Summer Reading Party: 5 Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die

best personal finance reading list

Amanda, over at Centsibly Rich, recommended this book. So I ordered it straight away!

Half of the books I picked for our Summer Reading Party dealt with personal finance head on. Tackling topics like spending to create happiness (Happy Money), frugality ( The Ultimate Cheapskates guide to true riches), money in your 20’s (Broke Millennial), or managing money with your spouse (Smart Couples Finish Rich).

The other half of the books dealt with money in a side ways manner. This is one of those books. No budgets or retirement contribution talk here. But as you read through this book it should be directly applied to every part of your personal finance: spending, earning and saving plans! 

The author, Izzo, interviewed over 200 people 60-106 years old, who other people had recommended as the wisest people they knew. Themes came to the surface. They shared their stories. From these conversations emerged the secrets of life they had lived out which brought them the most joy and meaning.

As I read their stories and heard how they talked of death I had a profound sense of people who would die with a sense of peace knowing they had lived well. They had lived out these 5 secrets.


1. Be true to yourself

2. Leave no regrets

3. Become love 

4. Live in the moment

5. Give more than you take

As a mom of 5 small kids, I am constantly reminded how brief and fleeting life can be. There is a saying that the days are long, but the years short. I have one starting Kindergarten in the fall. My oldest is turning 10! And my sweet, sweet baby is less baby every day. Running and jumping, climbing and starting to talk. The time is slipping away from me.

So I fully believe that life is far too short to live the opposite of these secrets. Too short to live according to others rules and expectations, giving up the things that are most important to us. That’s why I created my mentoring questions: to help you dig out what really matters to you. So you can start chasing that down. There might be some push back from others because it’s different, or seems risky, or isn’t what they expected.

But we come to the end of our life without regrets by living out these 5 secrets.

As I read the book I reflected on my own mortality. (Heavy, right?) What if I were given just a few weeks to live? Would I have regrets?

There are so many things I still want to do. But I’ve pushed hard these last 15 years to take in as much as I could. To be a blessing in every opportunity given me. Live abroad and travel through 27 countries. Adopt 4 kids. Travel with friends. Write words that encourage others. Build things and create things. Camp with my kids and play in the ocean.

My only regrets would be the times I based my choices on fear. The jobs I stayed on too long at even though they weren’t a great fit. The projects I wavered on for a few months until I could gather my courage. The times when busyness and fatigue distracted me from bigger ideas. When I doubted that something would work out, so instead of risking failure, I did nothing. In those times, I wish I had jumped faster, failed faster, and took more ground.

Some people are rightfully confused by the idea of a Mini-Retirement. “Why give up that income, or career advancement?”

Izzo’s book hits the nail on the head. I want to live out those 5 secrets even more. Mini-Retirements give us the time, energy and space to make the things most important to us possible. No matter if it’s a month or 5 years. (I’ve taken a month twice, 6 months and now 20 months and counting.) They give us the space to try new things, create new experiences, fail faster and grow in unexpected ways.

Izzo has done an amazing job taking a challenging topic and making it uplifting, encouraging and personal. In each of the stories, I found the perfect moments to reflect on my own life and apply the hard won lessons of others to myself.

I’m still not sure I’m ready to learn that it’s my time to go. But in this Mini-Retirement, I know I’m living these 5 secrets more and more each day. I’m taking more risks, trying more things, giving more generously and more present with the people that matter most. After a few years of uncertainty, I feel like we are doing exactly what we are supposed to be doing with 95% of the hours in our day.



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10 thoughts on “Summer Reading Party: 5 Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die

  1. The saying you reference about the days are long but the years are short comes from Gretchen Rubin and if you haven’t read any of her stuff, please pick it up. The work she did on Happiness informs my life today. 🙂

  2. Being true to myself and living in the moment are always something I’m working on. Because I’m a planner and introvert I’m always thinking about the future and forget to live in the moment. Thanks for the book recommendation. My list of books to read grows faster than I have time to read them.

    • Living in the moment is the one I have to put the most effort into as well, because I also love to plan. I actually carve out time in my day to plan, then the rest of the time try to stay in the moment. 🙂

  3. “My only refresh would be the time I based my choices on fear” – So true! I also like to say that I never explored my “what ifs”. Leave no question that you did all you wanted or tried all you couldn’t.

    I’ve actually read this book (won it from a Rockstar Giveaway!) and enjoyed it. As you get older you realize how much you cared about the wrong things and let them drive you. Since I was a little girl I have always wanted be old. People always said that would change as I advanced in age. They were wrong! I love myself more and more everyday because I completely tinue to grow more confident in the person I am. They say “With age comes wisdom” and damn it if they arent right!

    • I remember being 18 and having a boss say that I look 16 and act 40. I took it as the best kind of compliment. =) I have found in my 30’s really growing into being comfortable in my own skin. Knowing that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, and that is totally OK. Lots of lovely, smart people might not adore me and they are still just as lovely and smart. I can just be the cup of tea I am and they can be the cup of tea they are, and the world will keep spinning just as fine. If people don’t like/agree with/approve of the ways we want to explore/test/stretch in this life, that’s OK too. They have their one wild and precious life to live just like I have mine. Everyone gets to do with it what they seem fit.

  4. Oh, crap! Now I have another book I have to read. Haha. All kidding aside, it looks like a great book for your mind and soul. I’m adding it to my Kindle today. Thank you Jillian and than you Amanda.