A round up of interesting or cool stuff I’ve read.
Best books of 2020
I wanted to highlight the best books I’ve read in 2020.
Turns out, I only read books about money, or fantasy/sci-fi. So those are the two categories I’m going with!
Maybe I should make a new year’s resolution to expand my reading…
It doesn’t necessarily matter when the books came out. The only prerequisite is that I had to read them this year.
Without further ado:
Best Money Books of 2020
- The Psychology of Money, by Morgan Housel. Morgan is a great writer. This book focusses on our behaviour with money, and why we treat it the way that we do. It also inspired me to write a post, The Long Tail, not long after it came out.
- How I Invest My Money, edited by Joshua Brown and Brian Portnoy. I’ve just finished reading this (and wrote a post to summarise my main takeaways – Six Lessons from ‘How I Invest My Money’) and wanted to include it on my list of recommendations. Despite the name, it’s not really a ‘how to’ guide (that’s next on the list). Instead, it’s a collection of essays from a variety of (US-based) financial experts about how they view money, why they invest, etc. Not every chapter hit the spot, but I found that many of them gave me food for thought.
- Investing Demystified, by Lars Kroijer. Possibly technically cheating, as I first read this book in 2017/18… But I re-read it (and wrote a post about it) earlier this year. It’s a great, concise book, explaining why you should stick with a simple portfolio of a global index tracker and some bonds, in a ratio to suit your risk tolerance.
Best Fiction of 2020
Not remotely related to finance or investing, so feel free to skip to the next section if you’re not interested.
- A Little Hatred & The Trouble With Peace, by Joe Abercrombie. Parts one and two of the Age of Madness trilogy, and parts eight and nine (if you count the collection of short stories as book 7) of the First Law series.
My favourite books of 2020. Abercrombie writes really excellent characters and prose that kept me hooked until the end. Even if you haven’t read any of the First Law series, this trilogy makes a good jumping on point. It’s far enough removed from original books that the story will still make sense. Book three isn’t due for release until September 2021. I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing how the trilogy concludes.
- Artificial Condition, by Martha Wells. Part 2 of the Murderbot Diaries.
On the whole, this is a good sci-fi series following an android on it’s adventures through space. Of the four novellas in this series, the second was by far my favourite. An engaging pairing of characters made for a funny and gripping story.
- Monstrous Regiment, by Terry Pratchett. I’ve only read a handful of the Discworld series. This book was a reminder that he writes really funny, intelligent books (who knew?) and that I should get on with reading the rest of them.
So those are my favourite books I’ve read in 2020. If you have any recommendations for the next year, please do share in the comments below. Even though my to-read list is huge and doesn’t stop growing, I’m always on the look out for something new!
Interesting links that caught my eye this week:
- FIREvLondon – Wealth Tax would prove taxing for the Tories
I found this to be a good analysis of the wealth tax recently proposed in the UK.
- Joslin Rhodes – 10 top tips for retirement
I’d be remiss not to feature this, as it features yours truly! Ten UK FI bloggers offer their top tips for retirement.
The Financial Bodyguard – FIRE: A few things I’ve learned along the way
Carolyn writes about how many people struggle with the transition from employment to retirement, and that making a plan can help with the process.
- Ad Otium – Retirement Lessons from Voltaire’s Candide
Following on from above, Ad Otium shares some philosophical lessons for retirement.
- Morgan Housel – A Few Things I’m Pretty Sure About
“Most professions would benefit from at least one a day month where you did nothing but think.” Yes please.
- A Wealth of Common Sense – How to publish your own book
I’ve always liked the idea of publishing a book (just have to write it first…). Although traditional publishing is typically preferable for most rather than self-publishing, this was a useful summary of the steps involved.
- The Humble Penny – 3 year Blog Anniversary: Highs, Lows, and Surprises
What Ken has achieved in just three years with The Humble Penny is hugely impressive. This post highlights some of the milestones along the way.
- Reddit – Taking a mini-retirement changed my FIRE plans permanently
An interesting post and subsequent discussion on FIRE.
- Monevator – What’s your financial origin story?
Everyone’s origin story is different – but why are we all on the path to FI? The Accumulator shares their story, and there are lots of great anecdotes in the comments.
- Indeedably – Beguile
A discussion on affiliate marketing, and why you shouldn’t be so quick to trust the reviews you see online. Sounds like a dry topic, but Indeedably writes about it really well, as always
- Blair duQuesnay – Asset destruction
This might be more US-focussed, but I found that this was a useful primer on when life insurance might be useful for someone, and why most of us do not need whole life assurance.
eFinancialCareers – Goldman Sachs associate given 6 months to live reflects on what’s important in life.
- Sign up to Trading212 via this link and we both receive a free share.
- Purpose vs profit: The Trade-off Game – Financial Times. Fun little five minute game where you try to balance your investors’ desire for profit with your stakeholders’ desire to do good in the world.
Thanks for reading. Hope you’re all having a good week.