I just posted two new book reviews on my Dollar stretcher blog:
They were_How to Win a Sports Scholarship_ by Penny Hastings and Todd Caven, and _Get Your Assets in Gear!_ by Jan Dahlin Geiger. Two great books!
I read roughly a dozen personal finance books a month and most of them start sounding all the same, so I only review the ones that stand out from the crowd.
The financial books that got me started were (like for so many people) _Your Money or Your Life_ by Joe Dominguez, Suze Orman's early books and _The Millionaire in You_ by Michael LeBoeuf.
_Your Money or Your Life_ put into words the philosophy I have always had but put into practice when I started working part-time. I wanted my life back. Working full-time I basically was "bleeding out" my life-force into something that was not going to give me my life back after I spent it. I decided to get a higher degree that would allow me to earn twice as much and then go part-time, thus keeping the same salary for half the amount of hours worked! It's true that as a part-timer, I have no benefits, but thankfully I don't need them since I get them through my husband. It's also true that I don't get the same raises and don't get to progress as much professionally, but as a trade for my life energy, I'll take it. Before I was too exhausted to do anything besides come home and collapse. Now I have time in the morning to think, to breathe, to sit in the sun, to read, to write, to be.
It helped to have a husband who loves his own work and has great job security (and who doesn't care what I make.) But mostly it helped not having debt or big obligations (or children) so I didn't feel tied down financially.
As a writer, I never expected to make big bucks anyway. As a librarian, I knew it was out of the question!
Learning how to live frugally allowed me to work part-time while still saving for retirement (we save $1000 a month in a 403b and IRA) and still save some besides. So we are basically living off of my husband's salary and saving mine. If my husband decided to go part-time, we could still survive, just not save as much.