There are thousands of articles telling you which finance books to read.
And we only have so much time to read so many books, so it’s important to prioritize.
I’ve read 400+ non-fiction books and over half of those were finance books.
I’ll be honest… many of those books weren’t necessary, because they were basically saying the same thing.
That’s why I wanted to think deeply about which books I would include here.
Before we dive in, I want to mention something that often gets left out of these articles…
The Thing About Books
I’ve had plenty of books literally change my life. I have also read books that others said changed their lives and didn’t feel like I got much out of them.
The main reason?
It depends heavily on what you read and when you read it.
There are books I read early on in my finance journey, and they made a huge impact, but if I would have read those same books now, they wouldn’t provide much value.
Almost everything we know is random.
Between the high school we attended, the college we went to (if we went to college), and the books, podcasts, documentaries, and everything else we’ve taken in, we all know a bunch of random stuff.
That means you’ll read one book and it will be packed with stuff you’ve never heard, yet you could read another book and think “I already know all of this.”
That’s why it’s always going to depend on where you’re at in your journey. I’ll talk about that with each of these books and explain more of where I was when I read it, and who I think it would truly help.
Now on to the books…
By Dave Ramsey
This is the first book on many lists of finance books. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the most recommended book, period.
And it’s a must-read, especially if you’re just starting your finance journey.
This was the first finance book I read and I read it back when I didn’t realize basic things like:
- Credit cards charge interest if you don’t pay them off monthly
- Investing isn’t difficult if you do it right
- Compound interest is powerful
Those are three fairly obvious things I didn’t know back then, so it makes sense that I found The Total Money Makeover to be so helpful.
The point is, it covers all of the aspects of basic personal finance.
This book is great if you feel like you could use help in the finance area. If you feel like you’ve figured quite a bit of your finances out, and you’re just working to get out of debt or build wealth, it may not be as helpful. But I would recommend everyone read this book, regardless of what you think you know.
By JL Collins
This book is only a few years old, unlike most of the books on this list, but it deserves to share the page with them.
JL Collins has a way with simplifying investing… partially because it’s not that hard to simplify… but it’s more about his honesty.
The reason the finance industry wants you to think investing is difficult is because they make more money when you think you need their help understanding it all.
He breaks down retirement investing, how to do it, and how to understand it.
I especially love the part where he goes through history and shows why people didn’t invest in the stock market during each year. Whether it was war-related, election year, oil problems, or something else, there was a “good” reason not to invest in the stock market every year, yet you’d still be doing really well if you had invested in practically any year.
This book is great for pretty much anyone. Whether you feel clueless on investing issues or you consider yourself an expert, this book is worth the read.
By Thomas J. Stanley & William D. Danko
This book is a classic, because it’s the first work that really brought to light how most millionaires live. Most millionaires are regular people. Many own their own business (often small businesses) and most invest, but they’re all regular people.
When we hear the term “millionaire,” we often associate it with the “ultra-rich.” However, most millionaires have a few million dollars, not billions, and this is more realistic to what we’re all trying to achieve one day.
Basically, it’s a case study of a bunch of millionaires and it shows you what it looks like to be a realistic, normal millionaire — many of whom just have regular jobs. But they all live differently from how society makes us think we should live. Few of them drive new cars and live in mansions.
This book is great information for anyone, regardless of where you’re at in your finance journey. Even though it’s mostly informational, it also has practical application.
By Vicki Robin & Joe Dominguez
When I think back to the books that changed my life the most, it was mostly the ones on mindset, and that’s what this book is about. It challenges the idea that you need a ridiculous amount of money to be financially free and it outlines a plan for becoming financially free sooner than you may think.
It covers the common areas like debt, saving money, investing, and smart spending in general, but then it goes into detail about how bonds could be your solution to quit your day job sooner than you think you can.
This book is also for anyone, but especially important if you’re early on in your journey.
By Kalen Bruce
Through all of these important finance books, one topic often gets left out: children.
When I started Freedom Sprout, my goal was to help parents raise a generation of money-smart kids, and that’s why I wrote Intentional Children.
The first half of this book is about teaching healthy money habits to kids and the second half is about instilling a healthy mindset in kids when it comes to things like money, living, possessions, advertising/marketing, and plenty of other areas.
This book is great for parents, teachers, or anyone who ever plans to become a parent. If you influence any kids in your life, this book is for you. If you have young-adult children who just moved out, you can still help them by reading Intentional Children, and you can always give them a copy of my first book, 10 Branches of Growth, which was written to help those who are just starting life.
See it on Amazon: Paperback
By Robert Kiyosaki
This is another mindset book.
While Robert Kiyosaki has a shaky history, he still has a lot of great things to say. He gets a lot of criticism because he filed for bankruptcy, yet he managed to build a million-dollar empire again after doing so, which is more impressive than just doing it once, if you ask me.
I can’t endorse his business history, because I don’t know the full scope of it, but regardless of any of that, he teaches a lot of valuable principles in this book. This is another one that if I read it now, it wouldn’t help me much, but since I read it early on, it changed my entire perspective on thinking about earning money.
This book is crucial for those just starting out on their finance journey. Or if you still have a small mindset when it comes to money. Or if you just want to think more like a business person.
By David Chilton
The interesting thing about this book is the way it’s written like a story, yet it’s not cheesy like a lot of business parables. The barber is the teacher and the main characters are the students.
They go into the barber shop for finance lessons after learning the barber has something to teach. It builds on itself and gives a little more with each one of their visits.
The financial principles are solid, and while these principles are taught in plenty of other books, the information is conveyed in an easy-to-grasp tone, in story form.
This book is best for anyone who struggles with non-fiction, especially if you find it boring. It’s also a great first read on finances.
See it on Amazon: Paperback
By George S. Clason
This is another story-type book, but it’s written in the same vein as the King James Bible. Old-English-style text, but a great story nonetheless.
Even though the book is set thousands of years ago in ancient Babylon, the lessons still apply today. The author goes into concepts you’d see in modern finance books, like:
- Home ownership
- Paying yourself first
- Living within your means
- Investing in what you understand
- The importance of compound interest
You can think of all the principles in this book as timeless.
This book is great for those who like the story format, but it’s full of lessons for anyone and everyone.
By David Bach
The main idea behind this book is automation—if you didn’t guess by the title—but just like every David Bach book, there is a lot more to it.
He gives you so much wisdom and advice on how to manage, invest, and handle your money in general.
This book was especially important to me early on, because it taught me the power of automation and I’ve been automating ever since, but I re-read it recently and got even more out of it.
This book is great for anyone, but if you’re just getting started with learning finances, it’s one of the most important books you can read. He goes into great detail about how to automate every area of your finances.
By John Avanzini
I rarely write a list of recommended books without recommending this one.
It’s an old book, which is why I think it’s only available in paperback. I’ve never seen an audio or digital version of it. But it sits on my bookshelf to this day, even though I bought it 15+ years ago. I mostly keep it to lend out and because it’s not always the easiest book to find.
I truly believe this book may have been even more helpful than The Total Money Makeover when we were getting out of debt. Not only does he go into depth on getting out of all types of debt, but he even has a chapter on home debt reduction. This is a topic that’s becoming less popular as people are preferring to keep lower-interest loans, but if you just hate consumer debt of all forms, he’ll show you how to eliminate it.
This book is great for anyone who is in debt at all. If you’re not in debt, it won’t help you personally much, but it could help you help others who are in debt.
See it on Amazon: Paperback
Again, it’s important to choose what you read wisely, because there is only so much time in the day.
I don’t think you could go wrong reading any one of the books on this list.
I’ve read them all at least once, but I’ve read most of them twice or more.
I’d love to hear what you’d suggest for finance reading in the comments below!