It feels like society has forgotten that you do not have to spend $100k at a university to be smart. Unfortunately, I spent more than that, so I know first hand that I got ripped off. I’ve made some bad purchases in the past, have invested money into things that cost me money, and paid more for something than I should have and the cost of my education is the epitome of stupid. I believe we all have done that at some point, hopefully not into the 6 figure scale like I did though.
It was not until after college did I realize where I had really learned the most in my life. Good, old fashioned, books. I remember going to bed when I was in 4th grade reading a light grey colored book about MS-DOS 2.11.
I bet the book still exists in a box at my parents house, in some back corner of the garage (Update: I visited my parents and it was still on their bookshelf! see the image to the right). Yes, I was a nerd and I was lucky enough to have been given a computer at a young age back then that looked much like the one in the main image of this post. I remember it had TWO 20Mb hard drives and dual 5 1/4″ drives… I wish we still had it, because it would make a great conversation piece in the living room and be almost like old artwork.
It was somewhere around that time that I realized there was a tremendous amount to be learned in books. Before then, I had read the typical children’s books such as the choose your own adventure stuff (turn to page 51 to take the forested path, turn to page 23 to climb the mountain). From that point on, I have focused my reading on non-fiction and I still try to consume as much as I can.
I no longer buy new books though, I used to, but have learned that most books can be found used or at the library. Especially now that Amazon makes it so easy. I tried the kindle/e-book version of things and occasionally will read them, such as The Debt Free Guys‘ new book: #MoneyConscious Financial Planning Guide: 12 Steps to a Richer You I can not pass up a $1 book that is filled with good information. (Just to be clear, I do not make any money from that link. Due to Colorado laws, Amazon will not allow affiliates from my state, plus what would someone make from commission on $1 anyway?) For the most part I prefer to have the hard cover book, because unlike the kindle versions, they can at least be resold, given away to a friend, or given to your library or a charity. If you’re itemizing your taxes, then donations of books can be written off on taxes as well, so it’s like getting a small post-purchase rebate on your book. Since I only buy used books, the value of them when I donate them is what I paid, since a book isn’t any worse off after I read it once.
I use a wishlist on amazon to keep track of the books I would like to read, there is also the Amazon GoodReads site as well, but the wishlist keeps it simple for me since I’m on Amazon all the time anyway. If someone mentions a good book, I search for it on amazon and add it to my list real quick and then I can search for the best deal on it later. You may never have thought to do it, but a few months ago I emailed the CEO of the company I worked for and asked him what books he had recently read and what’s on his list currently. If you’re not sure what books to read, drop your CEO an email and I bet they will respond, regardless of the size of the company. A simple, easy, quick to answer question like that gets their attention. Give it a try, keep your email short and to the point, two sentences and a thank you. If you really want to impress and get their attention, actually read everything they list and reply back months later to let them know you have since read those and enjoyed them and was wondering if they had discovered any new ones since then. When I emailed my CEO asking him, he responded with 4 books he had recently read and 2 books he is currently reading. I am trying to get through those so I can do exactly like I mentioned above. Of course, I have a long list of my own as well, but I decided to make his list a higher priority so if nothing else, he recognizes my name.
Below I have listed out books I am currently reading and those I have on my list to still read. I believe you can tell a lot about a person by their library. Unfortunately in todays world, people’s book shelves are less visible than they use to be. The increased usage of Kindle and digital books has lead to a bit of the demise of the bookshelf in the living room. Perhaps I am am one of the last few of a generation who paid attention to a the books sitting on the bookshelf of someone I am on a date with or going out with.
(I make no commission off these links due to CO law and Amazon fighting, but they are supplied for your benefit so you can see the cover of the book to know which I am talking about)
Books I am currently reading
Books on my list
As you can see, my book list has some variety. You can tell there is a mix of leadership, financial, and real estate oriented books, but then there are a few others in there that involve firearms and self defense, which I hope is more understandable when you discover I volunteer some of my free time being in uniform serving and protecting the community.
I hope you find some of those book interesting enough to add to your list and I would love for you to comment with some of your favorites or ones you might still have on your to-read list.