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5 books you probably should have read by now

Throw away your television. If there’s one thing that will free up masses of extra time in your life, and at the same time reduce the input of worry and general misery, it’s unplugging your television from ‘live’ terrestrial or satellite broadcasts.

We did this in the Bamford household several years ago – definitely not just because when redecorating the living room the Sky cable was accidentally severed – and it’s been transformational. Instead of watching television based on the whims of schedulers and being force-fed advertisements, we now occasionally watch ‘catch-up’ shows or movies via Apple TV.

Doing this frees us from the shackles of the broadcasters and turns unconscious television watching, with hours of mindless channel hopping, into more mindful decisions. I still watch shows including Sons of Anarchy, The Walking Dead and True Detective, plus maybe a movie a week, but I’m no longer subjected to adverts or a viewing schedule which suits someone else. It’s truly liberating.

And of course all of that lovely extra spare time means I can read more. I’ve been reading a lot more since last summer anyway as a result of Becky getting me a Kindle for my birthday (which means I can read in bed, with the lights off) but year to date I’ve managed to get through 15 titles, a mix of fiction and non-fiction.

As Financial Planners or advisers, I believe we should be avid readers. Here are five books which have caught my attention recently I think you should probably check out:

Bhargava is a curator of trends. This book is part guide to his trend curation process, part non-obvious trend report for 2015 and part review of previous trends going back to 2011. It’s an idea-generator and quick read. For only 99p for the Kindle edition, this one is a bit of a no-brainer.

What do ‘exceptional’ people do which distinguishes them from everyone else? This incredibly well researched book will tell you. It’s a great review of the psychology of high achievers, condensed into the eight main capabilities they demonstrate.

Assuming you can forgive the misspelling of ‘advisers’ in the title (he’s an American, say no more) then this could be the most valuable book you’ve ever read about our profession. Seriously. Read this book.

Feeling brave? Read this book and it will, I promise, dramatically alter your perspective on a wide range of Financial Planning and investing topics. Taleb is not always the easiest author to read. He’s deliberately combative in places and delivers a philosophical stream of consciousness which can grate with the reader. But I found this much easier to read than The Black Swan, which I ditched half way through. A really important book.

Last but by no means least, this is one of a few books on my shelf (I liked it so much I bought the paperback version) that I describe as genuinely life changing. If you’ve ever caught yourself saying “I’m too busy” then you need to read this book.

What else should be on this list?

What’s on your Kindle/bedside table at the moment?

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