The 4 books one early retiree used to quit working at age 34 with $3 million in the bank

  • Sam Dogen of Financial Samurai retired early at age 34 with $3 million in the bank.
  • He told Business Insider his net worth was a combination of dedicated savings and a negotiated severance package worth five years of living expenses.
  • Dogen shares the books that helped him achieve early retirement.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Sam Dogen of Financial Samurai left Wall Street behind eight years ago.

At age 34, he retired early with $3 million — the result of dedicated years of saving and smartly negotiating a severance package worth five years of living expenses.

He wrote about his negotiation process in his e-book, "How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Goodbye." The severance, he told Business Insider, was his number one catalyst to walk away from his six-figure job.

"If you are going to quit your job early, you might as well try to negotiate a severance," he said. "There is no downside. If you quit your job, you get nothing."

But this isn't the only book that helped Dogen achieve financial independence. Below, he shares four books he read to help set him on his path to early retirement.

'The Millionaire Next Door' by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko

"The Millionaire Next Door" profiles everyday, unassuming millionaires. Stanley and Danko analyzed 292 millionaires and found that many were first-generation and self-made. A classic financial help book, its central premise is that regular people can quietly accumulate wealth for a safety net or comfortable retirement.

"This book helped keep my spending in check and [helped keep] my belief that anybody can grow rich with the right habits," Dogen said. "A big part of achieving financial independence is believing you can."

Buy it here>>

'The 10-Day MBA' by Steven A. Silbiger

Dogen said "The 10-Day MBA" helped keep his finance knowledge fresh after receiving his MBA in 2006. He likened it to "getting an MBA for under $15."

"It is a great refresher and introduction to finance, marketing, and business for everybody," he said. "The more confident I was in finance, the better I did my job in finance and the more I invested in real estate and stocks in a risk-appropriate manner."

Even if you don't work in finance, this book has tools that can help you take the next step at work and consequently earn a bigger salary: think financial planning, leadership, and negotiation skills. It even has a section on real-estate investing.

Buy it here>>

'The Courage to Be Disliked' by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

For some early retirees, the decision to achieve financial independence at a young age is met with criticism. Personal development book "The Courage to be Disliked," which helps one let go of their inner restraints to find happiness, can help aspiring early retirees accept that they want a life outside of society's expectations.

"The book is an absolute must read for those who feel too timid to live a life on their own terms," Dogen said. "We come up with too many excuses for why we shouldn't do something. This book will make you recognize that you are your main barrier to achieving your goals."

Buy it here>>

'The Alchemist' by Paul Coehlo

This classic fable may be an unexpected choice for a helping one achieve financial independence, but Dogen said "The Alchemist" helps you center your soul to find what you truly want. Its lessons in pursuing your dreams are exactly the right motivation an aspiring early retiree needs to stick to their plan, according to Dogen.

"It's a short book that highlights what you've been looking for all this time might be right where you started," he said.

Buy it here>>

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