The Top Ten Personal Finance Books That You Must Have On Your Bookshelf

by Hank Coleman

Whether you are looking for a great present for a loved one this holiday season or just want to learn more about taking control of your finances, any of these ten personal finance books listed below are a great choice. In fact, they should already be on your bookshelf or nightstand. These are the top ten personal finance books that everyone should read.

Get a free book such as the Total Money Makeover1. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey – If you didn’t know that I absolutely love this book, then you don’t read Money Q&A very much. Maybe you are new. That’s okay. It is an incredible book. It is where everyone should start. It walks you through saving for an emergency fund, getting out of debt, starting to invest, saving for college, paying off your mortgage, and reaching financial peace in your life. You need this book if you do not read any other on this list. Get this book! In The Total Money Makeover, Dave Ramsey provides readers with his system for seven baby steps to financial freedom that includes paying off your debt, investing 15% of your income for retirement, saving for your children’s education, paying off your mortgage, and living like no other financial peace.

The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach2. The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach – I love David Bach’s book, The Automatic Millionaire! This book is one of the first personal finance books that I ever read. Now almost two decades later, David Bach’s Latte Factor is now a common phrase in our frugality vernacular. The book shows how anyone can achieve financial success by cutting out unnecessary expenses, paying yourself first with your investments, and set up a simple plan of how you can retire a millionaire and live the life of your dreams. The Automatic Millionaire is a bestselling classic that has spanned a whole genre of personal finance books that feed off his system such as Smart Couples Finish Rich, The Automatic Millionaire Homeowner, Start Late Finish Rich, and many others.

3. The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham– Benjamin Graham is considered one of the greatest investment advisors of the twentieth century. Graham pioneered the philosophy of value investing which shields investors from substantial error and teaches them to develop long-term strategies and has made The Intelligent Investor the stock market bible ever since its original publication in 1949. Over the years, market developments have proven the wisdom of Graham’s strategies.

The Millionaire Next Door4. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley and William Danko – Millionaires have many of the same traits as each other. The bestselling book, The Millionaire Next Door, identifies seven key common traits that show up again and again among those who have accumulated wealth. Most of the truly wealthy in this country don’t live in Beverly Hills or on Park Avenue. They live next door, right under your nose without you ever realizing it for the most part. What makes these neighbors so successful? Thomas Stanley and William Danko reveal those key traits in their best selling book.

5. The Other 8 Hours by Robert Pagliarini – You day does not start when you get out of bed. It actually begins when you get home from work. For a typical person, he or she spends approximately eight hours per day sleeping. Another eight hours of our day are lost to our job. But, there are eight hours of our life that we control, and it is those eight hours that define us, define our financial freedom, and in many cases define our happiness in life. I absolutely love The Other 8 Hours! It really opened my eyes to the way that I was spending the time when I wasn’t working or sleeping.

6. The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton– David Chilton simplifies the complex puzzles of personal finance and helps you achieve financial independence. With the help of his fictional barber, Roy, and a large dose of humor, Chilton shows you how to take control of your financial future slowly, steadily, and with success. Chilton’s plan in The Wealthy Barber that is detailed in an entertaining story is no get-rich-quick scheme, but it does make financial independence possible on nothing more than an average salary.

Your Money Or Your Life7. Your Money Or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin – In an age of great economic uncertainty when everyone is concerned about money and how they spend what they have, this new edition of the bestselling Your Money or Your Life is an essential read. With updated resources, an easy-to-use index, and anecdotes and examples particularly relevant today-it tells you how to get out of debt and develop savings, reorder material priorities and live well for less, resolve inner conflicts between values and lifestyle, save the planet while saving money, and much more. In Your Money or Your Life, Vicki Robin shows readers how to gain control of their money and finally begin to make a life, rather than just make a living. Your Money Or Your Life offers a nine-step program for living more meaningful lives, showing readers how to get out of debt, save money, reorder priorities, and convert problems into opportunities.

Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk8. Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk – Do you have a hobby you wish you could do all day? An obsession that keeps you up at night? Now is the perfect time to take those passions and make a living doing what you love. In CRUSH IT! Why NOW Is The Time To Cash In On Your Passion, Gary Vaynerchuk shows you how to use the power of the Internet to turn your real interests into real businesses. Gary spent years building his family business from a local wine shop into a national industry leader. I have always loved this book! This is a book that every budding entrepreneur needs on his or her nightstand.

9. The Richest Man In Babylon by George S. Clason – Read by millions, this timeless book holds the key to success-in the secrets of the ancients. Based on the famous “Babylonian principles”, it has been hailed as the greatest of all inspirational works on the subject of thrift and financial planning. This celebrated bestseller, The Richest Man In Babylon, offers an understanding of and a solution to personal money problems, revealing the secrets to acquiring money, keeping money, and making money earn more money.

10. Beating The Street by Peter Lynch– Peter Lynch’s “invest in what you know” strategy has made him a household name with investors both big and small. An important key to investing, Lynch says, is to remember that stocks are not lottery tickets. There is a company behind every stock and a reason companies and their stocks perform the way they do. In Beating The Street, Peter Lynch shows you how you can become an expert in a company and how you can build a profitable investment portfolio based on your own experience and insights and on straightforward do-it-yourself research.

Did I miss one of your favorite personal finance books? I’d love to hear what you keep on your nightstand and refer back to often. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.

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About Hank Coleman

Hank Coleman is the founder of Money Q&A, an Iraq combat veteran, a Dr. Pepper addict, and a self-proclaimed investing junkie. He has written extensively for many nationally known financial websites and publications. Hank holds a Master’s Degree in Finance and is currently pursuing his Certified Financial Planner credentials. Email him directly at Hank[at]MoneyQandA.com.


Hank Coleman has written 525 articles on Money Q&A. Learn more about Money Q&A on Twitter @MoneyQandA and @HankColeman.


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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Penny

I’m always looking for more books to add to my reading list, and I’ve only read one of those already. I absolutely love the Millionaire Next Door and think everyone should read it at some point in their lives. As society we have built up this strong connection between having a lot of money and living an extravagant lifestyle, and I think we need to break that association. It’s only true in a small minority of situations, and it leads people to make bad decisions.
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Hank

Only one?? You are definitely missing out. These books are great and should be a staple to anyone who wants to read and learn about finances and investing.
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Penny

I’ve added the others to the list of books to read that I keep on my blog. One problem with being in school as long as I have is that after all of the reading I need to do for class/research the only time I have the mental energy to read something as long as a book is over the Christmas holidays. Even then I generally have a year’s worth of novels to catch up on from my favorite authors. (I’ve been really trying to read more this semester. I made it through an anthology of short fiction only because I could read it in bursts without having to remember where I left off, but I have two nonfiction books I’ve been working on for the past month and a half with very little progress.)
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YFS

I must admit Dave Ramsey’s book changed my way of thinking. I was into dave for about 2 years. He’s great for learning discipline. I would also add Elizabeth’s Warren book to your list. “The Two Income Trap” Another book which rocked my world
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Hank

YFS,

Dave Ramsey’s book and following him also changed my life. I will be sure to add “The Two Income Trap” to my reading list. Sounds great! Thanks!

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Jason@LiveRealNow

I’m not a fan of Crush It. I don’t know why, but that book didn’t do anything for me.

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Hank

I am a huge fan of Gary Veynerchuk. His energy is simply infectious! While I absolutely loved Crust It, I’m actually not a big fan of his 2nd book, Thank You Economy. I can’t wait for his 3rd book…hopefully that one will be better. He signed a 10 book deal.
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Eric J. Nisall - DollarVersity

I love The Millionaire Next Door (which is probably why I bought a ton of the paperback and use them in giveaways).

Dr. Stanley’s newest title, Stop Acting Rich is a great read too. And, I think Larry Winget is great at telling people how it is, not sugarcoating things, and opening up peoples’ eyes.
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Hank

I haven’t read any of Dr. Stanley’s other books. So, I will definitely check out Stop Acting Rich too. Thanks!

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Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter

You have put together a great list. All of these books have something we can all learn regardless of our current level of knowledge. I try to read these types of books but I often just want a break and feel like reading fluff. I need to get better at this and get back to reading some PF books.

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Hank

Fluff is good every once in a while. But, there are studies that have suggested many of the most successful people read one non-fiction book per month.
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Hunter - Financially Consumed

Great reading list. I can proudly report that I have read 50% of these. Must get moving on the second half.
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Hank

You are in the minority having read so many. Great job.
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Vince Thorne

I have read most of these. A great book for grocery habits is America’s cheapest Family
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Shannyn @FrugalBeautiful.com

Think and Grow Rich was a great one that while criticized as being too “woo-woo” it really helped me think long term about my goals and get real about my daily decisions and way of thinking. I had financial goals before but until I read this book I felt my head wasn’t really in the game.

Another I had to have was Money Girl’s Smart Moves to Grow Rich by Laura Adams- love her podcast and her book!
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Hank

Shannyn,

You make me laugh! How do you define “woo-woo”? I think I know what you mean though. And, you are 100% right about Laura Adams’ book and her podcast. They are both great! I especially love her podcast and have been listening for a long time!
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funancials

Hank-

I’ve heard that the Wealthy Barber is specific to Canadians….is this true?
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Rianka D.

Great list of books, Hank! I read most of them, but the ones I haven’t , I will make sure to add to my “read” list.

Another book that I like is Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki.

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RichUncle EL

I will read some of the books on this list that I have never heard of like crushing it. I have been a Dave Ramsey Fan also so I read TTMM, TMND, TAM, but you missed one that has good advice on how to begin thinking about investing with Real Estate. Rich DAD POOR DAD.
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Bobby J. Poe

Believe me I have a ton of financial books, most of what you have listed. My choice for the best over all would be “The Truth About Money” by Ric Edelman. He actually has several good books but TTAM is one of the best books there is. The college personal finance text books I have doesn’t compare to this on.

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Suzana

Thanks for the suggestions! Those books seem to be really good! :)

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CK

Great list Hank. I came across your site because I am looking to find more books to read. I look forward to trying these. Some of the books that I have already read that your list included were:
The Total Money Makeover, The Richest Man in Babylon and The Wealthy Barber.

Here are a few other books that I really enjoyed:
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, Rich Dad Poor Dad , Think and Grow Rich

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neill

Hi. You left out ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’. ….

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neil

You seem to have left out Rich Dad Poor dad…..

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Alexis

The blog is for people who are actually having a total “financial meltdown” also a must read for those who are still venturing in the world of Entrepreneurship. The books are also helpful to ordinary people who are having a hard time to earn and save money. I’ll rate it a 5/5.
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Myles Money

Great list. Thanks Hank. I’m always looking for good books to help further my financial education.
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