RESET by David Sawyer

I first spoke to Dave when I wanted to work with him. There was just one problem... I couldn't afford him.

I did what I could afford and joined his weekly newsletter. Each Thursday for the last few years I've received a collection of his links and thoughts. I agreed with almost everything. It was rare for a shared link not to find it's way into my Pocket account.

When Dave told me he was writing a book, I knew it would be worth reading. And I was just a little excited when he sent me an advanced review copy earlier this month.

This book can change your life.

I read more than my fair share of 'self-help' books.

Reading RESET, I realised that author, David Sawyer, has read many of the same books (David Allen's Getting Things DoneDavid Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried's ReWork, etc.). He's also read the ones I've been meaning to read. And a fair few I don't (*didn't* - thanks Amazon!) own.

He's taken the best bits of everything he's read, implemented, tried and tested. And he's put everything that works into a book that's here to change your life.

Dave's weird.

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The self-help genre gets a bad rep. I've always found it odd that trashy novels are, at worst, guilty pleasures. And books that have the power to change lives, read by those who want to live their best possible life, aren't applauded.

Even by his own brother's admission, "Dave's a bit weird".

He's a 'why not?' person. He's happy to go out on a limb. And he has a passion for life-long learning. That passion shines through, in a book that aims to save people (mid-lifers in particular) from relatively certain despair...

  • Stuck in jobs they don't enjoy (or actively despise)
  • Jobs that will change beyond recognition thanks to the digital revolution
  • And often involving long commutes, taking years off their lives
  • At least allowing them a decent living... spent on overfilling their houses
  • And leading to retiring (at some point, they hope) with less money than the tiny amount they think they'll get.

I'm not a mid-lifer, I hope.

I'm 32. I hope that's not quite my mid-life point. I'm not stuck in a job I can't stand, having been self-employed for most of my adult life (I'm counting that as gaining a head start on the RESET plan!). And my job won't be made redundant by tech (digital marketing is the revolution, and I specialise in one-person businesses... a rapidly growing demographic).

But I feel like a mid-lifer in many ways... I started my first business at 14.

And I'm no stranger to life-changing transformation. Last year I (rather suddenly) became a foster dad to 3 kids (the eldest being 11 now). Perhaps midlife is more of a state of mind?

Either way, a lot of the advice and action points I had already acted upon (listed/reinforced in this book) have already changed my life.

Spend less. Save more.

There's so much in this book I agree with. So much I already do. So much I did, but have forgotten about (despite it's significant impact on my life). And several things I cannot wait to try.

Financial advice I always find harder to digest.

Once you appreciate FIRE, you’ll spot inefficiency everywhere. You’ll look at people driving fancy cars with wry amusement. You’ll marvel at friends who buy their weekly shop from Waitrose and your ears will boggle when you hear of people spending an hour driving 50 miles to and from work every day.
— Dave talking about... well... me. 😬

From my own experience, more often than not, the general advice on finances is to spend less and save more. That's the big picture. And honestly, it's excellent advice.

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This book definitely takes you further with practical ways to spend less (although sorry Dave... I'm not giving up my cleaner, my fancy 4x4, or my weekly Waitrose delivery! 😬). And when it comes to saving, the book goes beyond what's been written before.

Dave takes the FI (financial independence) movement that's currently shaking it's way across the U.S.A., and translates it into very specific, actionable, advice. By the end of the book you'll understand how you can get a 'stash' of cash that will allow you to retire.

The big goal here is FIRE (Financial Independence and Retiring Early). Not interested in retiring early? Me neither. But, as Dave explains, this is really about giving you the choice. If you want to keep working, wouldn't it be nice to do that based on your passion and drive, not a requirement to stay afloat? 

Digital can make you, and kill you.

The advice in this book is wide ranging. From setting up an email newsletter, to finding mentors, to tidying your house (like you've never tidied before), to setting up an ISA. It's everything you'll need to get the rest of your life on the right path.

When it comes to the ever- changing landscape that is “digital”, there is no substitute for reading lots, doing lots and getting involved. You need to be obsessed with topics to discover something new, separate the corn seed from the bushel, and share it with the world.
— Dave talking about obsession.

Take the example of digital. It's hard to argue that it's changing the world of work, and will continue to do so more every day. Dave provides a plan to future-proof your job, but doesn't just shout about the wonders of the web. Digital is saving us and killing us. I couldn't agree more on his ideas around limiting notifications, sleeping with your phone in another room, and ensuring social media is a tool you use (rather than letting it use you).

And Dave's style is spot on. He tells you just enough about a concept for you to get your head around it, then he convinces you of his thinking on the matter, and then he's straight onto an action plan of what you need to do next. It's impossible to read without taking notes and making plans.

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Buy the book.

You absolutely should. It's one of those books that could change your life. A little or a lot, depending on how much you want to say yes to.

RESET: How to Restart Your Life and Get F.U. Money: The Unconventional Early Retirement Plan for Midlife Careerists Who Want to Be Happy, by David Sawyer, is out today.

You can find out more about the book here. Paperback and Kindle versions can be bought here.

***For this week only, the Kindle version (don't need a Kindle reader to read it) is at an introductory price of £2.95. Which, as Dave points out, is the cost of an overpriced latte.***

Gareth K Thomas