As we approach a new year, I wanted to share a few of the books which shaped my perspective on money and inspired me to turn my life around after going broke in Las Vegas. Maybe you or someone you know could benefit from a fresh view on money or personal finance, or maybe a refresher for a new start in 2018. Regardless, here I’ve compiled some of my favorites.
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The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need by Andrew Tobias
This book was assigned reading for one of my last classes in college, which was a weekend “Consumer Finance” course (I needed 1 more credit hour to graduate, and this was the easiest option!). My professor was amazing, still a legend on campus for his views and advice on career and personal development as students transition from college to “the real world.” He was the type of guy who would provide his own annual reports on 5-year Total Cost of Ownership car ratings, or which color and style of suits made the best impression on interviewers based on market research. He would spend his time on the weekends at a dealership negotiating over a car he had no intention of buying, just to see what kind of deal he could get. He was on a different level, for sure.
Anyway, he is a philosophical disciple of Andrew Tobias, and this book covers a ton of important ground. The first steps involve evaluating what is right in front of your face – your own expenses and debts. Counter-intuitively, the book with this title advises the reader go through many checkpoints before even considering “investing” as we generally refer to it. This book is a must-read, because it lays the foundation of a holistic financial philosophy which shows the reader how to effectively prioritize. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of chapters devoted to the nuances of investing, including a little reference to my next recommendation.
The Little Book That (Still) Beats the Market by Joel Greenblatt
This book is small enough to finish in one sitting. Updated frequently, Greenblatt outlines an incredibly simple investment strategy which I use for several of my personal accounts to this day. This book acts as a tremendous thought exercise around how and why people should invest money in the stock market.
Money: Master the Game by Tony Robbins
The GOAT motivational speaker has dived into the world of investing, thanks in large part to his rubbing elbows with some of the world’s most successful hedge fund managers and investors. This book also lays out the simple steps somebody should be taking to take control of their financial future. There’s a particularly fascinating discussion around a legendary and mysterious asset allocation method which boasts a track record of virtually zero losses over the last several economic recessions. There has since been a follow-up book by Robbins called Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook which is also more than worth your time. Overall a great review of financial literacy from a guy who can motivate you to run through a brick wall at the drop of a hat.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
This is probably categorized as a personal finance book, but to me it’s more of a pure personal development book. Hill takes about 5 steps back from the notion of money to make sure that the reader has made the private decisions necessary to achieve any success in life, much less getting rich. This book will force readers to confront the real motivations behind what they are doing with their days, years, and life in general. Though it’s an old book, the principles are as relevant as ever. This book is so, so crucial I can’t recommend it enough.
Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
This book may be the most familiar to the casual reader of any on this list. Dave Ramsey has been helping people get out of debt and improve their financial lives for decades, and this is a fantastic distillation of the financial principles he preaches every day. I would also consider this book a must for anyone just starting out in their careers, or anyone who finds themselves stressed out by their financial situation. Ramsey and his strategies are clear, direct, and simple. Perfect for anybody looking for a hand when it comes to their money.
While there are countless other books, blogs, podcasts, etc. which provide valuable insight and perspective on money, investing, and personal finance, I would consider this short list an effective start on anyone’s financial journey. I see these as a “critical few, of the trivial many,” which really separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to actionable financial advice. I would encourage you or anyone you know to read any of these books to learn the processes, avoid the mistakes, and fast-track on the path to freedom.
What do you think? Which book(s) shaped your perspective on money, life, freedom, or all of the above?