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What books on personal finance should I read??

August 23rd, 2006 at 05:18 am

I really enjoyed last Friday's excursion to Barnes & Noble to read up on personal finance.

I think I want to make a habit of this. I'm going to go every Friday.

I want to learn more about:

- basic economic theory
- investment options and how to evaluate them
- how current events interplay with the world economy
- real estate
- inspirational tales of success
- anything else that might be interesting and/or useful

So, recommend your favorite book to me! In fact, recommend ten! Tell me what the book is about, why you like it, and, if applicable, how it has helped you.

10 Responses to “What books on personal finance should I read??”

  1. LuxLiving Says:

    There is a nice thread on this topic w/recent posts. Sorry, I'm too much of a newbie to tell you how to search for it!! Well, I posted in it, maybe you could look back thru my posts and find it? Lots of folks on there giving their favs!

    -LuxLivingFrugalis
    http://luxliving.savingadvice.com

  2. LuxLiving Says:


    Here's the thread:
    http://www.savingadvice.com/forums/showthread.php?p=80251#post80251

  3. yummy64 Says:

    The last one I read was Dave Ramsey's total money makeover. I'm a big dave ramsey plan and really like what he outlines there. Doable, focussed and workable.

    I have a B.Comm so I get the finance stuff. I'm not into it though (if the differnce make sense to you) so like his straight forward approach. Yes there are ways to fine tune it and his Christian focus might not be for you. However, I like the book and have been following his principals.

    And for the first time in years, despite my background in finance, I am debt free and socking money into savings Smile

  4. ima saver Says:

    The wealthy barber, so simple everyone can understand it!

  5. drew1980 Says:

    I would recommend any of Suze Orman's books. She's great.

  6. boomeyers Says:

    Elizabeth Warren "All your worth"

  7. baselle Says:

    For a quickie pop (you should be able to finish it with a coffee) - The Richest Man in Babylon.

    For your investment options and how to evaluate them - not a book at all, but a collection of Warren Buffett's letters to shareholders. They are a treasure because he is usually brutally honest (take a peak at 1999) and funny about the businesses he invests in.

    http://beginnersinvest.about.com/cs/warrenbuffett/a/aawarrenletters.htm

    (oh yes, the about.com site isn't bad for the basics)

  8. Dido Says:

    My favorite is "Your Money or Your Life." That's the book that turned my whole way of thinking around. The key idea is to translate money into "life energy" units--that is, how many hours of your life did you spend to earn the money that you are spending, and was it really worth that much of your time? They add a number of different factors into calculations of earnings--e.g., you don't just take your hourly wage but rather subtract from it things like transportation to work, the cost of eating out if you do that because of lack of time, etc, etc, which tends to lower your "real hourly wage" a lot, and thus make it apparent that you are spending a lot more hours of your life to buy that sweater or ipod or whatever than you might think at first glance. There are a number of other eye-opening ideas in the book but this is the one that turned things around for me when I was in my early 30s.

  9. Dido Says:

    For a basic understanding of economics, I'd look at an intro econ text. I like Greg Mankiw's best. Both micro & macro books start out the same at the intro level. Here's a link to the ten key ideas that Mankiw introduces in Chapter 1 and a link to the chapter on supply & demand if you look at the Sample Chapters link on the left: http://www.swcollege.com/econ/mankiw/principles.html

    I read a lot of casual economics literature, but things really came together for me in a different way once I approached it systematically with a text. You can pick up an old used edition of any text really cheap off the web--Mankiw just went into its 6th edition, so a used copy of the 3rd or 4th edition will be really cheap by now, and sufficient for your purposes. There'll be new info, sure, but the core principles won't change.

    As for gaining an understanding of the markets, Burton Malkiel's A Random Walk Down Wall Street is a great intro to theory. He has a shorter, more practical book focused on investing as well.

    Andrew Tobias's The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need is still an excellent introduction to all kinds of issues. I read it 20 years ago and just read the updated version in the bookstore a couple of weeks ago.

  10. Dido Says:

    One more good intro to economics article: http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=784&CFID=8928796&CFTOKEN=75314077

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