ERE, the quake

There’s an expression popularized by Tyler Cowen called ‘Quake Books.’ These books shift the way a person views the world. Like near-death experiences, afterward a person sees the world anew. 

I just reread a quake book, Early Retirement Extreme. The blog by the same name automatically recycles posts so anyone can get the flavor of the ideas. Like all good books, this book, packages the disparate and continuous blog ideas into one tidy serving. 

What made the book so influential is that I’m not particularly enamored with the tactics so much as the strategy. The ‘What’ more than the ‘How’. 

Imagine a business with some customer service complaint. These come in all flavors and all shades of legitimacy. Successful businesses tend to have successful customer interactions. They’re capable of solving problems on the spot, listening with interest, or offering substitutions. 

Successful businesses have a similar ‘What’ - good customer service.

Some businesses like LL Bean have a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Some businesses like Disney have extensive service training. Some businesses offer perks as apologies. The tactic - the ‘How’ - matters less than the ‘What’.

Jacob Fisker takes this approach but to personal finance. It’s not saving money on lattes, which is a tactic, but in approaching money thoughtfully. 

It’s also nice that Fisker is writing about money from a weird angle. He retired and along with his wife lives on $7,000 a year. His financial perspective is a parallel version to the fitness perspective Crossfit participants offer. It’s good to hear from weirdos in non-gyms eating foods without grains about a different way to do things.

It’s good to look at outsider like this. Without layers of stories, history, and personal sunk costs we get a cleaner view of the ‘What’ and don’t get overly focused on the ‘How’. 

Weirdness is good. That’s exactly the thing we’re here for, different points of view.