Books That Inspire Me

Most readers like to know what is inspiring this person to write and how did they get their philosophies. So, I decided to share the top 5 books that I keep on my shelf and reread passages and chapters from on a regular basis. I will list them in order of when I found them so you can see my evolution and thought process as each one inspired me to develop my MFM philosophy.

The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley

This book was one I checked out while in college in 2002, because I thought that if I wanted to have money I needed to only listen to people who had the money and study what they had done. I read through the pages carefully and noticed that the average millionaire was a just a normal guy driving a Ford, and living literally on my street. I went home to talk to my parents and sure enough we had about five or six millionaire within view of my front yard growing up. I talked to a few of them and Stanley was right! Most just quietly saved their money in their 401K’s at work or had a few rent houses. They looked poor and one was an airline pilot who looked homeless when he wasn’t flying and his wife ran a small vending machine business. Most found a niche of some kind, and none of them inherited their money. This made me a believer that anyone can be rich over a long enough time with simple saving and living a simple life.

The Total Money Makeover By Dave Ramsey

This book was something that caught my attention through Google search on budgeting in 2004. I was curious if you could save your money in a better more efficient way and Dave had a plan called “Baby Steps.” I had no debt, but it showed me how to plan out my life and with that plan I could accomplish just about anything I wanted to do financially. Dave has a great plan for beginners and it is proven by tons of case studies from his readers and listeners on his radio show. I still loosely follow his plan am currently in the pay off my house and wealth building stage. I like the idea that the wealth you create can help others and it is gift from God to be used for good. I have gifted a car, money, and other helpful things to people that needed the help and have instructed them to pay if forward one day when they are on their feet again. This is the first book I give to financially struggling friends, and many don’t use the book like I did and see all the good stuff in there.

The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

This book was a game changer for me in 2005, because it taught me that you can get ahead in unconventional ways that are playing the game life with a new set of rules. I just thought we needed to work and save, and that working was going out and getting hired. This book got me thinking that I could make anything work with the right promotions. I could work anywhere, at anytime, and make as much as I could by creating a product with a passive income. Tim introduced me to life hacks before I knew what that was. I learned of traveling the world using points and miles, and how to set up websites, blogs, and online stores. My entire world of what work was changed with this book. I have the updated version now and have certain chapters dog-eared for quick references. I now saw the world for what it was and that is my playground to experiment with business ideas, such as flipping campers online, my first websites, online classrooms for teaching, personal training, online free lancing, and many other small businesses that I have tried and played with. All were a success except my day trading one summer that didn’t turn out so well. Since I teach school, I live a semi-retired life of 180 days a year of work and the rest is playing, traveling, or working on small business ideas.

Early Retirement Extreme by Jacob Lund Fisker

I started reading Fisker’s extreme material through his blog in 2007 when I was feeling house poor, and tiring of my job at a rough school. He talked of living the lowest lifestyle possible ($8,000-$10,000 a year), and saving the highest saving rate possible (70-90% of your income). I ran my numbers for my family of 5 and we were living at the time for about $7,000 per person a year, but we only had my full time job and my wife’s part time training so our savings rate was about 30%. We lowered our lifestyle a little, but not extreme like was suggested, and put a plan together to retire early. This was the first time I really thought about early retirement, and that retirement was in fact just a freedom of time thing, instead of a growing old and dying soon thing. We cut cable, lowered internet speed, put in energy efficient light bulbs and lowered electricity usage by 30% overall, we got rid of my truck and got a Honda to drive, and we think of everything we do as an expense. Again, we run a tight ship, but we are not extreme, we are efficient in how we plan, budget, save, and live our lives. I have a date in mind now of when I can retire early, and once our mortgage is paid off we can save 70% of our 2 incomes we have now teaching in public school.

The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

This is another book that I got into because of Chris’s blog about unconventional lifestyle topics like, getting a master’s degree on your own with no university, and Chris’ travel hacking around the world. I read his first book “The Art of Non Conformity,” but The $100 Startup is a book of case studies on different businesses and how they got started and became a success. I loved the storied and they inspired me to finally act on many of my ideas for small businesses. Even this website that I hope become a passive stream of income for me cost $90 to get everything in order and started up. I have started many businesses by getting $15 worth of business cards and a $16 website, and calling myself a consultant. People will pay for your knowledge if you provide them with real value. These inspirational stories put many of my ideas from a loose idea to an actual dollar amount in my bank account. Since I love my teaching job, I do many of these as hobbies for sometime and then move on to a new idea which helps me to grow in business experience quickly and also allows me to learn on the fly as I with very little risk. Chris’ blog is still something I read every week and his stories inspire me to act.

I still have many other books that I loved and that have inspired me such as the 80/20 Principle, Die Broke, numerous blogs I read daily on finances, newsletters from economists, magazines on entrepreneurship, ancient stoic writers, and more. The important thing to remember is to read, study, become knowledgeable, and be inspired to be the best you from everything you get your hands on. I mentioned the book Die Broke because it was based on a conflicting philosophy from my own, but I learned that I was on the right path for my family and me financially. The bottom line is read more, and plan more for your future. Be a lifelong learner and you won’t regret it.

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