Updated: May 26, 2021
A person who won’t read has no advantage over the one who can’t read. – Mark Twain
Reading is a medium of learning that cannot be duplicated in any other form. You can learn from a lecture, video, podcast, and more, but I believe there is a level of understanding and saturation that only takes place when you immerse yourself in a good book.
Here are six finance books everyone should read. Admittedly, there are many great books not on this list, but if you are just stepping out into the world of finances these books are a great place to start.
Quick disclaimer: While I certainly don’t agree with every piece of advice contained in these books, they all offer incredibly valuable wisdom that you can draw from no matter your specific financial situation.
1. Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki
Kiyosaki grew up in Hawaii and his best-selling book tells the story of his upbringing and his relationship with his two “dads”: the Rich Dad (his best friend’s dad, Mike) and the Poor Dad (his biological dad).
Both dads worked hard, made a good income, and were successful in their fields, but they had very different approaches to wealth. As a teen, Kiyosaki began working for his best friend’s dad, Mike, and eventually becomes his mentee. Over time, he observed the key differences that set his Rich Dad apart from his Poor Dad.
His Poor Dad was very educated but lacked financial common sense. He was trapped in the rat race – concerned with promotions, vacations, benefits, and increasing his standard of living. By contrast, his Rich Dad taught Kiyosaki not to work for money but to make money work for him.
In this book, Kiyosaki shares some of the invaluable lessons he learned by comparing and contrasting his Rich Dad and his Poor Dad.
2. Master Your Money – Ron Blue
Ron Blue is a Christian financial advisor and the found of the Kingdom Advisors organization. Blue was an early pioneer of Christian financial planning and has written several helpful books on financial topics from a Christian perspective.
In his book, Master Your Money, Blue takes the Bible's teachings on stewardship and applies them to your everyday financial life. He outlines practical instruction for how to manage your cash flow, pay down debt, plan for taxes and estate needs, save, invest, and more.
If you are a Christian that wants to organize your financial life in a way that matches the principles taught in the Bible, this book is a great place to start.
3. The Richest Man in Babylon – George Clason
Written in 1926, this classic has stood the test of time. Clason’s book is written from the perspective of a fictional character named Arkad who lived in ancient Babylon and went from being a poor scribe to the “richest man in Babylon”.
Arkad relays his financial wisdom to his audience in the form of parables. He offers “7 Cures” and “5 Laws of Gold” to his listeners. These include timeless principles like “pay yourself first”, “live within your means”, and more.
No matter your age or background with money, everyone can be helped by these wise financial principles.
4. The Millionaire Next Door – Thomas Stanley
The first edition of this book came out back in 1996. It has since been revised and updated with more current information.
Stanley was intrigued by affluent Americans and wanted to get to the bottom of what set them apart from their poor and middle-class counterparts. Interestingly, it was this book that made Stanley a millionaire himself! He conducted deep research into affluent Americans’ financial habits and came away with some interesting discoveries.
Among the many observations in his book, Stanley found that the affluent are not so much great earners as they are great savers (many millionaires never had high incomes). The affluent took a long time to build their wealth (many did not achieve millionaire status until well into their 50s or 60s). Wealthy parents who tried to economically support their children usually did more harm than help.
You’ll find this book to be an interesting case study into the patterns and practices that often separate financially successful individuals from the rest of the crowd.
5. The Little Book of Common-Sense Investing – John Bogle
This is one of the best books ever written on the subject of investing, and I think the best book to start with for a beginner.
Bogle is the founder of Vanguard, one of the largest fund companies in the world. In his book, he outlines why he pioneered the simple, low-cost index fund and why it is a better alternative to higher-cost, actively-managed alternatives.
You’ll learn important lessons about the nature of stock market, bull and bear markets, fee structures, and how funds work. This classic book demonstrates that in the world of investing, sometimes the simplest solutions are best ones.
6. The Treasure Principle – Randy Alcorn
If you only read one book out of the six that I’ve recommended it should be this one.
The title refers to what we value in this life: earthly possessions or eternal riches. Alcorn’s book is packed with scripture, and he takes time to carefully lay out the Biblical principles that should shape our view of money.
It’s a short read (only about 150 pages), so you can finish it in a day if you’re a quick reader. It’s a book that you will want to revisit over and over again. It’s both encouraging and convicting. It will help you recenter your priorities on the things that truly matter in life.
Which financial books have been most helpful to you? Let me know in the comments!