Finance for Actors: Our Top 5 Reads

"Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant." ~ P. T. Barnum


We love this quote from Barnum. Artists, especially, tend to have a tempestuous relationship with money — we desperately want more of it, yet view it as elusive, dirty, or perhaps even evil.


Money is simply a tool. A tool that our current reality requires. And a tool that — once we've read the instruction manual — can change the game of our creative lives.


We aren't financial advisors and don't pretend to play them on the internet. However, three years ago, we committed to finally stepping up and empowering ourselves in this arena. We've still got a lot to learn, but our finances have improved beyond recognition. Consequently, we feel it's worth at least starting to share some of our research and findings.



This list will be updated as we continue to level up, so be sure to circle back to check out new additions.


As Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases. This means if you pick up a book or two via the links below, a couple of cents come to us instead of Amazon (at no extra cost to you). Our thanks in advance for helping keep the Dojo up and running!



I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi

The San Francisco Chronicle described Sethi's style as "part frat boy and part Silicon Valley geek". While this is certainly an accurate portrayal of the vibe, it doesn't give testament to the true profundity of his six-week personal finance game plan.


Expect to first craft a personal definition of a "rich life", then get about setting up systems to make these dreams a reality. Expect, also, to find this a genuine page-turner.


Key highlights:

  • "Whenever I make money I didn't expect, I use 50 percent of it for fun - usually buying something I've been eyeing for a long time. Always! This way, I keep motivating myself to pursue weird, offbeat ideas that may result in some kind of reward. The other half goes to my investing account."

  • "Feed your system as much money as possible now. Every pound you invest today will be worth many more tomorrow."

  • "Getting rich isn't about one silver bullet or secret strategy. It happens through regular, boring, disciplined action."



The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape

Despite the book having an unapologetic Aussie focus, Pape's no BS approach to personal finance has won him a loyal international following.


Pape (aka The Barefoot Investor) gave up his financial services licence in 2020 and now works as a not-for-profit financial counsellor. He cuts through the crap and offers a step-by-step formula — complete with specific bank and investment names, as well as word-for-word phone and email scripts.


Key highlights:

  • "Most people can get themselves financially sorted in one year, then go on to become financially successful in six years."

  • "The truth is you can live like a multimillionaire today by cutting back on meaningless crap and diverting your spending to the little luxuries you use every day."

  • "There's one thing that researchers … have repeatedly found does have a measurable impact on your happiness: savings. That's because savings equals freedom. When you've got money in the bank, you're free to live life on your own terms. You have the power. You call the shots."



The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley

An oldie, but a goodie. This gem from 1996 pulls together a large body of research on the US' millionaire population. And the findings aren't what one would expect — "wealthy", for instance, doesn't necessarily equal "high-income".


Stanley explores the seven habits this population shares, then breaks down how we can implement each in our own lives. Notably, the wisdom has stood the test of time.


Key highlights:

  • "Interestingly, self-employed people make up less than 20 percent of the workers in America but account for two-thirds of the millionaires. Also, three out of four of us who are self-employed consider ourselves to be entrepreneurs."

  • "Have you ever noticed those people whom you see jogging day after day? They are the ones who seem not to need to jog. But that's why they are fit. Those who are wealthy work at staying financially fit. But those who are not financially fit do little to change their status."

  • "No matter how wealthy you are, teach your children discipline and frugality."



The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins

With over 5,000 reviews on Amazon and an average rating of 4.7 stars, The Simple Path to Wealth is hard to overlook.


Originally written as a series of letters to his daughter, Collins' advice is both accessible and transparent — perfect for those moving towards investing for the first time. Equally perfect for those (🙋🏼 guilty as charged) who've avoided investing for fear of complexity and overwhelm.


Key highlights:

  • "Stop thinking about what your money can buy. Start thinking about what your money can earn. And then think about what the money it earns can earn."

  • "Remember that nobody will care for your money better than you. With less effort than choosing an advisor, you can learn to manage your money yourself, with far less cost and better results."

  • "Plan your financial future assuming Social Security will NOT be there for you. Live below your means, invest the surplus, avoid debt and accumulate F-You Money. Be independent, financially and otherwise. If/when Social Security comes through, enjoy."



Happy Money by Ken Honda

Happy Money is a slightly different offering. Rather than diving into tactical practical suggestions as per the books above, Honda lays out an almost spiritual manifesto. Instead of nitty-gritty financial specifics, he explores our dolla dolla bill mindset(s).


Honda is a beloved Japanese personal development guru. His ethos is heavily influenced by Zen Buddhism, which provides a unique perspective on the world of finance. Pick up this one for heart and soul, not facts and figures.


Key highlights:

  • "Let me tell you something that you already probably know on an instinctive level: people who have more money or seem wealthier than you aren't any smarter than you or working any harder than you ... Working harder isn't the only answer."

  • "People who are confident aren't that way because they're rich. They are rich because they are confident! You need to trust before you get money. All success is an outgrowth of confidence."

  • "When you force yourself to earn money at a job you hate doing in the first place, it becomes that much harder to let that money go without a damn good reason ... When money feels hard to come by, it's definitely harder to let go of it."


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