There are so many wonderful books out there that can help you improve your personal finance story. It’s hard to know where to start. As such, it’s impossible to create the “perfect” list for any wide and varied audience.
So what I decided to do was to simply look at my own bookshelf and talk about some of my favorites. The names may not be hot off the press in terms of recency but they really don’t have to be.
Tried and Trusted
In fact, if a book has been around for a while and is still attracting attention years or decades on it means that it is still relevant.
Don’t ignore old books simply because something new and trendy has been released. I’ll take the established and respected over some fashionable and of-the-moment book any day.
They have stood the test of time and have lessons we can all learn from.
You can tell a lot about a person by their bookshelf. Mine pretty much reads like a mini finance and personal development library.
More than half of my shelf space is accounted for by these kinds of books. So I’ve had quite a few to choose from.
My finance book collection spans the spectrum. From the law of attraction to practical personal finance tips and through to investment strategy.
The personal development ones dip into management principles, psychology and meditation. They follow a similar path – they address the internal drivers as well as the external environment.
In many ways, the books I’ve listed provide a good foundation and aren’t as weird and wonderful as some of the names I have. But you have to start somewhere and all of them have inspired me on some level.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. This is the granddaddy of where personal finance meets personal development. I must confess that I only got around to reading it two years ago. I’m annoyed it took me so long!
Written in the 1930s, its message of developing the right money mindset to support any action still resonates.
Don’t be put off by when it was published. It’s still incredibly relevant. It doesn’t particularly tell you how to make the money itself. But that’s not its purpose. It’s there to get you to think in a certain way that will empower your decision making.
Master The Game by Tony Robbins. Ok, so it’s “written” by Tony Robbins, the big cheese in personal development. So you’ve got to read it with that context in mind.
He’s not a finance man and doesn’t pretend to be, though he does do a good job at explaining many of the principles underlying personal finance.
Caveat: if you’re a finance professional with a very solid background in the industry and are looking for complex principles and deep market insights, it might not be for you.
In many ways, I shouldn’t like it simply for that reason. It also dips into the personal development space (which is fine by me but isn’t to everyone’s taste).
But the main reason this book appeals is that the vast majority of human civilization DOESN’T know how to manage their money.
And this is a great book for the novice wanting to learn the basics under the guidance of Mr Robbins. It certainly helped me understand a few ideas that I always pretended I already knew….
The Rules of Wealth by Richard Templar. I absolutely love the whole “Rules” series that Templar has created. They are simple and well thought out ways to navigate through relationships, life, work and so on.
This book is about personal finance and in the 100 rules laid out he covers a lot of ground.
Important messages include “Take responsibility before you take advice” (a BIG thing for me), “Don’t try to get rich too quickly” and “Don’t read this – do something”. Incredibly practical insights.
One Up on Wall Street by Peter Lynch. When I first started working in banking (and didn’t have a clue what was actually going on in the world of stocks and the like) this was the book my boss suggested I read. It’s for those of you looking to invest in the stock market.
Lynch is no fly-by-night peddler of hot tips. He’s vice chairman of Fidelity Management & Research, the investment adviser arm of Fidelity Investments, and has worked there since the 1960s.
In other words, he’s been through the good and the bad and knows his stuff.
His approach is all about how to pick stocks at the right level for long-term investing purposes. It’s classics like this that should shape your approach to buying stocks, not the short-term entertainment value of the financial news channels.
Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. Let me state up front that I view the book more as an illustration on how you should think about money and not a textbook on how to make yourself rich.
In other words, I don’t think that readers should jump into some of the concepts suggested without doing a lot more background research. I’m also not a big fan of the marketing machine that has created several unnecessary offshoots within the franchise.
That said, the book is packed with important lessons about how to relate to your career, your debt and your money. It’s a great book for getting you to think in a different way.
There You Have It
I’ll likely dig into my book collection again in the future to throw in a few more obscure names. In the meantime, I hope you get some value from the suggestions.