When I started writing Millionaire Teacher, I was laying in a hospital cancer ward bed.
The most entertainment I had was when the Chinese nurses forgot to put the “catching tray” under the toilet commode. Trust me, I laughed harder than they did.
They thought I was even screwier when I started writing a book. Imagine it:
“Laughing white guy can’t poo on own but now write book. Not know he have cancer.”
I wanted to put something together that would benefit as many people as possible. And I needed to chuckle, considering that my environment wasn’t exactly a ball of laughs. I wanted (actually needed) my book to be humorous, informative, academically well-supported and short enough for a kid on Ritalin.
I didn’t expect it to become a bestseller. But it did.
Fortunately, I had plenty of help, and I want to acknowledge the people who pushed Millionaire Teacher to the top of Amazon’s Personal Finance category (in November 2011) and to the top of the Canadian Personal Finance category on Amazon (February 23, 2012). Rankings are fleeting, of course, but I recognize that without these writers, the book would have collected Gecko scat in a Singaporean warehouse.
If a writer can ever be blessed with an “Oprah Winfrey moment” I had mine when Scott Burns read Millionaire Teacher. Burns has been writing about money for more than 40 years; he’s one of the five most widely read financial columnists in the United States.
Scott’s incredible review of Millionaire Teacher shot the book to the top of the American charts. And it was reprinted in a variety of publications, including The Seattle Times, The Austin American Statesman, and on his Assetbuilder website. After reading my book, Burns and Kennon Grose (Assetbuilder’s CEO) asked me to write for their site. With Scott as my editor and mentor, I feel like I’m taking private golf lessons with Jack Nicklaus.
Zack Miller is the managing director of Lighthouse Capital, an investment firm. He interviews interesting financial writers on his Tradestreaming program, and when I told him that I could eat more than the average NFL linebacker, he agreed to interview me via Podcast. The respected Miller can claim far more achievements than I can (although I doubt he could match me egg for egg) so I was thrilled when he named Millionaire Teacher the Best Investment Book of 2011.
Duncan Hood, the new editor at Canadian Business was the editor of MoneySense magazine when he ran an excerpt of my book in June, 2011. This was the break that put the book on the Canadian map. Thank you Duncan! The excerpt has since been nominated for a Canadian journalism award. I’ll cross my fingers.
Jim Sutherland, writing for MoneySense the same summer, wrote Secrets of the Rich, and he profiled my story for the piece. MoneySense hired a photographer to shoot me in places where I would “look wealthy” for the article. After seeing the best photo out of dozens, I’ve finally resigned myself to something I denied for the past 30 years. I’m not very handsome.
The superb writer and acting editor at MoneySense magazine, Dan Bortolotti, wrote a fabulous online Millionaire Teacher review for MoneySense. Dan’s Canadian Couch Potato blog is, in my opinion, probably the best investing blog in Canada. If you, dear reader, ever challenge me to a trivial pursuit battle with partnered pairs, I’m taking Dan as my wing man. Among Canadian investors, he’s more famous than Lady Gaga…among Canadian investors, I repeat. But did you know that he has penned a variety of excellent non-financially related books, which make him “killer material” in a trivial pursuit square off? Nine books! Check this out.
Larry Swedroe, one of my investing heroes, was kind enough to plug Millionaire Teacher for CBS MarketWatch. He’s a legend in the circles of investment writers, and his latest book, Investment Mistakes Even Smart Investors Make And How To Avoid Them can be found on Amazon and in your favourite bookstores. When Larry gave me a generous blurb for inside my book’s cover, I thought an old high school buddy, Joe Dingwall, was pretending to be Swedroe. Great friends– who share my immaturity– do stuff like that.
Ellen Roseman writes for the Toronto Star, and she included Millionaire Teacher in her review, Three Good Investment Books Written By Amateurs. Ellen has written about finance prolifically over the years, publishing four very well written and respected books: Money 101: Every Canadian’s Guide to Personal Finance, Money 201: More Personal Finance Advice for Every Canadian, Ellen Roseman’s Money Guide for Modern Families, Canadian Parent’s Sourcebook, Canadian Consumers’ Survival Book and Consumer, Beware! She’s also currently writing a new one: 99 Ways to Fight Back.
A big thank you also goes out to my friend and neighbour Lisa Oake who arranged for my interview with CNBC. She’s as lovely in person as she is on television.
Then there’s Robert Wasilewski. In all my years of reading and writing about money, I have yet to find a money manager with such a great heart. I’ve often said that few people go into money management because they want to change the world. They usually track the smell of money instead. Robert is the exception. He measures success from a different scorecard, and it’s an absolute honor to consider Robert a friend. His objective, as a money manager, is to serve as a guide and a mentor. He manages people’s money for an incredibly low (virtually unheard of) fee. And his goal is to eventually fire himself and guide his clients to do it themselves, while leaning on him for questions and support, where needed. I can’t say enough about this man’s integrity. And he regularly supports Millionaire Teacher as a guide for his clients/students. If you live in the Maryland area, give Robert a shout. You’ll like him—a lot.
Avrom Digance is the writer behind The Dividend Ninja blog. He has also written some amazing words about Millionaire Teacher. Avrom’s blog is a great source for investors who are keen to buy dividend paying individual stocks. He’s a rational thinker and certainly a mind worth following.
And while we’re on the theme of great “dividend stock” bloggers, no list would be complete without The Dividend Monk. Matt’s research is superb; his blog is an amazing source for dividend investors. You can check out his review of Millionaire Teacher here.
It’s always fun when a writer from an old hometown takes note of your book. Paula Wild, of the Comox Valley Record, wrote a lovely article in the Courtenay, British Columbia paper. I started my teaching career here, and many of the fun stories of ultra frugality took place in the stunningly beautiful Comox Valley, where I rode my bike 110km each day to work and back (to save money) and where I looked after people’s homes when they went on vacation, to save money on rent. If you were female, you wouldn’t have brought me home to meet your parents.
Paula’s article brought streams of curious people to my signing at the Laughing Oyster Bookstore, where we sold roughly 100 copies in a matter of hours.
Another one of my favourite bloggers is Paula Pant. As a trained journalist/writer, her Afford-Anything.com blog is refreshingly well written, exhibiting her spunk and craft as a writer. She featured Millionaire Teacher in one of her posts. Based on Paula’s mature yet lively perspective on life, coupled with her strong writing skills, I would rank her blog among the best money blogs in the United States. If you haven’t checked her out, I recommend it.
There’s no doubt that Mark Seed has been one of my book’s greatest supporters. The guy has been better at promoting Millionaire Teacher than I have been. You’ll find an array of well written articles on his site, My Own Advisor, ranging from economics, politics, index fund investing and dividend stock picking. He sometimes writes very personally about money matters, which certainly interests the voyeur in all of us. Thanks for everything Mark!
Larry McDonald has been writing about Canadian business for years. And he’s also penned a few fine business books himself, including a book on Nortel Networks and The Bombardier Story: Planes, Trains and Snowmobiles. He wrote a wonderful review of Millionaire Teacher, titled A Millionaire Next Door
The very first blogger I ever read was a guy who called himself “The Rat”—named so because he beat the rat race and retired at a very early age. After taking a whack to his self esteem, every time somebody penned his name, he reinvented himself as The Wealthy Canadian. You can read his generous review here.
Hailing from Vancouver, the very real (yet privately anonymous) blogger at Young And Thrifty gave my book a great review. I know you’re dying to find out her real name. So I’ll tell you: it’s Margaret Thatcher III. Hey, why don’t women name their kids after themselves like men do? Charles isn’t really too original.
Margaret’s site is a lot of fun. “Young” isn’t very old, and her fresh perspective and well documented financial sacrifices are a hopeful breeze of sanity off credit weary Robson Street.
Mike Youds, of the Kamloops Daily News, wrote a fine review of my book in the city where I grew up. The name above my classroom door isn’t spelled right (and I haven’t done a thing about it) so I couldn’t blame Mike for doing the same in this interview.
And a couple of months ago, a great friend of mine was driving with a colleague who was talking about the $100,000 car he had just bought….on credit. Then (and I’m not making this up) my CBC radio interview aired with Shiral Tobin. Apparently, after listening to the interview celebrating the merits of freedom, frill-free living and investing, the guy got pretty quiet—maybe even depressed. Let’s hope he didn’t drown himself in another deep, six figure pool of retail therapy. You can access the interview here.
The popular financial columnist, Jonathan Chevreau generously wrote a fine article for Millionaire Teacher. He’s the author of Findependence Day, a superb personal finance book with a narrative tale. With a fun story, he tricks you into learning about money.
Then there’s Kerry Taylor, the frugal queen at Squawkfox. I remember coming across her site a few years ago (it’s Canada’s #1 Personal Finance site, and #4 in the United States). I left geeky messages and notes on her blog like, “Hey Kerry, I like riding bikes too,” and “Hey Kerry, do you ride along Westsyde Road to Kelowna?” Thinking I was an online stalker, she avoided me.
My wife and I would drive to work and I’d say, “Hey Pele, I can send Warren Buffett a letter, and he gets back to me. I’ve chatted with Bill Gates. And I once spoke to Princess Diana and Prince Charles from a bicycle seat with half my head stuck in their Limo. But this Kerry Taylor…to her, I’m a nobody.”
Pele consoled me, suggesting that a notion of over-importance had gotten to me, rather than to Kerry, and that I should probably give up on trying to make another online friend.
Fortunately, Kerry eventually read my book and recommended it to her 36,000 readers. Here’s her review. And you can check out Kerry’s cool financial book here, 397 Ways To Save Money.
One financial blogger I know actually quit his day job recently to pursue blogging (and a load of tech related things I’m not smart enough to understand). Kevin, at Invest It Wisely also writes a great personal finance blog, and unlike Kerry Taylor, he was brave enough to respond to my excitement about one of his posts, right away. Here’s Kevin’s first mention of my book.
And I can’t forget Kim Petch’s review at Balance Junkie. Kim’s an extremely fluid writer, and the review she wrote is my wife’s favourite. Kim’s a woman balancing a gazillion things, and yet, she has the time to produce wonderful quality posts for her blog and for the other publications she writes for. Kim rocks!
I think of the Gecko poop this book could have been collecting without such amazing support. My apologies if I miss people, but I would like to thank everyone I’ve caught in my Google alert net:
Millionaire Teacher: Review on Retire Happy blog:
First Foundation, Residential Mortgage Mentions Millionaire Teacher:
Millionaire Teacher: The National Post (Writing the book takes writer’s mind off cancer)
Millionaire Teacher mentioned in The Globe and Mail with Larry Macdonald
Millionaire Teacher: CNBC’s Bullish On Books Review
Millionaire Teacher: Turn One Pound Into One Million
Millionaire Teacher: Squawkfox Plugs Millionaire Teacher Again (Canada’s #1 Money Blogger)
ITA Wealth Management Recommends Millionaire Teacher
Millionaire Teacher: International Teacher Review
BankRate.com: Retirement Secrets of a Millionaire Teacher
MoneySmarts: Millionaire Teacher Review
Surprising me with a couple of equatorial reviews, my book received….
One from Malaysia and two from Singapore at Financially Free Now and Invest In Passive Income.