February 8th, 2015

Relax!  Grab a Book!

Book 16 (2014)

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  1. Dick, Philip K. — The Penultimate Truth (191 pages)
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book cover: The Penultimate Truth.

I had a craving for Dick. It had been a while since I'd read any. I looked at the available choices and chose The Penultimate Truth, as it seemed timely. After all, with the two World Wars constantly in the public consciousness this year, a novel about World War Three seemed ideal.

When WWWIII broke out, humanity went underground to escape the nuclear holocaust. Fifteen years they've lived deep in shelters following daily broadcasts of the horrific war raging on the surface. Only they don't realise that the war ended years ago. The few on the surface have perpetrated a hoax to keep the masses underground, using them as factories to supply their needs while they divvy up the huge open spaces amongst themselves. Things aren't going so well underground, though, so every once in a while someone ventures onto the surface to seek help, never to be heard from again, presumably killed off by radiation sickness or worse.

Thus Dick sets the stage for The Penultimate Truth, then throws a few characteristic spanners into the works to get the story moving along. It's yet another thought-provoking, disturbing, and highly enjoyable tale from Philip Dick.

Relax!  Grab a Book!

Book 17 (2014)

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  1. Clason, George S. — The Richest Man in Babylon (198 pages)
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book cover: The Richest Man in Babylon.

Becoming a home owner inspired me to take a closer look at my financial situation. I realised I know very little about finances and wanted some guidance. The Richest Man in Babylon had been recommended, and I was intrigued by reviews I read.

Clason's financial advise is shockingly simple. It's a lot like weight loss: it's no secret that with proper diet and exercise most of us would be adequately fit; similarly, if we apply Clason's common sense rules, we would be financially fit. To pound the point home, Clason presents a series of parables, set in and around Babylon, in which his various rules are put to the test. The stories are illustrative and mostly enjoyable.

The rules?

  1. Pay yourself first. No matter what your debts and other necessities, every time you are paid set aside 10% as an investment in yourself.
  2. Control expenditures. Budget, making sure not to touch the 10% you've set aside, so that you control what your money is spent on.
  3. Invest, thereby making your money work for you.
  4. Protect against loss.
  5. Make of your home a profitable investment.
  6. Make arrangements for future income.
  7. Increase your ability to earn more.

Refreshingly simple! Of these, he reiterates in each chapter, the first is the most important rule. Making that 10% investment in oneself makes it easier eventually to follow the other rules.

The Richest Man in Babylon is a brilliant book, accessible, fun to read, and filled with sound advice. And if you follow the advice, the book will pay for itself and more.