James Collins is financially independent and writes about money, life, and business at jlcollinsnh.com, these are his good things.
Good things to read.
There is nothing you can’t learn, no place you can’t go, if you read. So I’m going to cheat with expansion on this one a bit.
I once had an engineer friend proudly tell me he didn’t read fiction because “he couldn’t be bothered with things that weren’t true.” Nonsense. Good fiction writers are meticulous in getting their background facts right and some of the greatest of all truths are to be found in their works.
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier might be my all time favorite novel.
George Pelecanos has a series of novels set in the gritty inner city of Washington DC where the African American and Greek American communities intersect. Fun, light, exciting, sometimes intense books with wonderful tone.
Tony Hillerman’s novels will take you out west to the Four Corners desert reservation where you can ride along with Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee of the Navajo tribal police. You’ll witness another way of looking at the world while you do.
My blog is about using money to achieve financial freedom. Freedom being the operative word. Two of the more influential books that shaped my thinking are:
How I found Freedom in an Unfree World by Harry Browne.
The Richest Man in Babylon by George Samuel Clason.
In another realm, Knocking on Heaven’s Door by Lisa Randall almost makes particle physics understandable for me. No small feat that.
I love magazines. I spent my career in the business. At any given moment I have subscriptions to about half a dozen and the subject matter can be just about anything. The serendipity of what you stumble upon in them can be magical.
Once you subscribe to one, you get offers for others. I’m forever letting subscriptions lapse and adding new ones. I once subscribed to a newly launched glossy magazine called Garbage. It didn’t last long, but how could I not?
Good things to watch.
TV. Yeah. I know. The more common advice is to trash can your TV. Not me. Sometimes you just want to be spoon fed entertainment while sinking into the sofa. At least I do. And the programing has never been better. Dexter, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Downton Abbey, Hell on Wheels are a few that leap to mind, all more captivating than most movies I can remember.
People, preferably from outdoor cafes. Next time you’re traveling to some exotic – or not so exotic – local, skip one of the endless museum and church tours. Park yourself instead on the plaza with a cup of coffee and just sit. Watch and absorb and, for pity’s sake at least for this brief moment, put the camera away.
Live Theater. Every time I go I walk out wondering why I don’t go more often.
Good things to use.
The Public Library. What a brilliant concept. If they don’t have a book I’m looking for, they find it for me. Why anybody not living in the wilderness ever buys a book is one of life’s enduring mysteries to me. Since I hope to publish one of my own one day soon, I’ll be grateful they do. Baffled, but grateful.
Money. We live in a complex world and the single best tool for mastering it is money. Moreover, if you don’t learn to be its master, it will certainly become yours.
Down Time. The irony of my retirement these last two years is just how damn busy I’ve been. It is all self-inflicted and nothing I don’t relish doing, but it over-fills the days all the same. One of the best uses of time is doing nothing. I need to recapture some time for just that.