Book Review: The Millionaire Next Door

The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanely, William D. Danko

I liked the message of the book, which was simple:

  • Spend within your means.
  • People with million dollar net worths are not necessarily the ones that look the part.
  • Money is just as much a trap as a means to financial independence.

Business owners started with humble beginnings but grew their net worth by living frugally, investing their time, money, and energy into their businesses, and are often worth far more than the people driving the luxury cars, wearing expensive clothes, and eating fancy foods.

It all boils down to the expression: “You don’t get rich by spending money.”

For advertisers trying to appeal to the affluent families, it might be eye-opening that the wealthiest people may live in middle class neighborhoods and drive US-made cars.

For me, it covered living frugally, investing in yourself, using this knowledgeable to consider services to these overlooked affluent. The UAW (under accumulator of wealth), AAW (average accumulator of wealth), and PAW (prodigious accumulator of wealth) were interesting to see that you could do even more than just living within your means but you could also set yourself up for success in the future with savings and investments. It also defines the difference between high income and high net worth. You could spend all of your high income or you could save a significant portion of a moderate income – which do you think would be better off?

The book spent chapters on affluent families that over-gift to their children financially and, as a side-effect, teach their kids to live outside of their means and put them on a spending treadmill. Along with the topic of inheritance, this was interesting to see the different sides to problems with large estates.

Ultimately, I thought there were too many examples that were used to emphasize the same point. As somebody that was already on-board, it was repetitive with examples that were too conveniently ‘Goofus and Gallant’.

Book Review: The Caterpillar Way

The Caterpillar Way: Lessons in Leadership, Growth, and Shareholder Value: Lessons in Leadership, Growth, and Shareholder ValueThe Caterpillar Way: Lessons in Leadership, Growth, and Shareholder Value: Lessons in Leadership, Growth, and Shareholder Value by James Koch

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was looking forward to some insights about the company that has its headquarters in the same state I reside in but was turned off by this book. There were some interesting details and history shared but it was hardly an objective perspective by outsiders as it bills itself. It was a business book turned marketing without any room for errors or regrets. The lack of balance led this book to its demise. Even mostly agreeing with the section on frustration with Illinois politics and looking at Right to Work states, the argument felt worthless because the bias had become so obvious.

It reminds me of the old scam you hear about:
A scam artist mails 100 different individuals with a different stock pick, promising them that the stock is going to increase.
A month later, the scammer tracks which stocks actually increased and mails those individuals with another set of stock picks, promising them that the stock is going to increase.
Another month goes by and the scammer again tracks the stocks and mails another pick to those that had stocks that increased.
By this point, the people that are still receiving the mail think this guy obviously knows what he talks about. He’s three-for-three. Most people would be convinced that he can’t go wrong, he has some secret to picking winning stocks and he is willing to share.

Now, the actual scam takes place and the scammer has them invest their money in his fake company or a stock where he gains some commission or other benefit by betting against the stock. Little did the victims know that the person was wrong plenty of times, he just stopped communicating with those individuals.

In that story, it feels like Caterpillar was one of the stock picks that made it through multiple rounds and you’re supposed to assume that they have everything figured out to keep the company growing in that direction. With the heavy bias coming from supposed outsiders, it feels like they’re trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

The Sibling Effect

From the book The Sibling Effect – What the bonds among brothers and sisters reveal about us by Jeffrey Kluger

Page 7:

From the time we’re born, our brothers and sisters are our collaborators and co-conspirators, our role models and our cautionary tales. They are our scolds, protectors, goads, tormentors, playmates, counselors, sources of envy, objects of pride. They help us learn how to resolve conflicts and how not to; how to conduct friendships and when to walk away from them. Sisters teach brothers about the mysteries of girls; brothers teach sisters about the puzzle of boys. Bigger sibs learn to nurture by mentoring little ones; little sibs learn about wisdom by heeding the older ones. Our spouses and children arrive comparatively late in our lives; our parents leave us too early. “Our brothers and sisters,” says family sociologist Katherine Conger of the University of California, Davis, “are with us for the whole journey.”

I ended up skimming the book after I got stuck in one of the early chapters. The book is full of interesting different statistics and related stories but was ultimately very academic and couldn’t pull me into the topic beyond the slight interest I had that led to me picking up the book.

Book Review: The Princess of Tennis

The Princess of Tennis
By Jamie Lynn Lano

A great inside look at the world of living as an American in Japan and a unique perspective working as a manga assistant. The story comes across as genuine and unfiltered. Time flies in the great read with such an interesting world painted. A few photographs are also included which helps make it all the more approachable.

There were a few too many spelling mistakes or missed words for my liking, particularly in the later chapters, but a great story was told despite those distractions.

4/5 stars


Book Review: Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

Battle RoyaleBattle Royale by Koushun Takami

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s hard to review Battle Royale now with so many other dystopian future YA books out there. If you put it in its context of being published in Japan in 1999, it’s an amazing book. If you take it with today’s Hunger Games and other books, it still manages to hold its own.

The book is thick since it was written as a single novel instead of being broken up into a trilogy. Even with the 600 pages, it reads quickly. The chapters serve as dividers for different scenes and character perspectives. The short chapters help keep the book flowing.

Battle Royale is a bit gory with its details and has over 40 characters to keep track of (in the beginning) but you quickly learn the characters that matter and their different quirks. It was still a fun read that was action-packed.

Book Review: Hitler’s Private Library

Hitler's Private Library: The Books That Shaped His LifeHitler’s Private Library: The Books That Shaped His Life by Timothy W. Ryback

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’m not quite sure of my expectations when I began reading this book. I added it to my to-read list quite some time ago, so I forget why it interested me originally. I am also not sure Hitler’s Private Library knew its objective.

The book had awkward writing and a pace that took a few chapters to find itself. It does not discuss Hitler’s collection in general but instead prefers to give you a history of Hitler’s life and highlight a few books along the way. Understanding the context of Hitler’s reading and the impact the books had on him are an understandable point of research. Along the way though, the narrative surrounding the books is far more drawn out than I had attention. At other points the author would use such flowery, descriptive language to describe the conditions of the books, their covers, and pages, they seemed to get distracted.

Hitler’s Private Library makes several interesting points regarding not only the books that Hitler read but also the books he wrote. Manuscripts and edited versions can show Hitler’s writing, grammar, and spelling abilities while focus on certain lines of Mein Kampf show the underlying message or embellishments.

Hitler’s Private Library has its redeeming points for the interested history buff but overall the topic of Hitler is just so uncomfortable, it becomes a lost cause. The uneven pacing of the narrative and quagmire of description makes the book one that most people can skip without regret.