Some Thoughts on the Inaugural Simple Dollar Book Club

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Now that the inaugural edition of The Simple Dollar book club is over, it’s time to sit back and look at what was good about it and what was bad about it.

First, the good. I think overall it went well, and I know quite a few people out there did get into the book. At least a few people were very into it, and sent me emails about how much they enjoyed the book and the commentary. I think I did a good job balancing commentary on the reading sections with enough highlights so that even people not reading along could follow, too, and the comments were largely worthwhile, especially during the more interesting parts of the book.

There were also at least three significant problems, though, and I thought I’d address these individually.

First, the quantity and pace on the same book was overwhelming for some. A few readers wrote to me and asked if they could read the site without the daily articles on the book. Others wrote and said that they were having difficulty reading every single day to keep up with the pace, even with such short readings.

Second, the book was simply uninteresting for some, and that made a quarter of the posts this month a waste for them. Investment-oriented folks, as well as people seeking primarily frugality tips, were largely bored by this. At least one reader wrote to me voicing an opinion that the book was terribly boring and she didn’t see the point.

Third, some pieces of the book were simply less interesting than others. If you look through the posts, you can tell by the number of comments which pieces were intriguing and which ones weren’t. The pieces of the book that are good are golden, but there are other parts that just aren’t as intriguing.

I have three significant questions for people who followed along.

Did you enjoy it, and what parts did you like and not like? If you didn’t, don’t hesitate to say so, because I’m going to use this information to decide how exactly to handle the next one, if there is a next one.

Similarly, are you interested in another book club like this one, given that there may be some changes? Meaning, are you open to another reading like what happened with Your Money or Your Life?

If so, what book would you like to read? I offer up nine nominees – please choose ones from this list that you’d like to read and/or see discussed in a detailed format. I’ve read all these books and am confident that they’re good enough and meaty enough to generate some good discussions.

What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles (careers)
The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham (value investing)
Born to Buy by Juliet Schor (children and consumerism)
America’s Cheapest Family by Steve and Annette Economides (frugality)
Getting Things Done by David Allen (task management)
The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing by Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer, Michael LeBoeuf, and John C. Bogle (conservative investing)
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey (debt freedom – and would probably make for heated discussion)
Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferazzi and Tahl Raz (communicating and building professional relationships)
A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton J. Malkiel (stock investing)

I’d be happy to know which ones of these you’d be interested in reading through – I’ll pick the most popular one (or one of the most popular) if it’s clear that there’s interest in doing it again.

My plan? My tentative plan is to give it another shot, starting in mid-November, with a reading every other day or every third day, but with the readings being a bit longer than before. I think this would fix some of the problems with the first edition of the book club.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

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89 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on the Inaugural Simple Dollar Book Club

  1. I bought the book and intended to participate, but didn’t get around to it. I do agree with others that it was a lot of material on the site. I would definitely try longer reading sections at a slower pace, perhaps even once a week. I think at that pace, I might have been able to catch up over a weekend, but as it was I felt overwhelmed.

    Also, I think in general, your book posts get a little wordy. You might want to try to cut your posts shorter and introduce more discussion topics/questions in the post, then add more of your thoughts in the comments.

    Finally, on timing of the next book–I’d wait ’til January. The holidays are crazy for a lot of people and January would fit in with new year’s resolutions for many readers.

  2. I did enjoy the book club. I had read the book previously but did not find it all that interesting. Some parts were dated and could use some updating. That being said, I did enjoy your insights into the parts I did find interesting, so keep up the commentary.

    If I did not want to read a particular post it was clearly labeled “Your Money or Your Life” and I could skip it so having “extra” posts that did not interest me was not a problem. The nice thing about an electronic format was that if you were not able to read the section of the book regarding your blog post you could read later and then read the post later. No one said you had to keep the pace, you can set your own pace.

    I’d be interested in:
    Getting Things Done
    The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing
    The Total Money Makeover

  3. I just wanted to say thanks for doing it and I really enjoyed it. I had read the book recently, and it was a great review and refresher. I’d been trying to get my husband to read the book, but without any luck. I forwarded him *most* of the blog posts (but not the boring ones that were irrelevant to us), and we read them together once or twice a week.

    I liked the daily posts, although if I was actually reading along, it might have been intimidating if I had fallen behind the reading schedule.

    It would be nice if there was also a way to archive these & subscribe to the “one a day” type of post. There are others who I would like to share this book with, but doubt they will read it. I think allowing them to receive 1 email a day about it would open up more doors than just sending them the link to 30 posts at once. Maybe a feature to think about in the future for those who join the blog mid-book, get behind or come along months later.

    My votes for future book clubbing: Born to Buy, America’s Cheapest Family, Never Eat Alone. Specific things on the stock market or investing don’t interest me. I just stick most of mine in mutual funds or index funds.

    THANKS AGAIN for all your work on the website and book club!

  4. I enjoyed it and thought the pace was fine. I do agree that waiting until January would be best.

    I’d like to see any of the following from your list:

    What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles (careers)
    America’s Cheapest Family by Steve and Annette Economides (frugality)
    Getting Things Done by David Allen (task management)
    The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey (debt freedom – and would probably make for heated discussion)
    Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferazzi and Tahl Raz (communicating and building professional relationships)

  5. Yeah, I wouldn’t mind trying a book club for the site, but maybe not as a part of the regular posting schedule. I ended up just skipping a huge amount of material on a book a didn’t own…

  6. Born to Buy looks really interesting. I’ve read a number similar books but not that one.

    I was a fairly passive reader in the book club–not commenting much, not always keeping up–but I found most of your posts interesting and sometimes better than the book.

  7. Everyone and their mother has reviewed Getting Things Done, and there are whole blogs devoted to it, so don’t choose that one. Same with Total Money Makeover – there are plenty of resources out there to explain to to people who want to know what it’s about and how to follow its advice.

    My top pick off the list you made above would be America’s Cheapest Family.

  8. I liked that you wrote enough to make it interesting, relevant, and meaningful for someone not reading the book (like myself) — but yet still intriguing enough to make me want to read it (someday). I agree a slightly slower reading pace would be better.

    My votes: What Color is Your Parachute?, Born to Buy, GTD, Never Eat Alone.

  9. I didn’t read the book, and I sort of glossed over those entries, but they were sort of interesting, in a Cliff’s Notes sort of way. If you really must do it again, I’d be much happier with Born to Buy or America’s Cheapest Family.

  10. I really wanted to participate but am not allowing myself to buy books at the moment and libraries here were on strike for the last three months. I did read your posts everyday and enjoyed them but agree that I would have had trouble keeping up if I’d been reading along. I am going to get this book from the library (they’re open again) and use your posts to get through it. I’d like to see Born to Buy or GTD done as a book club but maybe weekly posts as suggested above. If you do weekly posts I probably wouldn’t suggest waiting till January.

  11. I was one of those people that was overwhelmed at the amount of text being devoted to a few pages of the book, so I think a longer, weekly article is more appropriate.
    As for the next book, I see Graham’s Intelligent Investor on that list and immediately I want that one to get picked, but that book (even the new edition with Zweig’s commentary, which is great) is so dense and “old” that I don’t know if it’s a good idea. I love that book but still… I just finished Random Walk down Wall Street and it’s a great “starter” book for those looking for sensible investment advice. Probably pretty similar to whatever is in Bogle’s book.
    Keep it up though!

  12. Well, first an amusing tidbit: the feedburner url I got when clicking on the title of this post in Google Reader was categorized and blocked by my company’s overzealous filters as “Sex”! (Fortunately your site per se is not.)

    I really enjoyed this first book club. I have not read the book and did not intend to. I found it valuable to get your “Cliff’s notes” – esque summaries along with your take on it.

    Probably in part because I wasn’t trying to keep up with your reading pace, I appreciated the breakup of your posts into small, quite easily-digestible chunks, so I would NOT be in favor of significantly longer posts on longer sections of future books.

    In part, I’m sure I enjoyed this series because of the book itself; this one had a great core principle but was reasonably diverse in its application of the principle and hit on a nice variety of related concepts. If it had been more of a one-trick pony I might have gotten bored with the series. (Maybe I could just sum this up with the overly-obvious “it’s good to pick a good book”.) However, I also assume that there’s a large spread of interests about financial topics among your readership (for example, some probably just want bare-bones basics while others might look for more advanced tips/insights) and I’d guess that Your Money or Your Life offered enough for both ends of the spectrum. (Yes, even though some people didn’t like the book…you know “you can’t please ALL of the people…”)

    Anyhow…my votes! (top pick first)
    What Color Is Your Parachute?
    A Random Walk Down Wall Street
    The Total Money Makeover

  13. I’ll agree mostly with what others had to say. I read it first and used your discussion as explanations/different viewpoints. 1-3(max) postings per week perhaps with more content and less review. What I mean by that is (1)maybe one chapter per post, (2)a review/summ of the chapter, (3)your thoughts, (4)points of contention, and (5) questions/thoughts for the readers. Basically, extended versions of your current book reviews.

    I like Katie’s suggestion of opening up for more discussion.

    My vote is the Cheapest family or Parachute.

  14. I pretty much skipped the book club everyday, but it was the same as any other month long series I had little to no interest in. it doesn’t hurt me to have one post a day i skim over.

  15. I’d also like to see slower postings on the book club; once a week would be fantastic. I liked the length of writing – both review and commentary – as I was not able to read along. Thanks again!

  16. I’d love to see you do Total Money Makeover. To those who are deep in debt this book can be an oasis. I’d also like to see The Complete Tightwad Gazette discussed too. There are lots of controversial topics and it might be interesting.

  17. I have enjoyed the book club articles this month, but had one problem which possibly hasn’t been raised yet – the book isn’t available in the UK (there is another book with the same name, but it definitely isn’t the same one as you were reading)! I expect I could have got a copy from the US or elsewhere but didn’t think it was worth it (and anyway it would have shown up in 6 weeks or so). Therefore for selfish reasons I’d love to see you read a book like What Colour is Your Parachute? because I know I can get it here! As I said, I did enjoy the posts for the information contained, but did skim them because sometimes I didn’t understand the context.

  18. I agree with Katie in suggesting you wait until January to do another book. Life is way too hectic for people until after the holidays.

  19. I didn’t participate in this book club, so having all those rather long entries to sift through was somewhat annoying. That said, I do like the idea and would be interested in participating in one in the future.

    Perhaps you could take advantage of your blogging software to only show a short snippet of the book club articles on the front page, thus taking up less room. Those of us who choose to participate will need to click through anyway to make comments, so it’s no extra work on our part. But it saves your other readers from having to scroll through multiple screens to get to the next post.

    On the same note, perhaps you could find a different way to spare your non-book club readers; create a page where posts from the book club category just won’t be displayed. Not sure how this is accomplished, but one example is Engadget – they created a non-iPhone page during all the hype this summer.

  20. I agree with a lot of the others – the content was a little much to be posted on the front page of the site. It was actually kind of annoying to see three of my five Simple Dollar RSS feeds being book club entries most of the time.

  21. I would like to start somethign mid-november rather than waiting until january. I missed the first one, but would love to get in on this second round.

  22. In keeping with your KISS theories of investing; I would like to see A RANDOM WALL DOWN WALL STREET or the Bogle book reviewed. Both offer simple, logical investing strategies for the majority of readers.

  23. I ignored those posts. I agree with the person above me; perhaps you could set your feeds to only show part of those articles?

    I primarily read you through the RSS feed, and it took up a lot of space.

    That said, I like the fact that you’re really creating a community.

    Thanks for the blog, Trent, I really enjoy reading it.

  24. I had intended to keep up with the book club when you first mentioned it, but the book was already checked out of my library at the beginning of the month, and then I found that I wasn’t interested in the first few posts so I never bothered to get the book and catch up.

    I really like the idea of doing a post once or twice a week. If I was reading along I’d probably get behind and need to catch up over the weekend.

    I also like the idea of waiting till January. The holidays are a crazy time for most people.

    Even though I wasn’t really interested in this book, I didn’t mind scrolling past the posts on the site. There’s usually one or two posts a day here that don’t interest me that much, so I just skim them and move on. I don’t think it’s necessary to have a separate page without the book club posts. If you did that, you might as well separate your site into different sites for frugality, investing, productivity, etc.

    These are the books I’d be interested in, in order of preference:
    The Total Money Makeover
    Getting Things Done
    Never Eat Alone
    America’s Cheapest Family

  25. Frankly, I’m not going to read the book, so the nice, long posts, with a lot of your voice, really allowed me to follow along. As for the book club, I don’t care which book you pick next as long as you eventually choose a mix of books on a wide variety of topics. For instance, I’m utterly uninterested in books focusing on getting out of debt because I’ve never had any, but I’d only become frustrated with your blog if you choose a string of them.

  26. Never Eat Alone is my pick.

    Also could you announce the book a week or two before starting the club. Sometimes I have to wait for the book to be transferred to my branch and it takes a bit of time. Thanks!

  27. I wanted to join into the club, but I hadn’t gotten the book (I think I’m going to ask for it for Christmas, actually). I would say that a slower posting schedule with the same or less amount of reading “homework” would really help. People are on different schedules all the time and it’s quite easy to get behind. If you’re behind, you’re likely to miss all of the good comment discussion.

    Since I already own What Color is Your Parachute, I vote for that one.

    Since it has a LOT of meat to it, as well as exercises of its own, I would definitely reccommend tailoring the reading pace a bit better. Perhaps if there’s a big excercise in the chapter (like the flower), give a week for that section of the book on the website, or break it up into smaller chunks.

  28. I also did not do the book with you, and it was annoying to have the posts show up in my feed. It isn’t that I’d never consider reading a long, but if I choose not to, I’d like to be able to opt out.

  29. America’s Cheapest Family or Born to Buy are my picks. I also agree that one post per week and starting the book in January are good ideas.

  30. I think the book club adds little to what your book review and other articles have already said. I wish you would end it and do something else in its place.

  31. Trent, I had tried to read this book a few years ago & found it intensely boring and I don’t need it right now – so I didn’t read your book club posts. Nevertheless every time I saw one of those posts I was full of admiration & thought, how in the world does he do it. I would participate in a book club book that would let me learn how to get so much done in a day!

    Best wishes,

    Mary

  32. I thought you did a great job. If some areas of the book become a little less interesting (read: boring), that’s not your fault. As for those that complained that the pace was too quick, they should remember that they can always go back and read your post in a few days when they’ve caught up.

    I actually read “Your Money or Your Life” twice over the last few years. I always loved it but never got into actually doing any of the exercises because they seemed like a lot of work. When I found your blog recently, I read through all your old posts in this review from start to finish within a few days and got excited about the book all over again. The summaries were great and I didn’t feel like I needed to pick up the book to follow along and decide to do some of the exercises, which I did. Thanks!

    I’m looking forward to actually following along next time. My vote is for the Intelligent Investor!

  33. I enjoy your reviews, but I don’t think this format works for a book club. A message board in which all members can talk back and forth makes sense, but here you’re just laying out an entry for people to respond to. It doesn’t develop the ebb and flow of true discussion.

  34. I would like to see Getting Things Done chosen for the next selection. I understand that it has been done, but I am really interested in reading your thoughts and learning more of how you have integrated its ideas into your life.

  35. Hi! My two cents:

    The book club was okay, though I agree with a lot of people here that the daily posts made it hard to catch up for people reading the book. Also, since I did not have a copy i really appreciated the summary you put in here. January would also be a good time to start a new book discussion.

    i’d like to see:
    What Color is my Parachute
    Getting Things Done by David Allen (task management)
    The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham (value investing)

    Thanks and happy holidays in advance!

  36. I didn’t follow the last book — I won’t have the time to read for pleasure until January at the earliest — but weekly participation in a Book Club sounds like about the right speed.

    Particularly if the topic is something like “What Color is Your Parachute” or “Never Eat Alone” weekly postings would give people time to try out and report on the new skills learned. THAT would interest me — the real life results from the readings, and being able to compare/discuss them.

    …but please, wait until January!

    -MK

  37. I had already read the book probably three times and done some of the exercises. I did not re-read or do any of the other exercises (although I think I re-did one of them) during the book club. So, I didn’t have any trouble with the pace, and I liked it.

    I saw a lot of people having trouble getting hold of the book. Maybe giving people more warning would help. And people who have trouble week to week could try to read the whole thing ahead of time.

    If you think you might rather go down to one post per week, one per chapter or something like that, maybe midweek you could add another post on the most interesting part of the chapter. I once had a class where the professor tested on everything in the text, but he only lectured on the confusing parts–it was a great class.

  38. I enjoyed this first book club. The in-depth analysis was great, a nice expansion of your already substantial book reviews. However, I do agree that you should make the readings longer and less frequent. For example, about 10 to 15 pieces rather than 30. Grouping by each chapter or two, that makes sense to me and would help us refer back to each entry without worrying about page numbers.

    I’d vote for:
    Getting Things Done
    Never Eat Alone

  39. I enjoy your site, but I did not participate in the club, so I was essentially reading one less post per day than I had before. Maybe you could do a separate site for the club, or something along those lines. 30 posts dedicated to ONE book really reduced my reading on this site this month.

    I read this site first thing in the morning, and I was constantly greeted with these posts. Really not interesting to me.

  40. I think having a separate “book review” blog or forum would be a good idea rather than having book review entries in your man TSD blog. Everything you do is appreciated though Trent!

  41. I thought the book club was an interesting experiment and I enjoyed following along.

    I would lean toward maybe one post per week, which would hopefully allow more time for discussion in the comments. Early on there seemed to be more participation, but I suppose it might have become hard for everyone to keep up.

    I’m interested in any of the books you mentioned. You’ll never find the perfect book or the book that not everyone interested has already read, so I say just choose the book you prefer.

  42. I would vot for America’s Cheapest Family and the Total Money Makeover, as these are books I’ve been wanting to read anyway.

    I, too, agree that January would be much better since the holidays will be over. Also, those of us in cold climates will be more likely to curl up under a blankie on the couch with a good book rather than go outside and deal with the snow!

  43. My vote goes to Getting Things Done. From the books listed, I think this one would lead to the most interesting discussions. I’d love to hear what other people think of the book, their opinions on how a GTD system has worked for them, and how they’ve customized the way they do it to suit their needs.

  44. I’d love to read Getting Things Done by David Allen. I picked it up at your suggestion but haven’t gotten past the first few chapters.

  45. trent, this is a great idea. though i am also one of those who found the multiple posts about YMOYL to be a bit overwhelming. 3-4 posts a week might work? just throwing it out there, i’m sure others have made better suggestions above, i havent looked at all the comments.

    books i’d be interested in:

    Getting Things Done
    Never Eat Alone

  46. The bottom line is for people that were NOT interested in the club it equated to:

    30 LESS POSTS THIS MONTH

    I would recommend either:
    1) Reduce the frequency of the posts, or
    2) Publish these posts on a different site

  47. Thanks for doing the book club – I loved the book and your summaries made me feel accountable to keep up. I’m pretty good financially with only education debt, yet steps like finding out how much cash I’ve made over the long haul and the actual dollar value for each hour I work really hit home and helped to make money a real concrete thing (my time) rather than the abstract piece of paper that it is.

    Also, as the child of hardworking midwesterners who may never retire the book helped to give me permission to get off the hamster wheel (when it is a financially sound decision) and not feel like a guilty slacker since I’ve earned it!

    I vote for Born to Buy – I really enjoyed the Overspent American.

  48. I did not read the book club posts. Actually, I skip or skim most book review posts here. I start out not interested in these books, and in many cases the books are not worth reading beyond the few points you highlight in your reviews. Since your typical reviews are substantial, including thorough review and summary of a book, this kind of in-depth analysis seems excessive to me and redundant for this blog. If I want to know that much about the book, I’m just going to read the book. If I want to expand on ideas in the book, I will read your blog – since you are such a fan of this particular book, you have likely covered these ideas in dozens of other posts. Thirty posts on a book that you have already mentioned so often is intimidating and redundant for anyone who reads this blog (or maybe just me). If you are going to do it again, I suggest cutting down the number of posts and spreading them out. Of course, if your blog has some value besides pleasing only me, go with whatever fits.

  49. The book club posts seemed dropped off after the first week or so.

    I also thought that a reading every day was too much. Personally, I’d prefer a chapter a week. This is simple to remember, and the units of reading are as preferred by the author.

    My vote is for Never Eat Alone, for selfish reasons. I didn’t like the writing style, the tone of the author, or the insinuation that all “business” is quid pro quo for 100s of friends. But I must be missing something and am willing to learn.

  50. I have to say that I can really relate to your writing both on the topic of personal finances and life goals. In my early 30s, I find myself thinking about much of the same topics you right about seemingly at about the same time. I like your incite and ideas. Keep up the good work!

  51. I intended to read the book and even got it from my library but couldn’t keep up with your pace. However, I enjoyed reading your summaries and appreciated your personal experiences you related from your reading of the book.

    I found it to be too much book reviewing with the other book reviews you did weekly. I would prefer to have one book that you review in depth than many different entries on various books.

    Also agree that it would be great to wait until January – gives plenty of time for us who use the library to get a copy.

    My choices are: Born to Buy and America’s Cheapest Family

  52. i really liked it, thanks for doing it, and i think definitely you should do it again. here are my thoughts:

    plan: i too was overwhelmed by the daily reading, i would love to see a slightly longer reading every 2-3 days, or every week.

    i vote for ‘What color is my parachute’ or ‘never eat a lone’ those are both on my list of ‘to-read’s.

    another suggestion i have, is to offer a place on your site that is a list of all the entries of the reading so far: something like you have here: http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2007/10/30/your-money-or-your-life-final-reflections/, but that is growing as the reading is happening. sorry if you already did this, but i think it’s a great idea, because i could reference it on my time, so i could easily read posts/comments on the section i’m currently reading.

  53. I’ll throw in a vote for The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham. That Morningstar book from a couple years ago about stock valuations and value investing would be a good choice as well.

  54. What can I say? My finals exams and projects started piling up the week after you started the club, so I couldn’t really follow the pace. I did try to catch up but got left behind when it took a little longer for me to do a task. Just didn’t want to go on to the next part of the book without doing what the last part called for.

    I did like the summaries though, and how you added bits and pieces of what you learned.

    Another book review would be fun though whatever seems to go best with the rest of your readers is fine by me.

  55. Oh, and forgot to mention the two-week trip I made with no connection to the internet. After that, keeping up the pace seemed like a really enormous task. I will finish the book on my own though.

    I would never have checked out the book if I hadn’t started with the book club, so that made the club worthwhile for me.

  56. I read Your Money or Your Life a long time ago, and it was a nice refresher to read your book club entries.

    ANY of the nine books you mentioned would be great, they all sound interesting. I agree with the slower pace. If I had not already read Your Money or Your Life, I would have been a bit overwhelmed.

    And please give advance notice (at least a week) of the next title, so we have time to borrow a copy from the library or order one from Amazon.

  57. I really enjoyed the bookclub. It made me accountable to actually finish the book. I have started many books in the past, only to get distracted, and then put off reading until I can’t remember the subject matter very well, and then just stop altogether before it is finished.

    I did not have the time to actually do the steps though from “Your Money or Your Life,” because a couple of them would really take some time to do correctly. So, I am planning on going back over the steps in detail with my wife and do them very meticulously.

    I would love to read through “The Total money Makeover,” and “Getting Things Done” next.

  58. Keep the book club. Even if some people find it a waste of time, they can just scroll down to the next topic. It’s not that intrusive.
    I bought the “Your Money or Your Life” and am awaiting its arrival (I bought it used on Amazon, and resisted the temptation to pay extra for expedited shipping. See, I’m learning!) I don’t think it’s really necessary to read it concurrently with Trent’s daily review.
    I vote for “America’s Cheapest Family,” and would avoid the investment books. I’m still trying to dig myself out of the giant hole my divorce caused, so my recent investing accomplishment was merely opening a savings account. It doesn’t take a book to figure that one out.

  59. I enjoyed it. I actually got the book. I would like to do the Cheapest Family or The Total Money akeover. Thanks Trent-You Rock!

  60. For those that don’t want to follow the book club and find the website to be a hassle as you have to scroll through, google reader would solve the problem as it shows only the titles. I follow about 12 blogs this way.

    Still working my way through the book postings. Over all I give it a very high rating, very thought provoking.

  61. I appreciated your book club postings. I would like to see either Getting Things Done or Total Money Makeover next.

  62. I really enjoyed the book club. I think that is was a big help in getting things under control. I have a long way to go. I too would like to do America’s Cheapest Family or Getting Things Done. I will go with any book that you pick (would rather not do the investment books right now). Thanks for all the time and hard worl you put into this site. It is much appreciated.

  63. Thanks for doing the book club, Trent. My wife and I read the book out loud in the car as we carpooled to work, driving around elsewhere, or just at home some nights. The sections were short enough that we could fit them in at various times. It was a great incentive for us to read the book at a manageable pace and we probably wouldn’t have read it without the book club. It made for great conversations.

    As for suggestions, I liked the poster who suggested asking questions to get things going. Posts like this one get a lot of comments because they are responding to specific questions. Starting off each section with some starter questions would get more people talking.

    I like your plan for your next book in the book club. Reading longer sections every 2-3 days sounds like a good improvement. I would hate to lengthen the time to read the book too much more. It seems like people should be able to read a book in a month. If we had more time on certain days then we would just read ahead so we weren’t forced to play catch up if we were busy other days.

    Total Money Makeover and Never Eat Alone would be my votes for books because we can easily read them out loud, aren’t technical, and would spur good conversations. I would enjoy any of the books on investing though. Like another poster said, I would pick whatever whichever book you feel like doing because that will make for the best posts.

  64. I had planned to participate but was unable to get the book at the local bookstores or the library so by the time I got it was already behind. So longer notice to get the book would help and longer time to do it since, time seems to be a huge issue as a working mom with a handicapped kid. I have saved the all the e-mails and plan on going through them.

  65. I get a lot out of the book reviews. Honestly, I like you doing all of the work and getting to the meat of something I’d like to read. Quite frankly I just can’t make it a priority in my life at the moment. I’ve heard some great things about Never Eat Alone so that’s my vote! What Color is My Parachute sounds interesting as well.

  66. I like the book club. I wasn’t able to have the book in hand because I’m on a budget and the library doesn’t have a copy, so I feel i benefitted from the discussion by having the book “read” to me with each posting. Plus, I felt the postings were written thoroughly enough that if I really want the book I could splurge, (which I have decided that if I cant find a used copy I probably will buy it anyway). Yes, some chapters seemed boring or irrelevant to what I am trying to accomplish or learn, but that is not your fault, that is just a few pages in the book and could happen with any book you choose. I think you should keep the book club. Even if I don’t read every email I still benefit from the ones I do read. And I would like to suggest you choose “America’s Cheapest Family” next. I have wanted to read this one as well, but again my library doesn’t have it. Thanks for your effort, I think you are a great resource to have in my inbox everyday.

  67. I skimmed some of the posts, just as, a number of years ago, I skimmed the book itself.

    The number one reason I didn’t participate any more than this was that most things felt like they held surprisingly little relevance for someone who generally loves her job, and who does her job primarily because she thinks it’s fundamentally important even though she knows she could make more money elsewhere if that were her goal. Which is fine – not every post/book has to apply to everyone – but, I felt like the book club discussions trended more towards this directly than I even remember the book itself doing.

    For a next book, then, I would definitely enjoy something that was less focused on “what if you don’t like your job?” and more focused on, say, how money flows in a community or what consequences there are to different ways of saving or investing – A Random Walk Down Wall Street would be a great choice.

  68. The book is great and the idea is good as well. My suggested improvements would as follows:
    1.) Your posts should not be a regurgitation of the chapter content. I’ve already read it and I’m not interested in reading it again on your blog. I felt your reviews were to long and could have easily been shorter if you left out all the book content. I would ask this question, where can I add value? I’d suggest you can add value in places the book doesn’t , i.e. the investing chapter is weak and a lot of people agree on that. Okay, so what’s a better option? What should other people be considering, etc. In other words, if you can’t offer some value add or insight not offered by the book, why read the blog?
    2.) shorten the post length. Again, this can easily be done just by removing the regurgitation of the book’s content.

    As far an the pace goes, I’m fine either way but I can certainly see how many feel things went to fast. This is still a good idea though, just needs a bit of refinement.

  69. I enjoyed the book club and the ensuing discussions. My choices for the next book discussion are Never Eat Alone, Random Walk, and Bogleheads’ Guide, in descending order. The most recent edition of the excellent Intelligent Investor has extensive annotations after each chapter that more or less act as a reader’s guide, so you’d be replicating the editor’s work in that case.

    Post every other day so folks can catch up. This way folks not interested still have full-day posts they can enjoy in total. Don’t change depth of analysis of your book-club posts.

    Thanks very much for the first one!

  70. I love the book reviews with any hotlinks that are available to get even more info. I share many of the articles with friends and family.
    Thank you and I appreciate the details and insight you provide.

  71. My vote goes to Never Eat Alone. That’s actually the next book I was planning on picking up. I didn’t really follow along with the last one but I don’t own the book and realized about half way through it what was going on. It’s a great idea though.

    Never Eat Alone

  72. Loved the book club! Don’t have the book but I got a lot from reading the posts + the comments.
    This pace was ok for me but slower may be even better. (Easy to say when I didn’t do the reading.)

    GTD would be nice but I agree with most suggestions above.

  73. I didn’t participate in the book club this time around, but would love to see it continue. It seemed like you went through the book very quickly, and I believe I would have had a hard time keeping up. I’d like to see the posts 1-3 times per week.

    I also think that starting the next book in January and giving a week’s notice of which book would be reviewed are great ideas. My vote for the next book:

    1. America’s Cheapest Family
    2. Getting Things Done
    3. Born to Buy

    Thanks for the blog, Trent!

  74. I’d recommend limiting posts on a single book to one per chapter, paced over a 30-day period; so if YMOYL has (IIRC) 10 chapters, you’d do an installment every 3 days.

    My favorite chapters: Seeing Progress, The Crossover Point.

    My book club suggestion after WCIYP: Robert Frank’s Luxury Fever

  75. I liked the readings (I’m quite a bit behind on my rss reader though). While in school I’m too busy to participate right now, but I’ve bookmarked your wrap-up page and I plan on reading this book together with my wife and then reading your analyses again when we finally do go through it. I think it’s a great idea and one that you should continue.

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