“Principles: Life and Work” by Ray Dalio, Audiobook Review

The book feels a lot like a linear autobiography. It talks about major events from the author’s past, including successes and failures the author has learnt from.

In the beginning, the book sounded to have been structured well and the author’s writing style seemed quite analytical. The author’s voice is clear and composed throughout. I really liked it when the author states he doesn’t wish to impose his beliefs on the listener and that the advice he’ll be sharing may not benefit everyone.

The author frequently speaks about how has helped companies run more efficiently. Most times, however, I struggled to extract value from his explanations unless he gave some sort of evaluation in the end.

The author also speaks a lot about his company Bridgewater, its challenges and achievements as well as constantly evolving culture and management. To me it sounded the author was more interested in describing, explaining and at times praising his business instead of looking to provide knowledge to the listener in a direct and understandable way.

Four hours in, the book appeared to have become an autobiography of Ray Dalio’s business and career. I decided to return it because the more I listened to it, the less I felt it benefited me.

I wouldn’t recommend the book to everyone but if you are into investing, finance and business management, you may really like the book.

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Is Living in Leeds UK with £600 a Month Possible?

Are you an international student, migrant, part-timer or low paid worker wanting to know if you could survive living in Leeds with under £600 a month? Yes, it’s absolutely possible to do so despite being on a tough budget, and let me explain how.

Leeds is an affordable city to live in.

Leeds is considered the heart of West Yorkshire county and isn’t a large city, nor is it a small one. It’s neither expensive, nor cheap. Renting costs for professionals start from about £300 per month excluding bills. There are plenty of decent supermarkets and food stores in every neighbourhood too. Living in a city like Leeds with less than £600 per month will require a lot of sacrifices unfortunately. You must be prepared to spend your money only on essentials like rent and food, and forget about non-essential things and activities like eating out, driving to work and maybe smoking.

Spend you budget on essentials only.

Here are a list of things which I consider absolutely necessary when it comes to having a quality life with little money:

  1. Rent & bills
  2. Food
  3. Clothes
  4. Public transport*
  5. Hobbies & entertainment

The majority of your monthly wage will cover your rent and bills. The further outside town a let is, the cheaper its rent. Armley, Harehills and Beeston are few of the rough but cheapest areas to live in Leeds. If you are a student, you will find very affordable homes in Hyde Park, Burley, Headingley and Meanwood.

A good amount of your wage will go towards food shopping. Aldi is the cheapest place to buy groceries and meat. You should buy whole foods only and cook meals in bulk to save time and be in control of your health and diet. Do not starve yourself to save money on food, your health is more important.

If you need new clothes, go to Primark. It sells the cheapest (and possibly unethical) clothes in the UK. You will find everything you may need for your wardrobe there. Make sure you look presentable for your job and friends, and bin any old worn-our clothes you may have.

*If you are overweight, disabled or live more than 5 miles away from your workplace, you may choose to pay for public transport. Otherwise, get a second-hand bike, lights, mudguards and a weatherproof jacket. Cycling to work will keep you fit and save you money and time.

Lastly, you need to make sure you set some money aside for something fun to do once or twice a week. If you love movies, go to the cinema. Buy a new book if you like reading. Unless your hobbies and interests are too expensive for your monthly income, keep on doing what makes you happy, especially if it helps you learn, grow and be yourself.

Save money by abstaining from non-essentials.

Look for cheaper alternatives or completely avoid spending your money on the following inessential things and activities:

  1. Dining out
  2. Ready-made or takeaway food
  3. Alcohol, cigarettes or drugs
  4. Branded clothing or products
  5. Driving and maintaining a car

Eating out is too expensive compared to buying your food and cooking your own meals. What would you buy if you only had £10? A single meal in a fancy restaurant or a few meals prepped at home that you can consume for a couple of days?

Getting a takeaway or buying ready-made meals is convenient but works out more costly than buying and preparing your food in the long run. Plus, the latter is healthier.

Give up or find alternatives to drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes or taking drugs. These are extremely expensive and health-damaging. Did you know you could save more than £1450 if you quit smoking for a year? Read more here.

Don’t get seduced by branded products. Like those new Nike shoes? Want that iPhone 8? Save yourself some money by purchasing cheaper alternatives, like an older Samsung model if you really need the features of a smart phone. There’s nothing valuable in blowing your wage on things that make you look a certain way.

If you choose to drive to work whilst earning a small monthly wage, you will soon realise it’s expensive to maintain a car. A car is liability that requires you to spend money on petrol, insurance, taxes and an annual vehicle safety test (MOT). An unlimited weekly bus pass costs less than £20 and might be a better choice if you are on a budget.

In addition, there are other things you must not do if on a low income, such as:

  • Taking advantage of your overdraft or credit card
  • Signing long-term contracts for products or services*
  • Gambling

It may feel liberating to make purchases using a credit card initially but you must not spend any money you don’t already have. Credit cards and overdrafts are designed to get you in debt so avoid relying on them.

Avoid signing any long-term contracts, especially for new electronics or mobile tariffs. You may get your hands on the coolest new phone but you will end up paying double its price by the time the contract is over. Don’t live for the moment unless you’ve prepared for the future. *However, there are some products and services (i.e. home broadband) for which you may be better off signing a contract. Stay cautious at all times when money is involved.

Gambling is not a way to double your hard-earned money. Casinos and the lottery are programmed to always win in the long run. You may get lucky once or twice but you get hurt sooner or later. Invest money in yourself or the business you’ve been developing in your head.

 

Top 3 Books on Love and Relationships

1. What Women Want Men to Know: The Ultimate Book about Love, Sex, and Relationships for You – And the Man You Love

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This book talks about love, communication, sex, and intimacy from a female point of view but is suitable for both genders. Men will learn how to love and understand the women in their life the way women expect them to. Women will learn to understand themselves better and give even more to their mate.

Click here to view What Women Want Men to Know on Amazon.

2. Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: A Practical Guide for Improving Communication and Getting What You Want in Your Relationships: How to Get What You Want in Your Relationships

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Written from a male point of view, this book will guide single men and women how to find the perfect partner, married couples will learn how to strengthen their bond, and divorcees will understand where it all went wrong. This book will enable you to accurately understand your partner’s words and actions, and reach a lifetime of happiness with your loved one.

Click here to view Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus on Amazon.

3. The Art of Loving

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Written by a renowned psychoanalyst, this is a powerful book on love, its multiple definitions and how to truly love. It talks about love as an art which we, individually and as a society, need to develop and practice consistently in order to find true loyalty.

Click here to view The Art of Loving on Amazon.

5 Video Games You Would’ve Loved Playing in the Early 2000s

Are you a passionate gamer looking to play some good old classic games, or just wondering what people used to play in the early 2000s? Here are 5 PC games I had a blast playing in my teenage years between 2000 and 2011.

Juiced

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Released on 23rd June 2006, PEGI 12

Juiced is one of my favorite classic racing simulation video games. It was installed on my first personal computer I bought in 2007. Juiced is completely different from the Need for Speed series. I took me awhile to get used to the gameplay but eventually I fell in love with playing the game. It allows you to live the life of a street car racer. You can bet your rivals for cash or gamble your car in a pink-slip race. You win or lose respect points depending on your driving and gambling. One of your goals is to form your own crew and dominate the established street racing scene. You can train your crew members by letting them race on your behalf. You can also organise races and invite rivals to compete against you. I played Juiced again in 2017 and loved it even more!

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2

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Released on 30th July 2010, PEGI 16

Inspired by real-life prototypes, this game is the best tactical first person shooter I played in my teenage years. The goal is to fight against heavily armed Mexican renegades as part of a Ghost Recon squad. The game is quite different from other first person shooters I’ve played because it requires great observation skills, attention to detail and a strategic approach to fighting the enemy. Click here to view in Amazon.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted

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Released on 25th November 2005, PEGI 3

Most Wanted is my favourite racing game from the Need for Speed series. The goal is to win illegal street races and escape being caught by the police afterwards. The graphics are much more detailed than Underground 2. You can not only pimp your ride but also tune it up to race against any class of vehicles.

Devil May Cry 4

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Released on 11th July 2008, PEGI 16

This hugely immersive game evolves in a gothic supernatural world and looks like Japanese manga. You play a teen hero with a huge sword who has to defeat colossal bosses. The gameplay and graphics are awesome. There are plenty of monsters you will need to eliminate with a combo of hits for which you are awarded a certain rating that unlocks new complex skills which you will later rely on to kill tougher enemies as the game develops. Click here to view in Amazon.

Diablo II

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Released on 29th June 2000, PEGI 16

An addictive RPG game allowing you to fight Hell’s minions as the Amazon, Sorceress, Necromancer, Paladin or Barbarian, each with unique skills and abilities. You will journey through four expansive realms, discover powerful weapons and develop your character’s unique skill set. The graphics aren’t crisp but the gameplay is great. Click here to view on Amazon.

The Connection Between Food, Diet and Success

I believe there’s a direct relationship between the food you eat, the diet you follow and how successful you become in life. Your attitude towards food, the quality and amount of food you consume (diet), the ability to cook and prepare meals in advance, and your activity level at work all play a big part in your career success. Let me define what I mean by food, diet and success before I explain the correlation between the three.

What is food?

Food is an essential source of energy for the human body. Food contains nutrients and vitamins that enable your muscles and organs to function properly and carry out everyday tasks that may be voluntary or involuntary and require physical and mental effort. Food also enables the body to heal itself by repairing old or damaged cells, and strengthen the immune system to fight bacteria and viruses. In essence, food is life-giving energy because you will die in less than 30 days without eating food, and much sooner if you don’t drink water. Due to the abundance of food in our modern world, most people seem to view food as pleasure for the tongue, and dining out purely as a pastime.

What is diet?

Diet means controlled eating habits, not restricted consumption of food. Too little or too much of food intake will prevent the human body from functioning properly which may in some cases lead to death. Diet means consuming an adequate amount of nutrient-rich foods based on a person’s weight, height and daily activity levels.

What is success?

Success has many definition but here it means making a lot of money in a legitimate way by providing outstanding services or selling quality products as a self-employed professional, business owner or aspiring employee.

The relation between food, diet and success.

When you are at work doing your job, the body converts food into energy for both physical and mental tasks. Even writing on a computer in a seated position from 9am to 5pm requires energy. Therefore, if you don’t eat enough quality food:

  • you may feel tired and unmotivated at work
  • you may struggle to concentrate on important tasks
  • you may fail to come up with creative solutions to difficult problems
  • you are more likely to get an injury from doing manual work
  • you may experience short-term memory loss which in turn decreases your performance
  • you may be unable to analyse information quickly and make bad decisions

Long-term consequences of poor diet.

Fast forward a few months of not eating enough carbs, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals and you will have lost a significant amount of weight, your bones will have become fragile and your immune system too weak to defend you from getting ill, especially when you are cold or under stress. A year later you might need to take time off work so frequently that you lose too many customers and opportunities that your business fails or you’re made redundant. You must be well-nourished to reach lasting success.

How to remain healthy while chasing success?

Once you realise the importance of food and diet in regards to staying healthy and successful, especially between your 30s and 60s, you must put that knowledge into practice.

(1) Get in the habit of going food shopping every week. Buy whole foods only, not ready-made meals. My personal shopping list usually includes rice, lentils, beans, chick peas, frozen vegetables (peas, carrots, sweet corn), broccoli, sweet potatoes, oats, soy milk, nuts and spices.

(2) Learn to cook a few basic but healthy meals. My favourite work meal is boiled pilau rice with lentils, peas, sweet corn, sweet potatoes and Quorn meat-free pieces. It takes less than an hour to make and it’s very nutritious.

(3) Cook your meals in bulk. Preparing your work meals in bulk is a tremendous time saver. You only need to cook for 1 or 2 hours and organise your food in tubs. On your lunch break at work, pull out a tub box, warm up your food in a microwave and enjoy a quick but healthy pre-made meal. Perfect for busy days packed with meetings!

(4) Snack on healthy foods only. It’s normal to feel the need to snack on something little in the afternoon. Nuts, seeds and fruit is the healthiest you could have. I personally bring a small pot of peanuts and raisins. Bananas and oranges are also an option.

 

 

UK Smokers Could Save More Than £1450 a Year if They Quit Smoking

The cheapest pack of 20 cigarettes sold by ASDA costs £7.35 (36.8p each) as of October 5th, 2017.

According to the Office for National Statistics, people in the UK smoked 11 cigarettes a day on average in 2016.

Therefore, the minimum cost of smoking in the UK for 2016 was an average of:

  • £4 per day (36.8p x 11 cigs = £4.04) 
  • £121 per month (£4.04 x 30 days = £121.2)
  • £1454 per year (£121.2 x 12 months = £1454.4)

Imagine being able to save £120 a month and over £1450 a year without harming your body? What would you buy? Think of all the numerous ways you could spend those money and the amount of happiness you could bring to yourself and others?

Advanced Way to Deal with Loss in 3 Stages, for Non-religious and Non-spiritual People.

Have you recently lost a special someone? Has your parent, grandparent, sibling, child, relative or friend recently died? Are you overcome with despair? Want to know how to cope with your loss effectively? Below are three stages (no religious or spiritual orientation necessary) each requiring a change of attitude that I’d like you to adopt when mourning for a dearly someone.

Grieve.

If you’ve lost someone you love, it’s completely normal to be distraught. Allow yourself some time to grieve. Don’t hold back your tears and don’t try to suppress your emotions. Cry, yell, hit the wall, smash a few plates, do whatever helps diffuse your anger, sadness, hopelessness and other negative emotions. Grief as much as you need until the funeral is over.

Accept & let go.

At the funeral and while your beloved person is being buried, it immediately becomes time for you to accept the situation and let go of your loss. Say your last prayer and bid farewell to the deceased as their coffin gets lowered into where we all came from and shall return to – the Earth.

Upon exiting the graveyard, make a conscious effort to leave all remaining grief behind. Don’t try to forget but let go,  there is a difference. The former means to suppress, the latter is to accept. Deeply realise that the person you’ve lost is gone forever. You cannot change the past so it’s pointless to blame yourself thinking you or anyone else could have done something about it. You are powerless against life and that’s ok. You’ve mourned enough and paid respect to the death of your beloved by organising or attending a funeral – this ancient and universally accepted way of parting with the dead.

Go back to work.

After the funeral, you must return to your normal routine and adapt to the absence of your beloved person. You must go back to work even if there is still grieving left to do. You must continue doing the hobbies you love or take up new activities. This stage isn’t about erasing the memory of your loss. It’s about appreciating the life you have left and spending it in the most meaningful and productive way. It’s time to relearn being happy and move on.

Life on Earth has existed for millions of years and it won’t be ending anytime soon. You are lucky if you are alive so take this opportunity to grow yourself, develop your potential, make the world better and carry on spreading love and happiness around. There was a time a special someone had an impact on you, now it’s your turn to make a difference in someone else’s life.