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Table of Contents

Main Points

  1. > “The business of life is the acquisition of memories.” – Carson
  2. Too many people save too much and then die with too much money in their bank accounts. It is a waste of one's time when they die with a million in the bank. That's $1 million of experiences they miss out on and hours of their life wasted at work.
  3. Invest in experiences; the earlier the better. They give out “memory dividends.”
    • If you invest too late, you may not have the health to enjoy them
  4. Balance the present with the future
  5. Give money to others when they need it most. This usually means now, not later.


  1. Maximize your positive life experiences.
  2. Invest in experiences early.
  3. Aim to die with zero.
  4. Use all available tools to help you die with zero.
  5. Give money to children or charity when it has the most impact.
  6. Don't live your life on autopilot.
  7. Think of life as distinct seasons.
  8. Know when to stop growing wealth.
  9. Take the biggest risks when you have little to lose.

Chapter 1: Optimize Your Life

Rule 1: Maximize your positive life experiences.

Some people delay gratification for too long. Don't live like you live forever.

Certain experiences we can have disappear over time either due to physical limitations or changing tastes in what we like. For instance, when we grow too old, we can no longer enjoy the kiddie pool again. It is important to have the right experience at every age.

Money is converted into enjoyable experiences. Not all experiences have to cost money. Choose your experiences deliberately because they earn certain amounts of memory dividends. The earlier you invest in experiences, the more memory dividends you will have.

Chapter 2: Invest in Experiences

Rule 2: Invest in experiences early.

“The business of life is the acquisition of memories.” – Carson #quote #life #economics #memories

“You retire on your memories.” – Perkins #quote #life #memories

Balance the future with the present.

Investing into experiences is a good long-term investment. Anytime you remember an experience, that itself gives you more experiences from reliving the original experience.

It pays to invest early. Think about what experiences to invest in, when to invest, and the risk of not having them.

Another reason to invest early is because the number of experiences we can enjoy goes down with age.

Be careful not to use money you don't have.

Chapter 3: Why Die with Zero?

Rule 3: Aim to die with zero.

If you die with money in the bank, it's like working for free.

Instead of trying to reach zero before you die, aim to have as little unused money when you do die.

Even if you love your job, it doesn't mean that you can't enjoy using your money. Identify ways to spend money on activities you enjoy that will fit your work schedule. Money you give to charity and kids is not your money anymore. It also helps to give to both parties as soon as possible.

Net worth goes up as people get older. Yet, their overall expenses goes down with age, even when accounting for healthcare costs. As time drags on, the number of things people can do goes down because their health deteriorates.

Chapter 3 Notes

Brewster's Millions problem: you make so much money that you can't spend it all.

Chapter 4: How to Spend Your Money (without actually hitting 0 before you die)

Rule 4: Use all available tools to help you die with zero.

Use life expectancy calculators.

Life insurance protects you if you die too young. Annuities protect you if you die too old (outliving your money). Aim to withdraw 4% of your savings every year. – Life insurance: provides loved ones financial support if you die – Annuities: guarantees a fixed monthly amount until you die

You are not a good insurance agent because you cannot pool risk.

Aggressively spend on experiences during your golden years. At the same time, balance living presently with future planning.

Avoiding death is often people's number 1 goal. Some are willing to give up years of their healthy lives to live a few more weeks sick.

Chapter 5: What About the Kids?

Rule 5: Give money to children or charity when it has the most impact.

“Die with zero” sounds selfish. However, you're money is taken no matter what. Just because you give it to charity or kids after you die doesn't make you selfish. The only money you need after you die is money for a funeral.

Give money to children when they need it most, not at 60 (the median age of inheritance). The most optimum ages are 26-35. That is when people are still healthy, but less risky with their wealth.

You can build memory dividends in yourself and your kids. Positive memory dividends are very beneficial to children later in life.

With charity, the earlier the better. The sooner you relieve suffering, the more your kindness will compound.

Chapter 6: Balance Your Life

Rule 6: Don't live your life on autopilot.

Strike a balance between present spending and future savings. If you know your income will rise, it's OK to spend a bit more in the present. Ensure your spending does not go overboard. With age, money's utility goes down

Invest in health. Health declines after late teens and 20s. Because of this, we start to derive less enjoyment from physical activity. Good health maintenance leads to a less steep decline.

To get the most out of life, people need to balance health, money, and time. It is rare to have all 3 in life. It is important to note however, that no amount of money makes up for good health. You can also trade money for time.

Chapter 6 Notes

  • following plan recommended for some:
    • little savings in early 20s
    • gradual ramp up in late 20s and 30s
    • peak at 20% in 40s
    • slow down savings until expenditure > savings

Chapter 7: Start to Time-Bucket Your Life

Rule 7: Think of life as distinct seasons.

We will all do something one last time and not realize it. We will do it for the last time and not much fanfare will happen. When we do something for the last time, a small part of ourselves die.

The 2 biggest regrets in life are: 1. Not having the courage to live true to one's self 2. Working too hard to make a living

Make time buckets. 1. Draw timeline from now to death 2. Divide your life into 5 or 10 year intervals 3. Place items into specific buckets

Some experiences will be more flexible than others. It is ideal to have most (time-sensitive) experiences at peak health and before parenthood.

Chapter 8: Know Your Peak

Rule 8: Know when to stop growing wealth.

Invest in experiences that yield long-lasting memories. In particular, increase spending during your golden years.

Find your net worth peak date deliberately. Note, it should be a date not a number. It is much easier to put off a number and to be less satiated by it. Your net worth peak should be somewhere between 45 and 60. If you want to keep working, even past your net worth peak date, ensure you ramp up spending or consider cutting back work hours.

Once you near your net worth peak, re-bucket your life.

Meeting the minimum threshold means ensuring you've saved enough to survive without any other income. Once you've meet the minimum threshold, you can start thinking about your net worth peak. – minimum threshold = annual living cost * number of years expected to live – likely less if you invest your money – if concerned the minimum threshold won't last, downsize, reverse mortgage, and annuities are options to consider

Chapter 9: Be Bold — Not Foolish

Rule 9: Take the biggest risks when you have little to lose.

When you have little to lose, upsides > downsides. Therefore, it is important to take more risks. In fact, it can be riskier not to engage in risk! This is especially true when you are young. – oftentimes, downsides are not as bad as you think. – Fear takes the actual risk and blows it out of proportion. Don't let irrational fears get in the way

Even when things go badly, you can still course-correct. Don't underestimate the risk of inaction.


Aiming to die with 0 ensures you get more out of life. You won't get it perfectly, but it's good enough that you're moving in the right direction.


There's an app. It is available here. They are mere calculations, so don't take it at face value.

Tags: #book-summary

Main Points

There are 3 types of networks: – Expansionist: large network, well-known, but have trouble maintaining and leveraging ties – Broker: generates value by connecting normally distant groups. Lots of information benefits – Convener: dense networks where friends are also friends with each other. Has trust and reputation benefits

It is possible to mix different network types to fit your needs. Different networks have different strengths. – When in turbulent times, increase your network size. Reaching out will help you more than turning inwards because people may be able to help you.

Conveners tend to be people who prefer security, are sensitive to social rejection, and are risk-averse. They are more likely to be trusted and trusting. However, they run the risk of forming “in-bred” networks.

Brokers bridge together diverse networks. They are adaptable to any social situation and know what image to project. However, they can be seen as manipulators rendering them untrustworthy. If they are good at projecting their image, they can be seen as more trustworthy than non-brokers.

Expansionists tend to play nice. Their large networks require them to have effective systems to manage their contacts. Some methods include: call logs, task lists, reminders, notes about past meetings, personal info, assistant, and relationship management tools. – Popularity –> more popularity – More connections –> easier network growth – Confidence and ease of communication are crucial to popularity

When dealing with relationships, favor quality over quantity. We can only maintain 150 stable contacts. Relationships depend on time, intensity/intimacy, and reciprocity. If not maintained, relationships can slowly die off (as they usually tend to). However, dormant ties are still useful (oftentimes more useful than current ties!). Don't worry if networks change. Our networks change because we change.

6 critical connections for our networks: 1. Access to information 2. Formal power 3. Developmental feedback 4. Sense of purpose 5. Personal support 6. Help with work-life balance

“Everyone on this planet is connected by only six other people.... You [just] have to find the right six people to make the connection.” – Guare

Chapter 1: Making Connections

There are 3 types of networks: – Expansionist: large network, well-known, but have trouble maintaining and leveraging ties – Broker: generates value by connecting normally distant groups. Lots of information benefits – Convener: dense networks where friends are also friends with each other. Has trust and reputation benefits

Our behaviors determine the type of network we have. No single network type is best for anyone. Mixing different styles can be beneficial. Moreover, no one fits neatly into any of these network toplogies. – networks change over time

Positive social interaction has many benefits.

When dealing with relationships, quality > quantity.

People hate thinking strategically about their networks. However, it is important for one to form and maintain relationships strategically because they are long-term investments. – Networking ≠ networks – when networking, think about what you can give. It will make networking easier for you and others.

Self-awareness –> more authenticity –> more effective interaction and engagement. Do not overdo authenticity. Some self-presentation is OK.

Social skills can be improved. People we interact with may like us more than we think they do. Also, stop comparing your social life to others. – when seeking interaction, focus on others. Look for small clusters with an odd number of people

Chapter 1 Notes

  • loneliness is as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes per day
    • 80% of youth and 40% of older adults have experienced loneliness
  • conveners are good listeners
  • brokers easily adapt to situations
  • expansionists are louder, extroverted, talk more, but interrupt less
  • most people have 250-1,700 acquaintances

Chapter 2: The Nature of Networks

We can only maintain 150 stable contacts. – Innermost: 2-5 people. Can depend on during severe distress – Sympathy group: 15 people. People we feel close to. Usually keep in touch once per month. – Close friends: 50 people. Comfortable enough to invite over to a BBQ but not comfortable enough to disclose secrets. – Casual friends: 150 people. Beyond this, reciprocity and obligation ends – Acquaintances: 450-600 people. People we have seen in the past coulpe of years but don't really keep in touch with. – Recognition: 1,500 people we recognize by sight

A “friend” depends on factors including time, reciprocity, intensity, and intimacy. – Partially determined by time, mostly determined by intimacy. – ~50 hours to be casual friends, 90 to be “real” friends, 200 to be close friends – Reciprocity can be good and bad. – Good in that others will help us if we help them. – Bad in that it can be hard to turn down loved ones

People have 3 attachment styles: 1. Secure: comfortable with intimacy and interdependence 2. Anxious: deep need for closeness. Worries about abandonment and rejection (i.e. clingy people) 3. Avoidant: Wants to ensure that no one gets close to them.

Attachment styles can be changed with interventions, positive experiences in relationship, reminders of feeling secure, and awareness of self-sabotage.

Relationships and networks change because we change. Despite this, people rarely meet new people. This could be due to social anxiety, a need for routine and security, and a fear of strangers. – 50% of all relationships beyond family cease to exist – Most relationships die slowly. Fast breakups are complicated and costly. – No face-to-face contact after: – 2 months decreases feelings by 30% – 150 days decreases feelings by 80% (friends)


Expansionist: weak ties. Most social effort spent in meeting new people. Easier to end relationships.

Brokers: some strong ties, but network strength comes from weak ties. Lots of time is spent maintaining weak ties.

Conveners: most effort in maintenance. Have deep roots in few social worlds.

Chapter 2 Notes

  • very rare to have >5 close friends
  • 2-3 institutions account for the vast majority of relationships
  • relationship quality > quantity
    • if you want to increase quantity:
      • think about where you go. be in the right places
      • live in cul-de-sacs instead of dead-end streets
      • urban areas
      • if at work, sit near bathroom or break room
  • networks largest when one is 25 (20 ppl/month)
    • huge decline in social networks between 25 and 50. Often due to parenthood
    • at 40, 15 ppl/month
    • at 65, 10 ppl/month
  • 1/3 of adolescents get new set of friends every 6 months
  • <15% teen/tween relationships last several years

Chapter 3: Conveners

Conveners tend to be people who prefer security, are sensitive to social rejection, and are risk-averse.

Conveners are more likely to be trusted and trusting, especially with gossip. It makes their networks safe and comfy. This can form cliques and in-group favoritism. – Gossip helps alleviate emotional and physical discomfort. – People prefer people who are similar to them – Networks that are too inbred (similar) lead to less diversity

Trust is essential. It takes a long time to build. It requires vulnerability. Vulnerability shows that you have weaknesses and require help. This helps when one is facing a crisis. – no foolproof sign of showing trust, but there are ways to [[Outsmarting Anger by Joseph Shrand and Leigh Devine Chapter 4#^b517ab|look more trustworthy]] – self-disclosure produces a sense of closeness that is gradual. It helps if it's reciprocal. – too much is bad

Chapter 3 Notes

  • trust is essential
    • at work: more productivity and satisfaction, less sick days and burnout
    • creates forgiveness, willingness to sacrifice, less stress, more healthy life
  • if you introduce yourself to >65% of contacts, your network may be too inbred
    • Solution 1: develop relations with brokers
    • Solution 2: focus on shared activities (i.e. clubs, sports teams)

Chapter 4: Brokers

Brokers are rare. They bridge together diverse social networks. They are good at adapting to any social situation. This is often because they are high self-monitors (meaning they know what image to project). – can be seen as going with the flow or trying to get ahead

People with power are more willing to broker despite having less opportunities to do so. They are also less accurate with relationships.

Arbitraging (buying and selling something) can be perceived as manipulation. This makes brokers look more like “assholes,” especially when they are loosely connected to a convening network. The most untrustworthy are those who speak their minds, but brokers who have high self-monitoring are more trustworthy (even more so than non-brokers).

Chapter 5: Expansionist

Expansionists are nice. In general, givers have larger networks than takers. – if you give time to help others, you will feel like you have more time – giving, service, and gratitude guard against loneliness

Expansionists must have effective systems to manage their contacts. Their largest barriers are time and mental capacity.

Popularity –> more rewards, performance, success. – popularity –> more popularity – more connections –> easier network growth – early popularity is crucial. Small differences in the initial phase make a huge difference – ease of communication, confidence are crucial to popularity

There are 2 types of popularity: – status: visibility, power, influence – likability: making others feel valued and welcomed. Are good [[You're Not Listening by Kate Murphy|listeners]]

Your friends are more likely to be popular than you. Many people have a few friends, while a few have large numbers.

Chapter 5 Notes

  • Genes account for 50% of our network size
  • effective systems for expansionists include: call logs, task lists, reminders, notes about past meetings, personal info, assistant, relationship management tools

Chapter 6: In the Mix

One can mix network styles to suit one's needs. Different networks have different strengths and weaknesses. – When in turbulent times, increase your network size. It may be easier to reduce your network size, but reaching out will help you. – When young with little experience or power, be expansionist.

Networks can change, but don't forget about dormant ties. They are more useful than current strong and weak ties. The most useful ones are dormant ties with the highest status, trustworthiness, and willingness to help. – Time and embarrassment may be the largest obstacles, but reaching out is easier and more enjoyable than you think.

Network perceptions often outweighs network reality. – use advocates as complement to reputation building, particularly those with denser, larger, and more diverse networks – help others, gain trust

Core networks with 12-18 contacts and 6 critical connections do well. The 6 important critical connections are: 1. Access to information 2. Formal power 3. Developmental feedback 4. Sense of purpose 5. Personal support 6. Help with work-life balance

Chapter 7: In the Moment

High quality interactions are beneficial. It doesn't matter how long it is or how close the other person is to you. Relationships are dependent on moment-by-moment interaction.

When people are in a rush, stressed, or distracted, they are less likely to help. It also impairs our ability to listen and understand. – phones impair ability to connect, especially in meaningful conversations. But, they are good as anesthesia.

Questions lead to more connections and likability. The 6 types are: 1. Introduction 2. Full switch: changes topic 3. Partial switch: also changes topic 4. Follow-up: asks about something you were just discussing. Builds rapport. 5. Mirror: similar to question asked, but turned toward questioner – A: “How's your day?” – B: “Good. How was yours?”

The 36 Questions That Lead to Love lays the groundwork, but follow-up questions are where the magic happens. It shows you're listening, which leads to more trust, likability, and motivation. It is more likely to fix another person's problems.

Emotions filter listening such that we listen to what we want to listen. Most people just understand and do, but don't grasp the meaning or emotion of a conversation.

Touch is a medium of social expression. It can increase positive perceptions if done correctly. – perfect touch: warm skin, moderate pressure, moving at 1 inch per second – the closer you are to someone (from a relationship perspective), the more of their body you can touch.

Chapter 7 Notes

  • eye contact –> deeper connection
    • mutual gazing for more than 10 minutes can lead to a lost sense of reality

Chapter 8: Human Design

People do not like to contradict authority. Fear, risk of damaging relations, and experiencing retribution are the biggest reasons why. – End the blame game. Replace it with curiousity. – Best time to engineer psychological safety (freedom from interpersonal fear) is at the beginning. If missed, it will take a long time to build.

Jerks reduce psychological safety. Slackers and pessimists also reduce performance. Bad behaviors are more infectious than good. – Need 5 good interactions for every bad interaction – 1-2 people can ruin everything – Deal with jerks by showing them how they act and letting them arrive at their own conclusion. – If you choose to do direct confrontation (not the best option), back it up with many examples and people – You could be a jerk yourself – Power, stress, exhaustion makes us meaner

Respect and civility goes a long way.

Chapter 9: Work/Life

People tend to prefer to separate their work life from their actual life. Having “work friends” is hard because work is transactional, friends are not. There are benefits to work friends, however.

People who are share “uncommon commonalities” feel closer. People prefer friends who are similar to them physically too. This can be a disadvantage, particularly for women and minorities.

Chapter 9 Notes

  • Mentorships are more likely to take off with more interaction in the first several months of a relationship

Chapter 10: Everyone's Connected

“Everyone on this planet is connected by only six other people.... You [just] have to find the right six people to make the connection.” – Guare #quote #relationships

Humanity's combined networks creates the right kind of order and disorder whereby you are closely connected to everyone else.