Category Archives: Great Books

The Most Popular OIAI Post of All Time

After analyzing the traffic for the Online Investing AI blog, I became curious about the most popular post of all time. It turns out to be Rich Dad’s Cashflow Game is Now Free!. This got me thinking: why is this post so popular? Of all the Rich Dad posts, why do people love this one?


Rich Dad's Cashflow Game

Rich Dad’s Cashflow Game

Perhaps it is because of the high price of the board game. When I last checked it cost over $100, compared to perhaps $20 for most board games. Does the Rich Dad game cost more to produce? No, it costs more because it is worth more.

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Can Investing Be a Spiritual Exercise?

tradingbeyondI’m reading Van Tharp’s latest book, Trading Beyond the Matrix. I just started it so this will not be a complete review — expect that in the future, though.

But I am already intrigued.

Tharp believes that you don’t trade or invest in the market; you trade or invest in the beliefs of the market. Those beliefs are yours to control, or to allow them to control you. Hence, trading for Tharp is almost a yoga, a mental connection between brain and spirit. Indeed, there are yogic paths that stress mental exercises and meditation exercises.

But we don’t think of trading as a spiritual act. In fact, it’s treated almost as an act of defilement. Our society has twisted views on wealth and earning wealth. We praise and hate the practice. The structure of our tax system treats earning money as a sin by punishing — not rewarding — you for earning more money. It’s the ultimate sin and deserves the ultimate sin tax. Notice: there’s no progressive sales tax on cigarettes or alcohol based on use or over-use.

Tharp though approaches it almost as a Zen philosopher, who sees the extraordinary in the ordinary and the ordinary in the extraordinary. By consciously watching your thoughts and beliefs, the trader is learning about himself. As he learns about his mind, he is learning about the universe.

I sort of saw this coming from Tharp. The last book of his that I read — Super Trader — contained the prerequisite number of charts and graphs, along with trading tips, but did not shy away from spiritual matters. Tharp believes they are closely connected.

Once I’m finished I’ll try to post a review, or summary, of Trading Beyond the Matrix.



Tharp Institute

Trade Your Way to Freedom

Super Trader





Why Traders and Investors Rarely Attain Mastery

For many of us, mastery is a journey, not a destination.

Mastery is not just about doing something well, it’s doing something effortlessly well and doing something so well that you add to that field or profession. Think Mozart or Picasso.

There’s something more about mastery  though. It’s more than a gift because there are those who are gifted with skills and knowledge, but never truly develop those skills.

Maybe it’s just too easy.

Mastery is something more than a gift or innate ability, something intangible.

To become a master, you must know yourself and you must know how to let your gift use you. Hidden under your psyche lies the motivations that drive you to mastery.

It’s that last step that causes most trouble. People who have certain abilities are channeled into careers, then realize they are not satisfied in those professions. We call it burnout.

Robert Greene in his new book, Mastery, says:

“Your strategy must be twofold: first, to realize as soon as possible that you have chosen your career for the wrong reasons, before your confidence takes a hit. And second, to actively rebel against those forces that have pushed you away from your true path.”

I think this is the key to why many investors or traders burn out so quickly. For every Warren Buffett, there are a few million former investors who dropped out of the field early, or slugged their way toward retirement.

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50 Shades of Green. How to Make Money Doing Things You Like

Flickr CC

I’ve followed the success of 50 Shades of Grey with a mixture of jealousy and indignant jealousy. In case you haven’t heard, this book is the latest literary sensation that’s turned a writer of fan fiction, E.L. James, into an overnight majillionaire.

No. I haven’t read it. In fact, I thought it was about the Civil War. And, in a sense, it is. (Insert bondage joke here.)

But, I’ve heard a few people talk about it. And, it’s not that good, in a literary sense. It’s just fun, in a sick-twisted-kind-of-way… my friends’ words, not mine.

So, I guess those who aren’t inclined to write bondage tales are out of luck when it comes to making money. Right?

James’ success isn’t so much a story of literary success as it is the success of the internet. The book started out online as fan fiction on a Twilight website.

So. Hang on.

Here’s a thought. Maybe there are more ways to make money–more ways that are fun, exciting, and perhaps will not require an inordinate amount of blushing.

Think of it as an easy way to get out of bondage. (Insert second bondage joke here.)

Here we go…

1. Invest. Seeking Alpha’s a good place to start.

2. Long-term it. Become a value investor. Here’s a good place to learn about it.

3. You can trade options. You can try this book.

4. Trade stocks on the short term. Check out this site for some insights.

5. Follow trend-following techniques for big money. Michael Covel’s an expert.

6. Buy into a great start-up (coming soon) Here’s a post about the details.

7. Win the lottery.

8. How about blogging?

9. How about blogging like a copy writing?

10. You could try autotrading at Collective 2!

11. Make money with Google ads.

12. Make money with Twitter.

13. Make money with Facebook. Check out the video.

14. Make money with Pinterest–a post on Squidoo.

15.  Speaking of Squidoo, here’s a Hubpage about making money on Squidoo.

16. Speaking of Hubpages, here’s a post on how to make money there.

17. Earn cash selling content.

18. Sell your crafts.

19. Hell, sell your art!

20. Make money on Cafe Press. Here are some hints from Noobpreneur.

21. Or, try Zazzle.

21. Sell your eBooks. You can see some ways some successful eBook writers did it.

22. Publish through Createspace.

23. Publish through Lulu.

24. Become a Yahoo Contributor.

25. Become a Helium Contributor.

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Ego Depletion and Your Bottom Line

Flickr Creative Commons

Here’s the thought experiment: You come home on Friday evening after a hard week at the office, do you…

1. Immediately order a pizza and pig out.

2. Have that pizza on Sunday evening after a few days rest.

Most people go right to number 1.

According to a guest post by Professor Dan Ariely on Tim Ferris’ blog, this is called ego depletion. Basically, there’s a connection between exhaustion and consumption. In this case, when you’re exhausted — a state called “ego depletion” — you tend to be more drawn to bad food choices, like junk food.

“I’ve always suspected that we start each day with a limited number of decision-making points that, once depleted, leave us cognitively impaired. This is part of the reason that automating minutiae, adopting rituals, and applying creativity only where it’s most valuable (e.g. not deciding what to eat for breakfast) is so important to me.”

Ego Depletion and Personal Finance

I’m wondering whether this doesn’t work for bad personal financial decisions. One of the reasons that I’m interested in automated trading is because there are human weaknesses — like ego depletion — that can interfere with trading, investing, and spending.

So, let’s explore how ego depletion may affect your personal financial situation.

Check out this scenario.

You’ve been trading all week long. You’ve been trying to maintain your discipline and set strict stop loss rules. But things are turning south by the end of the week. You see a pretty risky trade brewing.

Do you:

1.) Cut your losses and re-charge your batteries.

2.) Take a stab at turning a quick win before the week ends.

I’m suggesting that most would take that trade.

Here’s another scenario we probably all can relate to.

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Weekend Wisdom: The Cure for the Uncertainty Blues

nicubunu--creative commons

There was some good economic news this week. There was some bad economic news this week.

Some people say we’re in for another economic disaster; others say the recovery is just starting.

And that means there are a still a lot of unknowns out there.

And there are — and, guess what?–there always will be a lot of unknowns out there.

The best you can do in uncertain times is stay informed and stay disciplined. There has never been a time in human history when the connection to knowledge has been this easy.

Here are a few links to get you started

Financial Samurai — Taking Money For Granted: What To Do If The Money Runs Out?

See Debt Run — How to Find $500 by Raiding Your Collections

Street Smart Finance — Why I Blog and Why You Should Too

Invest It Wisely — I Don’t Worry About Retirement Now, Do I?

My Journey to Millions — How Families Are Dealing With the Recession

Howard Lindzon — How to Invest for Profits and Joy

Pick the Brain — Post-traumatic Growth: What Research Says About Why Some Grow While Others Break In The Face of Adversity

The College Investor — Do You Know Henry?

Untemplater — How to Cope With The Agony of Waiting

One Cent at a Time — Tips to Avoid Online Auction Scams


Common Horse Sense and Jackass Investing

If you’ve ever visited the department of motor vehicle’s office, or an open bar office Christmas party, you know that the number of jackasses in the world considerably outnumber the rest of humanity.

These are the same people who bought dotcom stocks for thousands of times their net worth and took $700,000 mortgages on homes worth about $200,000 a few years before.

So, that’s bad for investors, right?

Not according to Michael Dever and just some good old common horse sense. You can actually learn how to take advantage of these jackass investors.

Dever, who is Founder, CEO & Director of Research of Brandywine Asset Management, says you can take advantage of jackasses to make money as an investor. In fact, he’s written the book about it. It’s called Jackass Investing: Don’t do it. Profit from it.

The book, which Dever says is the result of a decade of research and three decades of trading experience, teaches some contrarian lessons.

For instance, Dever believes that every decision is a trade–even the decision not to trade. He names that decision the Rush trade, after the rock band.

One difference between investors and jackass investors is whether they know if they’re investing… or gambling.

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How to Escape the Personal Financial Matrix

CC--My Melting Brain

“The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy.”

You, too, are trapped in a Matrix–a Personal Financial Matrix. This matrix controls what you do, who you know, and where you go. It does not, however, control who you are… or what you will become.

The Personal Financial Matrix is a network of corporations, government agencies, and businesses who are trying to enslave you. They jack into your brain with a tangle of wires. Marketing messages. Investment schemes. Cultural mythos. Expectations.

“That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.”

But, here’s your red pill.

The Matrix only works if you let it change your thoughts. Your mind is ultimately your own.

You just need to know how the Matrix works to influence your thoughts… and you’re free.

Marketing Messages

Marketing messages rarely work by targeting an outside need, but by attacking an inner need. When you buy clothes, food, cars, or homes, you may choose that purchase, not based on a need for shelter, clothing, and transportation, but on a need to express yourself. You want to say you are successful. Or, that you’re loved. Or, that you’re sexy. Companies know this and nuance messages to activate that need into action. However, you’ll pay more that. And, in what could be a downward spiral, you’ll go into debt… which leads to more inferiority… and worse purchases.


Speaking of debt, avoid it. It’s one of the strongest pulls of the Matrix. Granted, there are some “good” forms of debt. For instance, if you take out a loan on a home or investment property that has a reasonable chance of increasing at a rate higher than the interest rate, that’s a good form of debt.


Investments tweak each emotional string that keeps us attached to the Matrix.

  • Desire
  • Greed
  • Fear
  • Pride

When you invest emotionally, the likelihood the you will increase losses and decrease opportunities, rises dramatically. This doesn’t even touch on the number of investment schemes out there.

People who are burnt by investments, think they can escape the Matrix by not investing anymore. Unfortunately, they become more enslaved, believing that wealth and financial independence is unattainable. They become mired in safe careers that are neither safe, nor a career.


Often, people take jobs that support their lifestyle. That’s not a bad thing, necessarily. But, when people choose jobs in areas where the cost of living matches their salary, they start to live paycheck-to-paycheck. There’s no room for savings. There’s no room for advancement. There’s no room to take risks. There’s no room to become an entrepreneur. It’s a form of wage slavery.

How to Escape

Often, the Personal Financial Matrix insinuates itself in your life over time and you don’t recognize you’ve been captured.

No matter how deeply your involved in the Matrix, once you see it, you can begin your escape. Knowledge is the key.

Start by reversing old attitudes and bad habits.

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Book Review: Is $100 Startup Worth the Time and Money?

I’ve become disenchanted with the whole “alternative income, new lifestyle, instant riches” line of books recently.

Disenchanted isn’t the right word.

Bitter. That’s more like it.

In fact, I’ve blogged about it in the Douchebag’s Guide to Instant Riches on the Internet. Basically, since the 4 Hour Work Week came out, writers have been stealing Tim Ferris’s script and churning out books with very little new information and a total absence of information that addresses some of the criticisms of the alternative income idea. Book after book said, “Find something you like, write about it, and create an informational product… then just count the checks.”

I was expecting the same with the $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love and Create a New Future, by Chris Guillebeau. I just about gagged when I read the title. In fact, the only two reasons I could think of to order this book was:

a) I had money left over on a gift card.

b) I like that new book smell.

And I now can admit that I am… actually enjoying the book.

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Weekly Wisdom: Are Ebooks More Expensive Than Print Books?

Creative Commons--Jerry Bunkers

Welcome to Weekly Wisdom.

I’ll be sharing some links to great stories and articles in a sec, but right now I’d like to pass on my on bit of wisdom.

I just realized that eBooks are becoming more expensive than print books.

Yesterday, I was shopping for eBooks through my Kindle and saw one title I was interested in.

It cost $13.99. Not exactly cheap.

It’s a new title, so there wasn’t a paperback version, but the hardback cost $16.99.

I know what you’re thinking: “You nut, the hardback is still 3 bucks more than the electronic version.”

I though that, too, but the re-sale value is in the $8 range. So, you could get that hardback for $8.99, or 5 bucks cheaper than reading it on your Kindle.

Recently, there have been stories that publishers are pushing for higher prices on e-books. Is this a sign of that? Not sure, but it’s something I will think about as I shop for books.

Here are some other interesting thoughts for the weekend…


Nova Spivack — A New Approach to AI: Non-Computational AI

DiggResearcher Wants to Build Biodegradable Robot

WiredTechnology May Help You Read Your Dog’s Mind

Next Big FutureMichigan Tech Research Using Nanoclays to Make Better Asphalt

Science BlogsEntangled in the Past: Experimental Delayed-Choice Entanglement Swapping

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