The Voluntary Life

23 October 2016

266 Self-Sufficiency And DIY: Good For Financial Independence?

Many people who write about financial independence emphasise the benefits of self-sufficiency and DIY as part of their lifestyle. Will it help your journey to financial independence to try to be self-sufficient? Does it make financial sense to do your own repairs and renovations? This week's episode provides a different perspective.

Show Notes:

Listen To Episode 266

15 October 2016

265 A Review Of Escape From Childhood By John Holt

John Holt was a leading figure in the school reform movement, who became increasingly interested in how children learn outside of school—what he called “unschooling.” He wrote many influential books about alternatives to schooling and he helped start the modern homeschooling movement.

In his book Escape From Childhood, the subject of this week's episode, he provided thought-provoking insights into many problems with how adults treat children, and a vision of how children could be treated with dignity and given greater freedom.

Show Notes:

Listen To Episode 265

3 October 2016

264 Thomas Stanley's Wealth Index

Financial independence is one of the core topics of The Voluntary Life. I've heard from listeners at all stages of the journey to FI— just beginning,  already achieved FI, and all the steps in-between. In a previous episode, I explained the milestones along the journey to FI, to help judge how far you have progressed if you are working towards this goal. In this week's episode, I share another tool for judging your progress.

In his book Stop Acting Rich, author Thomas Stanley explained a way to calculate your relative net worth, taking into account both your age and your income. He used this calculation to create a wealth index, which you can use to judge whether you are on the path to FI, or whether you are burning more of your income than you should.

In the episode I explain how the wealth index is calculated and provide commentary on how to use it. There is also a free website that does the calculation for you.

Show Notes:

Listen To Episode 264

27 September 2016

263 Thinking Rationally Part 9: Rational Ethics

As part of the thinking rationally series, this episode is about rational ethics. In the episode I provide a historical overview, focussing on the revolution in moral philosophy that happened during the Enlightenment. Although there was amazing progress during the Enlightenment, the contradictions of enlightenment thinkers eventually led them to lose their way on ethics and abandon a rational approach to morality. Understanding this background is helpful if you want to use rational thinking to make sense of ethics for yourself.

Show Notes:

11 September 2016

261 Thinking Rationally Part 7: The Irrationality Of Politics

Politics brings out the worst in people. As the economist Joseph Schumpeter put it,
"The typical citizen drops down to a lower level of mental performance as soon as he enters the political field. He argues and analyzes in a way which he would readily recognize as infantile within the sphere of his real interests. He becomes a primitive again."
This week's episode is about the problem of political irrationality. Why are political beliefs so irrational? How does this affect your life? Listen to the episode to find out more!

Show Notes:
Listen To Episode 261

4 September 2016

260 Overcoming Negative Emotions

Before I tell you about this week's episode, I'm overjoyed to share that our daughter Freya was born in August! Everything went well and she is a wonderful little person.

This week’s podcast is a little different. It is a review of Peter Breggin's book, Guilt Shame And Anxiety: Understanding And Overcoming Negative Emotions. This episode was originally published on another podcast that I do with my wife Hannah, The Psychology Book Club Podcast.

I'm including this episode here because Peter Breggin's book is very relevant to many topics covered on The Voluntary Life. In the episode, Hannah and I discuss the challenging ideas presented in the book and how they can help you achieve greater psychological freedom.

Show Notes

Listen to Episode 260

28 August 2016

259 Breaking Limits In Business And Life (The Limit Breaker Interview)

Earlier this year, I was interviewed on The Limit Breaker podcast. Fumnanya, the host of the show, asked me lots of interesting questions on the topic of breaking limits in business and life. We talked about my influences, founding and selling a business, the path to a job free life, and much more.

Show Notes:

Listen To Episode 259

21 August 2016

258 Getting Started With Productivity Systems (Valiant Growth Interview)

This week's episode is all about getting started with productivity systems. It is an interview that I did recently on the Valiant Growth podcast.  A lot of people want to start using productivity tools and systems, but feel overwhelmed by all the options, jargon, and complexity. This episode will give you clear pointers about how to start simple and achieve massive improvements to your productivity.

Show Notes
Listen To Episode 258

14 August 2016

257 How To Rock The Someday Maybe List

This week's episode is about one of my favourite productivity techniques: the Someday Maybe List. It is an idea from David Allen's book, Getting Things Done. Many people focus on other aspects of GTD and ignore this particular idea, but I love it. In the episode, I make suggestions about how to get the most out of a kick-ass someday maybe list. Topics covered include:

  • The Purpose of Someday Maybe List
  • The benefits of managing your list in Evernote
  • How tagging, sorting, images, and other Evernote features can make your Someday Maybe List more inspiring and useful.

Show Notes:

Listen To Episode 257

6 August 2016

256 Perpetual Travel With Kids Part 2: Interview With Mike And Lauren

Youtube presenters Mike and Lauren are back on this week's episode to talk about travel with kids. We also catch up about all the things that they have been up to since I last spoke to them back in Episode 164. Their adventures include having a baby in Costa Rica, buying an RV, transitioning to life on the road, and planning to buy a barge to live on in Europe!

Show Notes:

Listen To Episode 256

28 July 2016

255 The Path to Permanent Travel & Minimalism (World Wanderers Interview)

This week's episode is from and appearance I made on The World Wanderers Podcast back in March. Ryan and Amanda, the hosts of The World Wanderers, asked me about my path to perpetual travel and minimalism. Here's a summary of the show from their website:
Do you want to travel permanently? Are you wondering what to do with your stuff? Are you considering selling all your stuff?
On this episode of the podcast, Jake Desyllas from The Voluntary Life shares what it was like to sell everything and move to Panama. Jake shares how he sold a business, an apartment, and all of his clothing and stuff, except one bag. If you’re feeling stressed at the thought of that, you are not alone!
Jake shares what it has been like to live with less, and what the path to permanent travel has been like, including what has been done and what still needs to be done. He tells us what life has been like in Panama, and the pros and cons to life on the road.
Show Notes:

Listen To Episode 255

19 July 2016

254 Perpetual Travel With Kids Part 1: Interview With Go Curry Cracker

Recently, I had fun meeting Jeremy and Winnie from Go Curry Cracker in Brighton. You may remember them from Episode 162, in which we talked about their path to financial independence through extreme saving, and their lifestyle of perpetual travel in early retirement. In this week's episode, they talk about about their experience of perpetual travel as a family. Their son Julian makes makes a guest appearance too!

I plan to interview other parents who are undertaking perpetual travel with their kids. I already have a couple of people in mind to talk to, but if you have suggestions for guest on this topic, I'd love to hear them.

Show Notes:

Listen To Episode 254

13 July 2016

253 A Review Of The Power Of Less

This week's episode is a review Leo Babauta's book, The Power Of Less. This book is about using habits to help you focus on what matters in life. In the review, I talk about some of the most helpful ideas that I found in the book, especially the suggestions about establishing a productive morning routine to kickstart your day. I also talk about some of the limitations of the book, and make suggestions for other useful books on this topic.

Show Notes:

Listen To Episode 253

6 July 2016

252 Adapting To Big Changes (Featuring Hannah Braime)

Last summer, back in episode 271, my wife Hannah and I spoke about the beginning of our adventure moving to Panama.  In this week's episode Hannah is back, and we talk about a lot of big changes that have happened since then! The episode provides an insight into our story, but it also touches on many themes important to The Voluntary Life. We discuss travel, minimalism, and adapting to big changes in life.

Show Notes:

Listen To Episode 252

30 June 2016

251 Entrepreneurship And Personal Development (Valiant Growth Interview)

Entrepreneurship is not just about building a business, it is also about building yourself. I see entrepreneurship as an intensive personal development program. This week's episode is from a recent interview that I gave about this topic on the Valiant Growth podcast.

Show Notes:

Listen to Episode 251

17 June 2016

250 Job Free: Introduction

This week's episode contains the beginning of the audiobook version of my latest book, Job Free. Whether you want to achieve financial independence and retire early, or simply never work for anyone else again, this book provides an essential guide to the different lifestyle-design strategies open to you.

You can get hold of the audiobook on Amazon and Audible, and it will shortly be available on iTunes. If you prefer reading, you can also get a paperback or e-book version on Amazon.

Show Notes:

Listen to Episode 250

7 June 2016

249 How I Carry My 600-Book Library In Hand Luggage

If you are interested in minimalism or a travel-oriented lifestyle, moving to a digital-only book library is a great benefit. Even if you don't plan to travel, switching to e-books has a ton of other advantages over maintaining paper books. This episode is all about the tools and techniques for managing an e-book library, including:

  • Making the transition from a physical to a digital library. 
  • Choosing a database application for managing e-books. 
  • Organising an e-book library with tags and other metadata. 
  • Having a system for keeping your own notes about books. 

Show Notes:
Listen to Episode 249

31 May 2016

248 Thinking Rationally Part 6: Your Superpower For Self-Determination

This episode is about the role of rational thinking in life. Rational thinking is a discipline of self-mastery, similar to the discipline of achieving physical fitness. I tackle some misconceptions about rational thinking and answer these questions:

  • What does cognitive science tell us about thinking rationally?
  • What are the costs of thinking rationally, and what are the benefits?

Show Notes:
Listen To Episode 248

21 May 2016

247 Thinking Rationally Part 5: Reason And Emotions

If you want to think rationally, what role do your emotions play? Is there a conflict between thinking rationally and experiencing feelings? In this episode, I explain the history of ideas around reason and emotion, and provide an overview of how to think rationally about feelings. Although the Enlightenment was a revolution in thinking rationally, Enlightenment philosophers never resolved their contradictions about the relationship between reason and the emotions, leaving a legacy of confusion about this topic. Instead of slavishly following feelings or repressing and ignoring them, rational thinking gives you a deeper, richer emotional life. Rational thinking enables you to pay attention to your feelings and make use of their valuable information.

Show Notes:

Listen to Episode 247

15 May 2016

246 Thinking Rationally Part 4: Listener Feedback On Faith Versus Reason

So far, the Thinking Rationally series has generated more listener feedback than any of my previous episodes! In this episode, I respond to feedback on the topic of faith versus reason. Here are the questions covered:

  • Can reason be accommodated within religious faith?
  • Don't we all live by some kind of faith, anyway?
  • Do I argue that we are "nothing more than matter in motion"?
  • Did I present a fair history of Christianity?

Show Notes:
Listen to Episode 246

8 May 2016

245 Thinking Rationally Part 3: Anti-Rational Ideas

Rational thinking transforms your life, by giving you autonomy and the freedom of the individual. Since it spread during the Enlightenment, rational thinking has also transformed society and created the modern world. Yet many influential philosophers explicitly rejected rational thinking, because they understood where it would lead and did not like what they saw. This episode is about anti-rational ideas. I cover how these ideas emerged as a reaction to the Enlightenment, and why such anti-rational ideas are so popular today among contemporary philosophers.

Show Notes:

Listen To Episode 245

30 April 2016

244 Thinking Rationally Part 2: Imaginary Creatures and Machines

The biggest challenge of thinking rationally is not learning new techniques, it is overcoming irrational and anti-rational ways of thinking. In Part 1 of this series, I talked about how religious faith conflicts with your rational faculty. This episode is about a secular way of thinking that will derail your rationality. It is a way of thinking about society that seems to be very rational, but is in fact an abuse of reason. Listen to the episode to find out more!

Show Notes:
The Counter Revolution Of Science by Friedrich Hayek

Listen To Episode 244

23 April 2016

243 Thinking Rationally Part 1: Faith Versus Reason

Rational thinking is the engine behind all the great achievements of the modern world. It is the vital tool for making your own choices and for freeing yourself from prejudices and indoctrination. This series of episodes will summarise all the best ideas that I've found about how to think rationally. Part 1 uses the example of the history of Christianity in Europe to explain the conflict between religion and rational thinking.

Show Notes:
Listen to Episode 243