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Front Covers Of The 4 Books I Wish To Read During The Christmas Period

4 books to read during Christmas vacation

Last Updated on May 19, 2020 by Mr. FightToFIRE

As I will not reach my book milestone this year, I figured I could at least read other books so I can provide you with reviews about books that could be of interest to those that wish to reach FIRE in Europe.

I honestly thought there would be more interesting books about blogging in the nearby library, but apparently, there isn’t all that much. Luckily the library has a lot of other books available to read.

The following 4 books are the ones I plan to get through during my three week Christmas vacation. I have no trips planned, so I’ll have ample time to get through them. I expect to have a review of at least two in the coming three weeks.

Front cover of the book De schitterende eenvoud van index beleggen by Jaques Wintermans

The marvelous simplicity of index investing: What the banks don't tell you

The First book I wish to finish this holiday period is The marvelous simplicity of index investing. Of the 4 books, this is the one I really wish to finish. It directly hits home when it comes to reaching FIRE since most people that are investing to reach FIRE do this through index investing in the form of ETFs.

Why is index investing easy? Because stock market prices are difficult or impossible to predict. That makes investing easy. Simplicity pays off.
How do I use it? Choose an approach that is not dependent on correctly predicting stock market prices. This way of investing without surprises is called index investing. Can I invest in index myself? Yes, it is simple but not easy. You have to be able to show self-discipline and you have to study it thoroughly once. After that, you hardly need to worry about it anymore.
Who is this book for? It is meant for people who want to invest because it usually yields more than just savings, but who especially don’t want to spend too much time on it.
Why is index investing known here closely on a national level? Because the banks can earn little or nothing from it. That’s why they don’t hang it on the big clock.
What are the advantages of index investing? It is cheap, transparent and easy to understand. Just as it should be, after the credit crisis. And the return is usually higher than of expensive, active investing.

Back of the book The Euro by Joseph E. Stiglitz

The Euro: How a common currency threatens the future of Europe

This book, written by Nobel prize winner and professor at the Columbia University Joseph E. Stiglitz, talks about how the euro divided countries instead of bringing them closer together with introducing the euro. The book wishes to answer the question: can the euro be saved?

Joseph E. Stiglitz shows how thoughtless it is that the European Central Bank (ECB) is primarily concerned with fighting inflation and he shows how austerity has condemned Europe to economic stagnation. He outlines three possible scenarios for the future:

  • Change the organization of the euro area and in the measures imposed on the countries most affected.
  • A well-considered lifting of the EU.
  • A new system based on a flexible euro.

I picked this book because it explains how the euro (doesn’t) work. It should give me a better understanding of the currency I use daily. While it won’t directly improve my chances at FIRE, I believe it’s important to know more about the world I live in and above all the currency I used to achieve FIRE.

Front cover of the book Mind Over Money by Claudia Hammond

Mind Over Money: The Psychology of Money and How To Use It Better

This book is actually one that I got as a present last Christmas, but I never got around to reading it. I hope I can right that wrong this holiday period.

Award-winning Radio 4 presenter, Claudia Hammond delves into the surprising psychology of money to show us that our relationship with the stuff is more complex than we might think.

Drawing on the latest research in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral economics, she draws an anatomy of the power it holds over us. She also reveals some simple and effective tricks that will help you use and save money better—from how being grumpy can stop you getting ripped off to why you should opt for the more expensive pain relief and why you should never offer to pay your friends for favors.

I’m curious how it’ll read since these types of books can sometimes be difficult to read and grasp.

Front cover of the book De Eurocrisis by Jeroen Dijsselbloem

The euro crisis: The story from within

The final book I wish to read, though it’s lower in my priorities list, is The euro crisis by Jeroen Dijsselbloem, former-President of the Eurogroup. He was present at all the discussions and sometimes spent nights looking for solutions.

In this book, he takes us on a journey through the honest, unprecedented story behind the euro crisis. Where did things really go wrong? How did the crisis ultimately come to an end? And the further into the future of the eurozone?
Much has already been said and written about the euro crisis: about the causes and consequences of the collapsing economy, the very expensive rescue of banks, the rising debt, the predicted end of the euro, the impending exit of Greece, the ongoing search for the culprits, the disagreement over solutions, and the major consequences for people across the euro area.

What attracts me to this book, is that it’s based in the experience of Dijsselbloem. I wish to get a better understanding of the things that took place as a result of the housing crash in 2008.

I'm a developer for a major financial institution in Belgium that is present in over 40 countries. I have over 8 years of working experience in the development of customer applications focussing on all aspects of banking. This helped me gain a deep understanding of the inner workings of a commercial bank. All of this experience in both banking and life culminates in this blog about personal finance and my fight towards FIRE.

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These all look like interesting books. I’m adding a couple to my reading list, thanks for publishing!

As a suggestion, you might find “The Permanent Portfolio” an interesting addition to your “Index Investing” book.

Just came across your blog and enjoying the read so far!



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