The Voluntary Life

23 August 2014

169 Two Crucial Questions

An episode about two inter-related questions that are crucial to your happiness in life:
  • How will you achieve financial security and/or independence?
  • How will you find fulfilment?
It's your responsibility to find your own answers to these questions, repeatedly throughout your life. Nobody can answer them for you. This episode provides some suggestions about how to think about these questions, to help you develop a more conscious strategy to address them.

Show Notes:
Episode 124 Four Ways To Quit The Rat Race
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Dan Pink

Listen to Episode 169

17 August 2014

168 Win-Win Negotiation Part 3: Resolving Disputes

This episode is about the most powerful technique I know for overcoming deadlock in negotiations and resolving disputes, both in business and in personal relationships. The technique involves a very straightforward concept that everyone understands, but it is often ignored or usually only tried when it is already too late.

Show Notes
Previous episodes on Negotiation

Listen to Episode 168

7 August 2014

167 Radical Personal Finance Interview: The Permanent Portfolio

Joshua Sheats invited me onto the Radical Personal Finance podcast to discuss the Permanent Portfolio investment strategy for individual private investors. In this episode we talk about many aspects of the PP strategy including:
  • my own reasons for choosing this investment strategy
  • the design of the portfolio
  • the philosophy behind the approach
  • strengths and weaknesses of the PP

Show Notes:
As always regarding investment, do your own research. I am not a financial advisor and this isn't advice, it's my own experience and opinions. My intention is to encourage you to think for yourself.

Listen to Episode 167

30 July 2014

166 Retired at 33: Interview with Justin from Root of Good

Justin retired at the age of 33. He writes about his journey to financial independence on his blog Root of Good. In this interview, he discusses his path to financial independence from intensive saving. Topics covered include:

  • Saving all salary increases and avoiding lifestyle inflation
  • Cost-effective housing, transport and food choices
  • The importance of having agreement with your spouse towards your financial goals
  • Children and financial independence

Show Notes


Listen to Episode 166


23 July 2014

165 Radical Personal Finance Interview: The Positive Power of Entrepreneurship

Joshua from Radical Personal Finance Podcast invited me on his show to talk about entrepreneurship. We talked about learning entrepreneurial skills, voluntary versus compulsory education, the importance of selling in life, the ethical nature of business, and the positive power of entrepreneurship.

Show Notes



Listen to Episode 165

17 July 2014

164 We Plan To Retire At 30: Interview with Mike and Lauren

Mike and Lauren have average-income jobs, no big inheritance or bonuses, and they plan to retire at the age of 30. They share all the facts about their journey to financial independence on their youtube channel. In this interview, they talk about the practicalities of intensive saving, the challenges of making unconventional life choices, and their dream to sail around the world.

Show Notes:

Listen to Episode 164


9 July 2014

163 Thinking Like An Entrepreneur: Discussion With Jeffrey Tucker


Jeffrey Tucker interviewed me about my book Becoming an Entrepreneur. We discuss how to think like an entrepreneur and the amazing potential of entrepreneurship, both for personal growth and for a better world. Jeffrey is the founder and Chief Liberty Officer of Liberty.me, Distinguished Fellow of FEE, head of LFB.org, and founder of CryptoCurrencyCon.com.


Show Notes:
Listen to Episode 163 

5 July 2014

162 Spend Little, Save More, Travel the World: Interview with Go Curry Cracker

This episode is an interview with Jeremy and Winnie, authors of the blog Go Curry Cracker. In the interview, Jeremy and Winnie share their inspiring journey to financial independence through intensive saving. They describe the lifestyle choices that enabled them to retire early in their 30s and travel the world.

Listen to Episode 162

25 June 2014

161 Review of Built To Sell by John Warrillow

This episode is a review of the book Built to Sell by John Warrillow. The book is about how to sell a business, including how to transform your business to make it sellable.

In this review, I discuss a central idea of the book: productising your services so that the business can work without you (the entrepreneur). I compare this with Michael Gerber's idea of creating a "franchise prototype" and the idea in my own book of  "making yourself redundant" using proceduralisation and standardisation.

Show Notes


Listen to Episode 161

20 June 2014

160 Choice Conversations Interview: Financial Freedom and More

This episode is a conversation I had with Chris Stefanick on his podcast Choice Conversations. We planned to talk about financial freedom, but ended up covering many topics including childhood influences, entrepreneurship, different approaches to investment, and much more!

Show Notes:

Listen to Episode 160 

14 June 2014

6 June 2014

158 Entrepreneurship is Embarrassing And That's OK

A podcast episode about how becoming an entrepreneur can be pretty embarrassing, and how that's ok.

Show Notes

Listen to Episode 158

29 May 2014

157 How To Go Paperless Part 2

This episode is the second part of a series on how to go paperless. It explains how to digitise your paper books using destructive book scanning.

Show Notes:


Listen to Episode 157

23 May 2014

156 How To Unleash Your Creative Thinking

This podcast episode presents a range of techniques to support your creative thinking.  Some of the techniques covered are outlined below:

  • The focussed journalling technique called extraordinary time is great for thinking creatively about challenges in life. 
  • Another productive method of focussed journalling is the use of regular creative review questions for supporting ongoing creative thinking. 
  • The practice of noting and reviewing someday/maybe projects nurtures your dreams and helps you turn them into plans.
  • Affirmations help you to be the best version of yourself by reminding yourself of what you have committed to do and who you are committed to be.
  • Various other techniques are presented in the podcast, many of which come from the creative review part of the weekly review in GTD (Getting Things Done). 

Show Notes

Listen to Episode 156 

14 May 2014

155 Review of A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton Malkiel

This week's podcast episode is a discussion of Burton Malkiel's famous investment book "A Random Walk Down Wall Street". Malkiel's key point is that stock market prices are inherently unpredictable. He further argues that investment advisor techniques such as technical analysis and fundamental analysis cannot be used to reliably beat market averages. In light of this, he recommends the alternative approach of passive investment.
In the podcast, I summarise the contents of the book, discuss the main arguments, outline some criticisms, and suggest other books and ideas that may be of interest.

Show Notes:
Listen to Episode 155

8 May 2014

154 How To Stay On Top With A Weekly Review

This episode is about a technique for staying on top of all your commitments known as the weekly review. It helps you get a handle on all your commitments, decide what you want and don't want to do with your time and maintain all aspects of your life in working order. The idea for this technique comes from the Getting Things Done approach to personal productivity, but you can adapt it to your own purposes even if you don't practice GTD. Topics covered in the episode include:
  • The three parts to a weekly review: a clear review (discussed in the episode mental decluttering), a current review (this episode) and a creative review (future episode).
  • The value of identifying areas of responsibility in your life and reviewing them each week
  • How to get an overview of all live projects, including urgency and importance
  • The review of each live project and the importance of identifying next actions.
  • The use of agendas and waiting lists for all the people in your life
  • The Calendar review and weekly plan of tasks and decisions
Show Notes:



4 May 2014

153 Your Own Moral Compass Part 3

Part three in a series on developing your own independent moral compass. Here is a summary of the ideas covered:
  • Moral behaviour evolved as an evolutionary adaptation to gain the advantages of the division of labour that come from peaceful cooperation.
  • The act of peaceful communication logically contains and implies the criteria for moral rules.
  • There are four rules for avoiding conflict over scarce resources that are valid according to the criteria of universality, logical coherence and non-contradiction by behaviour.
  • The rules are inherent in the nature of peaceful communication and can't be argued against without self-contradiction.
  • Rule 1: Each individual has exclusive control of his or her own physical body.
  • Rule 2:  The exclusive control of a previously unowned scarce resource belongs to the first person to "homestead" the resource.
  • Rule 3:  The exclusive control of a newly produced scarce object belongs to the person to created the object (as long as they owned the component resources that they made it from).
  • Rule 4:  Justly acquired control over scarce resources can be given away or traded by voluntary agreement.
  • These four rules together comprise the non-aggression principle.
Protecting yourself from straightforward aggression is a practical matter. Protecting yourself from aggression that is disguised with bogus moral justifications is more complex: you need your own moral compass to avoid confusion. The purpose of this series has been to outline the principles necessary to reconstruct valid moral rules for yourself, so that you are not duped by bogus moral justifications.

Show Notes:

Listen to Episode 153


25 April 2014

152 Your Own Moral Compass Part 2

Part two in a series on developing your own independent moral compass. Four criteria are outlined that can be used to assess whether any law or rule of behaviour is moral. The criteria discussed are:
  1. Enables conflict avoidance regarding scarce resources
  2. Universal
  3. Logically coherent
  4. Actions always speak louder than words (any rule can't involve a so-called performative contradiction)
Listen to Episode 152

17 April 2014

151 Your Own Moral Compass

An episode about developing your own independent moral compass. Topics covered:

  • The huge influence of morality and moral arguments.
  • Examples of different approaches to morality.
  • The real purpose of shared moral rules.
  • The benefits of developing your own moral compass.


Listen to Episode 151

14 April 2014

150 Becoming an Entrepreneur

An episode about my new book Becoming an Entrepreneur: How to Find Freedom and Fulfillment as a Business Owner. Topics covered include:

  • First reviews of the book from readers. 
  • What the book is about and why I wrote it. 
  • The process of writing and self-publishing, including my struggles along the way. 
  • My experiment in crowdsourcing feedback with "beta-readers" from TVL listeners. 
  • Future plans. 

If you would like to review the book on Amazon, or your blog, or your podcast, or anywhere visible, I will happily give you a review copy. Just write to me at jake [at] thevoluntarylife [dot] com and ask for a review copy.

Show Notes:

4 April 2014

149 Career Breaks and Travel: Interview with Pete Blacow


Pete Blacow has taken two career breaks to travel the world. In this episode he shares his experience of long-term travel and taking time out from working. Topics covered include the practical issues of taking a career break, the pros and cons of long-term travel, and Pete's recommendations for anyone interested in travelling the world.

Show Notes
Listen To Episode 149

31 March 2014

148 Mental Decluttering

This episode is about freeing your mind by decluttering all your mental baggage on a regular basis. Topic covered include:
  • The benefits of going on an information and media diet
  • The importance of having a trusted system for how to declutter your mind and control the information buildup around you.
  • The role of a weekly clear-out, as part of a weekly review 
  • Applying the "inbox-zero" approach beyond email to digital inboxes, physical inboxes, social inboxes, and life in general.
Show Notes

19 March 2014

147 Out Of The Box Interview: Financial Freedom and Personal Development

Comedian Rosie Tran (@FunnyRosie) interviews financial freedom advocate, investor, and host of The Voluntary Life Podcast, Jake Desyllas (@thevoluntary). They discuss the various ways to escape the rat race. Jake talks about the different techniques he has discovered, including unjobbing, extreme saving, business ownership, investing, and more. Also, in depth discussion on the importance of personal and self development in the process of financial freedom.


Listen to Episode 147

13 March 2014

146 Freedom Lovin' Interview: Living In Mexico

This episode is an interview that I did with Kevin Koskella from Freedom Lovin podcast. Kevin and I talk about expat life in Mexico: the pros, cons and experiences.


Listen to Episode 146