then I recommend checking it out.
Everything That Remains: A Memoir by The Minimalists by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus
Everything That Remains tells the story of how Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus found their way to minimalism. The story is told by Millburn, with quips and interjections from Nicodemus written as end notes.
By the time Millburn reached his late twenties, he had already achieved the American Dream. He bought a house at 22, got married, and was climbing the corporate ladder. He drove nice cars and filled his house with new furniture and electronics. To an outsider, it would appear that Millburn had it all. In reality, he felt like the things that should be making him happy left him feeling empty inside. When his mother died and his marriage fell apart, he began to question everything and started to connect with the idea of minimalism.
Millburn radically changed his life by leaving his corporate job and getting rid of most of his possessions, to pursue writing and living a more intentional life. When Nicodemus was laid off from the same company, Millburn encouraged him to follow the same path, and helped him to pack up his apartment. The two friends started a blog and began sharing their message with everyone they met.
I really connected with the message of this book, and really recommend it. Whether you are interested in minimalism or not, Millburn shares a very important message that happiness comes from being present in relationships and sharing experiences, not from all the junk we fill our houses with.
Noteworthy Blog Posts
“15 Money Things That Young Adults Overlook That Matter” – The Frugal Gene
Lily at The Frugal Gene lists 15 pieces of advice for young people starting off on their financial journey. The advice ranges from finding a frugal partner to selling or donating all your stuff that you left at your parents house. The list is funny and spot on, so it’s definitely worth checking out.
“Why Is Talking About Money More Taboo Than Sex?” – Making Sense of Cents
Seriously! As a personal finance blogger, I absolutely love talking about money and will happily share how much money I make or what my net worth is, but for most people money is a taboo subject. Michelle from Making Sense of Cents cites an Ally Bank survey that found that 70% of Americans think it’s rude to talk about money.
Michelle goes on to discuss some of the benefits of talking about money, such as knowing what your coworkers make to put you in a better position to negotiate for a raise, or to find out what the average selling price of houses is in your area. She also lays out some ways to tactfully bring up money with your friends and family. I totally agree that it would benefit us all to be more open with discussing our finances.
“Why You Need To Put At Least 10% Down On Your First Home (And How To Save It!) – Money After Graduation
With so many banks offering mortgages for as little as 5% down, it’s easy for people to rush into homeownership. Bridget from Money After Graduation examines this 5% down mortgage, and demonstrates how only putting 5% down on your house could leave you underwater on your mortgage with even the slightest fluctuation in the market. Instead, Bridget recommends saving at least 10% to put down on your house, and another $5k-$15k to cover closing costs.
Of course the more you save to put down, the better, but Bridget recommends that people should not buy a house unless they can put at least 10% down on it. I definitely agree with this advice as we are trying to get as close to 20% to put down on our house as we can.
What have you read this month?
Interested in what I read last month? Check out the May Reading Report.
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