5 personal finance self-help books everyone must read

Do you want to improve your financial conditions? Want to know how to grow rich by saving investing? Learn it from the gurus from the best personal finance self-help books that everyone should read for better money management.

Self-help books are not usually considered prestigious by the bibliophile world – they are neither reviewed in any scholarly journal nor do secure any place in the academic curricula of universities. While students are taught about science and mathematics, history and geography, politics and philosophy, or law or literature, no school or college usually teaches the general students how to manage your money or career or relationships better – unless you particularly specialize in one of those subjects. Nevertheless, there are several benefits of reading self-help books: they not only charge you with positive energy and develop all-round skills but at the same time they are also great for inculcating reading habits and enhance the overall quality of your life.

Are personal finance self-help books worth reading?

Personal finance is one of the most critical areas of your life which can greatly impact your life in both positive and negative ways. It is, therefore, extremely important to take good care of your money, just as you take good care of your health. And, if you are not a personal finance expert yourself, seeking out professional help is always advisable. At the same time, good self-help books can greatly help you improve your personal finance which can complement professional advice. You will be surprised to know that being intelligent or being a good academician does not automatically make you a good manager of your money. Financial management is a skill that needs to be learned and developed with great care, and it does not come automatically to even the smartest of humans. If you do not believe it, let me tell you a little story.

A smart Englishman who lost a lot of money in the stock market

In the spring of 1720, everybody in England was talking about the South Sea Company, and the price was unreasonably getting high day by day. One Englishman rightly sensed that the market is driven by madness, and he sold all his shares and booked a profit of £7,000. However, as a few months went by and the price of that stock went up even higher, that person lost his cool by the hyper-enthusiastic market and decided to buy those stocks once again despite unreasonably high valuations. This time, he lost a whopping £20,000, which is more than worth three million US dollars in today's value. For the rest of his life, he would be enraged if someone just uttered the words 'South Sea' in his presence. That man was Isaac Newton, arguably one of the greatest minds the human race has ever produced.

So, what is the conclusion? If a genius like Newton might have needed some guidance on the personal finance front, the average individual like you and I should never ignore the importance of reading a few good personal finance books. Here is a list of some of the good personal finance self-help books that everyone should read.

1. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

Having sold over thirty million copies in more than 50 languages across more than one hundred countries, Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad Poor Dad is undoubtedly one of the best personal finance books ever written. Written in a lucid and easy language that everyone can understand, and told in the style of parables, this book jots down what Robert learned from his two mentors – his own 'poor' dad who was a government school teacher, and his friend Mike's dad who was a businessman and 'rich'. Robert's rich dad could teach him things about money his 'poor' dad could not.

Key lessons from Rich Dad Poor Dad

  • The most powerful asset that we have is our brain, which must be exercised to be strengthened and used to generate wealth. Too many people are focused on money and not on education, which can be their greatest wealth.
  • The difference is made by a person working for money, and his money working for him.
  • There is a difference between being broke and poor. Broke is temporary while poverty lingers forever.

2. The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham

This is perhaps the most impressive and the most influential book ever written on the subject of value investing; so much so, that it can be called the bible of value investing. According to the ace investor Warren Buffet, The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham is "by far the best book ever written on investing". I personally believe that if you would want to buy just a single book on stock investing in your lifetime and nothing more, this should be the chosen one. The idea of Graham was to teach the ordinary investors the manners and policies of value investing, which will enable them to make rational investment decisions instead of blindly following the market. In the first three chapters, Graham defines 'investment', and talks about speculation, inflation, and some relevant market histories. He then writes about the defensive and the enterprising investors, market fluctuations, investment funds and advisors, the margin of safety, and many other topics quintessential for a novice to begin the life-changing journey of value investing.

Key lessons from The Intelligent Investor

  • There is a difference between speculation and investment. Investors make money for themselves. Speculators make money for their brokers.
  • Lessons must be learned from the past, else we will be condemned to repeat our mistakes.
  • An ideal stock investor is a realist who buys from pessimists and sells to optimists.

3. Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is a different kind of a personal finance self-help book; it is not going to do you much help if you just read it once and then put down forever. The book has been one of the bestsellers since its first publication in 1937. Traveling all over the world for more than twenty years to interview hundreds of financially successful people takes a lot of effort and energy; and Napoleon Hill has done just that for you. Hill does not tell you how to make a pile of money or how to hoard it; he tells you how to have the right mindset so that you can grow rich.

Key lessons from Think and Grow Rich

He talks about thirteen steps that need to be learned: Desire, Faith, Auto-suggestion, Specialized knowledge, Imagination, Organized Planning, Decision, Persistence, the Power of the mastermind, the Mystery of sex transmutation, the Subconscious mind, the Brain, and the Sixth sense.

4. Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker

Very much like Napoleon Hill's masterpiece, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker is another book that focuses on psychology and behavioral patterns instead of directly dictating you how to make money. And Eker speaks from his own experience: he was the son of European immigrants who came to America with only $30 to their name. During his early years of struggle, Eker vowed that if he ever succeeded to become rich, he would also help others doing the same. And he keeps his promise with his bestselling financial self-help book Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. Given below are some of the key ideas I took from his book.

Key lessons from Secrets of the Millionaire Mind

  • You need to have an absolute commitment to creating wealth. If you do not, chances are that you would not have the desired result.
  • You are paid in proportion to the value you deliver.
  • Lack of money is not the problem but the symptom of some problem underneath.

5. The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles

The Science of Getting Rich, written by the New Thought Movement writer Wallace D. Wattles, first came out in 1910. The very fact that the book is still available in print after a hundred and ten years after its initial publication proves its efficiency and relevance to contemporary readers. This book is now in the public domain and you can download it from several websites on the internet. Personal development scholar Tom Butler-Bowdon included this book in his list of "50 Success Classics" in his 2004 book of the same name. It was also one of the inspirations for the Australian TV writer and producer Rhonda Byrne's popular 2007 book The Secret.

Key lessons from The Science of Getting Rich
  • The best you can do for the world is to make the most of yourself.
  • The best way to help the poor is to demonstrate to them how to be rich by being rich yourself.
  • There is a genius in everybody waiting to be discovered.

Have you read any of these books? If not, it is time you should start reading! All of them are available for purchase both offline and online, and many of them are legally available for free downloads as well! Should you want to discuss any of the books, just leave a comment below!


Author: Umesh27 Jun 2020 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 9

This is a well-compiled article about the science of making money and taking the help of self-help books.

No doubt, books would definitely help oneself to learn about the intricacies of investing money on sound footings and create wealth. One can learn a lot of things from these books but there are some common-sense ideas that also sometimes work in the field of investment. There are many avenues for investments. No one knows which sector would do good and when it would prosper but everyone uses one's own judgement and knowledge only to get new surprises every time.

In the field of investment, there are some basic things that an investor must abide by. The first is to contain or eradicate greed. In Tolstoy's story 'How much land does a man require', the greedy person loses his life on the way coming back to the wish fulfiller. The second thing which is very important is timing. The time of investment is a crucial decision and even many shrewd investors miserably fail in this. During 1992-94 era, I was working in an office where many people had invested heavily as markets were going up very fast and there was immense buying activity everywhere. But suddenly Harshad Mehta scam took place and market nosedived and some of the companies which were getting its shares traded at a high suddenly went bankrupt and got closed within the next 5-6 years. It was a big set back for all of us and we all lost money, some less, some more. An investor should look at a fast-rising market with doubt and hesitation. Next important consideration is the amount of investment in a particular segment. One should invest in different avenues and not in one place only. Another thing is to stay invested for a long period. Good investors invest for the long term and reap the benefits. Investment is a game of patience. Hurry would not be a beneficial attribute in this arena.

So, in addition to reading books, we have to use the above common ideas in our investment strategy.

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