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Bennymac

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Skip It

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-12-01

I only made it through a few hours of the book before I had to put it down. A significant deterrent to continuing was the constant barrage of "check it out on our Bigger Pockets website! head on over to Bigger Pockets for more information! listen to our Bigger Pockets podcast for more great content!" and flattery of Grant Cardone. Gone are the days when a book was simply a book, a resource of information, and a stand-alone tool to help you scratch that itch. This book is a great example of someone who's presumably made money, started a website / blog / podcast to talk about how they made money (and now make money from those online avenues), and then wrote a book to redirect the audience back into his mechanisms of making money. From the technical side, the content is definitely geared towards US-based readers and investors, so there'll be a gap in application of recommendations and a question as to how viable the recommendations are and if they can work outside of the US. Similarly, some of the recommendations were either so high level or so basic, that they were almost laughable. "Want to know what it will cost to insure your investment property? Call your insurance broker and ask! Want to know what it will cost to put on a new ruff? Call your local ruffing company and get a quote! What should you charge for rent? See what others are charging, try to charge a little more, and if there's no takers, reduce the price. Too many applicants? Increase the price!". Some of the early math is also based on the premise of you purchasing properties at a 20% discount, because you're a strong negotiator or something along those lines. I'm typically not a fan of the argument "its already available for free online, why pay for it?", but in this case, the argument applies. I'd suggest taking the author's own recommendations and just try to pull info out from their website before bothering with the book.

1 person found this helpful

Interesting Listen

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-10-31

This was a pretty good listen, and I appreciate McConaughey reading it himself. He's obviously got a recognizable voice and I always find that when authors read their own work, the work is much more enriched. There are some interesting stories in the book - McConaughey has lived a pretty full and eccentric life. Having said that, the stories are interspersed with his 'bumper sticker' quotes, 'notes to self', random thoughts and musings, which I thought fell flat, and didnt resonate. For me, it gave the sense of someone who has been incredibly successful, and has tried to find an explanation for it (i.e. looking for greenlights), but there is likely some attribution error and a downplay of sheer luck. There may just be a bit of a personality clash between he and I that gives me pause (ex: if you're happy to take the baton from Hugh Grant to lead the rom-com category, there's nothing there for me to get excited about). If you're already a fan of his work, you'll likely be a fan of this book.

Basic Fundamentals with a Helping of Bias

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-09-10

I bought the book hoping to brush up on my understanding of the fundamentals of economics, as I haven't studied the technical details of economics since my time in university in the early 2000's. I was interested when the book began, I was underwhelmed when the author had to explain supply and demand (ok, i get it. build a solid foundation so that readers / listeners can start from the same footing). I became suspect when the consistent message was that government intervention ruins pricing, profits and competitiveness. Minimum wages wreck employment. Rent controls ruin the housing market ("High rental prices allow the youth the chance to decide to continue to live at home."....???). Competition for employees is what actually improved working conditions for the masses over time, not unions (?). You start to pick up on what the author has on his agenda and perhaps the full story isnt being told. Once I got to the part explaining that high unemployment in Newfoundland is due solely to high minimum wages, my suspicions were confirmed (Nfld has one of the lowest minimum wages in the country, and anyone with any familiarity of Nfld can speculate other plausible reasons for unemployment in the area). Once that threshold was crossed, it feels as though everything requires fact-checking and a skeptical reception. Half-way into the book, and still no mention of the environment, quality of life, living standards, wealth inequality etc. Fiscal conservatives, titans of industry and libertarians will absolutely love this book.

For those about to dive in - know that some of the fundamentals presented in the book will be true, but you should feel as though you'll need to hear other explanations for the effects observed & measured in the economy, and explanations for outcomes are not transparently discussed here. It's like if a scientist published a journal article, had a good explanation of methods, had a good explanation of results, but then decided to detour and spin their own explanation for why the results were observed when there are reasonable, plausible alternative explanations and downstream effects omitted from the discussion.

14 people found this helpful

A Compilation Book

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-07-12

Not a bad book book by any means, but ironically, not unmistakable. Has the feeling of someone who's put together a good podcast and accumulated a bank of material, then used that material to put together a book, which will in turn be used to vouch for their credentials when used to pitch for another venture. Again, nothing wrong with that, but not the first time it's been done in the last 10 years. The central theme seems to be one similar to the Blue Ocean Strategy - make your work so different from your competitors that you easily stand out. Following the conventional school-career path is unlikely to end in a unique life. Another take-away for me - sometimes it's just a matter of going for it, sticking with it, and figuring it out as you go. It's kind of like scoring in a basketball game, there's no one way. Sometimes its the jump shot, sometimes a lay-up, three-pointer, ally-oop, dunk, fade etc. A critique of books of this vein - it seems as though there's a wealth of knowledge out there from people who've tried, persisted, had mentors, pivoted, and failed. This is not even mentioned in the book. I'd love to hear about it. The author somewhat alludes to it near the end of the book when he uses the metaphor of learning to walk - you have to try, fall, try again, fall, walk, fall etc. In terms of the narration, I typically prefer an author to read their own work, but this case is an exception. First time I've ever had to check to see if I had unintentionally set the speed at 1.5x or something. Bizarre in how quick it was read.

The Honey Bee cover art

High Level Fable

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-07-05

Not a terrible book by any means, but a very high level, fictional narrative used to illustrate business strategies / goals. If you're looking for specifics, look elsewhere. If you want exact mechanics of how business deals happen, this isn't the place. Could be easily condensed into a short blog post or a 30 min podcast. The fictional storyline is interjected with discussion points from the authors, which has its perks, but can also come across like you're about to be delivered a pitch for whatever they're about to sell you (ex: "we knew that multi-family residential was the way to success for us, and it can be for you too!").

Mixed Feelings

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-06-21

It's fair to say I haven't put much work into reviewing my perspective on my own behaviour and how I may be unintentionally contributing to bias, prejudice or racism, with an emphasis on 'unintentionally'. Perhaps i'm doing something without my awareness? Perhaps I need to do more to actively work against racism in my predominantly white area? Given the societal unrest at this time (spring / summer 2020), I felt it necessary to improve on this gap, as I hope to become a better person over time, reduce suffering in the world and do my part to help others where I can.

I initially started with 'Me and White Supremacy' before coming to this work. I think the large benefit to a book like 'White Fragility', and others of a similar vein, is the increased awareness of how my well intentioned actions may unintentionally perpetuate hardships for people of colour or may be perceived by POC as mis-guided, off-base, tone-deaf, culturally ignorant / insensitive etc. It's more on the fore-front of my mind, and encourages thinking before acting or speaking.

The issues I have with this book are the argument that someone reacting defensively to being labelled a racist is proof of fragility, which in turn supports the argument that they're in fact quite comfortable with supporting racism and white supremacy because calling it out to the open disrupts their comfortable lifestyle which is upsetting. If you were to give any well-intentioned and well-meaning progressive individual a horrific label such as being a racist (as classically defined), pedophile, etc, of course you're going to get a strong adverse response, moreso for people who absolutely want to be better people than that, and moreso when it's delivered as a blanket statement against all people with a given skin colour (ironic, given a book of this nature). If you use that defensiveness as evidence of participation which supports the label, it's going to absolutely turn people away, they'll turn their ears off, etc. There needs to be more time spent on the idea that the definitions of racism and white supremacy have changed, or to use alternate terms for the expanded breadth of these concepts, which will help prevent the knee-jerk reaction given most peoples definition of racism and white supremacy.

I think the idea of dismissing outward displays of compassion as a self-centered need to be the focus of attention (referred to as white womens tears in the book), assumes the worst in people. Is it not possible that someone can feel moved to tears when hearing another person speak of their experience in life, which they've endured as a result of their skin colour? Is it really fair to say that people crying is just their need to get more attention?

My take-aways from the book are that I want to continue to be open-minded on the topic, hear directly from POC as to what can be done better, and to actively do my part to stand-up when something racially-motivated is happening. I think the book lacks concrete actions that can be taken, and leaves me feeling that because I'm white, i'm guilty. If I speak to a POC, it's tokenism and I'm overriding the discussion. If I try to help the movement, its either cultural appropriation or it's being done to satisfy my own need to demonstrate how I'm not racist on social media, it's not truly well-intentioned. If I show visible emotion and compassion, it's distracting to POC. It's definitely a sense that I'm guilty because of my skin colour and that I can do no right. The book would be significantly more useful if there were examples of beneficial actions which can be considered and undertaken, aside from just apologizing.

Aside from the obvious actions of doing something like speaking up when something obviously racially-unjust is occurring, and being open to feedback on my actions, words or behaviours, I don't have a strong sense of what I can do from here. I'll continue to keep reading on the topic, but I can't yet commit endless adoration of this book just yet.

28 people found this helpful

Very Basic Intro to Personal Finance

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-06-16

If you've already read the Wealthy Barber, JL Collins work, or any other fundamental books on personal finance, feel free to skip right past this one. If you want a very light, fictional narrative to introduce someone young to very basic concepts of personal finance, this is a good jumping off point for them (think teens, early twenties, haven't heard about saving for retirement before, haven't been introduced to compound interest or exponential growth). If you're already putting money into a 401k or RRSP / TFSA, you're already steps ahead of this book and can move on to something else in your life. Interestingly, the book argues that its quite reasonable to expect 10%+ annual returns, which is much more optimistic than the 7% to 8% I typically see referenced by other professionals in the field.

Lasting Impression

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-06-15

It's rare to hear an account of surviving the concentration camps without the story sticking with you, and this book is no exception. The prisoners' discussion on losing their faith has come to mind often for me, and this book is incredibly memorable.

A Worthwhile Listen

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-06-15

A good resource on the current state of knowledge on CBD, but at times can come across as overpromising or preaching to the choir. For example, beneficial effects of CBD on certain physiological markers have been measured, but the book doesn't do a fantastic job of quantifying the impact of CBD on those markers, or the likelihood of the effect occurring. It's good to see the shift in opinion on cannabis and hopefully research continues to evaluate the effects and usefulness of the plant.

Stunning Insights

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-06-15

An incredible look into the substance use (and abuse) of the German military in WW2, including Hitler himself.