Educating yourself is the single best investment you will ever make. Here are my 11 best personal finance books you need to read before it’s too late.
Table of contents - quick links:
Invest in yourself
What if I said you could meet one of Britain’s most successful millionaire entrepreneurs? Or someone that has saved their way to Financial Independence at a young age. That you could learn all of their distilled wisdom on money and the pursuit of wealth. And all this for just £15. Would you take me up on it?
Well, you can do just that with books. Even moderately successful people (however you choose to define that), let alone the worlds’ richest, are prolific readers.
For the price of a burger, you can spend hours with people who have walked the path before you. You get to pore over the very best of their distilled knowledge again and again. And you can learn their lessons and mistakes so you don’t repeat them, saving you both time and money.
Put simply, reading is one of the best things you can do to improve your financial health. Over the years, it is something I’ve become addicted to.
What this list is and isn’t
This list is 11 of my best personal finance books. In reality, the list could be much, much longer. And many of you will have your own titles you’d have on this list. But I had to keep it a relatively small number so as not to be overwhelming to read. And if has to be accessible for those starting out on their journey of financial fitness.
Plus, I didn’t want this list to be ’11 best personal finance books’ purely about the mechanics of investing. Even to seasoned investors, it can become a little dry. So, this list covers four broad topics of personal finance.
In fact, the last section isn’t personal finance, strictly speaking. But they are inspirational books that can be equally powerful in propelling you along your journey to financial fitness.
Healthy personal finance is often about taking action. The longer you leave it, the greater the opportunity missed.
Like compounding, the sooner you read these (or any) books, the longer they have for their impact to take effect.
In fact, the actual best time to read them was as soon as you could start to read. The second best time is NOW. So read on, my friend, before it’s too late…..
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Heads up – We aim to produce honest and accurate content, however, we are not financial advisors. If you need financial advice, Unbiased can connect you with a suitable professional for free. Some of our links may earn us a small commission to help us run the site.
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Best personal finance books for - beginners/personal finance/debt
For further information on getting out of debt and the quickest way to clear debt, check out the Destroying Debt page which is packed full of helpful articles and guides.
Also, for further hacks and tips for improving your personal finance, check out the Healthy Finances page.
“No Guilt. No Excuses. No BS. Just a 6-week Program That Works.”
Ramit Sethi is on a personal mission to expose unscrupulous banks and credit card. To expose their exorbitant interest rates, unreasonable charges and poor customer service. And he’s not backwards in coming forwards. In fact, he outright names and shames the (US) big bank brands he has issues with.
Essentially, this book is your blueprint for healthy personal finance. The twist, compared to many other books in this genre, is that he doesn’t chastise the reader. You can continue to buy your caramel latte. He is very much a ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ king of guy. Fundamentally, his argument is that if you get the big pillars of personal finance right (eg, clear debt, save and invest at a decent rate etc), then the little things take care of themselves. Plus, Ramit’s approach is very much about systematisation and automation.
And it’s this combined approach, much like our own at Eat Sleep Money, which is why this book features on our ‘best personal finance books’ list.
One thing to bear in mind is that this book does focus on American banking, systems and platforms. So it does take some translating into a UK context.
Overall, this book is a simple, step-by-step guide to the fundamentals of personal finance, without condescending jargon or feeling poor whilst saving.
“What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Classes Do Not!”
This book is considered one of the pillars of personal finance literature. In fact, Rich Dad Poor Dad has inspired millions of personal finance enthusiasts.
What made it so famous, was the intriguing story and narrative that the book presents to make its points. This is not about dry facts and figures. It is the adventurous and often harsh life lessons a young boy learnt from his friend’s father.
Further notoriety has come from the subsequent controversy surrounding whether the story is true or not. In reality, whether it’s true or not doesn’t really matter. What’s important is the lessons behind the story, which we can all learn from.
Again, this has an American context and a focus on real estate. You’ll need to apply the lessons to the UK setting.
Overall, an entertaining story, whether real or not, that should feature on anyone’s reading list who wants to improve their financial situation and be inspired.
Dave Ramsay is probably one of the best-known personal finance writers. This is in part because he was one of the early writers of the ‘new-era’ (first published in 2003). He now hosts his own radio show in the US, runs his own financial education charity and written many many books.
Crucially, he pioneered his ‘baby-steps’ roadmap. This system lays out a path that is easy for anyone to follow and work towards financial freedom.
What Ramsey has perhaps become best known for, is helping people get out of debt. This book is certainly very good at this and is a must-read for anyone looking to climb out of the debt pit. I personally used it as one of my tools and can testify to its effectiveness.
However, the book almost assumes debt is your starting point. This may not be your situation and you may be taking the next step in building personal wealth, such as saving and investing. In which case, there may be other books better suited to you out there.
That said, Ramsey takes us well beyond simply clearing debt. There are still lots of great reasons to read the rest of the book, including his money mindset approach.
In summary, it’s because of Ramsey’s extremely simple methods and the fact that he has personally gone from debt to millionaire, not but once but twice, which is why this book feature on our list.
“Your roadmap to financial independence and a rich, free life.”
This was originally created as a series of letters to his daughter, which evolved into a blog. It then became a book that has gone on to become a highly-regarded cornerstone to Financial Independence literature.
This is where we start digging into some mechanics of investing. We’re talking ‘inverted yield curves’ and Safe Withdrawals Rates including inflation adjustment calculations.
Yet despite the huge amount of empirical research Collins has undertaken, he has been able to make these concepts highly accessible for everyone.
Collins is also a big proponent of ‘F.U.’ money and discusses some high-level aspects of our relationship with money.
Fundamentally though, this is a book about investing and a valuable read for beginners and intermediates alike.
“Creating peace of mind in a world of volatility.”
Unshakeable was the first investment book I ever read…and it gripped me from the very start. The first half of this book incessantly drills home the power of compounding and the need to keep fees low. It demonstrates how just a 0.01% difference in fees can have a huge impact on your wealth and returns in the long term.
In addition to this, the main premise of the book is around investing psychology and holding your nerve. Successful investors need to be consistent, resilient and go the distance.
The last part of this book starts delving into the world of personal development for which Robbins has become famous. For example, it includes some mindfulness exercises and visualisation techniques. Personally, I love this stuff, but it’s not for everyone.
First published in 1937 during the Great Depression and considered one of the very first mainstream personal development books. No surprise then, that reading it has since become a rite of passage for anyone serious in their quest for success in the finances and career.
Fundamentally, the book walks us through 13 principles of money mindset. This includes desire, self-suggestion and persistence. Indeed, these principles go beyond simply the acquisition of wealth and can be considered crucial to all areas of personal and career development.
As you may expect, to illustrate these principles, examples from ‘the olden days’ are used. Whilst they make the point, I found the outdatedness slightly distracting. Personally, I find modern examples and applications more relatable and useful. Though it still deserves a place on the list of best personal finance books.
For me, this is the 21st-century version of Think and Grow Rich. It does a great job of using modern and relevant examples and its lessons are therefore very relatable.
The book walks us through 20 key lessons on how to improve our relationship with money. In many ways, it is a book about seeing money for what it is and throws up many warning signals about the pursuit of wealth.
At its core, this book teaches us not to be defined by money and to view it as simply an enabler to living the life we want.
Favourite quotes – “savings is the gap between your ego and your income” and “what you need to live on sits just below the ego”. Love it.
“Know more, make more, give more. Learn how to make more money and transform your life.”
Money, by Rob Moore, is a comprehensive guide to everything about this subject. And he’s well qualified in this subject. He went from £50,000 in consumer debt to becoming a millionaire at 31 through investing in property.
In this book guides us through the history of money, its mechanics and how these have evolved over time. Fundamentally, it teaches us how money works. And once you know that, then you can start to control it.
Later in the book, Rob goes into detailed systems and setups that anyone can use to improve their financial wellbeing. Rob is also infamous in the personal development space, so expect plenty of helpings throughout this essential read.
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Best personal finance books for - inspiration/wealth/business/biography
9. Losing my Virginity - Richard Branson
Richard Branson remains one of the best-known hippy, philanthropist and visionary billionaires in the world. And his story is fascinating.
Fundamentally, this book is about never, ever giving up. Ever.
Branson’s is a story of the underdog winning through. He reminisces on his early days in setting up Virgin Records on a shoestring and competing with the big boys. And to surviving cut-throat industrial espionage during his run-ins with British Airways,
A truly inspirational read for anyone in the pursuit of wealth and what it takes to get there.
“The distilled wisdom of one of Britains wealthiest self-made entrepreneurs.”
Ever read about global current affairs in The Week? What about lad-mag Maxim in the 1990s? Or searched for a car in Auto Express? If yes, then you have read only one of 50 publications run by Dennis Publishing since the 1960s.
Put frankly, Felix Dennis was one of Britain’s most prolific and successful entrepreneurs that built his empire from the ground up.
What I love about this book, is that he will actually do his best to put you off pursuing wealth. Dennis knew a thing or two about money. He was 59 when wrote this book in 2006 and died in 2014 worth an estimated $750m. He writes about how money doesn’t bring you happiness and changes your relationships. And how not to blow it all on drugs and prostitutes (which he had a darn good go at in the 80s).
All in all, this is a money tutorial from Britain’s wealthiest hippy, in all its ugly glory. The lessons inside are ones we should all learn. A dang good read.
By definition, a shoe dog is someone who devotes themselves entirely to the making, designing and selling of shoes. And as someone who dedicated their life to trainers, Phil Knight, the creator of Nike, certainly fits that description.
This book is about beating the odds. About standing up to the corporate machine and building a brand with real values. What’s remarkable is how long it took for Nike to become an established and stable business. For decades, their finances were running on a knife-edge.
Like all the best books in this genre, Knight shares his philosophical musings on how money really affects you. And how to control it, both pragmatically and emotionally. A terrific and gripping read.
Whether you agree with this list of best personal finance books or not, investing in yourself and your education is the single best investment you can make. Whether it’s blogs, physical books or audiobooks, you can learn from what has worked for others and avoid their mistakes. Priceless.
If you still have questions then come join our supportive UK Personal Finance club on Facebook. You will find other like-minded individuals. It’s a safe, private community where you can ask questions and learn more about making the most of your money. Best of all, it’s free! I’d love to see you there.
Here’s to Financial Fitness!
EatSleepMoney.co.uk does notoffer financial advice and is intended for reference/information only. Remember, you should always carry out your own research and/or take specific professional advice before choosing any financial products or services or undertaking any business or financial venture. If you need financial advice Unbiased can connect you with a suitable professional for free. Investments may go up as well as down and you may get back less than you put in.
I'm obsessed with money...just in a good way. Having cleared £30,000 of consumer debt within three years, I learnt a ton of lessons along the way.
One of the biggest was how important our 'money mindset' and relationship with money is in achieving our goals.
If I can help just one person get out of debt and live a better life, then this has all been worth it.