Top 10 Must-Read Finance Books

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I am a huge nerd when it comes to reading.  As a kid, I wasn’t the biggest fan, but as I have gotten older, I devour books.  I try to read the newest finance books as they come out, as well as make sure I’ve covered my bases with the older ones.  I thought I’d share my top 10 finance books, just in case you were looking for a good summer read.  So without further ado, check them out!

 

  1. must-read finance books The Richest Man in Babylon

 

Summary:  This book dispenses valuable financial lessons in the forms of parables, like you would find in the Bible.  The setting is ancient Babylon.  George Clason originally wrote it in 1926.  There are seven core money management rules to learn in order to be successful with money:

  1. Start thy purse to fattening.
  2. Control thy expenditure.
  3. Make thy gold multiply.
  4. Guard thy treasures from loss.
  5. Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment.
  6. Insure a future income.
  7. Increase thy ability to earn.

 

You should be able to read through it quickly, but it is one that you’ll come back to enjoying over and over again.

 

Quote:  “Advice is one thing that is freely given away, but watch that you only take what is worth having.”

 

  1.  must-read finance booksRich Dad, Poor Dad

 

Summary:  This is a classic real estate book that everyone was reading in the 2000s when housing was on the rise.  It’s the tale of two Dads, one that depends on his employer for his salary, while the other Dad works for himself and makes money through passive income.  Both of these men influence author Robert Kiyosaki in regards to money and investing.

 

Quote:  “Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.”

 

  1. must-read finance books The Millionaire Next Door

 

Summary:  This book is a compilation of the research done by Thomas Stanley that examines the seven underlying behaviors of those who have net-worths that exceed $1 million.  It dispels many myths of what a millionaire looks like and exposes that most millionaires actually live a really simplistic lifestyle.

 

Quote:  “Have you ever noticed those people whom you see jogging day after day? They are the ones who seem not to need to jog. But that’s why they are fit. Those who are wealthy work at staying financially fit. But those who are not financially fit do little to change their status.”

 

  1.  Must-Read Finance BooksThink and Grow Rich

 

Summary:  Author Napoleon Hill wrote this as a commission for Andrew Carnegie, the great steel magnet.  Hill interviewed over 500 giants of the 20th century.  These include men such as Henry Ford, J.P Morgan, Wilbur Wright, and John D. Rockefeller.  The book includes insights from these great men.  The best part is that this advice is still applicable today.

 

Quote:  “The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.”

 

  1.  must-read finance booksA Random Walk Down Wall Street

 

Summary:  Author Burton Malkiel points out that most people cannot consistently outperform the market.  He highlights the flaws in technical and fundamental analysis and shows why most investors would be better off with a passive approach to investing.  The “random” qualifier directly points to Malkiel’s perspective on the stock market.

 

Quote:  “Two-thirds of professionally managed funds are regularly outperformed by a broad capitalization-weighted index fund with equivalent risk, and those that do appear to produce excess returns in one period are not likely to do so in the next. The record of professionals does not suggest that sufficient predictability exists in the stock market to produce exploitable arbitrage opportunities.”

 

  1. must-read finance books I Will Teach You To Be Rich

 

Summary:  This is easily one of the best financial books that I’ve read in awhile.  At some point, you feel like you’ve read just about everything there is to know in regards to finances.  But then you start reading this one.  He has an easy tone when he writes about how to optimize your finances as he seeks to rid the reader of guilt about spending on that which is enjoyable.

 

Quote:  “My friend Jim once called to tell me that he’d gotten a raise at work. On the same day, he moved into a smaller apartment. Why? Because he doesn’t care very much about where he lives, but he loves spending money on camping and biking. That’s called conscious spending.”

 

  1.  must-read finance booksThe Automatic Millionaire

 

Summary:  Author David Bach gives a wealth of information in this book.  He advocates for saving 10-15% of gross income and depositing that into your retirement account.  Bach also advises on topics such as purchasing real estate, paying down debt, and donating money to charities.  He also explains the power of compounding interest, which is near and dear to my heart.  While these are all simple concepts, the book serves as a reminder for some and a guide for others.

 

Quote:  “Remember, inspiration unused is merely entertainment. To get new results, you need to take new actions.”

 

  1.  Must-Read Finance BooksThe Little Book on Common Sense Investing

 

Summary:  If you’re a Bogelhead, or if passive investing interests you, this is a must-read.  The author is John Bogle, the man who founded Vanguard.  He emphasizes the superior returns of passive index funds and why most people cannot beat the market.

 

Quote:  “It will also tell you how easy it is to do just that: simply buy the entire stock market. Then, once you have bought your stocks, get out of the casino and stay out. Just hold the market portfolio forever. And that’s what the index fund does. This investment philosophy is not only simple and elegant. The arithmetic on which it is based is irrefutable. But it is not easy to follow its discipline.”

 

  1.  must-read finance booksThe Intelligent Investor

 

Summary:  If you’re a stock investor, this the investor’s Bible.  After all, the father of value investing, Benjamin Graham, wrote it.  This is the man that Warren Buffett learned from.  If Warren Buffett said that The Intelligent Investor changed his life, it should be well worth your time as well.

 

Quote: Back in the spring of 1720, Sir Isaac Newton owned shares in the South Sea Company, the hottest stock in England. Sensing that the market was getting out of hand, the great physicist muttered that he ‘could calculate the motions of the heavenly bodies, but not the madness of the people.’ Newton dumped his South Sea shares, pocketing a 100% profit totaling £7,000. But just months later, swept up in the wild enthusiasm of the market, Newton jumped back in at a much higher price—and lost £20,000 (or more than $3 million in today’s money). For the rest of his life, he forbade anyone to speak the words “South Sea” in his presence.”

 

  1. Must-Read FInance Books The Richest Man Who Ever Lived

     

     

     

Summary:  This is a wonderful book that reveals the strategies that led to King Solomon’s wealth.  Dr. Gary Smalley challenged the author Steven Scott to study the book of Proverbs.  Through this study, Scott unlocked some powerful verses that are still applicable today in regards to wealth-building.

 

Quote:  “A VISION is a precise, clearly defined goal with a detailed plan and timetable for achieving that goal.”

 

So there you go, readers.  That is my top 10 must-read personal finance books.  Did I miss any great ones?  Any peak your interest?  Share your thoughts below.

Mustard Seed Money

Welcome to the website. A mustard seed is a very small seed but astonishingly grows very large over time. My hope is that through your financial journey that your small investment in time, money and faith will grow beyond anything that you could ever imagine.



58 Comments

  1. “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, “Millionaire Next Door” and “Think and Grow Rich” are all books that became the foundation for my interest in personal finance and desire to reach FIRE. Great list, Rob. The other books are on my list, but may need to be “read” with the audio version. I don’t need to tell you how little time a father gets to read!

  2. This is a great list. I have read rich dad and poor dad and the intelligent investor. These books that you listed provide great advices and it will definitely help to give you a variety of perspectives to improve your investment results.

    I would recommend one more book to help us, by “us”, I mean married couples, to do even better. It’s David Bach’s Smart couples finish rich. I truly believe that to get the best family financial results, both spouses will have to be on the same page with their finances.
    Leo T. Ly @ isaved5k.com recently posted…Achieving Financial IndependenceMy Profile

  3. I haven’t read The Richest Man Who Ever Lived or Rich Dad Poor Dad. I’ve heard so much negative stuff about Kiyosaki that I didn’t feel any sort of rush to read his book.

    A lot of these are great picks, though! Millionaire Next Door is one that I recommend to everyone when they are first getting interested in personal finance. A Random Walk Down Wall Street was super interesting to read and understand. The Richest Man in Babylon was a really quick read, but also surprisingly impactful. I read it because I saw it come up in PF circles a lot, but didn’t expect it to be of any real use or interest, but the parable format really helps it deliver its message in a different format than any other book.

    Thanks for this list!
    Matt @ Optimize Your Life recently posted…As Happy as an Old PersonMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Matt!!! Kiyosaki is definitely a little on the edge but I thought it was an easy read and pretty interesting. Although I admit that I read it early on in my PF understanding 🙂

  4. We just gifted #8 – The Millionaire Next Door to a number of High School graduates, including our son and daughter. We are hoping they all will read it and help them get a great head start with their money.
    Brian recently posted…Mid-Year Goal Check-InMy Profile

  5. I have only read about half the list but I am always recommending Millionaire Next Door and Think and Grow Rich (possibly my favorite book ever). I would like to Millionaire Next Door updated with stats with today’s numbers. I believe that was done back in 1996 when owning a cell phone was crazy.

    I’m surprised you didn’t have any Dave Ramsey on the list being a Financial Peace teacher. I have actually been hesitant to recommend himself though just because as I’m learning more I realize I disagree with a lot of his stuff but his overall message is motivating.
    Grant @ Life Prep Couple recently posted…Cash Budgets Don’t WorkMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Grant!!! I believe that Thomas Stanley one of the authors passed away so I wonder if the “brand” hasn’t hired anyone to update the book so far.

    • I really enjoyed I will teach you to be rich. It surprised me how good it was. I’ll definitely have to check out Your Money or Your Life. Thanks for sharing!!!

  6. I’ve read rather listened to about half of these. The rest all appear to be awesome and I will check my county’s library for the audio book version (fingers crossed). Everyone has their own unique and valuable perspective; thanks for sharing 🙂
    SMM recently posted…Saving in the SummerMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing SMM!!! There are definitely a ton of great authors out there that are super enjoyable to read especially from their own unique perspectives.

  7. Loved the list. I’m familiar with 10-5, but unfamiliar with the rest. As for Solomon, I haven’t read it, but I’m going to theorize a mixture of peace and inherited wealth from Daddy David helped jump start that machine.

  8. That is a great list. I have not read “the richest man who ever lived”. I will add that to my reading list.

  9. Great list. The Automatic Millionaire was the first personal finance I read out of college and it had a profound impact on me. Same with the Millionaire Next Door. I also like the Bogleheads to Investing but you probably have that covered with #3. While many criticize Robert Kiyosaki as a snake oil salesman, it shouldn’t take away from his inspiring book. Another book that I’ve been meaning to read that might make it on this list is the 4 Hour Work Week.
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted…Overcome Your FearsMy Profile

  10. Great list, Rob! Thanks for sharing. I still have a few books to read from your list. The top three which shaped my interest in personal finance and the ones I recommend to people just starting out are Rich Dad Poor Dad, The Millionaire Next Door and The Richest Man in Babylon. Solid principles to build a solid financial foundation.
    Cody @ Dollar Habits recently posted…How to Harness the Power of HabitsMy Profile

  11. That is an excellent list!

    I’ve read most of them, but I particularly like A Random Walk Down Wall Street. I read it many years ago and have reread more recent editions.

    There are a couple of books that I would add:

    1) Your Money or Your Life by Vikki Robin and others. It has a really great way to think about your spending.

    2) Early Retirement Extreme by Jacob Fisker. Practical but also contains a lot of interesting philosophy. This is one of the books that influenced me to FIRE.
    Mr. Freaky Frugal recently posted…The shocking Rule of 25My Profile

    • Thanks for sharing!!! You’re the 2nd person to recommend Your Money or Your Life, so I will definitely have to check that out. I’m also interested to read Early Retirement Extreme. Sounds good!!!

  12. Great list! I’ve read about half, but it reminds me that I need to read some of the others. Bogle’s, for instance, is high on my list! Ha: I just saw the comment above, too: How can you run a FI/RE blog without at least mentioning Your Money or Your Life? I’ve read most of it – still working through it – and I see why it’s especially popular among those who read blogs like this one.

    Even though I don’t fully agree with him, Dave Ramsey’s book or the like might also be good as a starting point for someone wanting comprehensive basics (as opposed to say Malkiel or some of the more technical pieces here).

    Like you, Rich Dad had a big impact on me: read it back in high school and have wanted to do real estate investing ever since…
    Finances with Purpose recently posted…Why We Gave Away $2,500 Today, And Challenge Fellow BloggersMy Profile

  13. Great list while i thought i prob read most of the list before reading i have only read 6 of them. Definally gonna look into the other 4.

    The original wealthy barber is one of my favorites. Written like a story its a great and easy read. He taught us to pay ourselves first. So simple but most people dont do it.
    Thanks for the list
    Cheers
    Passivecanadianincome recently posted…When I see all these deposits, I’m cumming!My Profile

  14. Great list! The only ones I haven’t read on this list is #4, 5, and 1. All the others, were books that have had a profound impact on my life. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today.

  15. That is a great list of PF books. I’ve read about half of the books that is on your list and going to read “The Millionaire Next Door” this weekend. This is a good reminder that I need to add some of these books to my ‘to-do’ list especially ‘The Little Book on Common Sense Investing’ since I’m a passive investor

  16. I would add to this list:
    Money by Tony Robbins and of Nasim Taleb’s books like Antifragile or Black Swan.

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