My second book, The White Coat Investor’s Financial Boot Camp: A 12-Step High-Yield Guide to Bring Your Finances Up to Speed was recently published. Just like the first book, I’m going to review it here on the blog. I mean, while I hope this book receives the 800+ 5-star reviews the first one did, it is entirely possible that this is the only good review it ever gets!
I’m always amazed by how much more work it is to write a book than to write a blog post. For some reason, I thought it would be a lot easier the second time. It wasn’t. Many of the lessons I learned the first time I had to relearn (headers and footers in Microsoft Word are the bane of my existence by the way.) I guess that’s what happens when you only write a book once every five years. I think it’s a little like birthing a baby in that you have to give it enough time to forget how painful it was in order to ever go through it again! Actually, writing a book isn’t all that painful. But writing a good book is, and this is a good book.
The book began as a series of emails I started writing in late 2016 but didn’t really start sending out until mid-2017. I called them Financial Boot Camp. The idea behind them was to bring a new blog reader up to speed with the long-time readers as quickly as possible. I borrowed the familiarity of a twelve step program. There were twelve emails, sent out once a week for 12 weeks as soon as a reader signed up for the newsletter. My idea was that I’d get feedback from readers on the emails and then eventually package them up into a book, each email comprising one chapter of the book. My hope was that by the end of the 12-week series, the readers would have at least the bones of their own financial plan written. While the email series was very helpful to many and worked well to bring people up to speed with blog readers, it wasn’t quite comprehensive enough for most novices to come up with a written financial plan and I turned to the online course format. That’s where the Fire Your Financial Advisor online course came from. Meanwhile, Financial Boot Camp sat on the back burner. Emails continued to go out to new readers on auto-pilot, but that was about it. In 2018, I slowly started turning the emails into chapters, getting more serious by the end of the year when I typically have more time to work on big projects. By December I was pretty much done, at least as done as I could be by myself. However, I knew from experience with the first book that the key to writing a good book was not to do it by myself.
Not only had I asked for feedback from the thousands of people who received the emails, but I then asked readers to submit anecdotes from their own life experiences to include in the book. Dozens were submitted and incorporated into the book. Then, as you might recall, I asked for volunteers to review and critique the book. 1200 of you agreed to do it. No way was I going to read 1200 reviews though, so I sent review copies to a very diverse crowd of 30. I read every word they wrote to me (the record included over 8,000 words of comments) and incorporated 90% of their suggestions. As a result of the anecdotes and additions, each chapter ended up being three times as long as the original emails. This book is truly crowdwritten. Although you will hear my voice throughout, the book would not be anywhere near as good as it is without the assistance of dozens of you.
Like the emails, each chapter begins with a “Can I skip this chapter” section that aims to make the book even higher yield for you than it already is. I do not want to waste your time with stuff you already know. Each chapter concludes with a list of missions to complete and other resources to learn more about the topics in that chapter. If a reader will complete all 48 of the missions as they go along, they will be in far better financial shape by the end of the book than at the beginning. The reader will receive financial literacy, a defined list of exactly what to do, and most importantly, inspiration from their fellow white coat investors to actually do it.
In addition to the twelve steps, the book begins with a “Why You Should Read This” section (completely rewritten as the reviewers hated the original), and includes a foreword written by Jonathan Clements, an introduction, a conclusion, and four appendices. Here is the table of contents:
All of the extra stuff in the book was requested by the thirty reviewers. That includes a summary list (with checkboxes) of the 48 missions in the book. Appendix A includes some additional recommended reading. Appendix B is the only part of the book lifted from The White Coat Investor: A Doctor’s Guide to Personal Finance and Investing. It is the list of financial priorities for new attendings. You know, it starts at the top with things like getting the employer match and paying off credit cards and at the bottom with paying off mortgages and investing in muni bonds. Appendix C is lifted from The Fire Your Financial Advisor online course and is an example of a complete self-written financial plan for a physician couple. Appendix D is a glossary. All by itself, that 15-page glossary constitutes the finance class you were never given in medical school. Finance, like medicine, has its own language. If you understand all of the terms in that glossary, you are light years ahead of your peers.
Why Buy the Cow When You Get The Milk For Free?
Some people might wonder why they should shell out real money for The White Coat Investor’s Financial Boot Camp when the emails were given out for free (and indeed can still be had for free just by signing up for the newsletter). There are several good reasons to still buy the book.
First, it’s a 205-page book, longer than my first book. Those emails probably only contain about 40 pages worth of material. Aside from being far more comprehensive, the book is better edited and includes better visuals. None of the anecdotes (fascinating reading your lives provide by the way) are included in the emails. The foreword, introduction, conclusions, and appendices are not in the emails either.
Second, the book is in a handy format. You can hold the paperback in your hand. You can read the ebook on your Kindle. You can listen to the audiobook in your car. All of the information is in one place. You don’t have to hunt down a dozen emails.
Third, the real cost of reading a book for most docs is not the cost of the book. It’s the cost of your time. $10-20 is pretty much nothing. I’m very confident that EVERY reader of the book will learn something worth $20 from it.
Should I Read the First Book or the Second Book?
Financial Boot Camp is not a second edition of The White Coat Investor. Nor is it a sequel. It is a completely different book. So I think you should read both. Yes, like with any financial book some of the same information is covered in both books. Although there are some advanced concepts in the book, they are both aimed at relative beginners to personal finance and investing. I will probably write an advanced book on investing and/or tax reduction at some point that will assume a certain baseline level of knowledge from its readers. This is not that book. It starts at the very beginning. If you have already read a couple of dozen financial books, your yield from this book will be much lower than that of someone who has only read a handful or even none. That should not be a surprise to you.
Financial Boot Camp focuses much less on me and my experiences and far more on you and your needs than The White Coat Investor. There is no discussion of how my wife and I became millionaires seven years out of residency. There is little discussion of the difficult financial situation new graduates find themselves in. It is a very nuts and bolts guide:
- Here’s what you need to do.
- Here’s how to do it with as little pain as possible.
- Here are the stories of people just like you who have already done it.
What Does the Book Do Well?
There are three parts of the book that make it really great. The step by step nature and the listed missions keep it very practical and very high-yield. The included anecdotes provide some real inspiration. They discuss the difficulties doctors faced and how they overcame them. The appendices are also very useful. They include the kind of stuff that you just can’t find on blogs or forums.
What Stinks About the Book?
The book cannot hide the fact that its author is not a particularly talented writer. Like this blog, the book suffers from dry, unimaginative prose. While the author does a great job explaining difficult to understand concepts in a straightforward way, he has no future in writing fiction. He’s not funny. In fact, he has been voted the least funny blogger in The White Coat Investor Network. This book isn’t entertaining. It’s all business. But considering that the information in it may be worth millions to you over the course of your life, it is probably still worth suffering through.
In conclusion, The White Coat Investor’s Financial Boot Camp is exactly what its subtitle says it is: A 12-Step High-Yield Guide to Bring Your Finances Up to Speed. It is a worthy entry to the increasingly crowded doctor-focused financial book space. You will want to read it, re-read it, and keep it for reference. If you understand the concepts in that book, you will be more financially literate than 95% of your peers.
The White Coat Investor’s Financial Boot Camp is exactly what its subtitle says it is: A 12-Step High-Yield Guide to Bring Your Finances Up to Speed. You will want to read it, re-read it, and keep it for reference.
Thank you in advance for buying the book and thank you for leaving a 5-star review on Amazon for it. Your reviews really do help spread the message of financial literacy to your peers.
What do you think? Have you read the book? What did you like best about it? What could have been better? Comment below!