Book Review: Free Gulliver – Six Swift Lessons in Life Planning

At first, this book sounded like another Rich Dad Poor Dad-style vague-finance-tips-rehash. But as I read more about it, it really intrigued me. As is mentioned directly in the title, Free Gulliver by Tripp Friedler is more life planning than necessarily financial planning. There is very little emphasis on how much you need to retire, or exactly what you should invest in. In fact, instead of trying to scare you into saving by talking about how destitute you might be when you retire, he suggests that if you are truly happy in what you are doing – why retire? I guess this is to suggest that some people are suffering and stressing out too much now, simply in order to retire to some magical place sometime in the future.

Accordingly, if you haven’t ready guessed, Gulliver is referenced from the character in Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, who is tied down by thousands of tiny little strings by the Lilliputians. Many of us feel similarly trapped or overwhelmed by lots of small things. We are tied down to a job we may not like by the thoughts “I’m too scared to try something new”, “I need the money so I can retire”, “I need to pay off the house first”, etc.

The book serves partially like a workbook, asking you to write down answers to such questions as “Imagine your work life in 10 years. Ideally, what does it look like?” and the same for your personal life. You can then see if you are really on the right path. There are also little bits of money advice sprinkled throughout the book, but after finishing the book I can’t remember any of them, so they must’ve been pretty vanilla. But the idea of simply identifying your vision and going for it is very alluring. Why not? We only live once.

Of course, if you are already happy with your work, this book is probably not for you (ya lucky punks! =))

This is not a long book. It’s about 118 pages, measures about 4″x6″, and is in very large print. I finished it in about an hour or so. I’m not recommending this, but you could probably finish it right in Barnes while the spouse shops for clothes/gadgets. It’s a really easy read, and the message really spoke to me personally. Next time your in a bookstore, I’d flip through it.

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