Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence by Vicki Robin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book outlines a 9-step program to financial independence (defined as supporting yourself without having to have a job). The basic idea boils down to being aware of what you are spending and what you are actually getting for it, and what you are actually getting for the time you spend at a job then re-aligning those choices to match what you really want. There were a lot of good ideas in this book and it sounds like a plan that could actually work. Even if you aren't prepared to work through the steps at this point there were definitely things worth thinking about in the book.
I was particularly struck by the concept of gazingus pins. These are things you buy because you think you want them, but if you really think about them, and consider their cost in terms of hours spent at a job vs. joy they actually give you, you don't want them. Everyone's gazingus pins will be different, it might be shoes, or clothing, or kitchen gadgets, or collectibles, or whatever. What I thought set this book apart from other personal finance books was that it really focuses on asking the questions that will help each person decide what is important to them. It doesn't recommend budgets (they don't help, they just make you feel deprived) and it does come back repeatedly to the mantra "no shame, no blame." The goal is to develop self-awareness: why do you make the choices you make about what you buy/do/have?; is that what you really want?; if it isn't, where can you make changes to align your choices with your values?
I heard about this book on the blog The Simple Dollar, which reviewed it back in 2006.