Self-help books dominate the Amazon bestsellers list. Many of them are focused on personal finance, the authors claiming that they alone have the secret to get you out of debt, or make you a millionaire. But which ones actually live up to the advertising on their covers?
Which books really can help you get ahead? In a bid to distil the best advice over the years, we’ve read hundreds of self-help money books, some good, some bad. With a focus on foundational and holistic books, we’ve created our own list of the 10 best personal finance books you should read.
George Clason has sold more than 2 million copies of this book worldwide since it was first published in the 1920s. His approach is incredibly straightforward. He uses parables — simple stories used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson — to teach readers about prudence, financial planning, saving, and making money.
Each of the stories is set in ancient Babylon, but as they have clear modern parallels, they are timeless and hence remain valuable.
The stories are entertaining and memorable, so you never feel that you are being lectured to. Instead, you’ll find yourself thinking for quite some time about each story you’ve read, and remember the lessons you’ve learned.
Just as you can makeover your body or your home, you can makeover your financial situation. David Ramsey has a bold, straight-talking style. He tears apart plenty of money myths — from get-rich-quick schemes to debt consolidation — and reminds readers that much of the wealth we perceive around us is illusory.
Just because someone has bought a great car on hire purchase, or wears designer clothes, doesn’t mean they can actually afford them. The steps Ramsey advocates are small and easy enough to action, but over time they accumulate and you’ll see sustainable results.
There’s no harm in having great ambitions! Andrew Craig’s book, the subtitle of which is “A plain English guide to thinking globally and investing wisely”, ranks as one of the best personal finance books because it genuinely empowers readers to understand and take control of their financial affairs.
Craig is adamant that knowing about money doesn’t have to be difficult. Financial professionals want you to think it is difficult because that’s how they retain their power and can charge exorbitant fees. Page by page, Craig dispels that myth. His desire to educate readers for their own good is refreshing to see.
This book is for you if you want to build wealth and safeguard it.
Sheconomics is targeted squarely at women, but authors Karen Pine and Simonne Gnessen tackle financial destiny head on.
The case studies are drawn from the lives of real women (the authors and their friends), and they take a no-nonsense approach. Everything is clearly explained, but they’ve got the balance just right: you’re never going to feel patronised.
Pine is a psychologist and Gnessen is a financial coach. Together they deal with the psychological and emotional aspects of debt and financial control, plus provide seven rules you can apply in your own life to secure your financial future.
Check out our exclusive interview with Simonne Gnessen as she throws more light on financial coaching.
Do you want to know what the rich teach their kids about money that the poor and middle class do not? Then this book is for you.
The Rich dad, poor dad series made Robert Koyosaki a millionaire many, many times over. The book which made his name is regularly ranked as the #1 personal finance book of all time.
We’re including it on this list of best personal finance books, too, because it serves as a reminder that you don’t have to come from money to make money. It’s your positive, proactive attitude to wealth which will enable you to become a financial success.
How much of getting rich comes from within? T. Harv Eker looks at the mindset of the rich. He writes about how childhood experiences and mental attitudes influence how we interact with money, and thus how likely we are to make it and keep it.
Although you can’t change your past, Harv Eker equips his readers with insights which they can then apply in their own financial lives. The focus is on personal financial transformation, making sure that changes are permanent and for the better.
Is there a secret to getting rich? David Bach certainly thinks so. Despite the sensational title, however, this is not actually a get-rich-quick guide, and that’s why it earns a place amongst our best personal finance books.
What you will find here is a common sense approach to building yourself a strong financial foundation. Bach’s priorities are living debt free, cutting unnecessary spending, and ensuring you have enough savings for a comfortable retirement. If these resonate with you, buy this book in preference to others.
Every woman in the UK should read this book which is designed to help women take charge of their finances.
You might know Merryn Somerset Webb as the presenter of Channel 4’s Superscrimpers. She’s a sassy, entertaining writer who encourages other women to challenge their own reluctance to engage with financial matters.
Working on the basis that Prince Charming isn’t going to come riding by and share his fortune, Webb puts the impetus on women to take financial control for themselves. She discusses everything from shopping sprees to boosting your income, pre-nups, pension plans to ISAs, and does so in a way which is accessible, unpatronising, and frequently amusing.
Suze Oze trained as a financial planner, but became famous as a writer and presenter. You might well have seen her on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
She is credited with revolutionising the way Americans think about money, and her influence is felt here across the pond as well. Oze focuses on basic financial education: it’s a book for those who are complete beginners, and who feel out of their depth with money.
This is one of the best personal finance books because it talks about everyday things like credit cards, credit scores, student loans, and mortgages. It’s a first-rate starting point.
Author Mindy Crary knows well that the merest thought of reading about personal finance is enough to put many of us off. Fortunately, she takes a lighthearted approach and avoids financial jargon. This makes the topics she tackles far more accessible.
Crary focuses on moving your mindset from guilt and self-judgement to positivity and planning for the future. This helps reduce stress, and makes you pay more attention to what you are doing.
She advocates setting short term goals so you quickly feel a sense of achievement, and the conversational style of her writing is as if you’re talking with a friend.
Over to You
If you pick up one or two of our selection of the best personal finance books, you’ll get a strong overview to personal finance, a springboard from which you can launch your own financial plans and take charge of your finances.
Ask yourself: Am I a financial novice, or am I looking to expand my knowledge further? Where are the gaps in my financial literacy? Women who are self-aware can learn more effectively and therefore achieve their financial goals faster. Visit our resource page for more book recommendations.
What are your best personal finance books? Share your favourite books and authors in the comments below!
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