Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Life changing read. A book that shatters my prior conceptions about money and my personal finances. A harsh moment of epiphany where I realized that all my life I have been having the "Poor Dad" mindset. Growing up I was told to work hard, go to University and find a steady job. This is the "Poor Dad" mindset, because we are using our time and effort to generate the money ourselves. The "Rich Dad" does the opposite- he makes the money work and NOT himself.
I am fairly familiar with a few classic finance books such as Napolean Hills' 'Think and Grow Rich' and some of Peter Lynch's financial books about the stock market. Robert Kiyosaki book was life changing, however, because it altered my perception of reality. It made me realize that instead of working hard at a job and saving for retirement through pensions that there are other ways to achieve financial freedom. I am eternally grateful for finding this book and to my fellow book reviewers online that have been suggesting this book for months.
I recommend 'Rich Dad Poor Dad' to anyone that wants to achieve financial freedom and get out of the rat race. I also recommend Robert's podcast that you can find on Youtube, Spotify or other streaming playlists. It will change your perception about money forever!
On a final note, I think the biggest takeaway is learning about real estate. Presently, I have no interest in dabbling it, BUT this book did teach me a lot of when to buy real estate and more importantly when to sell it. I know that my end goal is to own a plot of land in ten years time, so this book really helped me generate some ideas on how to achieve this goal without going through the traditional route of using your "earned income" or "requesting a loan from a bank." Another take-away I got from this book is the benefits of the stock market. I have been dabbling in it for the last four months and have learned a lot from my newbie mistakes. The financial books that I have been streaming on Youtube and simply listening to podcasts on Spotify have helped me discern the right stocks to buy in the near future. I hope to take up Robbie's advice and enrol in some financial classes and simply network with others to better learn about the financial game. I am really loving it so far, and it is taking up a lot of my time this summer. Anyways, thank you for taking time to read this review and I recommend this book to everyone.
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One Up On Wall Street: How to Use What You Already Know to Make Money in the Market by Peter Lynch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book easily deserves to be put in my personal list of the top ten finance books of all times. Lynch's "One Up On Wall Street" breaks down investment terms and the right stocks to buy in so simple a way that anyone can understand it. From an entry level investor to a seasoned professional, nearly anyone can pick up some helpful tips on how to improve their game.
Here are a few major takeaways that I have learned from this book:
1) Don't rely on professionals. Use your brain and intuition when picking stocks.
2) Try out the businesses for yourself. For example, before placing your investment in a food chain business, why not try out the burger and fries for yourself. Take some time to really know the company and its clients.
3) Research, research, research. Do not invest money in a company that you know nothing about. Pay attention to their press conferences, learn about the CEO, the company's mission, the steps they are taking to continually improve their quarterly and annual earnings.
4) Don't sleep on your investments. Please do not buy a stock of a company and then no longer pay attention to it. Companies are organic, they grow and diminish in time, so it is important to keep an eye on them. Yes, companies will go through natural cycles, but they can also take a negative downturn- for the worst. Frequently revision of your stocks will ensure you are on high alert, ready enough to trade, sell, or potentially buy more stocks when the time is right.
5) Look at the facts. Lynch warns that investors fall into a major trap of being too optimistic or relying on their emotions when playing the game of stocks. He warns that investors should use their head, only pure logic will help you win the game.
6) Only invest money that you are ready to lose. He warns that placing your entire life-savings into a stock is risky business because you have the potential to lose it. He also encourages investors to own a house, before placing a lot of money into stocks, because he believes that a house is a person's greatest investment.
As always, Lynch encourages the reader to learn more about Wall Street by describing his experiences in an entertaining fashion. He is humble and transparent, detailing the various ways he has failed in the investment business and how we can avoid it. The biggest takeaway is to not rely on brokers or the media when it comes to choosing stocks, but instead rely on your own intuition and personal relationships with that said business that you wish to invest in.
I would recommend this book to anyone that has an interest in finance and investments. It really opened my eyes to the different types of investments, but more importantly where I can invest my cash. There are some moments when the book feels outdated, but it is still relevant to our current times. Wall Street hasn't changed much since this book was published, so there is still something to learn for the avid reader. I look forward to reading more of Peter Lynch's work in the near future. This one is certainly a five star read!
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The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"A SPECTRE is haunting Europe - the spectre of Communism."
Naturally this first line hooked me, and immediately I found myself turning the pages with awe and utter fascination. Marx is a naturally prolific writer, and no one can deny his natural abilities to persuade the readers to agree with his arguments. Growing up in Canada, the mere mention of Communism was something of a taboo. No one is allowed to speak about it in public or even in academic settings. I was aware that there was an underground Communism party at my University Campus, but I was still ignorant of their arguments or the reason the hammer and sickle was ever apparent on the grungy brick walls across campus. After reading this book, however, I can now understand the appeal of Marx's words. There is a wave of electrifying energy in it, a call to arms to fight back against the bourgeois and the aristocracy. A cry for man and woman to band together, to create a union where they can unite under a common cause. There were points that I could agree with him, and see the failings of the Capitalist society, especially in our modern age. There were a few sections in particular, which immediately grabbed my attention. For instance, Marx wrote:
"The essential condition for the existence, and for the sway of the bourgeois class, is the formation and augmentation of capital; the condition for capital is wage labour. Wage labour rests exclusively on competiton between the labourers."
This argument brought forth two ideas: the question of the bourgeois existence and the issues with wage labour, or even the problem of minimum wage. I have heard lots of economists argue over the issue of minimum wage; the difficulties of raising it because it negatively effects businesses and mitigates their profits. I have even heard some Free Market economists argue that we should get rid of minimum wage all together, and let the employer choose the prices. This freedom would be beneficial for the "bourgeois" but what about the proletariat? Will they have any say at all? And would that not increase the level of competition between the labourers as they fight for high paying jobs? It would undoubtedly go against Marx's ideals, which believe that the proletariat should come together in a single union to propagate their own ideas.
The entire argument over Capitalism and Communism has been going on for centuries. Each side has their pros and cons, and even now when we look at the 21st century we can see how each country has benefited from their political ideologies. At the present moment, America is become less of a superpower and their "Free Market" is steadily turning into a Socialist regime. When property is steadily being taken over the State, taxes against the rich increase, and instruments of productions are gradually being taken up by the Government, you can only wonder where is the fine line between Capitalism and Socialism. Is there a way to balance between the two? And as the United States Government changes from the far right to lean over to the left, it makes you wonder about the future of the United States. We all know that the FED is printing out trillions of dollars for covid relief funds, and that they are slowly slipping towards the edge of inevitable bankruptcy (if the money printer continues to go), so what will happen when Communist China eventually emerges as the next world superpower? Does that mean that Marx's ideologies are right? Or do we as a society must admit that each ideology has their own merits, and that we cannot simply choose one over the other?
I suppose "The Communist Manifesto" got me thinking about the politics and the power of the Government. It made me think about the ever widening gap between "the half and the half not." The fact that homelessness is growing in the United States, or the fact that in my own hometown the housing crisis and inflation is only making things harder for those that are homeless or living below the poverty line. The Free Market is supposed to benefit everyone and we go around saying that we can live "The American Dream," but you have to wonder if there is a myth behind that Utopian ideology. In a world where there are billionaires flying up to space, and others so poor that they have to walk for miles for drinkable water, you have to wonder if Capitalism is the way to go? Are we simply kidding ourselves? Or is it a lesser evil to the ideas of Communism?
I will leave the final words of Marx, to display his true power when it comes to persuasive writing:
"Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win."
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Foggy Panes by Thea Winthrop
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I believe I had the wrong expectations when I purchased this book. I was expecting a historical romance novel, but it was something entirely different. I suppose the first chapter was a precursor of the things to come; the main character was practically wet with anticipation as she awaited a sensuous night with her lover after the ball. I have no problems reading smutty books, just was not anticipating it to be at the level of BDSM erotica.
I highly enjoyed the historical aspect of it, however, the setting of Austria in the 1880s was absolutely exquisite. Superb! I love historical novels, and the author did not disappoint when it came to the historical accuracy or allowing the reader to effortlessly slip into that time period. Another feature I noticed was the LGBTQ romance, which was unexpected, but really tender-hearted and pure. I found myself rooting for the two lovers in the hopes of them finding happiness.
The low ratings is not a reflection of the author's writing capabilities, it is only a result of the BDSM erotica genre that does not appeal to me. The whole "Savior" and "Sinner" complex before the sex scenes where Stefan would ultimately "punish" the main heroine was severely off-putting for me and the main reason I was not able to complete the novel in full (rest assured I did try).
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