Book Review: Playing with Fire

Yesterday, after walking to the library to pick up Playing with Fire, I stopped by an open house on my way back home. When I walked in, the real estate agent greeted me with, “Hey you’re too young to be here! You’re still borrowing books from the library! How old are you, seventeen?” I was surprised at the way she greeted me, but I smiled and explained that I liked reading, all the while thinking: 1. How is that any way to talk to a potential buyer? 2. Since when is there an age requirement to buy real estate (besides being of age)? 3. What’s wrong with the library? 4. How do you think I’m saving up, lady?

The whole exchange felt like yet another time I stuck out like a sore thumb on my path to FIRE. From this one I gathered that normal people don’t read books (or if they do they buy them) and they don’t buy homes until they look a certain age.

Once I got home and started reading Playing with Fire, however, I was reminded that this type of experience is not unique to me. In the book, Scott tells the unique story of his family, but somehow their journey feels just like mine. There are so many relatable experiences, feelings, and realizations for everyone in the FIRE community that make the pages fly by. That’s why I feel like this book is best for people who are in the slow accumulation phase of FIRE and need some emotional support or are just getting started.

Scott also introduces a lot of FIRE concepts with newbies in mind, but it’s been so long since I started that I can’t make a fair judgement on that content. I did like how Scott included some profiles of other people, which showed some of the diversity within the community, but I don’t know how someone completely new to the concept of FIRE would respond to this book.

I have a feeling that the documentary will be the same story told in the book, but I’m still looking forward to it. I think it will help spread and normalize the concept of FIRE like Marie Kondo’s Netflix series.

If you read Playing with Fire, what did you think of it? I’d love to know!

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