Read: Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know by Ranulph Fiennes

My third read this year was a departure from the economic/personal finance theme of the last two. Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know was a solid autobiography written in a matter-of-fact style. Whether writing about his SAS experiences, or his polar expeditions, or his insane marathon challenge, or his climb of the North Face, or cutting his frostbit fingers off with a vise and hacksaw, you never get the sense that Fiennes is bragging. He relates the stories as casually as if these are things that everyone does. In fact, it becomes easy to forget how extraordinary some of his stories are–you set the book down, and an hour later go “holy shit, that dude’s insane!”

Oddly, I found the stories of the polar expeditions less intriguing than I would have expected, though I found other aspects of his life captivating. It was a good reminder that life is what you make it, and that if your life lacks adventure it is because you avoid it due to it often presenting itself as trouble. For the average adventurer, I recommend it, but the person with specific interest in polar travel will find it far more intriguing.

Corishev on church leadership

If I’m the leader of a scout group, and you come along and insist on being the co-leader, that doesn’t give the group twice as much leadership. It divides the leadership between us. Men can’t re-invent themselves as leaders in their churches without taking it away from the women who currently hold it. Those women are not going to give it up gladly, so men who try are going to have a fight on their hands. To fail to even warn them of that, let alone to supply them with the proper tools, is setting them up for failure. It also doesn’t help to imply that women only took over leadership because men abandoned it. That makes them think that if men volunteer for leadership positions, women will gladly step aside for them. That’s a lie, and it will leave men confused and frustrated when they try and get rejected. —Cail Corishev

Read: Everything That Remains by Joshua Fields Milburn

I purchased this book with the hope that it would be a good “sharing book” to introduce people to minimalism. Because this book never takes the tenets of minimalism to their obvious conclusions outside of personal life–conclusions about government spending, for example–it is a good introductory book for the person who is currently trying to buy his happiness both with his own dollars and with the dollars of the taxpayer at large.

The conversational device employed seems more than a little contrived in places, but other than that the book is a quick and enjoyable read. The author uses a semi-autobiography to show how minimalism gave both himself and his best friend freedom from debt, freedom from jobs that controlled them, and freedom to pursue the things they are truly passionate about.

This book is not a “how-to” guide, although it does mention enough ideas and techniques for the reader to implement minimalism in his own life. Rather, it is a “why-to” manual that focuses more on benefits and advantages than on specific implementation protocols. Probably the most valuable aspect of the book from a sharing perspective it that it stresses how the author and his friend found increasing happiness tied to decreasing possessions. The most common question I get when explaining that I practice minimalism is “are you ever happy?” Those who are seeking to purchase happiness are keenly aware that it doesn’t work, and will key in on the author’s experience finding happiness.

All in all, it’s not the most practical book on minimalism I’ve read, but it is what I was hoping it would be: A good introductory book to give to the person who is far from minimalism.

Why Christian men hate church

There seems to be a consensus among many Christians, especially women, that the most fundamental tenet of Christianity is weekly church attendance. Go to services at any church that takes verbal prayer requests, and you are sure to hear some women bring up “missing members,” or ask for prayers that her friend/son/husband/coworker will “start coming … Read more…

Read: Bachelor Pad Economics, by Aaron Clarey

I first discovered Aaron Clarey when Amazon recommend his book Enjoy the Decline based on my purchase of Jack Donovan’s The Way of Men (also an excellent book). Despite the typos, I was impressed with the content of Enjoy the Decline, and started following Clarey’s blog. When I noticed he had also written a book billed as “the young person’s indispensable guide to choosing the right major,” I downloaded the free Kindle sample. Within 10 minutes, I had purchased the book for my sister, a high school senior. She found it helpful enough that she loaned it out to a number of her classmates after finishing it.

So when Aaron announced that Bachelor Pad Economics was available for Kindle, I immediately bought it.

The first thing I noticed was that the quality of the copy-editing was much better than Enjoy the Decline. However, the down-to-earth style and vernacular were not sacrificed–the book still reads like a friend speaking to you, it just has far less misspellings and missing words. This improvement in editing, coupled with more professional-looking cover, make the book feel more like a book and less like blog selections with a cover slapped on.

As a mid 20’s male who already practices minimalism, read Enjoy the Decline, and fairly regularly reads Clarey’s blog, some of the material was familiar to me. I expected as much. However, even I found plenty of new and valuable information. I had never even thought about most of what is covered in Chapter 13: Legal prior to reading this book. The passage about owning a home in many urban areas having become a liability rather than an asset due to exponential and unconstrained increases in property taxes was another thing that particularly stuck out to me

I would definitely recommend this book to any man who is looking to improve his financial situation, or plan his financial future. Clarey doesn’t lie to you, and when the future isn’t pretty he doesn’t try to paint it rosy. This book will help you avoid dangers that no one else is talking about. (For example, possible 401k confiscation.) While the book was worth the money for me now, it will be most valuable to those aged 12-15, who have not yet learned any of its lessons in the school of hard knocks. I have brothers in that age range I plan to gift with Bachelor Pad Economics in the very near future. If you care about a kid in the same age range, I suggest you do the same.

Church disdain for Biblical teaching: divorce edition

As I’ve mentioned previously, most modern Christians simply can’t be bothered to pay any attention to the clear commands of scripture. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15), has been re-interpreted to mean “if you love me, there’s no point in keeping my commandments, because I’m God and I love you, … Read more…