Wednesday, November 27, 2019

We Stand On Guard

The library just got this book in today.  It sounded interesting enough, (Canada and the United States are at war in the future) but what sold me was that Brian K. Vaughan, author of Saga, is the writer.

We Stand On Guard is the story of Amber, a girl who was separated from her brother and ends up joining a group of civilians-turned-rebels called Two-Four.  Two-Four is hiding out in the Canadian North, attacking unmanned fighters the United States has sent against Canada as they have annexed more and more of the North.  

Unfortunately I don't really have a lot to say about it.  I didn't really have a sense of any of the characters as people - I didn't sympathize with any of them, or even really care about any of them when it came right down to it.  To make matters worse, when I finished reading the book, I immediately went looking to see if there was any more because the story didn't feel over (it actually kind of felt like not much had happened, even though the story of these particular characters was pretty much over; yet the overall story of the war was not). 

So while We Stand On Guard had an interesting premise, it wasn't really worth the read. :(

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Go Green, Live Rich: 50 Simple Ways to Save the Earth and Get Rich Trying

So awhile ago, I found a couple more David Bach books that I wanted to read at the library.  Today I wasn't feeling once I decided I needed to stay up rather than keep sleeping, I decided to read Go Green, Live Rich: 50 Simple Ways to Save the Earth and Get Rich Trying instead of mindlessly wasting what was left of the day watching Youtube.  Bach claimed this would be another fast read (two hours), which also appealed to me; I didn't want something that would take a lot of concentration while I'm not feeling 100%.  I do think it took a bit longer than he said, but I still finished it in less than a day. 

So Go Green, Live Rich was written over a decade ago, when the climate crisis was just coming to mainstream attention (about two years after Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth came out, just to give it a bit more context). The book is made up of 50 tips to help you save the planet (while also purportedly making you rich in the process).  It's broken up into several smaller sections with tips for greening your transportation, family, work, travel, etc.  The last two sections detail how to make some money (mainly investing in green businesses), and gifting green (basically tithing to green causes - tithing has come up in both of Bach's other books that I've read so far, so I wasn't surprised to find it here as well). 

I'm not going to lie...most of the tips are kind of obvious.  Bach breaks down some common-sense things that you can do to both help the environment and save some money.  I actually felt like I was reading 397 Ways to Save Money again because there was a lot of overlap (although obviously 397 Ways to Save Money has way more tips), such as swapping out old light bulbs for energy efficient ones, getting newer and more energy efficient appliances when your old ones break down, etc.  When Bach got to the family stuff, he also started to remind me of the tips I read in Plastic Purge.  So I guess Go Green, Live Rich is kind a combination of Taylor's and SanClements' books.

I did like the breakdowns Bach included though of not only roughly how much money you would save in using his tips but also the impact it would have on the environment (most often in tons of CO2 avoided, but also things like trees saved and stuff like that).  But he also included a lot of websites; while I didn't check them all, I'm sure some of the sources are quite out of date since the book is over a decade old (but to be fair, I was able to find the couple that I went looking for, so not all of them are out of date!)  Hilariously, the one link I looked for that was obsolete was Bach's own website (, which now just redirects to - I discovered that when I went looking for his reading list of green books (which I have been completely unable to find).

Overall, I think this is a good starting point if you're looking for ways to green your life.  It has a lot of the same tips and ideas that are in 397 Ways to Save Money, but it's a faster and easier read.  But if you're already on board with living more sustainably, you should probably give this book a pass; it's full of tips you've probably already considered.  On the personal finance front, it's also not nearly as in depth as his other books (like The Automatic Millionaire), so you'd be better off reading one of those if that's your interest.

Friday, November 8, 2019

The Wealthy Renter: How to Choose Housing That Will Make You Rich

I have a list of financial planning books that I'd like to read one day on my phone.  Somewhere along the lines, I added Alex Avery's The Wealthy Renter: How to Choose Housing That Will Make You Rich to that list and promptly forgot about it. When I rediscovered it, I got pretty excited to read it.  As a renter, and having read two of David Bach's Automatic Millionaire books that sung the benefits of home-ownership (as well as the beginning of another book that said statistically renters are a lot less wealthy than homeowners), I was quite excited to find a book that says the opposite.  I was so excited in fact that I ran out to Chapters to buy it last weekend.

The first chapter of The Wealthy Renter was also quite promising. Avery says:
You might be thinking this book is about how evil the world of housing is and why no one should ever buy a house.
It's not.
What this book is, actually, is a celebration of the virtues of renting (13).
 Oh good, I thought.  With everyone so down on renting nowadays, I'm excited to read a book that not only sings the praises of renting, but isn't going to be unduly down on home-ownership.  Hopefully this is going to have great advice for investing while renting!

Unfortunately, I felt like that passage was a blatant lie.  Besides a few mentions of purchasing stocks and bonds, or showing how the stock market outperformed homeownership, the majority of the book just looked down on homeownership.  I wouldn't even really call it a "celebration of the virtues of renting" - it basically was just saying "here's all the reasons why buying a home (esp as an investment) is a bad idea."  It took until page 164 (out of 189 pages not including the index) before actually talking about the "secrets of the wealthy renter."  And the secrets were so underwhelming I was super disappointed (spoiler: some form of forced savings, like automatic payroll deduction - it's the essence of the whole "pay yourself first" - the number one rule of like EVERY personal finance book). 

That being said, I was pleasantly surprised to find out The Wealthy Renter was Canadian, so getting facts and figures for Canadian cities and whatnot was quite interesting.  And the book still had some very interesting tidbits in it.

I think that if you're someone very firmly in the "renting is throwing your money away" camp, The Wealthy Renter is worth reading to get a secondary viewpoint.  It's also worth reading for someone who may feel "stuck" renting due to the high cost of houses - this book does share the benefits of renting, showing that you're not necessarily throwing your money away the way many people believe.  Oh, and anyone just interested in a rundown of the costs of owning a home may find the book interesting. 

So sadly, while I did get some interesting little tidbits out of it, I was disappointed with The Wealthy Renter. :(