Book Review: Playing with FIRE

6 long weeks ago, my husband and I learned about the concept of FIRE. Wanting to learn more beyond Youtube videos and podcasts, we headed to Barnes and Noble with our little one. We had a short list of books that early retirees recommended, such as the Bogleheads Guide to Investing, Choose FI, The Millionaire Next Door, The Simple Path to Wealth, The Intelligent Investor, and Get Rich Slowly. While perusing the personal finance section of the store, we only found 2 of those books. The Intelligent Investor seemed way too technical, and it was a huge book. The Bogleheads Guide to Investing seemed a little dry as we flipped through the pages. We were looking for something we could actually enjoy reading together. So we kept flipping through books until we found one that fit.

We purchased Playing with FIRE by Scott Reikins the second week of January. The book was published in 2019 so it’s recent and relevant. The entire book is under 200 pages. Flipping through the pages, it seemed easy to digest, and it was. We read a chapter a day, it was 13 chapters and took us 3 weeks to finish, some days we skipped reading. We actually looked forward to reading this book every evening. The narrative style of writing wove FIRE concepts into a hero’s journey trope. I found the book relatable because Scott and his wife had a baby girl, just like us! They also discovered FIRE in 2017, only 3 years before us. I knew that they were probably still on their FIRE journey at the time of us reading the book, they weren’t the FIRE OG’s who’d retired a decade ago, they were still working at it, and at the time of writing their book, they were newbs just like us. 

I am happy we purchased this book because it is a great introduction to FIRE, told as a story. It’s not a blog post that lists the steps of FI, it’s one family’s experience over the course of a year, as they learn about a cool concept and it changes how they think and live their lives. If someone came to me and asked to learn more about reaching financial independence, I would give them my copy of this book. I plan to keep this book for that exact purpose. Eventually, hopefully, someone will be inspired by my family’s path to reaching financial independence. They will want to learn more without being beaten over the head with high-level FI discussions, like those you find on FI podcasts. They will want to learn in a way that doesn’t make them feel overwhelmed. This book will be a fantastic tool for them. 

This book is not for those who are familiar with FIRE, it’s for those who have potential to be interested. I wish I didn’t buy it though. That was a rookie move. I should’ve requested that my library purchase it. The book we’re reading now Work Optional is a library loan. Look out for that review coming to a blog near you 🙂 

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