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Short Book Reviews

The Internet may have opened doors to information but nothing beats the old-school way of expanding the mind, reading. It doesn't matter whether it's a printed or digital book version, you'll always experience or learn something new from books of any genre. Here are short book reviews of some titles I was able to catch up reading on during these trying times of Covid-19. 

Short Book Reviews

Work and Career

The Multi-Hyphen Method by Emma Gannon

"Work Less, Create More: How to Make Your Side Hustle Work for You"

The Multi-Hyphen Method Emma Gannon

I just stumbled upon this copy on one of those local book fair events. If my memory serves me right, it was the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale Manila 2019 at the World Trade Center. The book instantly caught my attention as it seems to have coined a term that can describe what most freelancers online do these days - being multi-hyphenates

In a nutshell, the book was able to defend the gig economy culture, juggling multiple projects of different industries at the same time instead of being confined to just one career title. So you can be a digital marketing specialist - blogger - YouTuber - (and insert more hyphens here) - all you want if you earn a considerable income from all those combined. 

Apart from defining what this new work culture is all about, it also provides insight when it comes to managing money, time, and people. 

It's worth a read if your work can be described as a part of these: gig economy, freelance work, digital nomad, and work from home. 

Productive Pinoy by Yeng Remulla

Productive Pinoy Yeng Remulla

This 2011 book is filled with timeless pieces of advice that are applicable for work, business, and personal life. The use of popular Filipino quotes as headings make them effectively convey useful pieces of advice because the terms are relatable for Pinoys. The author paints a different picture of common local mottos, making them positive instead of the usual negative connotation they’re associated with. If you’ve thought of phrases like, “Ningas Cogon,” “MaƱana Habit,” and the like, then you have an idea of what’s in store. 

Just a heads up for those who aren’t open to religious writings, this book features several Biblical verses including an opportunity to share the message of salvation at the end (think John 3:16). 

Start Something by Yeng Remulla

Start Something Yeng Remulla

This book was published 2 years after Productive Pinoy. It’s a fitting follow-up to the previous book; after learning to be productive, we now face the challenge to start something - be it a business venture or any type of personal project. 

Like the first book, this one is filled with inspiring Biblical truths but not everyone will be inspired by those. That aside, the book is both inspiring and informational for anyone who wants to "start something." This could be where you’ll finally have the needed push to begin. 

However (unrelated to the book), some of the brands and businesses cited are already closed or inactive (well, COVID-19 happened to everyone else too so never mind). Anyway, what’s inspiring is their journey from being nothing to starting something. 

Business and Finance

business and finance books

Some of the books below can be appropriately categorized under Business and Finance but the values they teach can well be considered about life and living in general. 

Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

Rich Dad, Poor Dad Robert Kiyosaki

I first heard about Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki while reading a local finance-related book. I got a copy of the book before the author declared bankruptcy in 2012 for one of his businesses, Rich Global LLC. after former business partners demanded almost $24 million shares for a profit. Kiyosaki said it exceeded what the company is worth and wasn't willing to pay for the damages using external funds (his other businesses); hence, bankruptcy was declared for protection. 

Despite that setback in 2012, he is still considered by many as a financial guru. Declaring bankruptcy even looked like a sound financial decision then. His estimated net worth is supposedly still at $100 million+ as of 2020. 

Back to the book, what I like about it is that it's a good introduction to why we should break out from the norm of being part of the system - getting an education and then working. It's because employees will remain participants of the rat race and will continue to work for someone else to earn money. It's the investors and business owners who dictate how the world works, at least in terms of finances. In short, the poor work for money while the rich make money work for them.  

What I don't like is how those who are contented to just follow the system are depicted. Believe it or not, some people still prefer a simple life and are not aiming to be rich or amass money. In short, not everyone wants to become rich and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. 

Nevertheless, this book is still worth the read for financial inspiration more than two decades after it was first published. 

Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Ecker

Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth  T. Harv Ecker

This book covers not just the visible side (including technical know-how, knowledge, etc). when it comes to wealth; it talks about the invisible too (our money blueprint). 

Structure-wise, it lacks the division of chapters but neatly divides the book into three majors parts: The Money Blueprint, The Wealth Files, and what to do after. 

The Money Blueprint 

The Money Blueprint digs into childhood programming as it relates to our behavior towards and about money later on in life. While there are other factors that may affect how we think, how we were raised as a child is not surprisingly one major factor in our money blueprint. 

The Wealth Files

The Wealth Files section is where all the good stuff can be found, but they can only be effective once that childhood programming on money is recognized to change it. The section features 17 ways rich people think and act differently from the poor and middle class

A lot of those files are eye-openers. I fall into both the poor and middle-class bracket because several of the files accurately describe how I think and act in terms of money. 

At some point, I disagree with what the author says. There were even sections when I felt personally attacked and offended. 

The declarations and intentions in this book also somewhat feel like “The Law of Attraction (LOA)” and its “manifestation” guide; a territory I am just starting to explore but not yet fully there so sometimes I cringe when I verbally state the declarations. Anyway, this book’s version of LOA is not 100% just positive, the declarations first unroot the problem (reality) to deal with it. So it’s not just plain positive thinking. There's an actual process which can be summarized this way: 








I noticed how the Millionaire Mind events have been mentioned numerous times throughout the book as well. But then again, that’s one of the pointers on the Wealth Files section: about promoting yourself and your value. 

For the most part, though, I’m glad I read this book. I highly recommend it. 

The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason

The Richest Man in Babylon George S. Clason

The ancient city of Babylon is known throughout the ages for being a prosperous kingdom. Its success isn’t solely due to leadership; the people are skilled in various trades including business and finance. This book features timeless truths about money from the city’s citizens, which they etched in stone tablets, that are surprisingly applicable to this day. 

There are numerous noteworthy lessons from each chapter of the book. These are some of the ones that resonated well for me:

Keep a tenth from each earning. 

Interesting how this is similar to how we save money in the modern world. The old Babylonian money gurus call it paying yourself a tenth or fattening your purse first. The concept is the same as saving 10% from anything you’ve earned, whether it’s from a paycheck, side hustle, business, and so on.
Control thy expenditures.

This is also similar to budgeting or strictly making living expenses revolve around the budget allocated. 

Make thy gold multiply.

This is about investing once there is enough money saved after fattening thy purse. And invest only after doing due diligence first. Work with people who know what they are doing. 

Budgeting and Debt Management

There was a story about a Babylonian camel trader who was in debt. He followed a system that eventually helped him out of debt. He first spoke with everyone he owed money to offer a payment arrangementHe then divided his earning from trading using the 10/20/70 budget allocation: 

10% Savings
70% Expenditures 
20% Debt payments

A tenth still goes to paying himself. Once there’s enough accumulated from it, he made the gold multiply through investments. He and his wife strictly lived off the 70% even when there were trades that pay less. 

There was even a professor from the book author’s time (the early 1900s) who followed the same system and was able to successfully get out of debt too. 

There are numerous other stories from this book that can serve as inspiration. Ancient Babylon is long gone but the money lessons from a lot of its citizens are still very much alive to this day. 

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Another old book with timeless truths that are still applicable in the modern-day world is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It was published in 1937 and is like a lifetime project for Hill that it expanded 20 years of research collaborating with over 500 successful individuals including popular personalities in politics, business, finance, and more. 

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

In summary, Hill suggests 13 steps to riches which include desire, faith, auto-suggestion, specialized knowledge, imagination, organized planning, decision, persistence, power of the mastermind, the mystery of sex transmutation, the subconscious mind, the brain, and the sixth sense.

Many of the chapters or steps remind me of the Law of Attraction (LoA), claiming by faith (on the religious side), and other similar concepts where there’s some sort of spiritual, mental, or meta-physical power used to manifest dreams and make them come true. 


In this book, that LoA-like concept starts with “desire,” the first step. The chapter encourages readers to make their desires concrete by writing it down in a definitive sense ---complete with what, when, and how you are going to achieve it, and reading it aloud daily. 

Faith and Auto-Suggestion

The next step isn’t limited to the religious type of faith; it also involves having faith in one’s self. It’s also directly related to the next step, auto-suggestion because what you believe in (faith), becomes what you do. And like the first step, we are supposed to write down instructions to suggest to ourselves and read this upon waking up and before going to bed. 

Specialized Knowledge

This book was written when learning is limited to schools and libraries. In this age, we have more readily available sources online to learn specialized knowledge. 

Imagination and Organized Planning

Ideas, inspirations, and even “hunches” fall under imagination. You can transform such possibilities into life through organized planning. 

Forming, being part, or attending a “Master Mind” group can supposedly help you organize a plan. That doesn’t look practical (or even possible) in present-day times but associating with like-minded people functions the same ---hearing feedback and suggestions. Aside from this, the chapter is filled is numerous practical tips related to planning.

Decision and Persistence

The next chapters, decision, and persistence talk more about character. 

The Metaphysical

The rest of the remaining chapters (Power of the Master Mind, The Sub-Conscious Mind, The Brain, and The Sixth Sense) are interconnected as they focus on the metaphysical components, just like that chapter on auto-suggestion. 

I find the remaining chapters to be more controversial than the “Sex Transmutation” one. The latter highlights the role of women in a man’s career, be it positive or negative. Whereas, the other chapters talk about “forces that are unseen and intangible,” which include the concepts of a hunch, extra-sensory perception (ESP), and even telepathy as well as clairvoyance. 

The Brain as a Broadcasting and Receiving Station 

What got me most intrigued about is how the brain had been compared with the radio. Our brain is supposedly like broadcasting and receiving stations for vibrations of thoughts sent by other brains. If you are familiar with telepathy, mind-reading, and other similar concepts, it’s the same idea. It sounds like pseudo-science so to speak but there’s quite a similarity with some spiritual and religious practices, so it’s more aligned with metaphysics than science. 

In non-Catholic Christian churches, attendees are taught how to commune with God or the Holy Spirit for answers to prayers. Everything happens in the brain or the mind, so you just need to learn how to distinguish God’s voice from your own, and other sources. That “other” includes the devil, demons, and may well be other brain’s vibrations of thoughts. 

If you’ve watched Captain Marvel from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), prayer and communicating with God is similar to how the Kree people commune with their leader, the Supreme Intelligence. 

Even if you’re not into metaphysical ideas, this is still a good book, all in all as it’s applicable for various interests including business, finance, leadership, career, and more. 

About Financial Gurus in the Philippines

There are financially savvy communities locally, that don’t recognize nor even consider Chinkee Tan and Bo Sanchez, among others, as finance gurus in the Philippines. 

In defense of those authors, they probably don’t consider themselves as gurus anyway but are mentors for anyone willing to learn more in terms of money matters. I understand they do promote paid products or services but purchasing or paying for those are in no way obligatory. 

While some of the things they teach can be probably found on Google, it’s not easy to do that if you’re not even interested to know. Sometimes we need an outsider to make us realize how poor our mentality is when it comes to money before we start searching, learning, and stepping up our game. I know I once did. 

Financial Literacy Books (Philippines) 

So with that, these are more financial literacy books in the Philippine setting. 

Financial Literacy Books (Philippines)

Till Debt Do Us Part by Chinkee Tan

This one is broadcast and print media personality Chinkee Tan’s first book but I got to read a reprint release with former Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s commendation appearing in the first few pages. From what I’ve read, Mr. Tan had been invited as a motivational speaker to talk about personal finance for MalacaƱang employees during Aquino’s term. 

Till Debt Do Us Part Chinkee Tan

It’s no wonder why. This book is filled with valuable advice when it comes to money matters including getting out of debt, budgeting, and saving money. You will be  challenged to re-examine how you handle finances after reading this but without falling asleep. Because of his background in the entertainment industry, he delivers hard-hitting truths light-heartedly. 

For Richer & for Poorer by Chinkee Tan

For Richer or for Poorer Why the Rich get Richer and the Poor get Poorer Chinkee Tan

In summary, the difference between the rich and the poor is the mindset, particularly the money mindset. It all starts with the subconscious and makes its way to our habits, attitude, and lifestyle. While it does sound like several other popular foreign books of the same theme, this one is something Filipinos can relate with.  

This book will shake you. You may disagree or even feel offended at times but you can also consider it as a challenge to do better. 

Secrets of the Rich and Successful by Chinkee Tan

Secrets of the Rich and Successful Chinkee Tan

This is the shortest among the three books I’ve read from Mr. Chink Positive but it is as insightful as the other two. It lists what exactly can be done to improve life in terms of success and finances. 

In summary, the key points include hard work, patience, knowledge, and strategy. Imagine these as the four legs of a stool. As expected, since the author is a professed Christian, he included “faith” as the seat section of the stool to make it complete or balanced. 

Like most who struggled with having the time (or making time) to read, I haven't even removed the unread books' plastic covering since I got them from book fairs years ago! Anyway, we will one day get past this pandemic soon enough (I hope). Meanwhile, let's read one book at a time. 

Filipino Personal Finance Books

Here are more Pinoy money-themed short book reviews:

Comedy Book Reviews

Let me link other short reviews including this Filipino comedy book called The Panti Chronicles ‘Another Kikiam Experience.’

Would you believe that the well-respected lawmaker Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago also wrote books with a comedic theme? See Stupid is Forever and Stupid is Forevermore.

Wattpad Book Reviews

Feel free to judge but I won't deny that I enjoyed reading some Filipino Wattpad published books, whether written in English or Filipino. Here are some of them:


There are more short book reviews I posted on the website Goodreads. It's a good place to find user-submitted book reviews before you start reading the actual book. 

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