Cameron Wislang’s life in books (Image: Tina Tiller)
Cameron Wislang’s life in books (Image: Tina Tiller)

BooksApril 10, 2024

‘No singular book is going to be useful for everyone’: Reading tips of a budgeting legend

Cameron Wislang’s life in books (Image: Tina Tiller)
Cameron Wislang’s life in books (Image: Tina Tiller)

Welcome to The Spinoff Books Confessional, in which we get to know the reading habits and quirks of New Zealanders at large. This week: Cameron Wislang, author of Budget Like a Legend.

The book I wish I’d written

Easy as, The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape. It has set the bar for conversational and easy-to-understand finance books in my humble opinion. He breaks everything down in such an approachable way that appeals to the masses, and obviously it worked pretty well!

Everyone should read

Everyone should read a couple of different finance books to get a range of views about personal finance. Everyone’s journey and circumstances differ, so what relates to one person won’t necessarily hit the right spot for the next. No singular finance book is going to be useful for everyone and every situation, so it’s important to sample the buffet!

The book I want to be buried with

Is it biased to say my own book? Like everyone, I’m pretty good at giving out advice, but less good about taking it myself and doing what I tell everyone else to do. I think if I was buried with it, our time spent together in the grave would probably force me to follow the advice I give.

From left to right: The book Cameron Wislang wishes he’d written; the book he would be buried with (his own book, out now); and the book that made him cry.

The first book I remember reading by myself

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. It really captivated my mind when I was younger, and still now I think those books are a masterpiece. They’re so whimsical yet thrilling, and allow the reader to put themselves in such vivid scenarios. This is especially neat as a kid. Side note: the books are way better than the Netflix series.

The book that made me cry

Secret Of The Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman. When I was really young and I was getting bullied at school my mum got me this book. It’s all about teaching kids resilience to life’s adversities.

The book I never admit I’ve read

Um, definitely not Fifty Shades of Grey. Why would I have read that? I’ve heard the plot is terrible.

The book character I identify with most

You know the girl from Gone Girl? Probably her. She makes unhinged decisions, sure, but it all somehow works out well in the end. Plus, a lengthy getaway to a remote location sounds pretty ideal right now.

From left to right: the first book Cameron Wislang remembers reading by himself; the book he definitely hasn’t read; and the book with the relatable character.

Best place to read

I love sitting cross-legged in my egg chair in the sun on a warm day, with a G&T and a good book. This is provided that my kids don’t come and try to jump on me. And it was also a bit better before we lived at the beach and the egg chair wasn’t rusting away.

Favourite encounter with an author

A couple of years back, while my wife was heavily pregnant, we decided to go see Urzila Carlson (comedic genius) perform. After the show we went to purchase her book and get it signed and take a photo with her. She looked Kaitlyn up and down and said: “You’re not going to spill your pregnancy juices and baby on me are you?!” It was fab!

Best thing about reading

Being able to take in different scenarios, opinions, and world views, relating them to your own experiences. Reading can help you broaden your mind and try and see things from other people’s views, all while having the ability to put it down if it’s something you really don’t like. 

Budget Like a Legend (HarperCollins, $35) is available now from Unity Books Wellington and Auckland.

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