Scratch Beginnings

In an effort to disprove the construct of Nickel & Dimed, Adam Shepard shows us just how far you can get with the right attitude and worth ethic. Slipping off to Charleston, S.C. with $25 in his pocket, Adam gets into a homeless shelter the first night and takes us on the wild ride out of abject brokeness to being relatively flush with cash & a car.
One of the stories that resonated most with me was his tale of learning how to get a job from one of the shelter patrons– you gotta tell the hiring boss you’re the best damn candidate for the job, you’re a hard worker, you’ll show up every day, and that you want the job. Great advice, as I’ve interviewed dozens of people who seem to have little or no interest in the actual job I’m hiring for.
Adam writes a letter to the bus driver on his daily route and gives it to him on the last day of his run, to express his appreciation for the driver’s enthusiasm and ability to transform his day.
Biggest takeaway is that we’re capable of doing anything, if we have discipline and a goal.
Thanks for the free PDF, Adam! Best of luck for your future publications and careers!

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Three Junes

Good book until the last ridiculous 100 pages. A story told from the perspective of the father, a son, and a girl the father met in Greece the summer after his wife died. Scottish family, proper and all that. The son a “poofter”, and his complicated relationship with Mal. Setting up a bookshop in NYC based on birding.
Ridiculously awful last 100 pages. Stupid and inane. Makes me nearly physically ill that it won the National Book Award.

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On My Own Two Feet

I admit it– I’m addicted to personal finance books and blogs. This latest is nothing ground-breaking, but always a good refresher on the basics. Best thing I took from it: make sure you’re spending money on areas of your life that bring the greatest joy.
* Save 15% of your gross income
* Pay off credit cards every month
* Get smart about your FICO score
* Insurance is necessary (health, car, renter’s/homeowners, and term life if you’ve got dependents)
* Power Trio of budgeting: 25% to income tax, 45% to “foundational” expenses (housing, groceries), 15% fun expenses (entertainment, clothes, booze), 15% future expenses (this is your savings)
* Invest!
* Max out retirement and tax saving accounts
* Talk to your SigOth about finances

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Women & Money

Skimmed this last night. There were some interesting bits about Suze’s early life, borrowing $50k from the patrons of a restaurant she worked in Berkeley, losing the money in an ill-advised investment, then going to work for that investment firm.
Includes a great deal for people just getting started:
TD Ameritrade will give $100 to people who set-up auto deposit of $50 or more each month for a year.
1. Go to SaveYourself.com by 3/31/08.
2. Enter offer code 701.
3. Open a new TD Ameritrade account
4. Set up direct deposit for $50/month for 12 months
5. After a year, TD deposits $100 into your account.

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