What’s On My Reading List?

Do you keep a summer reading list?  Bill Gates sure does.  Every spring he publishes his summer reading list for the world to see.  I usually take a look at it every year to see if there’s some books that interest me.

Like Gates, I’m a big believer in reading and continuous self education.  Whether you’re a billionaire or a mere millionaire, reading is one of the most important ways any human can learn and grow.  This includes financially independent types like myself.

I’m always trying to keep myself reading good books — The trick is in finding really good books.  I usually try to get recommendations from people I respect and trust for their ability to judge a good book.

For me, a “summer reading list” is something of a bad joke — We live in the Pacific Northwest and summer is actually the best time to go do stuff.  Why?  It finally stops raining!  Once the kids get out of school we try to do as much traveling as possible during our short summer break.  (This year the Tako family traveled to Texas, and did camping on the San Juan Islands.)

It was a great summer, but I only managed to finish one book.  That’s the reality as a stay-at-home Dad and blogger.  Life is extremely busy.  (Incidentally, the book I finished this summer was Every Tool’s A Hammer by Adam Savage.)  In other words, I don’t have a lot of time for reading during the summer.

Fall and Winter are a different story.  Most of my reading time happens in the fall and winter when the weather is bad, the kids are in school, and our daylight is limited.

So what’s on my reading list for this Fall and Winter?


Quit Like a Millionaire by Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung

As part of the publisher promotion for this book I was given two free copies of this book (one of which I gave away to a reader).  I’ve been meaning to read my copy for awhile now.  It sounds like a fantastic book, written by two of my favorite bloggers — Kristy and Bryce, who blog over at Millennial Revolution.  I’ve read their blog for years, and they’re a hoot!  The book covers their journey to financial independence without the need for gimmicks, luck, or even a trust fund.  It covers a lot of the usual FIRE topics like the 4% rule, but it’ll be interesting to read two millennial’s unique take on the subject.

FYI: If you weren’t aware, Kristy and Bryce retired really early — at the age of 31.  That’s younger than most!


courage to be dislikedThe Courage to be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

This book actually came to my reading list via the Financial Samurai over on twitter.  He highly recommended this book.   Apparently the book explains some of the philosophies of Alfred Adler, a rather famous doctor of psychology who believe in the importance of liking oneself and not trying to be “liked” by everyone.

This seemed like a pretty relevant topic to me.  As a person that lives a very unusual life, I get plenty of people that dislike me.  There’s tons of haters out there on the internet who love to attack and harass bloggers like myself, but you can’t let the haters stop you.

This book sounded like it could have some encouragement and tips to keep me blogging despite all the haters there are online.  I can’t wait to read it!


barons of the seaBarons of the Sea: And Their Race to Build the World’s Fastest Clipper Ship by Steven Ujifusa

As an investor, I try to read as many business books as possible.  I’m a firm believer that the more I know about business, the better investor I can be.  Most of the time business books are just about modern businesses, but Barons of the Sea covers the mid-19th century clipper shipping business.

Clippers were fast sailing ships that moved goods around the world during that time period… kind of like Fedex or UPS today, only in the 19th century.  I’m told this book covers the business side of the clipper ship business and provides detailed numbers and insights as to why some Clipper captains made money and others did not.  Sounds fascinating!


i love capitalismI Love Capitalism!: An American Story by Ken Langone

In many circles, capitalism is thought of as a dirty word.  This book unabashedly extols Ken Lagone’s love for the economic system right in the title.  Ken Lagone is the billionaire most famous for his co-founding of Home Depot, but he didn’t start out that way.  He started-out as a plumbers kid from New York without a lot of money.  Through hard work, determination, and a little capitalism, he was able to build an amazing business and create incredible levels of personal wealth.

This book has been recommended to me by several different people who enjoy reading business biographies, so I’ve been meaning to read it for awhile now.


the sixth extinctionThe Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert

This book came onto my reading list via Paul from AssetBasedLife.  Apparently we’re all doomed.  The book is about global warming and according to evidence presented by the author, we are the sixth extinction.  That sounds kind of scary, but apparently the book is a pretty good read.  Paul recently reviewed the book over on his blog, and it sounded interesting enough I decided to add it to my own reading list.

(The author is apparently a Pulitzer Prize winner.  That’s certainly a good sign!)

Global warming has been on my mind a lot lately because we’re planning to move to a lower-cost city in the next few years, and that’s a big decision.  Understanding global warming and how the world is going to change in the next 10 to 20 years is hugely important to making a good decision on where to live.  Hopefully this book will give me a few insights.


last man standing Last Man Standing: The Ascent of Jamie Dimon and JPMorgan Chase by Duff McDonald

As an investor, I’ve followed Jamie Dimon for years now.  He’s one of the smartest bank CEO’s around and runs JP Morgan Chase — one of the top performing U.S. bank stocks.  Apparently he’s also a confidant of Warren Buffett, which speaks volumes to the man’s character.  I’ve been meaning to pick up this book to learn more about him and JP Morgan Chase.

I’m definitely looking forward to reading this one!


the fish that ate the whaleThe Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America’s Banana King by Rich Cohen 

Did you know that bananas used to be a luxury item, reserved only for the wealthy?  It’s true that bananas used to be an extravagant fruit!  Over time, and through the efforts of entrepreneurs, bananas have now become a cheap and very common commodity.

This book tells the tale of one such entrepreneur, self-made banana mogul Sam Zemurray.  He went from being a road-side banana seller to the leader of a banana empire, which we know as Chiquita Brands International today.

I’m always in the mood for a good rags-to-riches story, and this one looks great!  This is another one of those business biographies that has been recommended to me from multiple sources.


ludicrous Ludicrous: The Unvarnished Story of Tesla Motors by Edward Niedermeyer

Like most people, I’ve seen Tesla come out of nowhere to challenge some of the biggest automakers in the world.  Unfortunately Tesla’s story isn’t without some blemishes, and they’ve burned through billions in shareholder money with nary a profit in site.

I’m no Tesla fanboy, but I’ve been told this book presents a reasonably fair and balanced look at the company that is Tesla Motors.  It should be an interesting read and a great way to learn more about the modern automobile industry.


the last emperoxThe Last Emperox by John Scalzi

This is the lone fiction book on my list, and it hasn’t been published yet.  As a huge fan of science fiction, I’ve loved pretty much everything John Scalzi has ever written (especially his Old Man’s War series).  This book is actually part 3 of a new series by John Scalzi that began with a book called The Collapsing Empire.

I’ve been waiting for The Last Emperox one for quite awhile.  The book is technically supposed to be published in spring 2020, so it’s not quite a Fall/Winter book, but I’m still keeping it on my reading list!

Final Thoughts

Thanks for checking out my Fall/Winter reading list!  As I’ve stated in the past, reading is how I got to where I am today.  I can’t stress enough how important reading is to achieving financial independence.  It’s the key that unlocks the doorway that makes financial independence possible.

For me, reading formed the core of learning about investing, finance, and how to become financially independent.  Eventually I earned my freedom from 9 to 5 job hell because of reading.  Without a few important books, I would probably still be stuck at that desk job I hated, instead of writing a blog where I get to teach others about financial freedom.

In this era of Instagram and Youtube, I don’t think reading and books get nearly enough attention.  That’s too bad.  They might be a medium from the past (from before the internet), but I still think there’s A TON of good information to be learned from reading a few good books.

Keep on learning everybody!


[Image Credit: Flickr]

11 thoughts on “What’s On My Reading List?

    • September 26, 2019 at 9:39 AM

      Yep, I know the feeling. I used to read a lot more, almost a book a week! Then, kids happened. Now I’m lucky if I can get through one every two or three weeks!

  • September 25, 2019 at 1:53 PM

    Ludicrous and Barons of the Sea sound interesting, need to add them on my reading list. I recently finished An Economist Walks into a Brothel: And Other Unexpected Places to Understand Risk and really enjoyed the book. I think you might enjoy that one too.

    • September 26, 2019 at 9:38 AM

      OK, I have to go check out “An Economist Walks Into A Brothel”. With a title like that, how could I not? 🙂

  • September 25, 2019 at 7:05 PM

    A wide and very interesting list. I hope you like the Sixth Extinction. I’m definitely putting some of these in my queue, and I look forward to comparing notes with you. Happy reading!

    • September 26, 2019 at 9:37 AM

      Thanks again for the recommendation on the Sixth Extinction Paul!

  • September 25, 2019 at 7:16 PM

    Looks like a good list, Mr. Tako – I’ll probably start with “The Fish That Ate the Whale” on your list. I like to switch from fiction to non-fiction so I can expand both the left and right sides of the brain.

    I just finished “Call of the Wild” last night (I can’t believe I had never read that in all these years!). And I started on “I Will Teach You to be Rich” – that’s another one I should have read a while ago, but maybe I can just say I was waiting for the 2nd edition to come out! 😉

    • September 26, 2019 at 9:35 AM

      Sounds good! After I finish “The Fish”, we can compare notes! 😉

  • September 26, 2019 at 4:37 PM

    I highly recommend “The Clean Money Revolution: Reinventing Power, Purpose, and Capitalism” … a great read of where the smart capital needs to be going in this time of transition (and a heads up on where capital may get stranded in the future). Written by another West Coaster.


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