Playing with FIRE

Playing with FIRE: Must Read Book Review

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Summary of the Book

Scott Rieckens discovered the FIRE movement at age 33 while listening to Mr. Money Mustache’s interview on the Tim Ferriss show in February of 2017. Five months after listening to this episode, he quit his job. He also convinced his wife, Taylor to agree to slashing their monthly expenses in half and sell their home. This was only the beginning of their journey.

The book begins by sharing how their life looked when they found FIRE. A “normal” American family living the American Dream in Southern California. As you continue reading, Scott begins to provide details of their own experiences and struggles. We loved how raw this was, you could feel their emotion and relate it to your own struggles. Highlighted throughout the book, was the importance of holding yourself accountable. This is something that many struggle with, especially with their finances. The path to FIRE is not an easy one, and is different for everyone.

He wrote this book to chronicle his family’s adventures as they discovered this path, took action and began their grind towards FIRE. An uncut look at how they ran into hardships, how they persevered, and how they kept their marriage and relationship with friends and family intact.

Our Thoughts

We backed the Playing with FIRE Kickstarter campaign soon after it went active in September 2018. Putting our money where our passions are is something important to us. This gave us early access to the audiobook. Both of us finished the book within a few days. We absolutely LOVED this book!

We’ve read or listened to dozens of finance related books over the past several years. Many are informative, provide valuable information but lack a story behind them. Not this book, Scott and his wife share the intimate details of how they made decisions and navigated through their initial stages of transitioning to a more FI lifestyle. This book was one of a very small few that we felt we connected with their story. 

We’ve been following the FIRE community for a little over 5 years now, but have only gotten super intense in the past 2 years now that we’re both working realjobs making good wages. While it’s an important thing for many financial books to focus on money and numbers, Playing with FIRE was not like that at all. Scott defined FIRE as: “The state of not relying or depending on a paycheck.”

Many people can relate to having a social life and wanting to go out and say yes to every opportunity that comes their way. Sam and I are avid sushi connoisseurs, it’s one of our guilty pleasures. It’s something we value and we’re okay with spending our hard-earned money on. It doesn’t help that we’ve lived within a mile of great quality sushi restaurants since we were 20.

The trailer for the FIRE documentary

Our Favorite Quotes

Retiring in your 40s is boring? Most likely because they can’t get there.
Spend less, save more, invest the difference.
Money is a means to an end, and your means and your end are up to you.
Are you trading your time for dollars?

What Makes this Book Unique?

The beginning of this book starts with Scott providing readers with a baseline this is where we’re coming from. I thought this helped people connect Rieckens story to their own. What made this book unique was how detailed Scott was in describing the lengths that their family went to. He illustrated how faryou can go and provided details in to how they implemented these changes. Talking through their own FIRE journey allows readers to catch a glimpse into real life applications of the FI mindset. 

He shared with us their struggles both mentally and financially as they began this adventure. Providing insight that many others often don’t share, but this is so valuable for anyone who hasn’t began their own journey. Being completely transparent to readers is bold.

Who Would We Recommend this Book To?

  • Anyone who knows nothing about FIRE
  • Someone who is beginning their FIRE journey and feels like they’re gaining no traction or need a word of encouragement
  • Someone who loves reading about people getting FIRED up 🙂 
  • Anyone who would like to stop spending their time sitting behind a desk counting down the minutes to ‪5pm.
What did you think of the book? Let us know in the comments!

13 thoughts on “Playing with FIRE: Must Read Book Review”

  1. Teresa Panek Ives

    I was trying to FIRE before I even realized there was a movement. Thanks for the review, I definitely want to read the book!

  2. Thanks for spreading the FIRE guys. I also backed and got the free audio copy. I’d love a physical copy for sharing with friends and neighbors who show interest. Love what you guys are doing, keep up the good work.

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