Seasons Greetings! and other cool stuff

Merry Christmas card odd original

Others like this one

To my readers:

Have a

Wonderful Holiday Season

and here’s to a

Healthy, Happy and Prosperous New Year!

And for your amusement in between the celebrations….



After graduating college it took me two years to land my first “professional” job. To make ends meet I worked for Ernie as a landscaper. Basically that meant doing whatever yard work jobs he could scrounge up.

Ernie also worked as the janitor for several apartment buildings, and he had several different “wives” and many children scattered about. Although he might spend a few days and pass on some cash as he could, he didn’t live with any of his “families”. Instead, in many of the building basements he had put together basic living quarters for himself tucked away in the corners. Rent free and secret places of escape.

Kinda like these:

custodian lair

Custodian Lairs

india old man

Old man in India

Photo Courtesy of Kyle Hale

Never forget how strange this all is


New Zealand Tree Church

This is how my friends over at Go Curry Cracker did it:

GCC jr

How we saved multi-millions

….and here’s how it worked for MP:

To Dream the Impossible Dream

india girls

Little girls in India

india boys

Boys in India

Photos Courtesy of Kyle Hale

Worth reading:

Everyday the media bombards us with reasons to be worried about the future.

In ‘Abundance’ the authors make the optimistic case.

‘Sapiens’ is one of the best written, most eye-opening books I’ve read in a long time.

It is the story of where we came from and why we believe what we believe and live as we do.

If you think you already know, you are likely to have your beliefs challenged. I did.

And having our beliefs challenged by someone as clear thinking as Mr. Harari is always a good thing.

At any given time I’m usually working my way thru two or more books at the same time. As it happened, these two I read that way. If your reading approach is the same, you might consider doing so as well. I found them especially well matched.

This might be the most enlightening and entertaining take on American history I’ve yet to read.

Tom's france

Leaving France, and words to live by

cliff restuarant

Cliff Restaurant and other cool places you’ve never been to.



Indonisian troops

Troops prepare for a demonstration on October 3, 2015 for the 70th-anniversary celebration of the Indonesian Armed Forces.


19th Century Portraits of Native Americans


The Four Agreements Book

Wine & woman

The Strangely Simple Rules of Life

Korea Life in Busan in the early 1950s (26)

Life in Busan



find your gift

States 38

More interesting US maps

Fact- background radiation

Facts- dying cells facts Atoms

boy meditating under tree

Seven Months meditating under a tree. And counting.

“The mind is a machine that is constantly asking: What would I prefer?”

Azimove quote

More like this post: Random cool posts

Important Resources:

  • (unfortunately Vanguard doesn’t have an affiliate program)
  • Empower* is a free tool to manage and evaluate your investments. With great visuals you can track your net worth, asset allocation, and portfolio performance, including costs. At a glance you’ll see what’s working and what you might want to change. Here’s my full review.
  • Betterment* is my recommendation for hands-off investors who prefer a DIFM (Do It For Me) approach. It is also a great tool for reaching short-term savings goals. Here is my Betterment Review
  • Tuft & Needle helps me sleep at night. Unfortunately they are no longer an affiliate, but still a very cool company and a great product.

*These are affiliate links and should you chose to do business with them, this blog will earn a small commission.

If you are looking for some holiday reading, here’s what is or recently has been mine:

Leave it to Psmith

“Crime not objected to.”

One of my favorite characters from a favorite author. If you like it, here are two more:

Jack Reacher roams around the country carrying only a folding toothbrush. When his clothes get dirty he buys new ones. Oh, and he kills lots of bad guys along the way. “Make Me” is the most recent in the series, but not the best. That might be this one:

First line: “People do not give it credence that a fourteen-year-old girl could leave home and go off in the wintertime to avenge her father’s blood but it did not seem so strange then, although I will say it did not happen every day.”

Last Line: “This ends my true account of how I avenged Frank Ross’s blood over in the Choctaw Nation when snow was on the ground.”

Where people who live to be 100+ live, how they live and what they eat.

Bad monkeys are Sapiens that need killing, and Jane is on the job. If you are already paranoid, you might want to skip chapter: white room (iv)

And here are some of my all time favorites:

The book that has most influenced how I live my life.

Deceptively simple, but really all you need to know about becoming wealthy.

Very possibly my all-time favorite novel.

“The Fall of Edward Barnard” is very possibly my all-time favorite short story.

Perfect for the readers of this blog.

“Bartleby the Scrivener” is very possibly my all-time favorite novella. Don’t be put off if you struggled with Melville’s “Moby Dick.” This is a much better and easier read. Plus it will teach you the most important phrase in the English language:

“I would prefer not to.”

*If you click on the books you’ll go to Amazon, an affiliate partner. Should you choose buy them, or anything else while you there, this blog will receive a small commission. This doesn’t affect what you pay.

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Important Resources

  • Talent Stacker is a resource that I learned about through my work with Jonathan and Brad at ChooseFI, and first heard about Salesforce as a career option in an episode where they featured Bradley Rice on the Podcast. In that episode, Bradley shared how he reached FI quickly thanks to his huge paychecks and discipline in keeping his expenses low. Jonathan teamed up with Bradley to build Talent Stacker, and they have helped more than 1,000 students from all walks of life complete the program and land jobs like clockwork, earning double or even triple their old salaries using a Salesforce certification to break into a no-code tech career.
  • Credit Cards are like chain saws. Incredibly useful. Incredibly dangerous. Resolve to pay in full each month and never carry a balance. Do that and they can be great tools. Here are some of the very best for travel hacking, cash back and small business rewards.
  • Empower is a free tool to manage and evaluate your investments. With great visuals you can track your net worth, asset allocation, and portfolio performance, including costs. At a glance you'll see what's working and what you might want to change. Here's my full review.
  • Betterment is my recommendation for hands-off investors who prefer a DIFM (Do It For Me) approach. It is also a great tool for reaching short-term savings goals. Here is my Betterment Review
  • NewRetirement offers cool tools to help guide you in answering the question: Do I have enough money to retire? And getting started is free. Sign up and you will be offered two paths into their retirement planner. I was also on their podcast and you can check that out here:Video version, Podcast version.
  • Tuft & Needle (T&N) helps me sleep at night. They are a very cool company with a great product. Here’s my review of what we are currently sleeping on: Our Walnut Frame and Mint Mattress.


  1. Jan Dieber says

    THE FOUR AGREEMENTS is my “bible”. I frequently recommend it to clients who are struggling with low self-esteem; lack of direction, and trying to answer the “why” of their lives.

  2. FiveSigmas says

    Glad you’re back posting, Jim, and thanks for the book recommendations — I was in fact just looking for something new to immerse myself in.

    Have a wonderful Christmas!

  3. Trisha says

    Aha! Edward Barnard made it to the list! -Knew you’d like it.
    Thanks for the additional reading suggestions – (many already read and enjoyed).
    I’m currently in SE Asia, in an old teak house in a garden of fruit trees and palms, with a large cupboard of surprisingly good (dusty) books. What could be better?
    Beautiful environment, time, books, and the freedom to enjoy it all – thanks in good part to the advice in your blog! Best to you and yours over the holidays.

  4. Thehappyphilosopher says


    I always love your posts, you find the most striking and diverse pictures! Between the links and books I could lose myself for a year…and just might.

    As a long time lurker, sincere thanks to all your work. Keep it up.


  5. Chad Carson says

    Wow, making it through that post was an experience in and of itself!

    Thank you for the links to read and book recommendations for holiday reading. Abundance and Sapiens are in my Amazon que now. And I bought How I Found Freedom … earlier this year after seeing you and MadFientist recommend it.

    Happy Holidays to you. I look forward to more great posts in 2016!

      • Chad Carson says

        Absolutely I loved the post. I always enjoy your content, and this one was just an eclectic ride with all sorts of different offramps:)

        I am just getting into How I Found Freedom, but I’ve received value just from the intro and the overall concept. It’s liberating to read about this “internal” perspective on freedom and being reminded of how that mindset can affect so many areas of your life.

        I look forward to digging in and doing my thing (underlining, mindmaping, circling, etc) with more of the book.

        Happy to hear you enjoyed the post. Thanks for the link. I gave a reference and a comment about your awesome article on home ownership, and I hope you didn’t take offense. I’m trying to offer an alternative, entrepreneurial view of home ownership that has worked well for me. It works for some, and not for others.

        Happy Holidays to you, and thanks for your great work in 2015.

  6. Darrow Kirkpatrick says

    Great having you back in the saddle Jim! I appreciate your ever eclectic, always invaluable collection of wisdom. Browne’s “How I Found Freedom…” is one of the top most influential reads in my life too…

    • Thehappyphilosopher says

      ‘How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World’ is a book everyone should read, and probably twice because the concepts are so radical they take some time to sink in. It’s on my top 5 of all time lists for sure.

      Jim: I’m on a personal project of gratitude thanking all the writers that have inspired me to start writing and blogging myself 🙂 You are high on this list. Was actually signed up for Ecuador, but the powers of the universe conspired against me this year so you will have to take this virtual thanks instead of a handshake or a hug!

      Darrow: Love your blog man, such great info I’ve gleaned over the last couple years. I would comment over on your site but I believe comments are closed. Forgive the intrusion Jim 😉

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks Darrow…

      Glad you enjoyed it! I’ve been enjoying yours as well.

      I’m not surprised you are a “Freedom” fan. 🙂

    • jlcollinsnh says

      I agree, HP…

      “Freedom” is well worth more than one read. It’s been a few years for me, I’m probably due!

      Thank you for your kind words. Perhaps in 2016 you’ll be able to join us in Ecuador and say it in person.

      We are again doing two Chautauquas back-two-back:

      Nov 5-12 and 12-19

      No worries: I fully agree about Darrow and his site. Great stuff!

  7. Jeremy says

    Merry Christmas Jim! And also to Jane and Jessica (Christmas in the Philippines is a special event.)

    Thank you from all of us for all of your help and support this year, and thank you for including me in the Chautauqua. It was an amazing experience.

    Hopefully we will see you in Asia this winter. Or maybe in the US this summer or Ecuador in the fall!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Merry Christmas to the GCC Clan as well.

      You were a wonderful addition to the Chautauqua and your invitation to be a speaker again in 2016 should already be in your inbox!

      Our paths should cross again next year, perhaps more than once. 😉

  8. Sally says

    Like the Happy Philosopher, I also have been lurking and learning from you – well for nearly a year now- and I too want to say thank you!! I have collected a long list of favorite PF blogs over the last year, and you and Darrow are both in the top three blogs I check nearly daily for new posts along with MMM. I have missed you and I was pleasantly surprised when I checked in today and found your latest post with recommendations for books. Many of the blogs I read are authored by 30 somethings preparing for extreme early retirement. I unfortunately, will not be retiring extremely early– as I just turned 56- but I am preparing to retire a “little early” –sometime by the end of 2016. Thanks for all your advice and inspiration- can’t wait to read more from you in 2016.

  9. EllDee says

    Hi Jim,
    I have been quietly lurking on your website (as well as those of MMM, Mad Fientist, GCC, and livingafi) for a couple of years now, and I’d like to add my THANK YOU for all you do. I got off to a fairly late start, and only started paying close attention to my money following a divorce, a job loss, losing my ex-spouse, and helping my teenager through all that… but thankfully when 2007-2008 rolled around, I realized stocks were a very good buy and moved my 401(k) money almost 100% into stocks, and have enjoyed riding the market back up. I’ve also been socking as much away as I can for the future. I have tried to share what I’ve learned and am happy to say at least one of my siblings is coming around to the idea of living on less and saving more, and I think I’ve had something to do with some of my nieces and nephews starting their retirement funds. It’s great to have financial mentors and I am happy to count you as one of mine. You touch many lives, and although you may not know many of us personally, your work is well appreciated. Happy (belated) holidays and the best to you in 2016!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thank you, EllDee…

      ..your kind words made my day.

      Sometimes this feels like a thankless task, but when I hear from folks like you telling me the blog has made a difference my heart soars. 🙂

      I’m especially pleased that you’ve seen fit to pass it on and that, in at least a couple of cases, the concepts have “taken.”

      It is wonderful to think what a difference understanding investing at an early age can make to your child and your nieces and nephews.

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