Book Review: Day In, Day Out by Nicholas Dancer

I’m going to start this book review by noting that the draft of MYSTERY BOOK currently clocks in at 8,473 words, and that I have been working on the draft every single day—which has only been 10 consecutive days so far, but it already feels like the kind of habit I don’t want to break.

Which ties in perfectly with my recently acquired advance copy of Nicholas Dancer’s Day In, Day Out: The Secret Power in Showing Up and Doing the Work.

I bet you can’t guess what it’s about.

Day in, Day Out, the cover. It has the phases of the moon on it.

I’m not sure we necessarily need another book about showing up and doing the work (we also don’t really need another mystery novel about an amateur sleuth solving murders and doing friendships, if I’m going to play that card), but Dancer’s book is, thank goodness, a good one.

Although Day In, Day Out is primarily designed for small business owners, many of its insights might resonate with a larger group of readers. The section on keeping your options closed instead of open, for example—that’s what I’ve been advising creative types to do since the beginning of the year.

Same goes for the section on saying no to anything that doesn’t get you closer to where you want to go, and the section on using a minute of communication to save an hour of work.

That said, there are some sections in the book that directly contradict each other. For example: early in the text Dancer shares a short story about two fictitious bodybuilders named Brad and Dinky. Brad works on improving his form while Dinky does a bunch of sloppy reps, and although the two of them spend the exact same amount of time at the gym, only one of them sees real results (and it’s not the one named Dinky).

Later, we learn that the act of going to the gym is more important than what you do at the gym: “It might have been your laziest workout, but you showed up. You kept the momentum alive.”

So which is it? Showing up is enough, or just showing up is not enough?

Ultimately—and I’m extrapolating from Dancer’s ideas here—it goes back to where you want to go. Sometimes you go to the gym because you know you can get a lot of physical and mental benefits even if you’re the slowest runner in your BodyAttack class. Sometimes you go to the gym because you want to be the best bodybuilder you can be. Two completely different goals, with two completely different sets of strategies and tactics.

Or, to bring it back to me (because all book reviews are really about the person doing the reviewing): right now I’m working on putting as many words into MYSTERY BOOK as I can, as fast as I can, without breaking my streak.

Later I’ll work on making sure I have the best words in the right places. ❤️

Book Review: I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi

I swear I reviewed this book when it first came out.

I even went back to my old personal blog WHICH SHALL REMAIN NAMELESS to check, but when I tried to access the blog I got rerouted to something called “widgetserver.com,” which just makes me glad that at least some part of the internet degrades over time.

Because I don’t recall my original review as being particularly positive.

Part of it was because, at the time, I felt like I wasn’t earning enough money to implement many of Ramit’s instructions. I was trying to learn as much as I could about money, and here was this book telling me to make a budget (DONE), find a savings account that offers the highest possible interest rate (DONE), start saving more money (WAIT HOLD ON), and begin investing that money for the future (NOPE, IT’S A GOOD MONTH WHEN I HAVE $150 LEFT OVER AND ALL THOSE TARGET DATE FUNDS YOU MENTIONED REQUIRE A $3K BUY-IN).

I was also a little put out that Ramit was selling coaching packages on his website that cost—if I recall correctly—one thousand dollars, and I really feel like I wrote something along the lines of “I wish I had an extra $1,000, also, looks like your method of getting rich involves teaching other people how to get rich,” but thankfully my old blog is overrun by spam or whatever and I cannot quote my younger, more cynical self.

Because now that I’ve reviewed the tenth anniversary edition of I Will Teach You To Be Rich, I can tell you that I’ve done pretty much everything Ramit suggests.

The new edition of IWTYTBR is also less cynical and caustic than its predecessor. I didn’t compare both texts side by side, but I did read the intro and the first section of the original book (because that can be found online, easily) and the tenth anniversary rewrite is—like this review—written by someone with ten more years of life experience.

Coincidentally, Ramit and I are exactly the same age, and that might have something to do with it; a decade ago we were both railing at the world, young people shaking our fists at clouds. Now we’re better writers, and better teachers.

And I really do like this book. It’s incredibly detailed and packed with action items—you’ll know exactly what you need to do to make a debt repayment plan, choose a credit card, or begin investing.

If I were you, I’d pair Ramit’s six-week plan with Lillian Karabaic’s Get Your Money Together workbook; both take you through the same steps, provide similar action items, and come with the same sense of urgency and accountability—and since Ramit and Lillian have completely different backgrounds, writing styles, and financial perspectives, the two texts act like checks on each other. (If the person in the cashmere sweater and the person in the Ziggy Stardust wig both say the same thing, the advice must be solid.)

Or maybe it’s time for me to write my personal finance book, which would include a similar list of goals and feature the phrase “we’re all doing the best we can with what we have” somewhere in the first three paragraphs.

But more on that later this week. ❤️

Book Review: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie

My parents had a copy of Dale Carnegie’s classic How to Win Friends and Influence People on our bookshelf at home, which meant that I started reading it as soon as I was old enough to want to learn how to make friends (and later, to influence people).

However, I did not know until a few weeks ago that Carnegie had written a sequel of sorts: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.

Overall, I think it’s the better book.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t some excellent insights in How to Win Friends—but some of those tips, like “a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language,” are now so well-known that they’ve lost their impact. (We’re all familiar with the overly solicitous person who inserts our name into sentences just a little too often.)

How to Win Friends is also a book about how to get other people to respond in a certain way, which, you know, you can’t really do. You can be kind to people. You can be interested in what they have to say, and try to see the world from their perspective. You can even say their name when you greet them.

But you can’t, like, control their behavior or their feelings. The only emotions and actions you’re in charge of are your own.

Which brings me to How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.

The first lesson, “Live in Day-Tight Compartments,” was exactly what I needed to read at that very moment. “By all means take thought for the tomorrow, yes, careful thought and planning and preparation,” Carnegie writes. “But have no anxiety.”

He’s referring to the portion of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount which reads “Take therefore no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (The English Standard Version of the Bible translates this last as “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble,” which I like a little better.)

This wisdom is not unique to Jesus; Carnegie explains that philosophers in Greece and India (and, assumedly, the rest of the world) have said much the same thing. “Tomorrow, do thy worst, for I have liv’d today,” wrote Horace—and so on.

If you’re still worried about what tomorrow might bring, Carnegie offers a “magic formula” for addressing this worry:

1. Ask yourself, “What is the worst that can possibly happen?”

2. Prepare to accept it if you have to.

3. Then calmly proceed to improve on the worst.

What else can we do, really?

If we’re having trouble with the “calmly proceeding” part, Carnegie has tips and formulas to help us start taking those first small actions that will help us improve upon whatever unresolved situation is currently occupying our thoughts. If we’re having trouble sleeping because we can’t stop thinking about what tomorrow might bring, Carnegie has advice for that as well.

This book is not about ignoring your worries or procrastinating on the kind of stuff that could become worrying later on. It is refreshingly realistic, in the sense that it acknowledges that much of what we worry about is genuine. Sure, those imagined scenarios rarely transpire exactly the way we imagine, but if your thoughts or your emotions are nudging at you to pay attention to something, there’s probably a good reason to pay attention to it.

But there’s not a good reason to worry about it—which, in this context, means perseverating without addressing the problem.

So use these tools to stop worrying and start living. Accept that the worst may come, calmly proceed to improve upon the worst, and take life one day at a time. ❤️

Book Review: The Courage to Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

I first heard about The Courage to Be Disliked through Khe Hy’s newsletter; when he wrote that it was a book about “whether happiness can be learned, how inter-personal relationships form our identities, and how to overcome a fear of failure,” I instantly put a library hold on a copy.

I did not, however, join Hy’s online book club. I thought about it, and then I reminded myself that I did not have time to take on another commitment—which was definitely the right choice.

So was reading this book.

The Courage to Be Disliked takes the form of a dialogue between a philosopher and a youth; together, they break down the various tenets of Adlerian psychology, such as “all problems are interpersonal relationship problems.”

There were certain aspects of the dialogue that felt instinctively right; I loved the section about the division of tasks, for example. (One of the reasons we get into interpersonal problems is because we try to do other people’s tasks for them or try to get other people to do our tasks.)

I also loved the idea that we should strive for true horizontal relationships, in which both parties see and relate to each other as equals, instead of the more common vertical relationships in which one person sees themselves as above or below the other.

But I finished the book with as many unanswered questions as the youth, and no philosopher of my own to turn to.

For example: I understood, intellectually, the rationale behind the whole “we do not scream because we are angry; we tell ourselves we are angry because we want an excuse to scream, and we want an excuse to scream so we can put another person below us” thing. That works in the exact customer service situation the youth describes to the philosopher, in which the youth explains that they could not help screaming at the waiter who spilled soup (and the philosopher explains that the youth actually wanted an excuse to feel superior to the waiter).

But some situations are more complicated than a waiter spilling soup, and sometimes it feels like we’re screaming because we don’t want other people to put us below them. They are not doing their share of the tasks, not treating us like equal individuals, etc. etc. etc.

So, okay. The philosopher at this point might say “If that other person is making a choice to put you below them, then you can also make a choice—the choice to leave that relationship.”

Which is a very hard choice to make, and the philosopher even notes that it’s nearly impossible with family.

The philosopher also notes that it’s very difficult to get someone else to change their behavior. All you can do is change yours—which is a truth I absolutely believe in—and wait to see how they respond.

Of course, in the majority of the situations in which I’ve tried this, the other person does not change. (It also feels super patronizing to do the thing where you tell a perpetually late partner that, since they did not meet you at the previously discussed time, you went ahead without them—because I did it. Once.)

Essentially, the book argues that if you have the courage to set boundaries, pursue your own tasks, treat others as true equals, stop dwelling on the past (because that’s another excuse to try to put yourself above the people who have hurt you), change yourself without trying to change others, and understand that some people will dislike you for living this way, you can live a happy life.

Except you also have to find a community to be a part of. That’s the last step, and you won’t be truly happy without one.

And since the majority of people do not live this way, as the philosopher admits…

Well. Once again, it’s hard.

Luckily, there’s a sequel: The Courage to Be Happy.

Looks like I’ll need to get myself a copy. ❤️

How My Spending Changed After I Started Reading the Phryne Fisher Books

I heard you wanted posts on “how I spend my money,” so… okay, after I started reading all of these Phryne Fisher mystery novels (I’m currently on #13, The Castlemaine Murders) I began to ask myself if I shouldn’t try to live a little more like Miss Fisher.

I mean, Phryne has Infinite Money thanks to Inheritance Magic and I… um… don’t, but that doesn’t mean I can’t indulge in some of the finer things in life the way she does!

So here’s where some of my money has gone in the past month:

I started by buying a stack of Ghirardelli chocolate bars, so I could have a little chocolate now and then but also save money by not going to the fancy chocolate shop across the street every time I got the urge. I’ve spent $27.92 on grocery store Ghirardelli since the beginning of July ($13.96 on July’s chocolates and $13.96 on August’s). That turned out to be a worthwhile investment.

When I got to the whole “Lin Chung takes Phryne out for exquisite dumplings” section of whichever book that was in, I spent $34.09 on takeout dumplings that were neither exquisite nor indulgent. (Mostly they were greasy.) That was a waste of cash.

A few days later I told myself that Phryne Fisher would definitely support a restaurant that had just opened up, she’s all about supporting small businesses financially, so I went to this new restaurant and I’m not going to say much about it except that it was extremely unsanitary and there was human hair involved and it cost $21.99 and I decided that restaurant support would no longer be a part of my Phryne Fisher emulation strategy.

I spent $43 supporting my friends’ artistic endeavors, and I could be a little embarrassed that this number is lower than the money I spent on takeout dumplings and hair food, except I’m going to two more indie bookstore readings tonight and tomorrow which means I’ll quickly drop another $40 on books.

Then, after reading I don’t know how many pages in which Phryne spends her evenings (and/or mornings) in her glamour jammies while I’m wearing three-year-old pajamas with holes in them because, I mean, they’re 99% still good, I bought myself some new evening wear.

$98.43 worth.

This includes not only pajamas, but a cornflower-blue duster-style cardigan to wear over them (it has pockets!) because I wanted something that was comfortable and snuggly and lovely to look at (and had pockets!) that wasn’t, like, a robe. When you wrap a robe around a pair of pajamas, it’s bedtime-time. When you drape yourself in a cardigan so long that it flows out behind you, you’re ready to lounge.

NO, THERE SHALL BE NO PHOTOS

IF THIS WERE NOT ALSO MY PROFESSIONAL FREELANCING SITE THERE MIGHT BE

IT’S A VERY PRETTY CARDIGAN

Anyway, um… be careful what you read, because it could inspire you to spend a bunch of money on stuff you don’t really need but are very glad to have, because it’s a lot nicer to spend the last few hours of the day in soft pants that are not literally coming apart at the seams.

Also, at this point I’ve gotten through so many Phryne Fisher books, at just a chapter or two per day before I go to sleep, that they’ve stopped feeling like books where you remember everything that happens and more like life, where everything is mostly the same and then you’re like “oh, right, they took Phryne’s sister Eliza to the fair a week ago, how’d I forget that already?”

Which is nice kind of book to read, at the end of the day with all the lights out except for the one you’re reading with. A good way to quiet your mind, and curl up in your new clothes that have no unnecessary holes in them.

Dare I say—and you know I’m going to say it—cozy. ❤️

ALSO ALL THE MURDERS

HOW COULD I FORGET THAT EVERY BOOK INCLUDES AT LEAST ONE MURDER

I GET DISTRACTED BY ALL THE CHAPTERS ABOUT KISSING AND PIE AND REAL SILK DRESSES

Book Review: Because Internet by Gretchen McCulloch

I used to have this theory that a lot of mid-2000s internet patois derived from Ryan North’s Dinosaur Comics; North, whom you might also know from The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, would have T-Rex turn a particular phrase or Capitalize Certain Words or ALL CAPS something for emphasis, and eventually I’d see everyone else doing it.

I have no proof of this, of course. I didn’t take notes, either. Someone else can dig through the archives if they really want to figure out how many people were using nonstandard capital letters and end punctuation the way North did in the very first Dinosaur Comics on February 1, 2003 (go read it, I’ll wait).

Which is exactly what Gretchen McCulloch did in her new book Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language. She dug through the archives. Not specifically for Dinosaur Comics, which doesn’t even get a mention, but for a lot of what became everything else.

Because Internet is, in theory, a book about how language has developed since the early days of the internet (and yes, that means the 1970s). It’s a book about how internet language has evolved to encompass multiple levels of meaning, including text, subtext, paratext, metatext, and so on. Not to mention the fact that we’ve become attuned to an ever-shifting emotional shorthand, where periods and ellipses and tildes and certain emoji—but not all, since some emoji are literal and others are metaphorical, and somehow we’ve come to a cultural consensus on which are which—stand in for what cannot be put into words.

It’s also a book about how growing older means ceding control of the culture we once created.

We’ll start with the title. When was the last time you saw someone use the “because X” construct online, as in “because reasons”? How old were they? If someone uses “because X” these days, it’s either because they’re being deliberately nostalgic or—equally likely—because they don’t realize that internet language has moved on. (So very, very, on.)

As McCulloch explains, the way we use language online often depends on how old we were when we first got unfettered access to the internet. Adults who were on Usenet in the 1980s use language very differently from people of the same age who didn’t really start communicating online until their office got email, who use language very differently from people of the same age who didn’t start communicating online until their phones got texting or their kids helped them get on the Facebook.

In the other direction, people like me use language reasonably (but not yet very) differently from people ten years younger than me. Because… well, you already know the reasons.

I suspect that McCulloch and I are roughly the same age—I’m 37—simply based on the way that her timeline of internet language usage centers on the I Can Haz Cheezburger era, and I don’t mean “centers” in the “gives the most space to” sense, I mean “if she were plotting a graph of how the internet has evolved, LOLcats would be at the center.” The internet before Ceiling Cat, and the internet afterwards.

Whereas someone younger might center Vine, and someone older might center the Eternal September. The historical internet, your internet, and the internet that has started to feel like it belongs to someone else.

You know that one of the reasons I am absolutely obsessed with saving up a big pile of money—NO WAIT, THIS IS RELATED—is because at some point the internet is not going to belong to me anymore. I can integrate elements of the shifting patois into my freelance writing and my social media posts, but as we get further away from those LOLcats and the moment I felt like I was actually creating new ways of communicating (or, in many cases, learning them from people like Ryan North and instantly understanding what they meant), the less integrated my communication will become. It’ll be copying without fully understanding. Appropriating, as it were.

And then I will be An Old, just like all the Olds before me.

Of course, people in my age group may not be so willing to yield total linguistic control to a younger generation—especially because people in my age group kinda think we created the whole “how to communicate online” thing. (As McCulloch eloquently notes: we didn’t.) I would not be surprised if Gen-Xers and Old Millennials find their own online spaces in which we can “because reasons” to our hearts’ content.

Or—and this would be more interesting—continue to evolve our own internet patois, but in a different direction than whatever the kids are doing these days.

McCulloch’s research suggests that we won’t; that generations tend to stick to the linguistic quirks that developed during their youth, which is to say that they stick to the language they used when they got to decide what language meant.

But I’m still young enough to hope that my generation might be the one that changes everything. ❤️

Book Review: The Red Dirt Hymnbook by Roxie Faulkner Kirk

I’m not doing as many Reedsy Discovery reviews these days, since I have a lot of freelance gigs to complete right now, but I wanted to highlight a recent book I reviewed for Reedsy because it was so compelling I couldn’t put it down.

With that in mind, here’s my five-star review for The Red Dirt Hymnbook, by Roxie Faulkner Kirk. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I gave myself enough time to read The Red Dirt Hymnbook over a few days, but I finished it in one night. Roxie Faulkner Kirk weaves a compelling, page-turning narrative centered on a sharp, resourceful heroine—and so I kept going, wanting to know whether Ruby Fae would successfully be able to escape the situation in which she was currently trapped.

With no money, no method of transportation, and limited ability to contact the outside world, Ruby has to figure out how to get herself and her daughter away from the traveling ministry family that once promised freedom before revealing itself to be manipulative, abusive, and controlling. Kirk does a masterful job of escalating the tension, creating several situations in which you are sure Ruby and her daughter have finally been able to leave the Reverend Jasper and his family behind—only to turn the page and find that the Old Rev has been one step ahead of Ruby all this time.

Kirk also does excellent work in humanizing each character, even the ones who might otherwise be portrayed as one-sided monsters. Through Ruby’s eyes, we see each member of the ministry as a person trying their hardest to embody the tenets of their faith, while removing any obstacle that might threaten the faith or the family. We understand why Ruby married the Old Rev’s son, why she stayed with the ministry for as long as she did, and why she now has to leave.

Perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn and Emma Donoghue.

Book Review: On the Clock: What Low‑Wage Work Did to Me and How It Drives America Insane by Emily Guendelsberger

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I used to be a telemarketer. After I graduated from college, I spent six months of 2004 working for a third-party teleservices company and trying to convince people to buy Minnesota Orchestra tickets.

It helped that I had a degree in music and was, as the phrase goes, “classically trained.”

It also helped that I stuck around for six full months, four of which I spent as the office’s top seller. I used to think that this had something to do with my talents; now I assume it had more to do with my experience. Turnover, as you can imagine, was constant—and it was the eventual management turnover, with its stringent rules and pared-down script,* that eventually drove me out of telemarketing and into an envelope-stuffing job at an insurance agency.

Then, as I’ve mentioned many times before, I went to grad school.

I’ve often told myself that if I had to, I could go back to telemarketing. But—after a handful of recent volunteer phone banking sessions for the Andrew Yang presidential campaign—I’m not sure that I could. People are much less likely to pick up the phone these days. They’re no longer interested in making pleasant small talk with a salesperson, even if they support the cause you’re calling about. They know that any information they share can and will be used against them, and that you’re only there to ask them, three distinct times, to hand over their money.

So I read Emily Guendelsberger’s new book, On the Clock: What Low‑Wage Work Did to Me and How It Drives America Insane, with a steadily growing sense of dread.

When the Philadelphia newspaper at which Guendelsberger is employed shuts down, she decides to test out three different low-wage jobs and write about what she learns. After working at an Amazon fulfillment center, a call center, and a McDonald’s, Guendelsberger’s biggest lesson is less about the hard work involved (or the low wages) than it is about the way today’s low-wage jobs measure and manage a person’s time.

Here’s a sample of what she experienced while working for Amazon:

Your scanner starts counting the seconds anytime you aren’t actively completing a task. A bathroom break from the fourth floor will saddle you with 10 minutes of Time Off Task, minimum, and you’re only supposed to have 18 minutes per 11-hour shift, maximum. And they do notice — a manager will come find you and give you a talking-to if your scanner reports you’re taking too much Time Off Task.

As a former telemarketer, I was already familiar with the concept of “your break starting the minute you hang up your last call” (vs. the minute you leave your desk or, god forbid, the workspace) and “if the workday starts at 9 a.m., that means you need to be on the phones at 9 a.m., not starting your computer and loading up the software.”

But that was fifteen years ago, when we were still filling out time sheets by hand. Our managers could literally see when we were still booting up our computers instead of making calls, and we were reprimanded accordingly, but they weren’t keeping track of whether we logged into the call system at 9:00:00 or 9:00:45.

Today’s systems log everything. They slice and dice your pay. They hand out points (points are bad) if you don’t come back from break on time—but you can’t clock in early, so workers learn to spend the last few minutes of their break standing in front of the clock or computer or fingerprint scanner, ready to clock in at the exact right second.

Today’s systems also automatically create schedules that utilize the minimum number of workers required to handle the anticipated workload, which not only ensures that workers are stuck with variable, unpredictable schedules, but also that they’re always working as hard as possible. There were periods of downtime in both my telemarketing job and my envelope-stuffing job. That downtime has been profitized away.

But, again, a lot of people know this already, whether from experience or, like, reading the news. As I read On the Clock, I had some of the same thoughts that I had while reading Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed back in college: who doesn’t know that working in food service means going hungry? I worked various service jobs, including one at an upscale restaurant, as a young person; even with my parents’ full refrigerator to come back to, I still lost weight because I worked the maximum number of hours allowed before I was legally required to have a lunch break (with another 45 minutes on each end for the commute).

Of course, as both the news and this book continually remind us, the people working today’s service jobs aren’t teenagers. They have families to support, and even when they earn more than the minimum wage, they still aren’t bringing home enough money to make the jobs worth it—at least from Guendelsberger’s perspective.

From the perspective of the people she meets while working—especially, ironically enough, at Amazon—the jobs they hold now are the best ones they’ve ever had.

Meanwhile, I’m sitting on my couch with my complimentary copy of this book and all of the accompanying privilege that goes along with that, thinking “please let me never have to be a telemarketer ever ever ever again” and “oh god I hope that basic income becomes a thing because in the two years since Guendelsberger worked these jobs and started writing her book a lot of what she did has already been outsourced to robots, and I want people not to have to use Fish Mox as a substitute for going to the doctor, and this book makes me feel like the rats Guendelsberger wrote about who are getting electric shocked all of the time to see what happens when an organism experiences constant low-grade anxiety and and I’m the person sitting on my couch, not the person at the register or under the headset.

Consider On the Clock highly recommended. ❤️

*My first manager also had a background in music and was fine with letting me take my time and “build rapport” with orchestra fans. The new manager required all of us to stick to the script, and my sales plummeted.

Book Review: Quit Like a Millionaire by Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung

Last month, the New York Times published an article titled For These Women, a FIRE That Burns Too Male and Too White.

The thesis is that the FIRE movement (Financial Independence, Retire Early) centers white male voices—especially white men who got their start in the tech industry—and focuses on strategies that aren’t as applicable to everyone else.

“When I first started looking at the FIRE blogs, it was a bit of a culture shock,” says Mrs. Saunders, 34, a marketing director in Atlanta. “As a black American and as a woman, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to replicate exactly what they did.”

Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung’s new book, Quit Like a Millionaire: No Gimmicks, Luck, or Trust Fund Required provides a much-needed non-white-male perspective on financial independence. As Shen explains, in the book’s introduction:

Growing up, I was told that because I was born poor, didn’t speak English, and had the wrong skin color, the opportunities open to other kids weren’t open to me. I wanted to get rich, travel the world, and write books for a living. Those dreams simply would never come true, the haters said.

The haters were wrong.

In addition to her own story, Shen highlights other individuals who built financial stability out of difficult circumstances (such as spending ten years in prison). One of the book’s goals is to make financial independence possible for people who don’t feel like they can replicate the typical FI narrative.

That said, the practical steps of achieving financial independence are essentially identical to what’s presented in every FI book: build your skills, increase your earnings, manage your spending, invest in low-cost index funds, get excited about tax optimization. (Quit Like a Millionaire has some of the best writing on tax optimization I’ve found, and I’d recommend the book for those chapters alone.)

It’s the framework—and the intended audience—that’s different this time around, and that’s what’s important.

I received an advance copy of Quit Like a Millionaire and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in financial independence. If you want to learn more about Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung, you can check out their work at Millennial Revolution, where they have a whole section of the site devoted to “can I FI with kids,” “can I FI on a low income,” “can I FI and still get healthcare,” etc.

Because there’s more than one kind of FI story out there, and we need to be sharing as many of those stories as possible. ❤️