Though “on vacation”, I’m actually hard at work. I’ve read three sample book proposals (including the proposal Leo from Zen Habits used for his new book, The Power of Less), finished two books on how to write them, and am beginning to jot down some ideas. My goal is to produce a book that is useful and entertaining, but which doesn’t just re-hash past content from the blog. I want it to stand on its own.

But, as always, I’ve also made time to surf the web, looking for other great personal finance stories like these:

“What if history doesn’t repeat itself?” asks Lazy Man. Earlier this week, I wrote that historically, the stock market has averaged a return of nearly 10%. Like many commenters on my article, Lazy Man believes that we’re experiencing a fundamental shift in the economy, and that maybe past returns just aren’t possible any more. He writes:

Does this mean that everyone in the United States is doomed? No. Now is the time to be proactive and think about the future of your field and your career. It’s time to take a few minutes and not think about what’s for dinner tonight, but what your long term plan is.

A couple of years ago, I shared a post about how much to tip in various situations. I included some guidelines for holiday tipping, but my list was incomplete. Liz Weston to the rescue! Over at MSN Money, she’s pulled together a guide to holiday tipping. (But is it really legal to tip the mail carrier? We usually give cookies to ours.)

At Lending a Hand, Scott has a list of 8 questions you should ask your lender when you apply for a mortgage. He writes: “The loan officer you select will be the one to help you find the best mortgage program for you that fulfills your needs, so if you select the right loan officer, you will likely not need to worry about the terms of your loan because they have provided the best possible loan for you.”

Finally, FiLife published a “pocket profile” of me earlier today. Find out about my favorite (and least favorite) financial products, as well as my long-term plans.