Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance or other book of interest. Also available is a complete list of the hundreds of book reviews that have appeared on The Simple Dollar over the years. About a year ago, I reviewed the wonderful book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. That book discussed the nature of outliers – the exceptional people that dominate their fields, like The Beatles or Wayne Gretzky – and looked for things they have in common. One …

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Lenny writes in with a fairly distressing email: All of your articles assume a few things, and one of the big ones is hope for the future. Most of what you talk about is useless if you don’t have anything to live for. My first reaction to this was to send Lenny a private email suggesting that he may be depressed and encouraging him to talk to his doctor about taking some steps to improve his situation, which is what …

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I consider Netflix streaming to be one of the best bargains out there in entertainment. For $9 a month (assuming you have a home internet connection), you gain access to an enormous libraries of commercial-free films and television series. You can choose what you want and, if your internet connection is fast, you’ll be watching it within a minute or so. One problem-within-a-blessing with Netflix streaming, though, is that there is a mountain of content on there – and a …

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Each week, I highlight ten things each week that inspired me to greater financial, personal, and professional success. Hopefully, they will inspire you as well. 1. David Foster Wallace on experience Whenever you find yourself deeply disagreeing with someone, keep this in mind: “The exact same experience can mean two totally different things to two different people, given those people’s two different belief templates and two different ways of constructing meaning from experience.” – David Foster Wallace The same exact …

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This is one of those dishes that’s surprisingly quick, but tends to be very impressive when it hits the table. I can easily get this from “glimmer of an idea” to “meal on the table” in forty minutes – even less if I get the vegetables prepped in advance. It makes the whole house smell tremendous, it’s very flexible for guests, and it’s not too expensive, either. Vegetable Fajitas Fajitas. Mmm. Sauteed vegetables, well spiced, in tortilla shells, with some …

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You’re in a relationship. That relationship is starting to get serious. You’re contemplating marriage or some other form of long-term commitment. Now what? Quite often today, people are bringing significant debt into relationships with them. Credit card debt. Student loan debt. Auto loan debt. I often get emails from readers asking me how to deal with them. Should they keep these loans separate from each other? How much debt should they really share? This was also an issue that Sarah …

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The Old Green Chair

April 8 2011

One of the big fixtures of the first apartment that Sarah and I shared was an extremely bright green chair. This chair had ancient floral-print upholstery, done almost entirely in shades of green and green-yellow, and looked like it walked straight out of the 1970s. Unsurprisingly, especially considering our recently-out-of-college status, this chair was a pick-up from a Goodwill store. It was ugly. It was garish. It was comfortable. In fact, that chair was so comfortable that Sarah and I …

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Reader Mailbag: Audio

April 7 2011

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. First investments 2. Credit question 3. Yoga teacher training 4. Credit counseling agencies 5. Taxes and inflation 6. Amazon and library synergy 7. Student loan repayment options 8. What’s real poverty? 9. “Cashflow” board game 10. Gas prices and inflation Almost all day long, I have some sort of audio playing …

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“Financial freedom” is a concept that’s constantly bandied about among personal finance writers and presenters. I think it’s mostly used because it sounds good: freedom implies some sort of escape from oppression, and applying that sentiment to personal finance creates a picture of a future where you’re not beholden to creditors or lenders or your boss. What does it really mean, though? Every time I consider that statement, I find myself puzzling over a series of questions. While these questions …

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Earlier this week, I made an offhand reference to the fact that my wife and I have watched several entire sci-fi series on Netflix streaming at a roughly three-episodes-a-week pace. Several readers wrote in and asked for what series we had watched, so I thought I’d give you a brief rundown of the series we’ve watched while being Netflix streaming subscribers. The links below go straight to Netflix, so you can add them to your instant queue. Doctor Who (new …

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