Now think about the number of times you made a choice related to money.
And yet, we spend so much time studying bizarre mathematical theorems that have little implications in life and give so little attention to financial education that we use everyday. We teach our kids to get straight As and rejoice when they do so in subjects like mathematics. But when it comes to teaching them even basics of finances, we refrain from it.
Sorry to bring the bad news, but if you aren’t financially educated or if you don’t believe your kids should be, you are setting yourself (and your loved ones) on the path to indentured servitude in a relentless world.
Your best bet in this uncertain and unforgiving economy is to become financially educated.
I have spent the greater part of my last 5 years reading everything I could read on this subject. I did it mostly out of interest and my sheer desire to build long term enduring wealth. A million pages later, I realized most finance related books suck.
Of all the books I ever read and I read hundreds of them, I could list down just a few that have had any solid impact on me.
To help you save time (and money) I am compiling the list of books that would turn you into a financial genius and set you on the path to acquire massive fortune.
The Right Money Mindset
I would have gone nowhere in life if I didn’t have the right mindset to begin with. I consider myself extremely lucky to have picked up some books that set me on a path that I am still travelling today. Without the compass that I discovered in these books, I would have wandered in life with no definite direction to go.
For these reasons, I urge before you go into any intricacies of finance that you establish the right frame of mind. As the great poet Milton correctly said, “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven..”
#1 Think And Grow Rich
Author : Napolean Hill
Based on numerous interviews conducted with the rich and the successful, Napolean Hills weaves through this book, some very sound mental principles that can help anyone achieve anything he sets his mind to. In fact, it is a complete package of thought formulas one must have if he wants to achieve anything in life, be it financial freedom or a great relationship.
It was arguably the most widely circulated self-help publication of 20th century.
To be honest, I thought very hard before placing a book on self-help in the list of books which deal with serious topics like finance. That’s because, most self help books I have read have either been scams with little substance or were boring as hell.
Nevertheless, I genuinely believe any personal success begin with our thoughts. Thoughts turn into desire and desire turn into determination. This is exactly what that happened with me. By the time I had reached the last pages of the book, I was transformed from a kid with no goal or direction who used to goof around in the class to someone with sheer determination to accumulate great wealth.
#2 The Richest Man In Babylon
Author :George Samuel Clason
A compilation of various parables set in ancient Babylon, the book first came out in 1926. It contains 144 pages of beautifully crafted stories that brings home some of the biggest personal finance lessons in a very interesting fashion.
I first read this book almost 4 years ago, and ever since that time, this has been one my favorite personal finance book. I have recommended it to every single loved one I can.
For the uninitiated to the world of finance, this book serves as a perfect expedition to understand timeless financial principles.
Taking Control Of Your Habits (Books On Behavioral Finance)
Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.-Jim Ryun
Trust me on this. No amount of financial knowledge will help you if you don’t change your habits. Most financial books will teach you the importance of saving early, but they won’t go specifics on how to break your habits of overspending.
It is therefore, crucial that you take control of the habits that often have very irrational foundation to begin with. The following books will help you do just that.
#3 The Willpower Instinct
Author : Kelly McGonigal
No, this isn’t a motivational book trying to pep you up for doing what’s necessary. This isn’t even one of those change-your-life self-help classics that gives you a boost that lasts only as long as you read it.
This is a book that deals with the science of willpower. No invented-by-the-author science, but the real science.
The author has shown through an array of scientific experiments how most of what we know about willpower is based on popular myths. For example, we assume a warning on the cigarette pack would lead to less consumption of cigarette. In reality, the warning causes stress and stress leads to more smoking. You will get similar groundbreaking truths about the the way we behave and learn why we almost always fail at taking control of our habit.
#4 Predictably Irrational
Author: Dan Ariely
My goal, by the end of this book, is to help you fundamentally rethink what makes you and the people around you tick. I hope to lead you there by presenting a wide range of scientific experiments, findings, and anecdotes that are in many cases quite amusing. Once you see how systematic certain mistakes are–how we repeat them again and again–I think you will begin to learn how to avoid some of them.
All I can say here is, the author is goddamn right. The best book I have ever read on behavioral finance.
#5 The Power of Habit
Author : Charles Duhigg
By the time you will finish the book, you will become far more mindful of your behavior than you ever were.
And as the say, awareness precedes change. The real benefit of understanding why we do what we do is turning the wheel to our favor. In other words, you will be able to form new good habits while breaking the old bad ones.
Taking Control Of Your Finances
Before you move to more intricate topics like investing, you must be able to control your finances. By control I mean, controlling the inflow and outflow of money or in one simple word : Cashflow.
You are probably struggling with a string of debts, have kids to send college to or are thinking of getting a mortgage.
Regardless of your current financial condition, these books will help you completely turnaround your financial struggle into one in which you are the winner.
#6 Total Money Makeover
Author : Dave Ramsey
From the famous radio host, this book is an absolute must read for anyone seeking to take control over their finances. The books walks you through simple step-by-step and simple-to-implement guide to regain financial control.
Although the book derives much of its substance from a number of personal finance books that came before it, it stands out from the rest because of its simplicity and straightforward no-nonsense approach. In that sense, this is arguably the most practical book on personal finance ever written.
#7 How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously
Author: Jerrold Mundis
Why a specific book on debt alone? Shouldn’t it a part of a personal finance book? Your questions are legitimate. As a matter of fact, the book at #6 by Dave Ramsey, deal with the topic of debt in quite comprehensive way.
But I am of the favor that no one can be called financially educated unless he completely understands debt.
No doubt, there have been thousands of literature on the topic of debt and therefore choosing one is a pretty tough call.
However, there is something about Mundis’s work that simply stands out. It walks you through various reasons why we accumulate debt and then have a hard time repaying it. But the book wouldn’t have appeared in the list had it not also been the most important literature on tackling debt.
If debt is what keeping you from achieving financial goals, this book will change your life.
Fundamentals Of Sound Investing
Okay. I am pretty biased here.
There are hundreds of investing avenues and instruments where you can put your money. Stocks, Real estate, ETFs, Bonds, Precious Metals and so on. And yet, I am going to introduce you to books that talk about only two of them : Stocks & Bonds.
While it helps to diversify in many as many investment vehicles as you can, history has proven, mindless & excessive diversification only works against you.
Plus, if your goal is to accumulate wealth, why not invest and diversify in the best asset class there is : Business Ownership.
While we are at it, we might as well learn from the same literature from which the Greatest Investors who ever walked on planet earth, learned from. And here they are :
#8 The Intelligent Investor
Author : Benjamin Graham
Ask anyone who is serious about investing for the long term and he will tell you about this book. Warren Buffett, the most successful investor of all time, highly endorses this book. He frankly admits, this book changed his life. He goes even further to say that this is by far the best book ever written on the topic of investing.
And why not? The book comes from the same person who tutored Buffett on the investing philosophy that he has used (and still uses) to create one of the biggest fortunes world has ever seen. The book is no less than a revolutionary and will forever change the way you view equity markets.
Upon reading, you will come out as more confident and armed with timeless principles of investing that have proven to work for every single person who has followed them with discipline.
#9 Common Stocks And Uncommon Profits
Author : Philip Fisher.
You will understand why upon reading this book. Initially Buffett used to buy any company he felt was significantly undervalued. He used to call it “free cigar with one puff left” investing.
But as he went on he realized, it is far better to invest in a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price. Time is the friend of a wonderful company while it is the enemy of a mediocre one.
And Fisher’s work was at the core of Buffett’s evolving philosophy. This book is a definitive guide on finding wonderful companies to invest in.
Combine Graham’s philosophy of buying cheap with Fisher’s Philosophy of buying wonderful companies, and you will astonish yourself with the results of your decisions.
#10 Security Analysis
Author : Benjamin Graham & David Dodd
Another classic from the father of value investing, Benjamin Graham and his colleague David Dodd, the book laid the intellectual foundation to what later came to be known as value investing. First published in a time less than a decade after the great depression, the book is widely regarded as the bible of value investing.
No wonder it puts the bar of making right investing decisions very high and consider much of what most investors do as speculative.
Although, this book came before Graham’s Intelligent Investor, I recommend you read it only after you have read the intelligent investor. This is because you need a financial foundation to understand some of the topics discussed in this book.
The premises of the book is that anyone with the help of financial analysis, can determine the intrinsic value of a business (or any other asset for that matter) and then buy them when they are trading at a cheaper price to generate superior return.
As we are talking about becoming a financial genius here, this book is a must read if you want to understand the world of financial securities from the inside out. As old as it is, the book contains timeless wisdom & methods that still hold relevant today and will continue to do so a hundred years from now.