Sunday, May 7, 2017

Think and Grow Rich - Napolean Hill

Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill is a must read personal finance book. This book is not a practical guide with current tips on how to start an "e-business", but rather a study on the philosophy of the most successful people in recent history.

Hill first published this book in 1937, at the height of the great depression. Hill ventured to write a book chronicling the mindsets of the wealthiest people of his era (e.g. Andrew Carnegie).

I found an excellent book review on this Youtube channel (Clark Kegley) and have written out the top 8 take-home messages:
  1. Mindset - It's more about the person you become and skills that you acquire than the dollars in your bank account. 
  2. Think - It's important to take time to think deeply (e.g. meditate or go for a long walk). It takes time to have good ideas. Keeping a journal is a great way to achieve clarity.
  3. Desire - Successful people are always driven by an obsession for their craft.
  4. Organized Planning - Breakdown large goals into smaller ones. Achieving smaller goals will keep you motivated. Never set a goal without doing something towards its attainment. 
  5. Persistence - Success is often just one step beyond failure, don't give up! The media loves to publicize "overnight successes" without mentioning the 10 years of hard-work.
  6. Seek Feedback - Constantly seek feedback for improving. Always get a 2nd opinion and listen to the wisdom/advice of people who you wish to emulate. You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.
  7. Specialized Knowledge/Skill - Expert knowledge is impossible to outsource. Knowing a lot about a specific topic/having a specialized skill will increase your value.
  8. Faith - Believe in yourself. A quote that summarizes this point is to "fake it 'till you make it." 
Finally, here is Clark Kegley with a book summary:

Saturday, February 25, 2017

TransferWise - Lowest Cost Currency Exchange!

(Click for full-view)
Since I've moved to Germany, there have been countless times when I need to exchange Canadian Dollars for Euros (or vice versa). Exchanging currencies through the banks or currency exchange shops can be excruciatingly expensive.

A friend recently introduced me to TransferWise. After trying TransferWise a few times, I've become a full supporter. It is by far the easiest low-cost way of exchanging currencies. You can use TransferWise to transfer money between yourself, family, friends, or anyone else with a bank account. Essentially you get the same exchange rate shown in Google's currency convertor plus a small fee.

The only caveat is money must be transferred between two bank accounts in countries that TransferWise operates in (over 40 countries). So TransferWise works best if you are transferring money from one bank account to another. This may not work for you if you are traveling for a short time to a foreign country, need a small amount of local currency, and do not have a bank account there. Alternatively, if you have a trusted friend in the foreign country you're traveling to, you could transfer money to them and have them give you that money once you arrive (to avoid high currency exchange fees).

Here's a short video on how TransferWise works:

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Living in a Vancouver Storage Locker

I recently read this article by the CBC about a man who converted a Vancouver storage unit into a livable apartment. Although this is illegal and crazy, I have to admit that this is one of the most ingenious set-ups I've ever seen. You probably shouldn't do this: