Tony's Reviews > Do More, Spend Less: The New Secrets of Living the Good Life for Less

Do More, Spend Less by Brad Wilson
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's review

it was ok
bookshelves: 2014, travel, money-money-money, reviewed, non-fiction

I paused to appreciate the moment. We were flying in international first class to a five-star hotel, enjoying a no-expense-spared two-and-a-half week European vacation with the finest services and amenities. The trip, had we paid cash, would have cost more than $50,000. Our cost? Zero.
What a life! I just knew I had to tell everyone else how they could live this way.

Of course, the trip wasn't only free if you ignore the costs involved in collecting enough airline miles, the taxes and fees that are charged even when you use those for "free" flights, the cost of booking (and not even staying in) other hotels every night for a month to earn the free nights at the five-star hotel, and the substantial time investment in learning the ins-and-outs of all these schemes well enough to be able to take advantage of the various lacunae lurking deep within them.

This is a classic case of over-promising and under-delivering. The author has chosen a very specific lifestyle that works well for him, but is largely impossible for most people — yet he acts like everyone should be able to do all the same things. But this is where most of the other reviews of the book are back-to-front. This was never going to be a book on how everyone can have a five-star lifestyle for no cost, because that's simply not feasible.

Rather that cutting all the stories of how he took maximum advantage of opportunities that no longer exist, to focus on the practical "Here's what you can do", aspects (as most reviewers seem to wish he'd done), the book should instead have gone entirely the other direction, dropping all the tediously dull instructional bits (most of which only work in the US, and will go out of date very quickly anyway), and simply telling more of the stories of times when he found out creative ways to play the system — like when he used the collapse of the Icelandic kroner to buy IcelandAir frequent flyer miles super-cheaply, and then redeemed them on Alaskan Airlines flights to Hawaii. These are the stories that make the book interesting and fun. The fact that the specific circumstances or loopholes behind these stories no longer exist, and can't be directly copied, isn't really relevant. They show the sorts of opportunities that appear from time to time, and the benefits you can get from grabbing them quickly, if you're willing to spend the time looking for them, and are in a position to use them. And, if you're not, well, at least the book would simply let you live vicariously a little.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
March 8, 2014 – Shelved
March 8, 2014 – Shelved as: 2014
March 8, 2014 – Shelved as: travel
March 8, 2014 – Shelved as: money-money-money
March 8, 2014 – Finished Reading
September 9, 2014 – Shelved as: reviewed
December 29, 2014 – Shelved as: non-fiction

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