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There are thousands of books on personal finance. Some relate to investing, others are strictly about financial freedom, and others are more about money mindset. It seems weird that there are so many sub niches in the personal finance niche, but here we are. I’ve outlined out a few of the best finance books in a variety of sub-niches, so read on to learn the 10 must read personal finance books.
Ten Must Read Finance Books
What Finance Book Should I Read?
It’s so hard to pick just one book and say it’s the absolute must-read personal finance book. There are a few that I’d consider for the title. But here are my top two must read personal finance books, if you are only going to read one or two.
Your Money or Your Life – Viki Robin
There’s a reason this Your Money of Your Life is so widely talked about in personal finance and financial independence circles. It’s a bestseller! Viki Robin lays out the basic premise of the financial independence so succinctly, and puts into words what we’ve all felt but might not have expressed so well.
You are basically trading your time for money, and Robin breaks that down into the way we trade our time for items. Let’s say you make ten dollars an hour, and want to buy a new pair of shoes that costs one hundred dollars. You are basically trading ten hours of your life for that pair of shoes. That’s a full day of work plus two more hours! Do those shoes still seem as worth it?
Robin does an amazing job of showing how we can make these changes to chose living our lives instead of making tons of money to buy useless stuff. It definitely needs to be at the top of your list of must read personal finance books.
Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
There’s a reason this book has been around for nearly a hundred years (it was first published in 1937!). It doesn’t focus on things that were important at the time. I’d imagine other personal finance books of the era were discussing how to survive the depression, or buying wartime stocks. This type of information would be greatly outdated in our day and age.
But Think and Grow Rich is timeless. It doesn’t dive into the specifics of the day (though it does have some cool stories about Hill working with some of the richest and most influential people of the time). The focus is more on your money mindset and growth mentality. Hill spent a huge portion of his time studying the habits of those influential people, and narrowed the path to creating wealth into 13 steps. The premise is pretty similar to Back to the Future’s “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything”, but the book does lay out exactly how to do that.
What are the Best Books to Get Rich?
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could just buy a book and Bam! Become a millionaire? I would get the magical book in a heartbeat! But alas, life doesn’t work that way. There is no book that will magically make you rich. However, there are some books that will help put you on the right track.
I Will Teach You to Be Rich – Rami Sethi
The name is right there in the title, isn’t it? Sethi offers personal finance advice for this new era that we live in. He discusses things like credit card hacking and separating your money in addition to some of the other tried and true wisdom of personal finance (401K matches, investing, etc.).
But where Rami really shines is in the way he re-defines the word “rich”. One of the main focuses of I will Teach You to Be Rich is having a rich life. Rami doesn’t just mean monetarily. Rami is one of the few personal finance gurus who will tell you to have that latte, take that trip, and spend money on things that you enjoy. That’s a perspective I can get behind!
Financial Freedom – Grant Sabatier
Financial Freedom by Grant Sabatier offers a different method of getting rich – hard work and smart investing. Sabatier went from two bucks to over a million in five years, which is something we’d all be interested in accomplishing, right?
Sabatier doesn’t sugar coat what it took to get there. He worked a full-time job and is a master of side hustling. But he does acknowledge that growing your money through smart investments was also a huge help, and he shares the investment strategy he used to get where he is today.
What Books do Millionaires Read?
Many people want to understand the millionaire mind – what are they reading that helped them achieve success? There is one finance book that’s talked about at length by one of the world’s most famous millionaire investors.
The Intelligent Investor – Benjamin Graham
Warren Buffet, the billionaire investing guru, was asked which book changed his life. His answer – The Intelligent Investor, by Benjamin Graham. This book is also getting up there in age (though not quite as old as Think and Grow Rich), but it still has tons of valuable information applicable today.
The main idea behind The Intelligent Investor is value investing. Graham discusses finding stocks that are undervalued and holding them for the long term. This is the strategy that led Buffett to be one of the richest men in the world, and he still espouses the wisdom of it today.
Personal Development Books
Most millionaires aren’t exactly reading personal finance books – they already have millions so they don’t really need it. What they do read though, are personal development books. Two of the books that are often on the reading lists of millionaires are “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”. It seems as though the rich are uber focused on enhancing their people and networking skills – things you need to excel at it if you want to maintain and grow your fortune.
Best Financial Books for Beginners
Personal Finance for Dummies – Eric Tyson
I’m sure you don’t usually see a “For Dummies” book on the list of must-read personal finance books. But it was the first personal finance book I ever read, and it helped put me on the path that I’m on now. I didn’t know a thing about finance when I picked this book up, all I knew was that I was living paycheck to paycheck and I needed help.
So I went on Amazon and got Personal Finance for Dummies. There’s so much valuable information jammed in this book, and its geared specifically towards those with absolutely no experience. It starts with the very basics of learning financial literacy and goes through topics such as budgeting, investing, dealing with debt, and insurance. It’s a great resource for someone who is just starting out and is trying to achieve financial security.
Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki
Rich Dad Poor Dad is a great resource for beginner’s who are trying to understand how money works. It doesn’t go into specifics on how to invest and budget, instead it focuses on people’s relationship with money, and how this relationship guides the financial decisions that they make.
Kiyosaki showcases these different relationships through the way his “two fathers” handle money. His poor dad was his real father, and his rich dad was his best friend’s father. These father figures had very different relationships with money. Kiyosaki’s poor dad worked for money, while his rich dad let money work for him. Through these two men, Kiyosaki learned that money is actually a tool, and shares ways to make that tool work for you. It’s an easy to understand book that clearly lays out how altering the way you think about money can lead you on a path to success.
Kiyosaki also popularized the idea of cash flow, and even created a finance game to help people learn about money in a fun way. His second book, cashflow quadrant, is a guide to the financially independent/retired early movement.
The Millionaire Next Door – Thomas Stanley
I love The Millionaire Next Door because it discusses one of the main problems people have with personal finance – Keeping up with the Joneses. It highlights that anyone with a decent income can become a millionaire through smart investing and being thrifty.
Throughout the book, Stanley stresses that there actually are tons of millionaires everywhere in the US, living their normal middle-class lives with little fanfare. These people might even be your neighbors! They shop at thrift stores, clip coupons, and work their regular jobs just like everyone else. It’s refreshing to see the idea that if you just keep your head down and keep on trucking, it’s very likely that you too can achieve your financial goals.
The only issue with this book is that it does have some issues with timing. All the points Stanley made were extremely valid when it was first published in the nineties. Life is a little different now – wages are stagnant and home-ownership is out of reach for tons of people. However, even with the dated material, I think this book still has value. If you work, invest, and shop smartly, you may not be a millionaire, but you will be ok.
The Best Books on Escaping the Rat Race
The Four-Hour Work Week – Timothy Ferris
The Four-Hour Work Week is also a little dated – it was published in 2007 at the peak of the market! Then a recession came and people may think that the information presented in the book is no longer valid.
However, I love the Four-Hour work week because it’s the first book that I read that made me think about financial independence. True, it’s not exactly about that, but it does lay out the idea that trudging through a job you hate for forty hours a week just to “someday” be able to live your life is a miserable way to do things, and gives options for a different way. Ferris’ way is the four-hour work week, where he finds ways to stop doing the things that don’t matter at work, and focuses on the few things that actually make him money.
I’ve read this book a few times because I love the premise, and I think that even if you can’t achieve what he’s laying out in this day and age, the message is still important. Maybe we can’t achieve working four hours a week in the way that he did, but his premise that working until traditional retirement sucks and there’s a better way is spot on.
Work Optional – Tanja Hester
Of course, I have to espouse the amazingness of Hester’s book – I’m almost in her circle! But regardless of the closeness of our connection (we’re less than 6 degrees – totally “we’ve never actually interacted before” besties!)
In Work Optional, Hester takes a practical approach to the concept of financial freedom. She recognizes that work isn’t exactly the problem. It’s our society’s relationship to work that causes so much frustration (insidious work culture anyone?). Hester offers solutions on how to build and live your dream life, whether that includes working or not.
The cool thing about Hester is that she actually lived what she wrote. She’s not a financial professional trying to sell you something. She actually achieved this work optional lifestyle, and her book guides you on how to get there as well.
The Best Books on Investing
Investing is one the best ways to build wealth. Financial advice that tells you how to save, or budget, or live a frugal life is great, but the nuts and bolts of building wealth definitely comes down to investing. Since I’m a huge fan of index fund investing, my top picks are related to that.
A Random Walk Down Wall Street – Burton Malkiel
Have you ever wondered what made exchange traded funds (ETFs) so popular? I can’t say for sure that it was a Random Walk Down Wallstreet, but considering it was originally published in 1974 and has sold over a million copies, it probably played a role. This book popularized the Random-Walk hypothesis, which basically tells us that stock prices vary at random. What this means is that normal people can’t possibly chose stocks well enough to outperform the market average – making index funds which track the market look more appealing than actively managed mutual funds.
The Boglehead’s Guide to Investing – Taylor Larimore , Mel Lindauer and Michael LeBoeuf ,
The Boglehead’s Guide to Investing is meant to help novices learn to invest in easy to understand products like index funds. Bogleheads are a group of people who fully endorse Jack Bogle, founder of Vanguard, and his method of investing. Bogle spearheaded the move towards these low cost investment options, and the fact that he created an almost cult-like following is testament to how much the finance world needed this type of product.
The Bogleheads Guide to Investing discusses investment basics, from knowing what you are buying to the tax implications of your gains. It’s straightforward and uses simple language to guide even the most inexperienced investor towards financial literacy. It’s a great resource for any beginner.
Personal Finance Books for Children
As a bonus, instead of just discussing personal finance books for adults, I thought I’d throw in a great resource to help you teach your kids about personal finance.
Raeshal Solomon writes children’s books specifically designed to help kids understand money. I thought that was such a cool concept, so I bought Shop Shop Shop for my nine-year old niece for her birthday. She loved it! I’m definitely going to add a “My Little Banker” series book to all my gift orders for both my niece and nephew. They are age appropriate ways to help children learn about money management, and I’m completely in love with the concept.
What Are Your Must Read Personal Finance Books?
Now that you’ve seen my list of the top ten must-read finance books, I have to know, which great books did I miss? What personal finance books are on your must-read list!
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.