Brandon – Mad FIentist

Brandon is the host of the Mad FIentist podcast and author at MadFIentist.com where he talks and writes about financial independence, these are his good things.

Good things to read.

How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World by Harry Browne.   I’m going to have to repeat a book that was already recommended by one of your other guests, Jim Collins (he is the person who actually recommended the book to me).
I can honestly say this book has changed my mindset more than any other book ever has. Its main message is that you are inherently free to do whatever you like with your life. However, there are many “traps” that attempt to limit your freedom, like pressures from society, family expectations, etc. Ultimately though, you have the power to break free from those traps and live a life that truly makes you happy.
As someone who is following an unorthodox financial path, I’ve always written my own rules with regards to money but this book made me realize I could expand that thinking into all areas of my life.

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. I’m currently pursuing a graduate degree while working full time so I haven’t had much time for pleasure reading in the past few years but last month I went on vacation and got to read a fabulous book called Shantaram. The book is based on a true story about an ex-addict who escaped from prison in Australia and then fled to India. It was written by the escaped convict himself and follows his story as he lives in the slums of Bombay, joins the Indian mafia, spends time in prison, and eventually goes to war in Afghanistan. It is an incredible story that highlights the importance of relationships and the life-changing effects of immersing yourself in another culture.

Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.  When looking at Amazon to find out how to spell the authors’ names, I noticed a quote by Mark Cuban that sells the book much better than I could: “If given a choice between investing in someone who has read REWORK or has an MBA, I’m investing in REWORK every time. This is a must read for every entrepreneur.”

So save yourself $40K+, read Rework, start a business, and then go ask Mark Cuban for funding.

Good things to watch.

In Bruges. This dark comedy has become one of my favorite movies and since not many of my friends have seen it, I tend to show it to everyone that comes to visit me. It is quite violent at times and is definitely not for children but it has great acting, a beautiful setting (Bruges, Belgium), funny Irish humor, and excellent music to tie it all together.

Long Way Round. This documentary series follows Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman as they travel from London to New York on their motorcycles. If this series doesn’t make you want to break away from your cubicle and go travel the world, I don’t know what would.

Watch your money.  You should try to keep track of everything you spend money on for a single month. You can sign up to mint.com to make this easier but even if it’s a bit of a pain, it’s only for 30 days.

At the end of the month, take a look at where your money went and ask yourself for every item on the list, “if giving this up meant I could quit my job tomorrow, would I give it up?” If you answer yes, seriously consider giving it up because it’s obviously not as important to you as your freedom is. Then, take the money that you were spending on all the things you decided to give up and invest it or use it to pay off debts every month instead.

It’s amazing how much money people spend on things that really aren’t important to them, while being stuck in jobs they don’t enjoy, so doing this exercise will allow you to eliminate those unnecessary expenses and will help you eventually buy your freedom.

Good things to use.

Wunderlist.  A great to-do list app that allows you to easily sync your to-do lists between all of your devices.

Spotify.  Spotify gives me the music collection I always dreamed of having as a kid, for free!

A Mac.  I hesitated to list this for fear of being thought of as a Mac fanboy.

I actually used to be anti-Mac. Why spend a lot of money to get a Mac when you could get a perfectly good PC for half the price?

When I started at my current job three years ago, however, they gave me a brand new Macbook Pro and I have to say, I’ll never go back. It actually makes me sad inside when I see other people using a Windows machine because I know how much better their lives could be if they made the switch.

Connect with the Mad FIentist, @madfientist.

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3 comments

  1. Ahhhh … I’m currently putting money into a “sinking fund” every month, hoping to buy a MacBook when my laptop PC bites the dust. This is the encouragement I needed to keep saving.

    I watched In Bruges years ago, and I remember it being good, but the ending, oh the ending!

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