The statistics are plenty sobering, and to be blunt before going on: there are plenty of good reasons for Gen X’ers, Millennials, and Gen-Z to be pissed about how things work and how much policies enacted 30-40 years ago have thoroughly screwed so many of them when it comes to finances.
But that doesn’t change that the way things work are the way things work.
So the best that you can do is give yourself the knowledge, guidance, and wisdom from money and work masters to tilt as many things in your favor as you can.
Because the truth is you can make a lot of mistakes, have a lot of terrible things beyond your control happen, and still recover.
But only with the right planning, knowledge, and guidance to make the most of any financial situation you find yourself in, whatever that might be.
These financial books tackle money from many different angles. Some that are obvious parts of finance and others that hit mindset, understanding markets, or stepping back to take a real look at the options out there in an online world to see what’s really possible.
These are the best 9 financial books I believe everyone should read. Whether you agree with it all or not, and there are plenty in some of these books I don’t agree with, understanding the principles and perspectives there make a huge difference.
So take a look because these books together can give one heck of a financial education.
I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
The title sounds like a scammy pitch from a slimy used car salesman or late night infomercial and is a major reason why I ignored this book for over half a decade.
But this is quite simply one of the best (and in my opinion THE best) financial book ever written. Ramit gives a six week program and plan that lets anyone set up a step by step system to start paying off debt, start saving, and to move the ball forward in a positive way.
I didn’t even use the six week program, but I ignored the sections on what I already had down, used the scripts he gave to talk down debts, and helped automate savings in a way that really started picking up serious momentum in a way that allows you to get ahead without having to sacrifice your entire present to do so.
His interviews on the Tim Ferriss podcast are amazing, and the in-depth analysis he gives on retirement accounts, why you need to set up automated investing (and how to do it), busting the myths on home ownership versus renting, and a variety of other topics takes financial topics that “aren’t discussed in polite company” and comes through with barebones math backed by stories and encouragement that uplift you instead of stomp you down.
This is hands down the best financial book I’ve ever read, it’s a part of the bathroom library, and I re-read sections all the time just to stay on track and remind myself of where to shore up my financial game.
This should be on the top of anyone’s list who wants to learn about how to transform their financial life.
If you want to transform your finances this is the first book you should devour. Then read again as you go through every step that applies to you as you move on towards financial freedom.
As an important note, there are two editions, and if you are buying used then make sure you’re getting the updated second edition.
Around 98% of all the information is the same but the minor tweaks matter and some more examples and stories, as well as an updated foreword, help to bring home the most important points.
The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clauson
This is the oldest book on the list by not even close, and it is a book I think should be required reading in junior high and again in high school. The Richest Man in Babylon is written in a very engaging storytelling style recounting stories that illustrate a financial lesson at the end of each chapter.
This makes for a book that reads like allegorical fiction. These stories are short, entertaining, and make for smooth reading compared to most financial titles.
If you’re a fiction reader this is the type of non-fiction book that can bring you into great non-fiction.
In addition to this, the chapters are short, easy to read, and have the lesson clearly stated at the end of each story in bold which reinforces the moral of the story while stating it simply and succinctly in a way that makes these “Laws of Wealth” easy to memorize and apply.
While some people would argue that this book was written in a much different era when money and markets worked differently (and they have a valid point), this book hits the fundamentals that are absolutely necessary if you want to get the basics down so you can build on them.
A solid financial foundation is a necessity to build of off, and the lessons in this book are always going to be cornerstones to a better financial situation.
Great, fast, and easy read!
Be Obsessed or Be Average by Grant Cardone
This is one I absolutely love, and it grabbed a high spot on list of books that changed and/or transformed my life, as well. Grant Cardone is a giant in the world of sales and business, and I STRONGLY recommend going with the Audible ebook version.
Because hours of extra content read by Grant Cardone himself which brings a strong energy and insight to the book that you just don’t get from the (still excellent) written form.
Whatever you think of Grant, this book is exceptional from the business and self-improvement standpoint. It’s inspiring, it gives hope to people at all stages of beat down, and it just fires you up.
This is my go-to for listening on repeat when I need to sit down at the computer, know there are months of grinding ahead, and need to punch forward without getting bogged down or falling into despair from the mountain ahead of me.
His take on obsession is something I really relate to and for people who really listen to the details, it becomes apparent that this isn’t toxic grind culture, it’s a different take on excelling at ALL parts of life.
This is an outstanding book that is huge on finances, financial mindset, building wealth, excelling at life & business, and more.
There are many people I know who are fans of The 10X Rule, which is a solid read, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the Audible Audiobook version of Be Obsessed or Be Average, in my opinion.
The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach
This is one of those classic financial books that somehow has fallen in the cracks as the years have gone by, but it really shouldn’t have. The strategies and philosophy behind this book put forward strategies that have been pushed ahead, recommended, and mimicked by hundreds of financial and self-help gurus who have come since.
Many expensive seminars about saving money that charge hundreds of dollars you could just skip and read this book to set up everything you want and to put the tools in place to have the investments happen automatically so there’s no resistance, no struggle, your assets just keep growing out of sight and out of temptation. This follows in the vein of the classic The Millionaire Next Door and while not as popular as Rich Dad, Poor Dad it also offers more actionable tools and steps for beginning the journey.
There are incredible beginner’s resources for mindset, and those that focus on actual tools and practices. This book falls in the second group of resources and should be top of the list if you find yourself in a place where you want to start but feel completely lost. Start Late, Finish Rich by the same author is another great book that is especially good if you’re older and despair that it’s too late to start.
Deep Work by Cal Newport
“Wait a minute, Shane, what’s this book have to do with money?” Well good question. You might not think of this book as being about finances but whether you are growing a business, creating a side hustle, trying to make money with a passion project, or becoming a superstar at work, Deep Work is an incredible resource that teaches you what you need to know to focus, concentrate, and to truly get to the heart of the most important work with any given project.
Whatever of the above situations apply to you, the ability to deep dive into a project is a major skill that can pay off in big ways. Learning how to avoid distraction, pay attention to details, and stay focused is a rare thing and can lead to success in jobs, projects, and an array of other skills. This includes embracing boredom to do long-term important work, to deflect distraction, and get more done.
Deep Work has been hailed as a major work from a wide array of self-improvement specialists, financial experts, entrepreneurs, and productivity specialists. If you want to do better work for yourself, for others, or both, then this is the book you want to pick up, read, and study.
The Education of Millionaires by Michael Ellsberg
This is a criminally underrated book that does a serious deep dive into what makes actual “Made it from nothing” millionaires who they are. This doesn’t shoot for glamorous stories from people who were right place/right time, had a loaded mentor who swooped in to help them, or otherwise had hidden advantages that played a major part in success whether acknowledged or not.
Ellsberg focuses on real world examples of self-made millionaires who didn’t have parents pay for college, didn’t have a billionaire mentor, didn’t have obvious advantages or benefits that give them a leg up on their way to millionaire status.
The author is also someone who used these lessons to replicate that success himself – and that is huge for me. This book is loaded with examples of how smart marketing, smart planning, and going the extra mile outside of the box makes millionaires.
Filled with examples, lessons, and insights, this is a fantastic book that is thick in the sense every page is loaded with great information and actionable content while it remains unusually easy to read based on the amount of great information loaded inside.
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
One of the most well-known financial books in the entire world, The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey is a book that is the mainstay recommendation for people who don’t know where to start. While I’m not 100% on board with the sometimes seemingly cultish adherence some huge Ramsey followers have one thing is undeniable: this plan works and makes things better for anyone starting from scratch.
Eliminate debt, create savings, budget, get spending under control. The debt snowball isn’t anything revolutionary (this idea has existed for many many decades before the book) but the breakdown of how it works, multiple examples, and walks those in serious debt through the baby steps of how to get out.
For someone with moderate financial experience or who has done the entrepreneur route, there isn’t a lot here that is going to be ground breaking.
However, for anyone deep in debt, who doesn’t know where to start, or struggles with the budget/debt side of things or finding a way to save when there isn’t a clear plan, this is a great book to get you started.
Take these rules, practice them for a year until they are habit, and then continue to improve and upgrade your education from there!
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
A popular money book that is a favorite of pretty much every single real estate investor you speak to, there’s a lot of great knowledge from Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. This is one of those books where there’s a lot of great information, followed by stories to bring the point home.
This is based more on mindset, on viewing money a different way, and on refusing to follow the masses into financial struggles when stepping out and looking at things differently can open up the possibilities to wealth.
A mainstay, I don’t find this book at the same actionable level as some of the others on the list, but it is a must-read to understand the financial mindsets within. Whether or not you adopt the same, or pick and choose, understanding how so many players in the real estate and financial spaces view things is crucial to understand how to do business within these sectors.
A great base book that is entertaining, informative, and worth the read.
The 4 Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss
This is an interesting book to recommend in 2022 because a lot of things have changed since the book was first written back in 2007. And that’s an understatement to say that a LOT changed.
However, I still think there are many good reasons to still have this book as one of the greats that should be still on any top list, even if many of the ground breaking details that were new in 2007, obsolete by 2010 or 2012, and un-updated since then is still important.
This book was one of the all-time influential works for a generation of digital nomads and entrepreneurs, and it’s easy to see why. Many of the most important lessons in this book you’ll recognize as echoed by YouTubers, Life Coaches, Financial Coaches and modern business/life books and that’s because the 4HWW inspired all of them. This was where many of these concepts originated – or at least went mainstream.
Why is this book still useful then?
Because it still has many of the best examples of:
- Using stories with step-by-step examples to lay out the concepts in ways that complete newbies can follow
- Crucial mindset and thinking exercises that can be life-changing
- Real-life examples of dozens or hundreds who have made lucrative digital nomad paths a thing
- Being able to see the mindset and thinking habits of people who successfully pull this off
- The concepts still work in many cases even when the technology or medium has changed
- It’s good motivation anchored in smart practices
So even if we’re long past the point where magazine ads are a thing, Ferriss’s strategy for finding competitive rates, driving them down, and getting the highest value or ROI from your efforts still hold. The phone scripts are invaluable and can teach you serious marketing and sales skills from studying them.
The first time reading or listening to this, let your mind run wild with the possibilities. The second time, take notes of the parts that really catch you.
Then after that, do a couple of deep dives and really dig in and dissect. You won’t be disappointed by the results.
I actually “read” this most on the audiobook version, but both are good.
Finances Work on Multiple Levels
One of the most important things to a good financial education is getting help or learning from professionals. Part of this is understanding that finances work on multiple levels. The strengths and weaknesses of different individuals in the finance area can just really vary greatly.
- Sales & Negotiations
- Real Estate
- Freelancing & Side Hustles
- Money Psychology
These are just a few topics that fall under the very general umbrella of “Finances” and that means books can be wildly different in scope, style, and even focus. Because of that it’s important to look at the full range of available financial books in all their forms, especially if you are moving towards a niche investment of some kind.
YouTube Channels I’d Recommend
One great way to learn about finances, especially when you are breaking into very specific area of finances like real estate, buying laundromats, modern side gigs, starting a manual labor business, freelancing, and more.
In other words, there are a lot of YouTube channels on there on finance, and these are a great smattering to let you figure out a wide array of finance
- Alex Hormozi
- Investment Joy
- Graham Stephan (Focus on early channel videos on real estate)
- Meet Kevin (Focus on early channel videos on real estate)
- Income School
- Andrei Jikh
Between these top financial books and the YouTube channels that are all about top money topics, you will have all the tools, resources, and information that you need in order to get your money life in order. Whether digging out of debt, creating an amazing safety net, building amazing wealth, or simply catching up after starting out late in life, the knowledge in these books brings multiple views, tons of knowledge, and decades of experience to the table.
I hope that you find this article useful and even more importantly, that you find these books as outstanding and life-changing as I have. They offer a wide array of knowledge, wisdom, and tools that can really transform your life.
These have been incredible for me and I hope you get the same impact if not more. Fill out that financial library, follow those amazing YouTube channels, and watch your financial future grow!