Guess what I just finally read for the first time…

That sounds improbable, right? After all, I wrote this book and published it back in 2016. Indeed, in one sense I have probably read this book more than any other person on the planet.

I spent three full years writing and rewriting it over an over again till my eyes bled. And, of course, I had written the posts upon which the material in it is based before that — also a process of writing and rewriting; and rewriting.

In this way, I have read every word, every sentence, every paragraph, every chapter in it repeatedly. I read them separately, and I read them together to see how they flowed. Then read them again for editing and polish and accuracy.

Three years. Over and over.

By the time it was published, I couldn’t bear to look at it. 

But with all that time spent with it, I never actually sat down and read it as a book. That is, cover to cover. Moreover, I never wanted to. I was sick to death of it. Maybe that’s why I have been so surprised at its success.

In the weeks leading up to publication, I got to wondering what a successful book looked like. Basically, summarizing all the opinions I received, it seemed:

  • The vast majority of books published sell less than 1,000 copies.
  • Those that sell 1,000+ are considered a success.
  • Hitting the 5,000 mark was excellent.
  • Reaching 10,000, a home run.

With the following on my blog, I felt pretty confident The Simple Path to Wealth could sell 5,000 copies, and 10,000 seemed possible.

Because I can’t help myself, I calculated how much I’d make if it hit 10,000 and how much time I had spent writing it. Dividing that dollar figure by those hours, I came up with my hourly pay rate:

Roughly half of what McDonalds would have paid me to flip burgers.

I was OK with that. Selling 10,000 books was still a dream.

When the book first came out in June, it sold 2,168 copies — a nice start. In July is sold slightly more, and then began to drift down until November when there was a spike to 2,572 for Christmas sales. It closed the year with a total of 11,692. I was thrilled.

I was also expecting it to drift down from there, and for 2017 it mostly did. Where in 2016 it averaged 1670 copies per month, in its second year it dropped to 1217 copies per month and never again broke 2000.

But in 2018, things began to turn. The average grew to 2355 copies per month (CPM), and kept on going:

  • 2019 = 3606 CPM
  • 2020 = 6123 CPM
  • 2021 = 9040 CMP, through September

It has also now been published in Japan, Korea and Germany. Deals have been signed for publication in Russia, Poland, Spain, Brazil, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Taiwan and the Middle East (Arabic). 

Everyday I hear from people telling me I have changed their lives. (Just to be clear: for the better)

It is nothing short of breathtaking.

Of course, it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows…

Anonymous described me as a: 

“Fat fuck….Vanguard pimp”

Bob Smithies advised:

“Don’t take advice from someone who cannot manage their own wasteline.”

Ethan was more blunt:

“this guy’s a fuckin idiot”

Bob, of Bob’s Backtested Bunker, was also direct:

“the fact that a single person would listen to your nonsense is criminal”

With these insightful observations, along with my own Disclaimers, consider yourself warned!

In any event, after several years of this I figured maybe the time to actually, you know, sit down and read it had come. So I, of course, requested it from my local library. That was back in December, 2020. It finally showed up last month. Seems there is a bit of a queue for it.

You know what?

The opinions of Bob, Bob, Ethan and Anonymous not withstanding, I think it’s pretty good.

Mostly I am honored by all of you who have read and enjoyed it, especially those of you who have taken the time to tell me what it has meant to you.

Thank You!


Coming shortly is my second book:

This one is a humorous, scary and, as the title suggests, cautionary tale about my very first, impossibly naive, real estate purchase. And it is illustrated!

Think of it as the antidote to all the hype around home buying. As Kristy Shen promises in her wonderful foreword for it:

“Some of you are going to hate this book.”

Lookin’ at you here Bob, Bob, Ethan and Anonymous. 


In addition to my own book, I recently finished rereading Lonesome Dove, all 820 pages of it.

This is one of my all time favorite fiction books. As I opened it, I remember thinking: “I have 820 pages of wonderful reading ahead.” And then it was over. Too short.

That put me in mind of another I reread earlier this year, this one for the third time:

With those two in mind, of course I thought of another favorite, which is on my table ready for another read:

I might be failing to remember some others but sitting here just now, these are my three all time favorite fiction books.



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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. Fritz @ The Retirement Manifesto says

    Backtesting Bob is a hater of yours, too? Glad I’m in such esteemed company.

    #LoveTheHaters Wink.

    Congrats on the sales, looking forward to your second book. I can totally relate to being sick of your own book after the process of writing it, I felt the same way after writing mine and haven’t yet summoned the courage to “read it” straight through. You’ve inspired me, think I’ll do the same.

  2. Un4Seen says

    I’ve personally purchased and read The Simple Path to Wealth in 2021 in Romania. I loved it both for it’s enjoyable style of writing and for the great information content. I think it has the perfect combination between theoretical knowledge and practical advice. It’s a very useful book. Of course the 3 chapters about tax advantaged investing techniques are not applicable in Europe. In fact that’s the only thing the book lacks: detailed advice on how to adapt the described methods to non-US regions (such as Europe). There’s a guest post written on the blog about this, but it’s nowhere enough on information content. What I’m trying to say is that The Simple Path to Wealth is a truly valuable book and it’s a damn shame that there is no annex to adapt it’s wisdom to outside the US. Regardless, I’m thankful that it exists and was happy to be able to buy it and read it in my country.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Agreed, but I haven’t the knowledge or expertise to provide that info for my international readers.

      Even with that short coming, I am amazed at how well it has been received outside the US.

    • Mike says

      Hi Un4Seen, the complicating factor with Europe is that not only are the tax laws in every country different, even banks within a country have different services and options (if you are investing through a bank). The guest post (if i remember correctly) was written by Econowiser from the Netherlands. I am also in the Netherlands, owe 95% of my investment knowledge (and 100% of my success to this point) to JL’s site, but am not a fan of that guest post (nothing personal) and use a totally different method than the Econowiser family to invest in Vanguard in Europe. I don’t have any great information you can use in Romania, just try and find some local forums or speak to your bank (not necessarily for advice! But to see what options they do offer)

  3. vorlic says

    Hello Mr Collins,

    I was clearing out my mother’s flat recently, helping her move to a more suitable abode after a sudden, severe reduction in her independence. She is a prolific reader, and there were many, many books to move…

    One book stood out. It’s my recommendation to you:

    “Black Diamonds”, by Catherine Bailey.

    I won’t attempt a synopsis 😉

    Stay sane, stay sage, stay on plan.

  4. Some guy in Maine says

    I am responsible for selling tens of your book (alas, not tons as you would like) – I recommend it to anyone who asks me anything about money.
    Thanks for writing it, and call me if you ever want to pay the Bobs or Ethan a visit.

    • vorlic says

      Ah, “the Bobs”. We all love meetings with them.

      “Good luck with your firings, I hope they go really well.” 😆

        • vorlic says

          You and me both, Jeff!

          “Just remember, if you hang in there long enough, good things can happen in this world. I mean – – look at me!”

          “Thanks, Tom.”

  5. Barbara says

    Your Simple Path to Wealth is totally life changing(in a good way)I gave it to my nieces,friends,god daughters and have recommended it to countless other people.My only regret is finding such a resource so late in my life.Thank you for a truly invaluable book.

  6. Roberto says

    So proud to have been one of the first 100 readers when it came out originally, one of the best I ever read to improve my financial habits and choices. My only complaint is I wish I had access to this information much earlier.

  7. Dave from Chicago says

    Your blog taught me how to invest and gave me solace when I sold out (like a dummy) when the market tanked. Luckily, like you, I shook it off and got back into the index (with an altered ratio) after I realized my risk tolerance wasn’t as high as I’d thought before being battle tested. I’ve recommended your book to everyone I know who is interested in taking control of their financial lives. Thank you again!

  8. Brian says

    I can contribute to the lovefest too! I have purchased about 20 copies of your book. Anytime I’m talking to someone about investing, and they seem a little bit interested, I buy it for them. That way it’s not just me talking – I can appeal to authority. Thank you for being my authority!

    I’m glad the book has done so well for you and I hope your next book does as well as the first!

  9. Nava says

    I love your book and have read it twice already. After reading so many books on personal finance, your book gave me a clear, simple path for my financial future. I even wrote about your book for an app about money that now had gone defunct. My only regret is that I haven’t found your book and blog earlier, but oh well, we start where we are, right?

  10. Michael Vella says

    Those comments cracked me up- Its Sunday morning in Sunny Sydney Australia… and there i am just checking my emails and having a coffee and i laughed so hard .my wife gave me that look because their was more coffee on my shirt them in my mouth- Keep them coming. Take care Mick

  11. Queen G says

    Thank you for the wisdom, guidance, and humor you share in your book and blog. I have gifted numerous copies of your book to young graduates, and only wish it had been available earlier in my life. I had discovered “Your Money or Your Life” early on, but was flummoxed by inadequate bond yields and couldn’t figure out how to pick the right stocks or time the market. At least we headed in the right direction by living below our means until I discovered ETFs, and then your book!

  12. BR says

    One of my favorite personal finance books (The Simple Path to Wealth). In a world full of complicated, I like simple!

    By the way, I’ve seen Lonesome Dove – the movie – a few times. I have never read the book. I will have to check it out. Thanks for the periodic book recommendations.

  13. B. says

    Not only is this one of my favorite books ever, the audiobook version is also beautifully narrated. I hope you paid the narrator well! ☺️

    I’ve listened twice so far and have recommended it to everyone I know whenever the topic comes up. I’ve even read and reread some chapters the old fashioned way to make sure I fully understood the material.

    Before this book I didn’t know what the heck to do with my money. Much of it sat for over a year in a rollover holding account making nothing (I got an earful from the Vanguard rep about that when I finally did move it!). Now I’m pretty dang sure I’m on the right financial path for the first time in my life. Thank you!

  14. Robert Lowry says

    I’m not a Bob – I’m a Rob. I won your book after you did an interview with Pete Matthews at Meaningful Money podcast here in the UK. Thanks to you, I discovered Vanguard, totally overhauled my finances, and now at 55 I am 2 months aways from paying off the mortgage and finally being FI. The future looks great – many thanks for your part in it.

  15. David Crabill says

    I love hearing the details on how much you’ve sold. I’d also love hearing how much money you’ve made from royalties. I saw a video from Jon Acuff showing how a book isn’t a way to get rich, LOL.

    I think it’s pretty common for authors to never have read their book from start to finish. The author of Science & Health, a book that was revised hundreds of time over the course of a few decades, said she never sat down to read it in its entirety until over 30 years after its initial publication.

    And congrats on your new book! Because you were so forthcoming with Bob Smithies review, to his point, I do think you’re well-poised for a third book. It would be called “The Simple Path to Health”. Basically you just take the Simple Path to Wealth, swap the verbiage for the food and health-related counterparts (wealth -> health, debt -> fat, spending -> eating, etc etc), and boom… you’ve got yourself one of the best weight loss books of all time! You would probably want to test initial reception to the concepts with the post “Fat – The Unacceptable Burden”. Only trouble is that you have to implement the strategies first. It’s not going to be easy. Simple, yes. Easy, no. 🙂

  16. Pike Pickett says

    Mr Collins

    Your book definitely changed my life……..for the better.

    Since reading your book and the birth of my daughter 18 months ago we have more than tripled our net worth through low cost, broad based, index fund investing.

    Forever grateful,


  17. John says

    A quick thank you for outlining a path to FI for me within Simple Path to Wealth. As I’m still a few years away and working I meet with customers daily and sometimes the topic of investing arises. When that happens they see my excitement and hear references to your work usually resulting in an an on the spot sale from Amazon. Apologies for creating extra work for you to continually update your copies sold amount. Thanks again!

  18. Southeast says

    My boss recommended your book to me in August of 2017 and I then took over managing my portfolio. As of June of next year I won’t have a boss any longer as I’ll be retiring– at least from any work that I don’t feel like doing.

    Gaining an understanding of investing through your book was empowering. It led me to much further reading (over and over and over again) on investing and retirement that reinforced simplicity and has made me very comfortable with my decision.

    Thanks JL!

  19. Ottawa Beaver says

    I read your book from the library and then saw a mint copy at second hand book sale for charity for $2 outside my badminton gym one day. 🙂 Sorry I didn’t contribute to your royalties personally but I’ve recommended it to others.
    On personal finance, there are 2 books I ensure to read every few months to periodically clear all the mainstream brainwashing. This one, and the Wealthy Renter by Alex Avery.
    I wish your second book is wildly successful, I am excited about the subject very much. I’ll eagerly wait to get my hands on it.

  20. Laura says

    Mr. Collins,
    Your book changed my life. I was a first time mom forced to return back to work after giving birth and hated every minute I had to sit at the office when all I wanted was to have been financially able to stay home and spend time with my child. Your book was such an eye opener, the concept of FU money was exactly what I needed at that point in time. Fast forward 3 years later, I obviously had to stay working but i stopped spending money on things I did not need, got rid of my car payment and have started to accumulate my stash of FU money. I promised myself that I would do everything possible so that I wouldn’t be forced to work the rest of my life. Your book opened my eyes to the fact that we don’t have to be slave to a job that doesn’t satisfy us forever. If we’re disciplined and stay the course, we can be financially free. Thank you so much.

  21. Alex says

    JL, like many here, your writing and your book contributed greatly to my financial education and still does. I’m happy to say I’ve bought your book 5 times because after what I’ve gained from it, I can’t help but keep giving it away to others. I look forward to buying many more copies in the future

  22. jlcollinsnh says

    Thanks to everyone above for all your kind comments and for sharing how The SPW has resonated with you. I especially appreciate all those copies you have passed on to others spreading the word. 🙂

  23. Mark Kaminski says

    Bought copies for my kids (in their late 30s) and insisted they read it.
    SIMPLE is the key… and I only wish I’d done all this 30 years ago.
    No complaints, but could have avoided needless time (and occasional aggravation).
    True, I still fool with individual stocks (more for fun than anything)… but retirement is too important to waste on detailed money-management.
    Just returned from 20 days in Peru (upper Amazon, Lima, Cusco and Machu Picchu) and Ecuador (Quito and out to the Galapagos). Didn’t think about money the entire time. 🙂

  24. Lee Turner says

    The book absolutely changed my life and for the better. It taught me so much and set something off inside of me. I picked it up by accident and started reading it to waste some time. I could hardly put it down once I started and have read it three times. I’m not smart but it made sense to me and was simple to follow. Thank you.

  25. Mark Herman says

    “Don’t take advice from someone who cannot manage their own wasteline.”

    Don’t take advice from someone who doesn’t know their waist from their waste.

    Collins, have you figured out how to empty your black water tank? Do you know where to put the line when you are done? OK. We’re good.

    I’ve thought about residential real estate. I think it is for somebody else. I’ve thought about commercial real estate, but COVID, and Amazon. I’ve thought about ag land. That may be for me. It is probably a better store of wealth than gold, or crypto. It also has the side benefit of being able to grow vegetables, or at least deer and turkey.

  26. Jerry says

    I found your book very informative and helpful. I got the audio book version and listened to it twice, and it did change the way i invest for the better. It’s not a surprise that some people such as financial planners and mutual fund managers were pissed by your book as they make their living by selling false hope/expectations to their customers. informed customers are the worst for people who rely on uninformed customers.

  27. El says

    I turn 19 this week and your book has already had a large impact on my life, so thank you muchly. It certainly made the supposedly scary world of money a lot more appealing to me. Since I bought the book in 2019 I have passed it on to my friends, parents, uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents, who all seem to be getting as much value out of it as me.
    Look forward to reading any future books by you, and hopefully I can hold the course and retire by my 30’s haha

  28. Milwaukee Dude says

    Your book had a huge impact on me. Yes, it overhauled my investment strategy but it also opened up the door to learning about FI world and the community of like-minded people that I didn’t know existed..It also took away so much stress around money and my financial future. I’ve recommended it and given it away as wedding gifts, Christmas gifts, and forced my parents to read it… The real joy tho, is not to read it but to listen to the audiobook. It’s like having John Goodman calmly, and in an entertaining way, explain how to plan your future.

  29. Liam says

    “Lonesome Dove” is a great novel. Did you ever read “Shogun” by James Clavell? I found it to be very similar to Lonesome Dove in the way the story was told (multiple points of view, inner monologue of the characters), plus it’s historical fiction and was also made into a popular miniseries. Worth a read!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Shogun is also one of my favorites, along with Tai Pan, also by Clavell. Both would be at the top of my fiction list!

      Thanks for the reminder, I should reread those two. 🙂

      • Liam says

        Sure thing! I just remembered now that you specially mention “Noble House” in your book, in relation to getting F-U Money. I should’ve known you were a Clavell fan!

  30. Luis says

    Hello Mr Collins! I’m from Argentina but living in France since a couple of years with my wife. I haven’t bought your book because I’m trying to save the most money I can but I’ve read the stock series and a lot of other posts of your blog. They are always interesting, funny, educational, acid… a wonderful cocktail =) it changed my life. I think by now you must have listened to that phrase a lot… “it changed my life”. Not a lot of people in this world receive that comment though =) I hope someday I’ll be able to do something similar with my people back home. Anyways I wanted to thank you for writing all of this. My life and the life of those around me is becoming better, smoother now. Have a nice day Mr Collins and thanks again =)

  31. Ruth says

    Hey JL,
    Yours is the book I recommend the most. I’ve read it three times myself and it’s gone around New Zealand more times than I can count as I post it off to those who want to read it. Amazingly it always finds its way back to me. Readers of my blog have campaigned their local library to stock The Simple Path to Wealth and they send me photos of it when they succeed which is pretty cool! It’s a life-changing read and given the insanity of the NZ housing market, I can’t wait to read your next book too as I’m sure it will be relevant here!
    Keep up the fabulous work, it’s so appreciated. Ruth 😊

  32. Caroline says

    Dear JL,

    It would be an understatement to say that I loved your book. I read it 15 times and I re-read it each time I need to feel grounded again, like a booster shoot. I am probably the French with the most knowledge in ROTH IRA or other 401K.

    Your book is not about money. It’s about respect of one’s time on this planet. Although some tried, there is no good French translation but I keep evangelizing your guiding principles to my French friends. You taught me that there are alternative ways of designing one’s life. That we can make the choice to live on our own terms as you brilliantly wrote it.

    I couldn’t thank you enough for your wisdom, JL and I am now putting a lot of effort in simplifying your words to my kids (in French!).

    Take care.

  33. Rob says


    Your humility in this post is inspiring. I can’t imagine the difficulty of the process of writing a book, and to take such an open approach to (ridiculous) criticism from trolls shows such strength in your character.

    Your book (and blog) have been so fundamental in my financial journey, and have given me the utmost confidence in charting my own future. I’m sure many of your readers feel this – as someone I’ve never met, you’ve had a huge positive impact on my life. For that, I will forever remain grateful.

    Sincerely, thank you!

    -Rob (not Bob)

  34. CF says

    I bought your book. I plan to implement it. You recommend purchasing VTSAX over VTI. So you understand scope, I’m 45 and would like to invest around $1M in a brokerage, i.e. outside of any tax advantaged fund. From my research, ETFs are more efficient from a tax perspective, peer to peer sales that don’t trigger a taxable event, vs. mutual funds that must actually sale shares when someone wants to sell their VTSAX, causing a taxable event to occur within the fund, which will incur capital gains to me even though I did not sale anything. The expense ratio for VTSAX is .04 vs. VTI at .03. I do not pay any fees to trade. If I literally expect to never sale anything for the next 15 years, doesn’t VTI make more sense than VTSAX? The difference between bid and ask price on the ETF (if you only purchase every quarter) seem negligible compared to the tax advantage provided by the ETF vs. mutual fund. Where am I wrong? Also, can you have dividends automatically reinvested in the ETF (VTI)? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

  35. William Muffi says

    Your book was fantastic. The comments on ETF VTI vs VTSAX is interesting. Also, Your thoughts on I Bonds at 7.5 % on November 1st ?. Can’t wait for your next book 📖.

  36. Jim says

    I read your stock series in 2018 when i was sitting on $100k unsure of what to do with it.

    Yesterday I hit a milestone of $400k net worth between cash, retirement account and ETFs of VTS & VEU (Australian here).

    Thanks Jim, I owe ya one.

  37. AUser says


    Great book but do you think this stuff will hold up through COVID in the U.S.? The government seems to be changing, and a lot of our “rights” are being tested. I worry tomorrow we will wake up with senseless government issued tasks, with paychecks from the government, in our daily bread line (which will soon taper off and majority of us will be in permanent poverty… )

    I am about to have over $12,000 to invest.

    Part of me feels like it is the absolute best time to invest.

    Part of me feels like I may never see that $12,000 again.


  38. Big Bob says

    I stumbled across The Simple Path To Wealth five years ago when I had accrued a decent chunk of change in company stock and savings and had no clue what to do with it.

    While the details of investing can endlessly discussed the central tenets of your book, namely saving 50%+ of your income and investing in index funds, are perhaps the best advice anybody can give in a single sentence.

    Five years later I have a paid off house and house and a half in my brokerage account and I raise my glass to your, Mr. Collins! Thank you!

  39. Don says

    I read this book back in 2018 when I started a new job and was presented with a brand new 401 (k) which I knew nothing about. The company had many Vanguard TRFs available and I chose the 2060 one. I just looked at my account after 3 years and have over $80,000 invested (investing 15% per paycheck bi-monthly). This book has made me keep it simple, and that is good!

  40. Sid says

    Would love for you to do a post on the current situation regarding inflation and how would you hedge in the times on record inflation?

  41. Janie says

    Is it a good time to rebalance my portfolio? I’ve set it on 60/40 but stocks being so high lately it skew it, HOWEVER, I’ve been reading that Interest Rates will go higher and it’s not a good time to buy BND? What do I do?

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