As some of you know, I love to read and once in a while receive inquiries about which finance books I might be able recommend. I have to admit that while I am very interested in personal finance, I haven’t read too many actual personal finance books. The few that I have read have been very popular ones like The Total Money Makeover. I did enjoy these books, but found that I didn’t necessarily carry a lot of the lessons into my everyday life.
I sat down and thought about the books which have made a real impact in how I approach my finances, and here are the five standouts. I hope you find some of these picks helpful!
The Tightwad Gazette. During an especially broke feeling period in college, I started googling “ways to save money” and somehow found myself ordering this book, which is full of ideas to save money that range from the reasonable to the possible extreme. Reusing ziplock bags that have held dry goods? Makes sense. Dumpster diving for only slightly expired food? Maybe not, at least not with my coordination. In all honesty I don’t really use many specific lessons from the book. It’s value to me has always been as a) an entertaining read, and b) a general lesson to never waste anything, and to always be resourceful and creative with what I already have.
The Intelligent Investor. I am by no means a sophisticated investor. Over the last ten years I have had some experience making small investment choices, and experienced the satisfaction of watching investments go up, and the supreme disappointment of seeing them tank. Ben Graham’s classic book serves as a reminder that market is not always efficient, or absolutely correct in valuation, and you shouldn’t lose your head if it dips on you. I always try and see the stocks I’m buying as part of a larger belief in the value of a company, and not just speculation. But even for a small fry like me after about a decade (albeit a very turbulent one), I still think investing takes nerves of steel!
The Big Short. I love all of Michael Lewis’s books and own almost all of them. The Big Short is a fascinating read about some of the very few individuals that made out like bandits in the financial crisis of 2008. For me personally, it’s a lesson that going “against” the market isn’t always bad, and that in some cases, it can be very lucrative – if you have the stomach for it, and the capital.
The Millionaire Next Door. Anyone who has even paid a passing glance over this blog would know that I’m not doing the greatest job of being frugal in all areas of my life. This book has a few poignant lessons that can always bear to be repeated, and it always serves as a great reminder to me to save, to invest, and to be responsible.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. This is my favorite book in the world – a novel which at first glance has nothing to do with personal finance. However, the story of a young girl who grows up very poor in Brooklyn has always moved me. The joy that Francie the main character describes when choosing a penny bag of candy or enjoying a trip to the library reminds me that many of the best things in life can be had for very little, or free. It’s a lesson that I sometimes forget – that you don’t have to spend a lot of money, if any at all, to find what brings you joy in your life.
Now that I’ve shared a few of mine – I’d love to hear yours. What are some of your favorite books about finance, money, and more?