Trent Hamm – Founder of The Simple Dollar

Trent Hamm is the writer and founder of The Simple Dollar, a personal finance site focused on ‘money management and frugality’, these are his good things.

Good things to read.

I am a very, very avid reader, so I’m going to pick three very different things to suggest here just so there’s “something for everyone.”

First, I’d suggest The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. It is epic fantasy, much like the Song of Ice and Fire series that the Game of Thrones series on HBO is based on, but in this case the huge flood of characters is kept under control and the first book alone builds to a tremendous payoff. Add to that Brandon Sanderson’s writing style which flows quite well and manages to keep the internal thoughts of characters interesting and exciting and you have a real winner.

Second, I recommend Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown. It tells the story of the domination of Native Americans during the 19th century from the perspective of the Native Americans. The story it tells will change your perspective on the West and on American history forever while also managing to tell a number of very gripping stories along the way.

Finally, I offer up Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. It’s a personal finance book, but it comes at the issue from a completely different angle than most personal finance books out there. It focuses entirely on living a life in accordance to whatever it is that is personally important to you and looking at how you can make that life possible.

Good things to watch.

First, I’d suggest the film The Third Man, which is almost certainly my favorite film of all time. It’s a mystery of sorts, where a man is investigating the mysterious death of an old friend of his, Harry Lime. Everything about this film is amazing, and I’d argue that the scene on the Ferris wheel with Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten is one of the greatest film scenes of all time.

Second, I’d offer up Cosmos, a documentary series hosted by Carl Sagan that you can currently find on Netflix streaming. Carl Sagan offers a brilliant look at the universe and how its beautiful mysteries can affect our own lives, our own thinking, and our own spirituality. While some of the specific scientific facts might be a bit dated, Sagan’s commentary and philosophy remain incredibly powerful and likely will for a very long time.

Finally, I’d include 12 Angry Men, which works as a stage play or as a film. It does an incredible job of bringing the personal histories of the people to life in a way that really makes you reconsider why people do and say the things they do.

Good things to use.

My favorite things to use are items that work well and are almost infinitely reliable.

My first choice is the Razorpit razor blade sharpener, which enables you to easily sharpen a disposable or cartridge-based razor by simply rubbing it back and forth a few times on the Razorpit. I’ve been able to use a single razor cartridge for months thanks to this.

My second choice is a Le Creuset 5 1/2 quart enameled cast iron pot. These can be expensive, but they come with a 101 year guarantee. They also can be used to cook pretty much anything. I’ve made scrambled eggs, prepared a casserole, baked fish, and made a cake inside of mine.

My final choice is a Houdini lever-style corkscrew, which makes opening bottles of wine trivially easy. My wife and I have a glass of wine with many evening meals, which means we open multiple bottles a week. Before this device, we smashed a lot of corks and even ruined some bottles of wine with cork pieces., but not any more. It also reduces the uncorking process to about two second.  

To discuss more good things with Trent connect with him on Twitter, @TheSimpleDollar.

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