Inside Pathfinders’ Letter to Contributors

It is always fun to peek behind the curtain, to have backstage passes if you will, to some cool process or event.

Hasan Minhaj, who wrote the foreword for Pathfinders, just arranged such passes for us at his show Off With His Head. Excited to see the show, but maybe even more excited to get to be behind the scenes.

While I can’t get such tickets for you, I can share a bit of what is happening behind the scenes as the October 31st launch date for Pathfinders approaches.

In May of last year I published this post seeking stories from the road by those walking The Simple Path.

We gathered these stories, made the hard decisions as to which to include, and Chris began the process of editing them for clarity while keeping the ‘voice’ of each writer.

That last we felt was critically important, and I think Chris did a masterful job. The end result is ~100 unique stories told in the unique voice of their tellers.

Of course, it is only fair that these contributors also be the first to receive and read Pathfinders.

What follows is Chris’s letter to them, along with some behind the scene insights he shared.

Now, I get to share it with you!

Here’s Chris….

Dear Pathfinder,

I am currently experiencing a strange out-of-body experience.

You too will be able to experience this very soon.

It’s not that I accidentally double-pressed the large espresso button on the office coffee machine (though that will certainly achieve something similar).

I do have a coffee in hand. But the experience is caused by the headphones on my head. I am sitting back at my desk listening to the draft recordings of the Pathfinders audiobook.

I am hearing sentences sent in by you many months ago, beautifully narrated by two wonderful voice artists: Kevin Meyer and Audrey J Williams.

It’s the strangest possible experience, like I am hearing them again for the first time, direct from the mouths of the contributors.

It brings back that experience of reading your submissions as if it was yesterday. And with excellent news from our printers, and just two months to go to release, I thought it high time I get back in touch. 

Your traveller’s tales

I will never forget the experience of encountering your traveller’s tales on the Simple Path to Wealth. 

We knew from JL’s blog that he was lucky to have some of the best fans on earth. The case studies he had featured on his blog suggested that more than one of you had an amazing story to share. 

But I wasn’t prepared for the sheer range of honest and reflective tales, with insights to help anyone who wants a better relationship with money – and therefore a better life – at any point on the Simple Path. Or even if they’ve never heard of the Simple Path or FI at all!

The challenge then became shaping them into a book. We haven’t shared too much of that process, or what the final book contains, or how it looks inside, because we want to preserve the joy of encountering it for the first time without spoilers.

We’ve often framed Pathfinders as the equivalent of entering a cozy roadside tavern. And our goal is for you – as the first readers of the book very soon – to experience something of that when you first sit down with the book. It should, we hope, have something of the nature of pushing open a glowing door to the sound of laughter and conversation beyond… and not just laughter, but true and heartfelt wisdom.

(I am pretty sure that more wisdom is to be found beside tavern fireplaces than anywhere else on earth, after all.)

Of course, some of you may be wondering how much of your story made it in, or in what form. All stories were edited to some extent, but we always tried to ensure we kept the writer’s voice. (I’ve never understood editors who try to whack the authorial character out of sentences like someone beating an old carpet.)

We sometimes had to edit for length. Sometimes for clarity. Always to ensure your words and insights shone like a gem, and could both fit inside the book (space was at a constant premium throughout, as the bookstores don’t like anything too long) and stand the best possible chance of grabbing the reader.


Grab that reader!

Grabbing the reader is so important because it’s so hard to do. The competition is enormous: almost 280,000 new books are published every year in the States alone. That’s over 5,000 a month. More than 750 a DAY! 

In other words, every two minutes, a new book is published. Since you started reading this email, perhaps three or four rivals to your work in Pathfinders have come out.

So if someone switched off the internet, every book would still be in a fight for its life. No one has found the off switch for the internet, though, so every book also goes up against an infinity of old and new content.

We think – we hope – we’ve given your stories the best possible chance.

And the good news is that you’ll be able to judge for yourself very soon.

If you’ve been following JL on Twitter or via his newsletter (scroll down to the bottom of you’ll have seen photos of the US hardcover. I am delighted to report that the paperback edition – which covers all territories outside North America (because readers and bookstores there prefer them) is now back from the printers too.

So copies should be heading your way THIS WEEK!

(The format you’ll receive depends on where you are in the world, and the warehouses nearest to you.)

When you get them, please do tweet, post, and record your thoughts and share with the world – it would mean everything to us. And it’s now the most powerful thing you can do to help the book find its readers, and share the remarkable benefits that come from walking that good old Simple Path…

My thanks for being an indispensable part of an epic journey. It’s been a pleasure working with you all! If you ever want to catch up, the best way is to message or follow me on Twitter. And if by any chance you’re going to Future Proof in Huntington Beach later this week, come on over to Stand 521 and say hi!

With all best wishes,



If you’d also like to be one of the earliest readers, here you go:

Order Pathfinders

And if you do, as Chris says above,

please do tweet, post, and record your thoughts and share with the world – it would mean everything to us. And it’s now the most powerful thing you can do to help the book find its readers…”

Thanks, and much appreciated!


What I’ve been reading lately….

Umwelt is my new favorite word.
“Earth teems with sights and textures, sounds and vibrations, smells and tastes, electric and magnetic fields. But every animal can only tap into a small fractions of reality’s fullness. Each is enclosed within its own unique sensory bubble, perceiving but a tiny sliver of an immense world.” 
That includes us humans, and that unique sensory bubble is each creature’s umwelt.
In this book Yong takes us on a tour of how we experience the world, and how many, many other creatures do in ways we can barely imagine.


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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.
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  • 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.

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