The world changes quickly, and technology has made everything more accessible — including finding answers to your finance questions and your relationship with money. While there are a ton of new avenues to go to for advice, there are some classic finance books that have stood the test of time for the long term.
Whether you are looking for advice on how to save money or simply want more financial freedom you could seek out a certified financial planner, or grab one of these books.
10 Financial Literacy Books You Should Read Now
This list is going to take a look at some of the books that still contain good advice on financial decisions despite having aged a few years. For instance, you will see one book that goes back to the 1940s. Here’s a look at these classics and see why they continue to contain great advice, even today. These are 10 books to help how you view money in your life as well as begin your financial education:
- Best for beginning investors: “The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham
- Best for building wealth: “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki
- Best for insight on millionaires: “The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko
- Best for stock market investing: “How To Buy Stocks” by Louis C. Engel
- Best on the FIRE movement: “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferriss
- Best for setting up wealth: “The Automatic Millionaire” by David Bach
- Best for building people skills: “How To Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie
- Best overview of investing: “A Random Walk Down Wall Street” by Burton G. Malkiel
- Best for entrepreneurs: “The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It” by Michael Gerber
- Best for goal-setting: “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill
1. ‘The Intelligent Investor’ by Benjamin Graham
“The Intelligent Investor” is a classic book on investing that remains relevant today. Although technology has changed investing in many ways, several core principles have stayed the same.
Liam Hunt, content director for SophisticatedInvestor.com gave his thoughts:
“I’ve always had a soft spot for Benjamin Graham’s ‘The Intelligent Investor,’ which is equally relevant today as it was when it came out in the 1940s. In it, Graham teaches the basics of asset allocation, risk management, the margin of safety and the fundamental irrationality of markets due to quirks in human group psychology. I think it’s essential reading for money managers of all stripes.”
2. ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ by Robert Kiyosaki
“Rich Dad Poor Dad” has been a staple of many personal finance communities since its release in 1997. Abby Hao of WellPCB recommended this book.
“‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ is the classic personal finance book written from the perspective of a (rich) father advising his two sons; one who took over his job as an employee, and one who took over his business,” Hao said. “It will give you a greater understanding of the importance of building your own assets and the traps lurking in the workplace.”
3. ‘The Millionaire Next Door’ by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko
“The Millionaire Next Door” is a classic because it helps people understand that many millionaires don’t necessarily look like millionaires. Hao also recommended this book.
She said, “‘The Millionaire Next Door’ was one of the first books to focus on the study of everyday millionaires in the United States. Granted, there aren’t many millionaires next door who are exactly like you and me, but the book provides a lot of wisdom and eye-opening facts about how these people achieve financial success. Stanley explored how the wealthy save and manage their assets, and how middle-class Americans are mistaken about them. He found out that most millionaires live in ordinary houses in ordinary neighborhoods.”
4. ‘How To Buy Stocks’ by Louis C. Engel
Needless to say, this book is all about investing in the stock market. Originally published in 1954, this book covers essential investing information from a time before the creation of the first index fund.
This book was recommended by Andrew Crowell, vice president of wealth management at D.A. Davidson & Co. “‘ How to Buy Stocks’ is a timeless classic on investing; it incorporates everything an investor would need to know to get started. It’s an excellent primer for individuals who want to begin investing or simply want to have a better understanding of how the system works.”
5. ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ by Timothy Ferriss
Tim Ferriss’s “The 4-Hour Workweek” is not so much about the nitty-gritty details of investing in the stock market or the like; instead, it falls into the category of what is now known colloquially as financial independence, retire early (FIRE).
This is a very popular concept in online personal finance communities today. Ferriss makes the point that you shouldn’t be putting your life on hold while you get your finances in order. Instead, start taking action to create the life you want now. As the title implies, it is all about working less and living more.
6. ‘The Automatic Millionaire’ by David Bach
David Bach has written several popular money books. This particular book is somewhat unique because, while other books give you 10- or 12-step plans, “The Automatic Millionaire” contains a one-step plan.
This book was recommended by Anuj Nayar, senior vice president and head of communications at Lending Club. Nayar calls it “a book for beginners that can help you understand and set up systems to build wealth.” In particular, it covers the details of a middle-class family that manages to save $1 million and exactly how they do it.
7. ‘How To Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie
Originally published in 1936, this book is one of the oldest on the list. While it may not sound like a money book based on the title, it covers some very important money topics. For example, it can teach you how to land the job you want — while making friends along the way, of course.
This book was also recommended by Abby Hao. “What can you say about this classic? It was first published in 1936! This book helped to bring out the people skills I had been learning from previous work experience and get them in writing.”
8. ‘A Random Walk Down Wall Street’ by Burton G. Malkiel
Burton G. Malkiel’s 1973 classic, “A Random Walk Down Wall Street” remains incredibly popular to this day. As the book’s subtitle notes, it breaks down a time-tested strategy for successful investing. For most investors, this approach allows the greatest possible chance of success.
It also covers a broad range of investing topics, including stocks, bonds, money-market funds, real estate and physical goods such as gold and collectibles. Its updated 11th edition also has a chapter on behavioral finance.
9. ‘The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It’ by Michael Gerber
Life as a small-business owner is never easy; that’s probably why half of them fail within five years. Gerber’s book is all about dispelling the myths behind starting a business and also provides ways to clear the hurdles. This book is recommended by Hao as well.
“‘The E-Myth Revisited’ is a great book for anyone thinking of starting a business, or anyone who is at the beginning stages of their company,” Hao said. “In the book, Michael Gerber describes three types of people who start businesses: technicians, managers and entrepreneurs.”
10. ‘Think and Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill
Just one year newer than Dale Carnegie’s book, “Think and Grow Rich” was originally published in 1937. While this book may be considered more of a motivational piece that helps you achieve your goals, it does talk at length about money. In particular, it contains 13 chapters collectively called “The 13 Steps to Riches.”
More broadly, the book gives you a framework for achieving any goal, making it useful whether your goal is financial or otherwise. Some readers say this book changed their lives, so it’s well worth a read.
Final Take To GO
A recent GOBankingRates survey found that 29% of Americans look online or to social media for their financial advice, while the majority–about 46%–reach out to friends and family. Only 4% of people turn to books as their primary source of advice. However, if you do the work to give yourself a total money makeover or at least seek out some tips and tricks from financial experts, you can achieve financial independence and a more secure future.
Caitlyn Moorhead contributed to the reporting for this article.