February 2020 books read

  • Educated – Tara Westover, 2018. I had no idea quite how harrowing this would be. So interesting that the family essential oil empire, described near the end, is still going strong.
  • Quit Like a Millionaire: No Gimmicks, Luck, or Trust Fund Required – Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung, 2019 – I’m sort of a FIRE follower and gobble up books like this. On the quick-read/fun side – I don’t think I learned anything new but I like Kristy’s attitude.
  • The Art of Frugal Hedonism: A Guide to Spending Less While Enjoying Everything More – Annie Raser-Rowland with Adam Grubb, 2017
  • Salt: A World History – Mark Kurlansky, 2003 – quotes pulled, tbd
  • Beatlebone – Kevin Barry, 2015 – quotes pulled, tbd
  • Moll Flanders – Daniel Defoe, 1722 – quotes pulled, tbd

The Art of Frugal Hedonism: A Guide to Spending Less While Enjoying Everything More – Annie Raser-Rowland with Adam Grubb, 2017

I think I heard about this from the same source as Quit Like a Millionaire, but this one I loved. I borrowed it from the library but will put a copy on my to-buy list. There’s a nice website and ooh, an interview I plan on watching!

The book is similar in tone and optimism to my favorite financial blogger, Mr. Money Mustache, but even more focused on relishing day-to-day pleasures and the natural world. Some of the chapter titles capture this attitude: “Recalibrate your senses,” “Enjoy excess” (they throw a banana party when they have a glut of them), “Revel in the good brain chemistry of resourcefulness,” “Indulge your curiosity,” “It won’t be dull. We promise,” “Put on your favorite power anthem, and be the zeitgeist,” “Free up your frivolity,” “Sup at the cultural buffet,” and the last one, “Look up, think about constellations. Look down, think about magma.”

It’s Australian, so I learned the word “jaffle” (a toasted sandwich – now I want one of the cool fluted grills).

In the “Don’t be a sucker” chapter, about resisting advertising:

Be more content. Okay, easier said that done, but as author Douglas Rushkoff writes in his book Coercion, “the more fun you’re having in life, the more satisfied your are with yourself, the harder a target you are to reach.” You may have observed that people with an air of contentment with life, a mind fascinated by ideas, and strong connections with other people and the natural world are less susceptible to advertising. So make like a content person, and ignore the billboard! You are above such piffle!

In the frivolity chapter, contrasted to light-hearted spending:

Living light-heartedly is an altogether different beast. It involves being a bit philosophical about bad things that happen, so that they don’t dominate your mind or outlook. Or retaining the ability to take delight in fleeting moments. Or recognizing that being frivolous, spontaneous or playful with other humans and within your own head is a totally free present you can give to yourself and the people around you as often as you like. This stuff is the real assertion of freedom from the drabber elements of daily life: don’t get it confused with frivolous spending.