I firmly believe that everyone should take time to read for self-education and enrichment. Below is a list a books that I’ve read over the past 10 years that have enriched both my personal finance life and professional life. This list will be updated periodically, with the last update occurring April 2017.
The Richest Man in Babylon
The Richest Man in Babylon is probably my favorite personal finance book, particularly because the book conveys timeless nuggets of wisdom in perfectly crafted parable form. A few of my favorite lessons contained within this book include the following: Pay Yourself First ( “Start thy purse to fattening.”), Live below your means (“Control thy expenditures”), and Put Your Money to Work (“Make thy gold multiply”). Simple concepts indeed, but you must read the book to really get the wisdom contained within each of these sayings. The book took me about 6-7 hours to read, and I have plans to go back and read it again soon. I hope to do an expanded book review sometime this year.
Your Money or Your Life
Three reasons why this book is worth buying: 1) The authors actually explain what “money” is. How many personal finance books take the time to do that these days? 2) The authors do a great job of explaining that when you spend money, you are actually spending a part of your life. Would you throw your life away as carelessly as you throw your money away through frivolous spending? 3) This book guides you through a thorough – and I mean THOROUGH – evaluation of your income, expenses, and spending. Good read for anyone looking to take a very introspective look at how they view and handle money.
The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing
Bogleheads = Devout followers of John C. Bogle’s (Founder: Vanguard Company) investment philosophy, particularly, invest in low-cost index funds. This book is a great primer on everything you need to know about investing, including index fund investing, bonds, asset allocation, diversification, handling taxes, and why trying to time the market doesn’t work.
How to Win Friends & Influence People
Dale Carnegie’s style of writing is super engaging. No wonder he was so able to win friends & influence people! I have to admit, when I first heard the title of this book, I held off on purchasing it because I assumed it was nothing more than a book about social manipulation (sorry). I finally picked it up in 2014 and I’m glad I did – This book is staying in my Kindle Library. That said, I still have not made it through the entire book. The chapters are a bit long and, while entertaining, some of the points are overstated a bit through numerous anecdotes. Still, this is an eye-opening gem, especially for a natural introvert like me.
The First 90 Days
Prior to my move to Hong Kong to help stabilize and re-build a small team, I was hungry for some kind of direction on how to carefully navigate the first few months of a new role. I came across Michael Watkins’ The First 90 Days and found it to be exactly what I needed to hit the ground running and properly navigate my new role. Concepts such as promoting yourself mentally in order to prepare for a new role, how to secure early wins, and how to create coalitions were ground breaking to me as a new manager. I have since used the lessons within this book to hit the ground running in subsequent transitions.
Your Next Move
Speaking of transitions, I came across another of Watkins’ gems prior to our move to Hong Kong – Your Next Move. The tag line of this books says it all: The Leader’s Guide to Navigating Major Career Transitions. Great nuggets of wisdom contained in this book include the following: How to handle an international move, how to handle joining a new organization, and how to handle corporate diplomacy. Highly recommended for anyone looking to make a major career move, including an overseas assignment, internal move, external move, or pending promotion.
The Personal MBA
I’ve always wanted to get my MBA. But, due to time commitment, cost, and not being able to attend due to being overseas, that dream will have to wait! In the meantime, I recently picked up the book The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business. I love the way the author gives concise explanations of Marketing, Sales, Business, Finance, Psychology, and Systems concepts that strike a great balance between enough information to leave you feeling sufficiently informed but not so much as to leave you feeling confused and overwhelmed.
Debt Free Living
This book makes its point about the value of debt free living through exploring five stories about people who fell into to debt and detailing how they climbed out of debt. Recommended for anyone who likes to learn by reading about others’ mistakes and eventual triumphs. The author also talks about what the Bible says about debt and borrowing, while also describing common debt traps.
Rich Dad Poor Dad
Although I do not agree with everything that Robert Kiyosaki teaches (he’s a bit too cavalier about the use of leverage for my taste), I love this book. I read it for the first time around the age of 24 and was excited to learn about using assets to generate income. This is still a great read for financial independence inspiration.
The Effective Executive
Peter Drucker – one of the all-time great management consultants – aced it with this book. Very good read for anyone moving into a role that requires ownership of how your time is spent and what results you deliver. Some great nuggets include: Two chapters focused on how to make effective decisions, how to manage your time as an executive (one of the reasons why I regularly block off 1-2 hours to get major projects and initiatives done), and identifying the right things to get done and focusing on those few things. Not necessarily the easiest read as the book is a bit dated, but it’s been one of the most rewarding books I’ve read.
The Effective Manager
This is a fairly new book that focuses on effectively managing people (whereas The Effective Executive focuses on effectively executing as a leader in an organization). I had actually already been practicing the management framework contained within this book prior to picking it up in 2016, but it does a good job of laying a basic framework for managing people that is easy to understand and teach to new managers. For more in-depth info, you can tune into the author’s podcast – Manager Tools.