The Best Way To Spend $20, Today

Written by Paul on May 15th, 2008

It’s already halfway through May and you should have received your federal stimulus check by now. Do you know what you’re going to do with it?

A few weeks ago, my friend Ramit quoted me when I said that books are the most cost-effective way to invest in yourself. If you buy one book per week, for $20 each, that’s $1,000 per year. If you get one good idea per week, it’s worth it. It’s true – you could spend thousands of dollars for a semester of classes or no more than $20 for a book that you can read in a weekend. Which would you rather do?

Now, just imagine if you could learn just one new idea from the book and then actually apply it the next day. How much do you think that might be worth? (Answer: a whole hell of a lot.)

I’ll keep things simple for you, buy these two books today and start reading this weekend. I’ve recently read them and can tell you that you won’t need more than 4 hours to quickly read through both:

“The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)” (Seth Godin)

“The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich” (Timothy Ferriss)

Once you’re done, I’m sure you’ll have atleast one new idea you can try at work (or school) the very next day. It’s that simple, just get started.

Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter to get additional tips and early access to some new things I’m working on. Also, feel free to email me – I’m always happy to help you get ahead on a one-on-one basis.

Image Credit: m500

16 Responses to “The Best Way To Spend $20, Today”

  • Kat

    One of the best books I’ve read as of late is “Basic Black” by Cathie Black. I HIGHLY recommend it, particularly for your female audience. For $20, it was some of the most vaulable career advice I’ve ever received.

    — 05/15/08 at 12:57 pm

  • Shanon Brar Bhullar

    Waah Paul Singh, seems interesting. I used to read a book a month, but am so out of it. I’ll try picking up one of these :)

    — 05/15/08 at 5:35 pm

  • Ah, but there are so many good books at your local public library. Why not pick up a book a week for free, then take copious notes and post them to

    — 05/15/08 at 7:43 pm

  • I haven’t received my stimulus check, but the four hour workweek book looks real interesting. Clicked through from Carnival of Personal Finance #154.

    — 05/26/08 at 1:56 pm

  • I love books. I’m always in the middle of at least two or three at a time. Cookbooks, financial planning books, investing guides, health and fitness books… the list is long. But I can’t remember the last time I bought a book (except for some that I’ve bought for 75 cents at the library friends bookstore as gifts). I check everything out of the library, either from our local branch or through interlibrary loan. Serves two purposes – I never pay for the books, and they don’t clutter up my house when I’m finished with them.

    — 05/26/08 at 2:32 pm

  • I agree with the suggestion about visiting the library. Same result, $20 richer.

    — 05/28/08 at 4:34 pm

  • Diana D. Jarvis

    The public library isn’t quite the no-brainer option that librarians would like you to think it is. I’ve borrowed tons of books, but I’ve also had quite a few experiences with the library not having a particular book I needed or the book was checked out with a lengthy (i.e. months long) waiting list. Time is as valuable as money, often more so. Paul’s point is to think of the book cost as an investment instead of as an expense. If people would apply a little cost benefit analysis to their spending, their spending patterns would probably change greatly for the better.

    — 06/05/08 at 7:24 am

  • Rob

    Reading is one of the greatest ways to inspire new ideas. However, books can be obtained for free. Ideas are still under 4 dollars a gallon.

    — 07/09/08 at 2:53 pm

  • Ed

    I like the perspective.

    Now when I read a book I think – What was the $20 idea I got from this book?

    That could be a neat short review website – what was the $20 idea you can get out of the book?

    — 07/22/08 at 9:01 pm

  • I read nothing but fiction the first 25 years of my life. The past 3 has been 97 percent non-fiction. I’ve accomplished more in the past 36 months than all those that came before it. Good call on your picks, btw : )

    — 02/14/10 at 3:23 am

  • Steve Henderson

    The library idea seems good but if you have $20.00, buy a book. Then, when you are done, give the book to a friend, peer, or business partner. You will earn equity with them (assuming they like your book!).

    — 01/10/11 at 12:44 pm

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