The most profitable investment you could ever make is in education. More specifically, educating yourself. Check out any rags to riches millionaire, and you’ll notice a distinct pattern: they worked hard, and they worked even smarter. What set them apart, however, is their financial knowledge. Regardless of how they got their cash smarts, they’ve only maintained and expanded their wealth because of those smarts.
But where does that leave the people who don’t have those opportunities? Fortunately, it’s never too late to hit the books. These are the ten personal finance books that’ll change your financial situation for the better.
- The Richest Man in Babylon
You can never go wrong by starting with the classics and The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason is the Hamlet of personal finance. As opposed to the lecture, step-by-step approach that modern finance books take, this book teaches its lessons through easy to read stories set in ancient Babylon.
You’re probably thinking, “Great, but does it hold up today?” The answer is to your question is a yes. You won’t find any nuanced advice on how to manage your portfolio or 401k, but this book provides a solid foundation for everyday finances.
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!
A child’s upbringing influences its attitude toward money more than most people realize. Co-written by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter, Rich Dad, Poor Dad addresses this concern by teaching finance from the perspective of two children, one with a wealthy father, the other with a hard-working middle-class one. You’ll find out what kind of lessons the 1% are passing down to their kids and how that makes all the difference growing up in today’s hyper-competitive world.
You don’t have to be a dad to learn a thing or two from Rich Dad, Poor Dad, but if you are, you might want to consider taking notes.
- I Will Teach You to Be Rich
There’s no time like the present, and this holds doubly true for most money matters. I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi offers an in-depth no-nonsense guide to finances aimed at 20-to 30-year-olds.
Aside from covering conventional finance practices, it tackles a variety of other topics that the average Joe/Jane might not have considered. If you’re younger and thinking about your future, you could do a whole lot worse than I Will Teach You to Be Rich.
- Your Money or Your Life
Sometimes a simple change in perspective can make all the difference. Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez explores this difference both fiscally and psychologically. Aside from practical financial advice, it also encourages you to reevaluate your relationship with your bank account.
It begs crucial questions that only the reader can honestly answer. If you’ve had a rocky relationship with your finances or need to rethink your life choices in fiscal terms, then look no further.
- A Random Walk Down Wall Street
Cast your gaze toward any accountant or hedge fund manager’s bookshelf, and you’re almost guaranteed to find a copy of A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton G. Malkiel. It’s considered one of the most definitive guides to learning all there is about investing and more.
Not only does it cover standard material like stocks, bonds, and assets, it includes advice on things like real-estate and home ownership. It’s more accurate to say that it teaches you how to invest rather than where to invest.
- The Little Book of Common Sense Investing
This one’s aimed at the budding investors skimming through this list. Praised by Warren Buffet, John C. Bogle’s The Little Book of Common Sense Investing is the one book everyone should read before they begin to pad out their portfolio.
Instead of some elaborate hare-brained strategy to game the market, this book offers that the most straightforward solution should be preferred; buying and holding publicly held businesses at low cost. Learn the ins and outs of index investing and why trying to beat the stock market is a zero-sum game.
When you’re done reading The Little Book of Common Sense Investing, you’ll realize it was common sense all along.
- The Intelligent Investor
True wisdom is timeless, and nothing wholly embodies this quite as much as The Intelligent Investor. What makes this book stand out from the rest, you ask? Well, for one thing, Warren Buffet’s mentor, Benjamin Graham, wrote it.
Packed within those 623 pages are years’ worth of investment knowledge delivered in an easy-to-read format. Don’t be scared off by its age; Jason Zweig has made constant revisions that keep plenty of the information relevant to today’s marketplace. If you want an old-school perspective on the fundamentals of investing, pick up a copy.
- Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises
Do you ever wonder why markets crash, why seasoned traders make dumb moves, or why the market zigs when it should have zagged? Charles P. Kindleberger’s Manias, Panics, and Crashes has the answers you’re seeking.
Financial crises are nothing new. They’ve been a part of the marketplace ever since trade and commerce began. What Kindleberger offers is a grand view of every unusual marketplace twist and turn and the reasons behind them. Chart Westcott, the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at Ikarian Capital, LLC says, “history buffs with a taste for finance should consider this book!”
- The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be
While not entirely devoted to personal finance, Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles will improve your outlook to keep you at the top of your game. “This book is full of advice and principles that successful people in business apply on a daily basis,” describes Chart Westcott.
Think of this like Chicken Soup for the Soul aimed at future entrepreneurs. It’s an absolute must-read for anyone looking to put a pep in their step.
- The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness
It’s always wise to be wary of books that sell on celebrity status alone. However, a Dave Ramsey book might be the exception. You’ve likely heard of his hit radio show, The Dave Ramsey Show, or glanced over a few of his other books. If it wasn’t obvious before, The Total Money Makeover proves one key point: Dave Ramsey knows what he’s talking about.
You’ll find everything from avoiding common money pitfalls to a deconstruction of the American dream. If you’re familiar with Dave Ramsey, this book will just be preaching to the choir. But if you’ve never heard his name before today, get yourself a copy and be enlightened.
It’s important to keep in mind that no one book is the end all, be all of any topic. Some advice is more appropriate for your circumstances than others, and that’s okay. An open mind costs nothing and can only make you wealthier.