The world changes quickly, especially with the advent of technology. While investing was once something only those who were already wealthy could afford, it’s accessible to almost anyone today. Indeed, many aspects of personal finance change rapidly in the last few decades.
The cost to attend a four-year university is higher relative to wages, and the internet is allowing more people to work remotely. This can affect commute costs as well as where people choose to live.
Despite all these changes, though, there are some financial concepts that stand the test of time. This list is going to take a look at some of the books that still contain good advice despite having aged a few years. For instance, you will see one book that goes all the way back to the 1940s.
Last updated: April 23, 2021
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, there are a number of core principles that have stayed the same. Liam Hunt of 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 Ha, head of marketing and development at WellPCB, recommended this book. “’Rich Dad Poor Dad’ is the classic personal finance book written from the perspective of a (rich) father giving advice to his two sons; one who took over his job as an employee, and one who took over his business. 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. Abby Ha also recommended this book. “’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 neighborhood.”
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, 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, VP 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 Ha. “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 was recommended by Abby Ha. “’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. 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,” and each step has its own chapter. 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.
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