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on June 4, 2009
I was skeptical about this book when I first picked it up a few years ago. Some of the criticisms are fair: 'that there is a lot of "emotion" throughout, plus an emphasis on simplicity, ecological awareness, community involvement, and an overall re-evalutaion of our consumer habits. Plus, at the start, you have to do a lot of work. 'I know this may be "too much" for some people.

HOWEVER! If you want to start "Making a LIVING" for yourself, instead of "Making a Dying" (as the authors put it) then there is no better place to start than with this program. And it is a PROGRAM, like you would do in a college-level course, not just "helpful tips" for saving pennies in a jar.

The first few steps require a bit of memory, a bit of digging, a bit of math (basic addition and subtraction), a bit of organization and A LOT OF SOUL SEARCHING.

Once you understand what the program is REALLY about, that is, figuring out "How many of your (precious! finite!) LIFE HOURS do you give away in exchange for (very little) money" then the other steps become mostly a matter of tracking and organization, customizing as suits your needs.

And, I KNOW at first it seems impossible, unrealistic and downright painful, but please believe me when I tell you that it is very, very worth doing these steps, especially the first few, to the best of your ability. You don't have to do it all perfectly, it's just about doing the best you can, so that you can get a TRUE, HONEST and CLEAR understanding of your past and present attitudes about money.

I have been doing "the program" for exactly 1 year as of today. And I am not ashamed to post here on the internet for all to see that in this ONE YEAR I have radically changed my views on my money, my career and my life's purpose'; I am debt-free; AND have added more than $17,000 to my savings '' and I should add that I don't even have a full-time job! And I live very, very well.

Some people have posted here that the current economy has changed the reality of Bonds since the book was written. That may be true, and I don't think anybody has the answers for those big questions that are beyond the control of ordinary people. Nobody knows what is going to happen.

What I CAN control, however, is where I CHOOSE to spend the money I DO have, IF I CHOOSE TO SPEND IT AT ALL. After all, many people don't realize that you are "ALLOWED" to keep as much of your own money as you want for yourself! This was a huge revelation to me: It's not how much you MAKE, it's how much you KEEP that matters! (OK, so you don't need a book to tell you to spend less than you earn, but this book explores that issue in depth, and it is very eye-opening.)

A few other detractors have jumped to the conclusion that the book is too "liberal", too "new age", too "tree-huggy" or too "scrimp-and-save." Look: You don't HAVE to do ALL the things the authors suggest, like volunteer or live like a renunciate'. They are just presenting the issues from a values framework that many, many people would LOVE to embrace, but they feel they "can't afford to."

At age 40, I am far from rich (too many years in school!), but let me tell you JUST ONE THING: having a full year's salary safely stored in the bank, changes EVERYTHING about my working life.' ' Going to work is soooo much more pleasant now, knowing I don't HAVE to be there just to pay off some old debt for some piece of junk I no longer use or own or even remember. My work has become a joy and a delight. I feel sorry for people who have that old bumper sticker on their car that says "I owe, I owe, so off to work I go" '' Ha, ha, ha, very funny, suckers!

If you learn ONE thing from this book, it should be this: "THERE IS MORE TO LIFE THAN 9 to 5"

I hope that by posting this, I will have convinced someone, somewhere that they can take charge of their money' and get their LIFE back. Try it, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE AND EVERYTHING TO GAIN.

PS: The authors would tell you to borrow it from the library, but really you need your own copy so you can flag pages and make notes, and hopefully refer back to when you need some advice! Get it second hand!
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on June 26, 2016
This book came very highly recommended and was bitterly disappointing. It claims to be "updated for the 21st Century", but alas it is not. I was only able to get through the first 1/4 of the book before I abandoned it out of frustration. It is brutally out of touch and assumes the reader is a blithering moron.

The book is rife with simplistic straw men. I grew tired of being told what it was I believed about money, because I didn't believe any of those things. The book incessantly repeats tired clichés about thrift, savings, and materialism that you'd expect to hear from a politician or in a sermon - no meat, no elaboration, no evidence... just some hand-waving and a smile.

If you know absolutely nothing about personal finance you might get some value from this book and its exercises. You'll probably benefit if you're completely dumbfounded by facts like:
* You have to spend your own money to buy things like gas and work clothes
* If you don't pay your bills, you go into debt
* The more money you spend, the less money you have in the bank

If this was ever considered a good reference for people to learn about personal finance, it stands as an amazing symbol for how much the world has changed in 20 years. Or it's just a crap book.
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on January 14, 2012
If you already know the basics of the simple living movement than you don't really need this book. I found that much of the information I got from the book I already knew - i.e. to have money, just don't spend it! The book also feels a bit outdated as our society has really focussed on the economy and the environmental impacts of our actions in the last few years. Being frugal seems to be "in" again (at least in my circle of family and friends) and that's what this book is basically about - frugality.

It wasn't all bad though! The book did help me get some introspection into my life - I did like the idea of adding up all of the money you have made so far in your life to see what you have to show for it. I also liked the idea of finding your "real" hourly wage and comparing everything you spend money on to that wage to see if it's really worth purchasing. I.e. I make about 10$ an hour after all is said and done so when I, for example, buy a $20 shirt I've just spent 2 hours of my life working just to own this shirt - is it worth it? I now ask myself that questions whenever I go to buy anything - is this worth X hours of my time? The book did also change my spending patterns - I now buy more music and less clothing since I focus on the maximum value for my dollar. I.e. music makes me happy longer than an article of clothing does.

Now, what I'd really like, is a book that tells me how to get my wages up to equal the rising cost of living..
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on March 1, 2017
This fundamental premise of the like frugal maniacs until you have financial independence then do what you want for the rest of your life, is an interesting concept, but a bit depressing. Some people do that and then die before they get to enjoy the independence they gained by giving up any sort of entertainment or fun while they were saving for financial independence. On reading it, I got an almost "cult-like" feeling from many of the testimonials.

I found the book to be almost religiously inclined in nature.. that to live extremely frugally was to be a better person than all the hedonistic people out there consuming themselves into unmanageable debt.

Really, there can be a balance.

The main points in the book are valid and helpful for anyone who is lost in a sea of debt and doesn't want to file for insolvency. There are many examples of the people who followed the program and have attained "FI Bliss" which I found just a bit too preachy.

Start with the epilogue and see if it resonates with you, and if it does, start at the beginning to follow the program, and if not, move on to something else.

You can skip the life stories/ testimonials of the successful "FI-ers" and just focus on the how to advice of the book, this could have been a much shorter read, and been just as helpful. Your mileage may vary, and this is just my opinion.
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on March 5, 2017
For most people, this should be a MUST READ financial book. It doesn't tell you, what to invest in, but it takes you by the hand and steers you into the right direction. Your view of money in your life will change forever. You can never again say, ..... but I didn't know ..... of course if you take the information to heart, you then will have extra money to invest. For beginners investment advice, I would suggest that you google "ROBO ADVISOR". Even Warren Buffet ( in his 2016 letter to the share holders) suggests investments of (ETF's and Indexed Funds), on auto pilot. Any lay person can achieve investment success via Robo Advisors at some of the market lowest fees. Whatever you do, do not get suckered into buying Mutual Funds. The MER of those funds usually is double, triple or more of ETFs or index funds. Like I said, check out Robo Advisor.
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on January 19, 2017
I have been tinkering with my lifestyle for twenty years. At this point I have read many books I gleamed an insight here and there and strung it all together to build a life framework that works for me.

It would have been beneficial to start with this book... it summarizes what I have concluded works best for my own life. There is a coherent plan in these pages, 9 steps that get you thinking differently about money and life.

Get out of the debt, life a full life doing what you love, and go and help others.
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on January 30, 2017
I really liked the writing style and found the book informative. Probably quite useful for those who have a very detailed and more analytical mind as the exercises were more involved than I would have liked them to be. Thank you for imparting your wisdom. There is no such thing as too much information when it comes to one's money!
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on July 31, 2016
I m currently in the midst of read this book, it a bitter pill to swallow when you realize there is a better way to live. I read a copy of the original more than 25 years ago and it did influence me, unfortunately i didnt stick to it, this is helping to get me back to a saner life!@
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on September 8, 2016
A Must read....very informative
....there would be less DEBT, less materialism,. Better for the environment, families, less stress about money
and life in general, - better for the world's future.
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on April 20, 2014
Very informative and educational. An excellent wake-up to the consumer driven world we are all stuck in. Half way through chapter one I began changing the way I viewed purchasing.
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