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Popcorn Finance 2018 Reading Challenge

I knew that one goal that I needed to set for myself this year was to read more.  I actually set this goal every year, but this year I mean it.  My goal, read 12 books in 12 months.  Seems simple enough, right?

Help Keep Me Accountable

Because I cannot be trusted to hold myself accountable, I’ve decided to make this challenge public.  In the widget below you will see my progress as I (slowly) make my way through each book.  I will be using GoodReads to track my progress.  If you are a member & are looking for a new reading buddy click HERE to add me as a friend.  I’m always interested in a good book recommendation.

2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Chris has
read 3 books toward
their goal of
12 books.

Get Your First Audiobook for Free and Help Support Popcorn Finance

Grab one of the books from the 2018 Reading Challenge for free using the link below!


Finance Books (6 Books Read)

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

I thought Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, was polarizing until I found out about Dave Ramsey.  Dave is one of those people who is either passionately supported or violently rejected.  Despite your thoughts on him, personally I found this book to be very practical and filled with sound advice.

The foundation of this book is centered around his now famous 7 Baby Steps.  Many people debate whether or not each of these steps are necessary and in what order they should be completed.  I feel that these step will give most people a strong financial foundation and help them move towards their goal of retirement.

Remember that with any advice, you can take what you want from it and make it your own. 

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

If you’ve never read any book on personal finance chances are that you’ve still probably heard of Rich Dad Poor Dad.  This book is centered around shifting your mindset to get out of the rat race of working just to buy nice things and then retire in your 60’s. 

Kiyosaki tries to help you understand this shift in thinking by comparing his “Poor Dad”, his actual biological father, to his “Rich Dad”, his friend’s father.  This felt a little harsh.  I wonder how his Dad felt about being called the “Poor Dad”?

I would say my main takeaway was that an emphasis on passive income streams and proper tax strategies is the key to financial freedom.  This book felt more like high concept and the author’s success stories than actual practical information. 

However, I did get a chance to play the board game, Cash Flow, based on the book and I think that it does a much better job of illustrating the themes of this book quicker than actually reading it.  The board game in on the expensive side, about $80, but you can play the web version for free HERE.

The Art of Allowance by John Lanza

As someone who doesn’t have any kids, I didn’t expect to be reading a book about allowance.  But when John sent me a copy of his book I decided to check it out. 

This was a nice quick read so it didn’t feel too overwhelming and you can probably knock it out in a quiet weekend.  The Art of Allowance is centered around a three jar system of categorizing money.  The three categories are Share, Save and Spend Smart.

By breaking up money in to these easy to understand categories and also placing the cash in actual clear jars that a child can see, gives them the opportunity to learn how to make real money decisions on their own.

Podcast Episode with Author Coming Soon!

The No-Spend Challenge Guide by Jen Smith

This is the book that jump started my 2018 reading challenge.  I hadn’t really known much about a no spend challenge until reading Jen’s book.  A no spend challenge is a period of time that you select where you will not spend any money.  

On paper this sounds insane, but what I really love about this book is how Jen lets readers know that they are in control and that they can handle this challenge however they want, no shame.  Do you want to add in a little wiggle room and set aside some money for a special event, do it!  It’s completely up to you.

Jen gives some great examples of how to structure and personalize your no spend challenge and some suggestions on free things to do to eliminate the temptation to spend.  At 99 pages this is a great quick read with some advice that might just give you the boost you need to meet your savings goal or get out of debt a little bit faster.

If you want to learn a little more about no spend challenges and author Jen Smith, check out Episode 045 of the podcast!

Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

Review Coming Soon

The Year of Less by Cait Flanders

Review Coming Soon


Fun Reads (8 Books Read)

Out of Spite, Out of Mind by Scott Meyer

This is book #5 in one of my favorite audiobook series.  If you scroll down you will see that I finished the 4th book earlier this year.  This story in particular follows the original group of “wizards” as they deal with the repercussions of their constant time traveling including major glitches in their computer controlled world.

All though this is not my favorite book in this series, the story is still entertaining and the performance by the narrator, Luke Daniels, is incredible as usual. 

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

I think I have a winner for my favorite audiobook of 2018.  I’m really mad that I waited two years to listen to this one.  I’m sure many of you know who Trevor Noah is, if not go look him up on Youtube now.  

Trevor is a comedian from South Africa and this book documents his amazing journey growing up in some of the roughest areas with what sounds like one of the toughest moms around.  Before reading this book I knew vaguely about the struggles of living under apartheid, but this book made it all very real while still being ridiculously funny.

If you have the opportunity to check this book out I would highly recommend listening to the audiobook which is narrated by Trevor.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This is one of my all time favorite books.  I first read Ready Player One back in 2012.  After finishing it I said to myself “this would be such a fun movie, but there is not way that they could ever happen.  It would be a licensing nightmare.”  I thought the sheer amount of copyrighted references in the story would make this an impossible movie.

Well in 2018 they made it happen!  This quick review is really about the book, but I did enjoy the movie as well.

Ready Player One follows Wade, a.k.a. Parzival, and his quest to find a prize worth billions hidden within the VR universe of the OASIS.  It’s the year 2044 and most people spend their waking hours inside of the OASIS because what’s left of the Earth is pretty depressing.  

When the creator of the OASIS suddenly dies, it is revealed that he has created a quest consisting of 3 hidden keys.  Whoever finds all 3 keys and completes the challenges that follow will be given complete control of the OASIS and a ton of money.

I won’t give too much away but if you are a fan of video games and 1980’s pop culture I think that you will really enjoy this story.

Fight and Flight by Scott Meyer

I don’t know how I came across this series, but I’m really happy I did.  This is the 4th book in this series and I can say that I have enjoy each one so far. 

A quick summary of this series without giving away too much is that a young, broke guy discovers that the entire world is just a computer program and that with some clever hacking you can do just about anything you want. 

So what do you do when you get in trouble with the law and have the ability to do anything and go anywhere?  You travel back in time and pretend to be a wizard.  I know it is a weird premise, but trust me that each story is a ton of fun.  Great writing combined with some of the best narration I have ever heard make this book and all of the others a must listen.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

This book was one of those cultural classics that I had always heard about but never bothered to pick up.  I can now say that this is definitely worth reading.  It is surprising how much humor can actually be delivered in writing.  For me at times, the long and complicated names and terms created for the various planets and creatures did become tedious, the story always drew me back in.

I know this is an older book, but I still don’t want to spoil much of the story.  I will just say that the book follows Arthur and his odd friend Ford, as they find themselves very far from Earth and stuck in a series of very improbable situations.

Pilot X by Tom Merritt

Review Coming Soon

The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Robinette Kowal

Review Coming Soon

The Authorities by Scott Meyer

Review Coming Soon

How to Get Free Audiobooks

If you’re not eligible for an Audible free trial, try checking your local library using the Libby app which I discussed on Episode 025, How to Get Free Amazon Kindle Ebooks.  Most libraries have a large inventory of audiobooks for you to check out free of charge.