Thoughts on the Engineering Industry

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Archive for the category “Leadership”

The state of infrastructure funding and the crisis in Flint, Michigan

Hello everyone, I know I’ve been away for awhile.  The truth is that I have trouble staying motivated with my blogpost, but hopefully this will be the start of a more productive year though.  As many of you know, there has been an infrastructure crisis going on in Flint, Michigan that is very serious and was very preventable.  There has been plenty of coverage on the crisis and the root causes of the whole situation there, but I wanted discuss a couple themes that are indicative of our problematic infrastructure policy in the U.S.

The initial fact that jumped out at me in the coverage is that engineers knew that this crisis would occur when the city of Flint, Michigan went through with its proposed plan.  It is one thing to go with a more budget appropriate option to resolve an engineering issue within a city.  Most engineers believe that it is better to have a higher quality engineering system in most cases.  We also realize that it isn’t always within the budget to do so. However, that does not mean that we reduce the quality of the engineering systems such that public lives are at risk.  To do so is to not only break our engineering code of ethics, but to also commit a criminal act and should at least warrant a loss of your professional engineering license.  In my opinion, the professionals involved with this project should have taken any and all actions to prevent the city from going through with these plans.

Furthermore, the fact that the city pushed for this unsafe plan, let alone considered it, is irresponsible of the city government.  In the least, the safety of all it’s residents should be the local, state, and federal government’s main concern.  That’s why we have police officers, fire fighters, social workers, etc.; because the government is an organization that is run for and by the people.  By placing the budgetary concerns before the safety of the residents of Flint, Michigan, the local government broke that implicit agreement and has failed as a government agency.

Additionally, the fact that they felt this pressure at all is indicative of a problematic policy in regards infrastructure spending as a whole.  In my opinion, there a some areas of responsibility that the government should not have strict budgetary constraint.  Most of them have to do with public/citizen health and safety.  Some of those organizations are obvious to identify such as police officers and fire fighters.  There are also some areas that indirectly affect public safety.  In my opinion, one of those areas is infrastructure, and we are failing on multiple counts.  There are bridges that are structurally deficient – a few that have collapsed endangering the public.  There was Hurricane Katrina where the failure of critical flood prevention infrastructure due lack of maintenance contributed to a massive loss of life in the days following the natural disaster.  The crisis in Flint, Michigan is another bullet point on a list failures that have recently occurred in regards to infrastructure maintenance and funding.

Moving forward from the Flint, Michigan crisis, I believe there needs to be a focus on improving infrastructure management on all government levels.  The situation in regards to the infrastructure management in the U.S. has gotten to the point that the safety of the public is increasingly at risk and it is unacceptable that this should be the case.

What are your opinions on the Flynt, Michigan crisis moving forward?  What steps should be taken to improve the situation overall?   If you enjoyed my post, hit the like button, follow my blog for updates and share this post with your friends.  Thanks for reading and have a good week!

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Four Basic Steps to Determine if your Shingle Roof Has Been Damaged by a Hail Storm

Hello everyone, I hope your weekend went well.  I went to see the new Bond movie with my brother Friday and last night I went to a west coast swing dancing class and social event.  Other than that, I’ve been doing my usual stuff like working out and my job inspecting buildings.  Today, I’ve decided to write a blog post explaining four basic steps to determine whether a composition shingle roof has been damaged by a hail storm and quantify the extent of damages.  I’ve avoided this topic for two reasons: one is that there is a lot of information out there about this already, and the second is that it takes some prior experience to make an accurate assessment.  However, it is one major component of my job and I feel like I can provide some practical information that will help you should you need it.

1) Look for spatter marks on surrounding surfaces (http://goo.gl/COQH3i)

Spatter marks serve as a indicator of the size and direction of the recent hail.  The size of the spatter can be compared to the impact marks elsewhere to determine the extent of recent damage.  The directionality can be determined as well by figuring out which directional faces have or do not have spatter.  In addition, spatter will fade over time – this can differentiate between different ages of spatter marks within a recent time period in most cases.

2) Look for impact marks at susceptible surfaces (http://goo.gl/m15Wmc)

Impact marks can also be observed on some metal and wood surfaces.  Air-conditioning units are a good indicator due to the fact that they have 4 sides and metal/coil fins that are either soft or oxidized.  Spatter can be observed as mentioned before, as well as indentations.  Furthermore, the indentations can be examined to check for soiling, oxidation, or other forms of staining to determine the relative age of the older indentations.

3) Look at the general condition of the roof (http://goo.gl/7p5Yul)

The general condition of the roof will also affect the extent of hail damage.  Examples of other things that damage shingles aside from hail are general weathering, mechanical scrapes, blistered asphalt, and raised nails.  A roof with a worse general condition will be more susceptible to damage and could reduce the compensation should you involve the insurance company, similar in practice to automobile insurance compensation.

4) Look for hail impact marks and examine their condition/quantity (http://goo.gl/2nguV8)

The last step is to look for hail impact marks on the shingles.  Sometimes a relative age can be determined by checking for weathering of the reinforcement or asphalt within the exposed asphalt/shingle reinforcement.  To quantify the extent of damage, you can count the number of recent and/or old hail impact marks, as well as other general conditions if desired, withing a 10′ x 10′ square.  This is referred to as a test square by engineers and inspectors in the roofing business and is helpful information when estimating the cost of various types of repairs.

These 4 steps are the basic process I use to determine the extent of damage to a shingle roof.  Does anyone else have experience in roof inspections?  If so, what would you add to this list as a basic procedure?  For homeowners, have you had to deal with an issue like this before and how was the experience?  If you enjoyed my post, hit the like button, follow my blog for updates and share this post with your friends.  Thanks for reading and have a good week!

Image source

http://goo.gl/1MbnTT

4 Steps for Selecting a New Goal

Hello everyone, I hope you have been doing well in my absence.  I’ve gotten side-tracked lately with work and other stuff, but I’m going to try and get into blogging again – hopefully it will stick this time.  Today, I would like to talk about the process I like to use for determining whether I should set a new goal in current or new interest. There is a lot of advice about how to make a goal SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. However, advice on determining what your new goals should be is not discussed as often.  Hopefully, by following these 4 steps, you can increase your engagement in achieving new goals.

1. Determine whether or not the goal will remain compelling
If you’re like me, you try a lot of different things because you like the new experiences.  However, not all of them will necessarily be something that engages you over a long time period.  Something that is just a for-fun, random experience might be not be a good candidate for a new goal until you try it more often.

2. Determine what some possible end results would be
Try and imagine what the end result would look like. It might sound cool; but if you take some time consider how the end goal fits with your overall life plan, it helps you figure out if this goal is something you truly want to pursue.

3. Determine how much time you want spend achieving this goal and how much time it would take to actually do so
By determining how much time is required on a base level, you can determine if you realistically have the time or want to spend the time achieving this goal.  This goal could be a great idea until now, but the time required might not be practical.

4. Determine if this is something you would like to achieve in comparison to some of your other interests
Compare all of the above to current and new goal requirements. If it makes it past the steps above and any new or current goals don’t similarly conflict with it, you should consider setting up a concrete plan for completion.

The above steps are a basic process I use for determining new goals that I have found really helpful.  Especially since I have this desire to be good at everything and that is not practical on any level.  Hopefully, this helps you in determining good goals in the coming months.

Do y’all have any thoughts on these steps? And do y’all use a process like this for selecting goals? If yes, what is the process?  If you enjoyed my post, hit the like button, follow my blog for updates and share this post with your friends.  Thanks for reading and have a good week!

Achieving Long Term Goals Using the Rule of Three

Hello everyone, I hope everything is going well.  Today I want to go off of the usual engineering topic and share a recent idea I heard about from a guest speaker at a church event.  The idea is to basically limit yourself to a few important tasks for the day to meet your short term and long term goal obligations you have selected for yourself.  I’ve heard several variations of this, but the recent version I heard about is the “rule of three” as used by General Norman Schwarzkopf.

The initial step to this is having an overall plan for your life and creating goals to achieve them.  Maintaining a personal life plan has been something I’ve done for a while now.  I learned this process from Michael Hyatt – if you are curious for more information on this it is described in an e-book at the following link: http://goo.gl/2P01pi.  The basic premise is to figure out what you want to be known for, describe your life around that narrative, and set goals to accomplish that.  The goal setting part is the crux of this.  Most people can tell you what they want to be known for and the preferred life around that vision with a little bit of thought.  The difficult part is setting some achievable goals and completing them.

This is where the rule of three comes into practice.  In accomplishing the goals for this life plan, it is best to focus on doing a few things well throughout the week.  The rule of three is an organized method of doing this.  The method follows as such, set 3 tasks for the day, 3 goals for the week, 3 goals for the month, and 3 goals for the year.  This means that you are focusing on three relatively simple tasks.  However, it also ensures that you are keeping in mind your goals for your week, month, and year accordingly.  Along with benefits in general life goals, it looks better in other areas of your life.  The best example given in the talk is in reports to your boss.  Which sounds better – “I have made progress on 7 tasks” or “I have completed 3 tasks?”  The takeaway from this is that having an ambitious goal for your life is important, but that breaking it up into manageable chunks is critical.  The Rule of Three is a simple system to apply in breaking up your goals into tasks.

What is your preferred method for setting and accomplishing goals?  Do you think the Rule of Three is a practical method or do have something that you think works better? If you enjoyed my post, follow my blog for updates and share this post with your friends.  Thanks for reading and have a good week!

What does it truly mean to be an expert?

Hello everyone! I hope y’all had a good week.  Today I just wanted to share a quote I read online that describes what it means to be an expert in a field of study.  The quote is from Pablo Picasso: “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

Pablo Picasso is well known for his abstract art that was definitely considering breaking the rules at the time.  Yet he was a legitimately good artist, which means he was technically a professional painter.  It initially seems like a a quote anecdotally reference to his views as an artist. However, if you dig a bit deeper into what is really beings said, it can be applied to a lot of different fields of study.  Think about a business man.  He might have some issues in selling a product.  There is probably a standard process that is followed to resolve the standard issues, but in this case it might not apply.  Therefore, by knowing the rules, he knows when is the right time to break them to achieve the results he desires.  It can be applied to engineering or science type stuff as well.  Every new break through in science and engineering occurred because some who would be considered a pro and studied in their field made a connection that hadn’t been made before.  They succeeded because they went against the norm (“broke the rules”) at the right time and discovered a way to improve a product, project or application.  So with this greater concept in mind, it becomes clear that an expert in any field of study knows not only when to follow the standard rules in a given situation, but also when those rules don’t apply and another solution needs to be found.

With that being said, I am going to leave you guys with this thought and hopefully you can implement it well in your career or life general – never get so caught up in the rules that you forget to break them when it comes time to do so.  As I have told many people before about my job, I have a lot of boring days where people wonder why I need my degree and other technical skill sets to do my job.  However, that knowledge informs me when a serious situation could come up that needs to be addressed, and I used that knowledge to prevent any further issues.  How do you guys interpret the quote?  Is there a particular story and event that describes your opinion?  If you enjoyed reading, like the post and share it with your friends.  Thanks for your time and have a good week!

Image Source

“Problem-solving is the Problem”, Florian Totu, blog.opteemum.net, August 10, 2012, http://goo.gl/YNzbI4

Tax incentives for promoting renewable energy production

Hello everyone, I hope your week is going well.  Today I would like to look at a topic that is less technical and a more political – how to implement tax incentives that promote sustainable energy production.  I believe that this is a topic that gets over-politicized and some information needs to be shared in an objective way.

Currently, there are a lot of subsidies provided to oil companies.  According to Oil Change International, the subsidies range from $10 to $52 million annually in the US.  Internationally, the subsidies are somewhere between $775 billion and $1 trillion.  As of July 2014, Oil Change International estimates this years subsidies to be about $35 billion.  $2.4 billion of those subsidies go to the big 5 oil companies in the form of federal tax deductions: BP, Exxon, Chevron, Shell, and ConocoPhillips.  Subsidies also go to “independent” oil companies which, which are larger operations than the name implies.  These companies produce about 50% of the oil.  The rest of the subsidies are earned through loans or aid certain types of operations such gas exploration and production at an estimate value of $18.5 billion on the federal level and $21.6 billion on the state level.  After that, there are consumption subsidies which amount to $11 billion.  Along with the subsidies, infrastructure loans are provided to the companies which amount to about $4.7 billion.  It shouldn’t be noted that the article goes on to recommend that these subsidies be reduced and also outlines roadway maintenance and health concerns.  That being said, I am trying to keep the references focused on the raw data in this section.

In comparison, the subsidies for renewable energy are lower.  A report by Nancy Pfund and Ben Healey shows that the renewable energy has a lower initial investment and projected investment over a 30 year span overall.  The historical average of annual subsidies of renewable energy is $370 million as compared to $4.86 billion for oil and gas, $3.5 billion of nuclear and $1.08 billion for biofuel.  Interestingly enough, nuclear had far greater initial investment than the other forms of energy; however, safety concerns caused there to be a large reduction those investments.

My current opinion is that we need to strip away a lot of the “blank check” type subsidies.  While there are probably subsidies for every industry that could fit in this category, the worst offender in this regard is the oil and gas industry.  I also think that some practicality is warranted too.  In my opinion, oil and gas will still always be the best option for hauling goods across the country for the next couple of decades.  Renewables can’t provide the efficiency needed and other tech such as nuclear is not scaleable enough for that yet.  For electric power production, I believe renewables can’t completely fill that gap either and stable energy production is needed for peak hours.  With all that being said, a balanced merit system needs to be applied to energy subsidies to produce the most sustainable energy infrastructure possible.

What is your opinion on how to best subsidize energy industry?  What is your opinion on the current state of subsidies?  If you enjoyed reading this post, like this post and share it.  Thanks for reading have a good day.

Sources

“Fossil Fuel Subsidies”, Oil Change International, 2014, http://goo.gl/BYdMg

Nancy Pfund and Ben Healey, “What Would Jefferson Do?: The Historical Role of Federal Subsidies in Shaping America’s Energy Future”, September 2011, http://goo.gl/XuioTH

Image Source

Roger H. Bezdek and Robert M. Wendling, “Energy Subsidy Myths and Realities”, June 2012, http://goo.gl/A8Ws96

Four Ways You Can Improve Your Wardrobe

Hickey Freeman

Hello everyone, I hope you guys are doing well.  Today, I thought I would take break from engineering topics and discuss four important considerations for a work wardrobe.  I know this can get far more detailed and will apply differently depending on the person and job position.  However, by working on these four general considerations, you can improve your wardrobe a lot in regards to looking well put together and professional.

1) Body Type and Fit

This is one consideration that can be applied to all types of clothing and the various situations at work.  If the clothing is too baggy or tight when you wear it, it will make you look unprofessional.  The fit that works best will vary depending on body type and it’s something I’m not completely knowledgeable on myself.  However, there are plenty of resources on the web to figure this out.  My recommendation is to take 15 minutes to do some basic research on standard clothing fit and trends that work for your body type when you go shopping and it will improve your appearance a lot.

2) Traditional Color and Pattern Conventions

This is one of the clothing topics that is not discussed as often as it should be in my opinion.  Everyone knows some basic rules like a black suit being traditional for weddings and funerals.  Another common one is navy blue for sales and a check or stripe pattern for a bolder yet professional appearance.  To give an example the opposite, it might look funny khaki dress pants to an evening event – a better option for something casual would probably be blue or gray.  Again, I am not expert on this but look some stuff up on-line and it will go along way in improving your outfit choices.

3) Coordinate your new purchases with your current wardrobe

Your wardrobe will be far more useful and you will have more outfit options if you consider what you already have when buying clothing.  You will also have a wardrobe that is more versatile in variety of situations if you buy clothing that can be used for multiple purposes with multiple outfits.  Furthermore, you look sharper because you can create more unique outfits.  There are several opinions on the optimal level of variety and versatility; but as long as an effort is made to consider this basic concept, it will improve your wardrobe.

4) Find your style and feel confident

The bottom line is that there no one right way to dress.  There are guidelines that are suggested and some are definitely more important than others; however, good style and confidence can trump some of those guidelines.  So my recommendation is have fun and find something that you feel good wearing, then you can apply the above recommendations accordingly.

If you want some good resources on style and clothing in general I recommend these two blogs: i am alpha m and real men real style.

Do you guys agree with these recommendations?  Is there anything you would add to this list?  Feel free to like and share the post if you enjoyed reading.  Thanks for your time and have a good week!

Image reference

http://goo.gl/69aKRG

Trust yourself. Create the kind of person that you will be happy with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.

Great quote. It speaks to the truth that accomplishment and happiness is achieved one step at a time.

Don Charisma


«Trust yourself. Create the kind of person that you will be happy with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.»

— Foster C. McClellan


DonCharisma.com-logo-4 Charisma quotes are sponsored by DonCharisma.com – you dream it we built it … because – “anything is possible with Charisma”

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Critical Elements Required for Telling Good Stories

Hello everyone!  I hope everything is going well.  I have some good news today – I have officially accepted a job with Unified Building Sciences and Engineering.  I’ll be doing Structural Forensic Engineering work, so I might shift my blog over to stuff I learn in that field a bit more.  However, today, I like to talk about something a bit less technical and that is how to tell a story.  When I was thinking about my interview, and soft skills related to sales/interview type stuff, I realized that this would be a good topic to cover.  This is a skill that a lot of people know about and know someone who does have it.  Additionally, it is assumed that it is something naturally learned and that a person either has this skill or doesn’t have this skill.  However, I have learned how to do this somewhat better and I believe everyone can learn how to do this to some degree.  I will discuss some of the key elements I find important below.

Know Your Audience

This one of the most critical elements of successful story telling.  I have known a lot of people in my life who don’t always apply this concept and it can turn a reasonably well told story into something that completely shuts down conversation.  By knowing your audience and adjusting your story to fit them, your story is far more effective and is more likely to accomplish your desired goal.

Know the Purpose of the Story
This is very similar to know your audience but I put this in a separate category because I believe it is separate in nature.  You can have the same audience, but the purpose of what you are doing can change; furthermore, this change in purpose can change how you tell the story.  A good example I can think of is initially talking to a client to get a project, and then later having a conclusion of project type of conversation.  In the first case, you might want to be more cautious and expository about your defining characteristics and your future goals.  In the second case, they hopefully have an idea what those previously mentioned goals/characteristics are and you would want to focus more on results and the bottom line benefits for all the concerned parties.  So in this case, we would have the exact same audience, but the purpose of your story telling would be very different.

Quickly Set the Stage

This is one that I thought about combining to the one below, but I wanted to put it separate because I believe a lot of engineers have had to struggle with this.  As engineers, when we solve a problem, we are taught to write down the initial facts to be doubly sure of all the facts before we even start.  However, in story telling, people want enough facts to get to the point of story and what to take away as a result.  It is my belief that these two ways of thinking can conflict at times.  My personal method of choice is to reduce as much of this exposition as possible; then if they clearly misunderstand or have questions, I can go back and explain in more detail now that they have seen the larger picture.

Succinctly Describe What Happened, the Result and Why It’s Important
This one is critical as well because the audience can get bogged down if this is too slow.  When telling the story, it’s okay to be descriptive or even humorous depending on the situation.  But if a sentence or statement isn’t adding something of value to the story, people will lose focus.  So when telling a story, the speaker needs to moving through the three steps above in a succinct and engaging manner for the best results possible.

Relax, Have Fun and Be Yourself

This is essential to any good story in my opinion.  You can do all of the above well, but clearly don’t find it entertaining in any way the audience will know.  So any time you go to tell a story, you should relax, enjoy the situation, and find a way to naturally express yourself.  If you make a mistake, laugh at yourself and people will forgive you most of the time.  And that genuine humor and ease will be very engaging.

In conclusion, I believe that by focusing on these steps everyone can improve as story tellers to some degree.  This should yield more productive conversations with clients and better working relationships overall.

Do you agree with this list?  Are there any other elements I left out?  Thanks for your time and have a good week!

Personal Book Recommendations for Engineers

Hello everyone.  I hope y’all have been doing well.  Nothing new has happened with me – I’m still just looking for work and trying to keep up with my engineering skills.  I will start substitute teaching again, but it’s only going to be a day job.  Today, I want to take a break from writing about engineering topics to share some books that I would recommend reading.  They will focus on career and also some personal finance; along with that, they will vary from history/documentary type narratives to lighter, anecdotal narratives.

Books for Engineering/Business

These are books that apply to engineering or teach lessons that can applied in the practice of engineering.

“Don’t Throw This Away! The Civil Engineering Life” by Brian Brenner, PE

http://goo.gl/3BQpzj

This is a book that most civil engineers would enjoy.  It’s pretty much all stories of the authors experience as a civil engineer.  There is a fun aspect to the book which makes it a very enjoyable read.  It also does a good job of have a relevant moral to each story.  Some morals are just a humorous observation of the engineering practice and some pertain to practical lessons he has learned.  It manages to strike a good balance between educational, informative, anecdotal, and fun.

“The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World” by Daniel Yergin

http://goo.gl/2IWUW9

This book is the opposite of the previous in tone, writing style and length.  This will be slow read and at times very dry.  However, if I were to recommend a book that could answer almost any current question on energy sources and production this would be it.  It pretty much is a history and analysis with a bit of trend prediction for all areas of the energy sector; be warned – it can feel monotonous at times.  However, my recommendation is that you break it up into pieces – that’s how I did it.  By the end, you should have a basic picture of how the energy sector works, why that is, and the likely future of the market.  As a civil engineer, I am glad I have read this book and have that knowledge because I feel like it affects our industry a lot.

“Standout” and “Go Put Your Strengths to Work” by Marcus Buckingham

http://goo.gl/I2NxOm

http://goo.gl/6AJWMt

These two books are recommended for different reasons.  I grouped them together because they are written by the same author and essentially complete the same goal – find your ideal job and position within a company.  And I recommend you read both because they address different aspects of finding the right position.  The first one called “Standout” is much shorter than the second and focuses on the role within your specific position you would be best at.  For example, my standout traits are stimulator, advisor, and innovator; this means that what ever I feel called to do I like being the resident expert that stimulates thoughts and ideas and my preference is to always breaking new ground or trying something new.  And then there is “Go Put Your Strengths to Work” which focuses on skills.  So my skills are that I am good at analytically thinking through a problem and coming up with a practical solution – not surprising, engineer lol.  These two combined should help you find the skills you are good at doing along with the role you like to fill in applying those skills.  There are others he has written too but I haven’t read them.  Based on these two, it probably wouldn’t be a complete waste of time but I can tell you for a fact that I found these two very beneficial.

“Success Through Failure: The Paradox of Design” by Henry Petroski

http://goo.gl/QDMBMr

This is a book that outlines several basic examples of how design is improved through the correction of failures.  It starts kind of slow but once you get past the first couple of chapters it picks up.  It doesn’t try and advertise itself as a book that makes some epic or life changing assertions.  However, it does a good job of showing some examples of how you can improve a design after analyzing a failure and the similar lessons that you can apply in regards to preventing failure before it happens.

“Crush It: Why Now is the Now is the Time to Cash in on Your Passion” and “The Thank You Ecoonomy” by Gary Vaynerchuck

http://goo.gl/Lv1pjP

http://goo.gl/WQHLFh

I recommend both of these books because they will teach you how to use social media to build your personal, company, and apply hometown style customer service principals.  From the initial perspective of the civil engineering practice it may seem like these concepts may not be applicable. However, if you look at engineering entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, it seems like there ways these concepts can be applied.  And not only that, his energetic personality comes through when he tells his stories and describes the takeaway message which makes it a fun read.

Books for Finance:

These aren’t engineering or business books; however, these are some recommendations for money management which is knowledge everyone should have in my opinion.

“Million Dollar Portfolio” by the Motley Fool

http://goo.gl/m4d8m9

I recommend this book because it teaches you how to pick stocks and maintain a solid portfolio.  This does have one glaring hole in that it doesn’t talk about mutual funds, but the techniques it explains for picking stocks and managing a stock portfolio can be applied to mutual funds.  I don’t recommend using this as your only source if you’re investing on your own; however, it will educate you on the basic principles an investment advisor would discuss with you.

Any decent book on personal and estate finance

I don’t have specific book to recommend on this.  I read a book that my friend had on this but can’t remember the name.  It covered the basics of a stock portfolio, money saving rule of thumbs, and the different types of wills/trusts.  The reason I recommend this is that having this knowledge when it comes time to plan for your future finances and estates will help a lot.  That way, when it comes time to start discussing personal finance and plan for your future with your advisor, you can understand what he is trying to achieve and the financial mechanisms involved.

Those are some of my recommendations.  Have you read any of these books and what are your thoughts? Also, are there any books that you think should be added to this list?  Thanks for your time and have a good week!

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