My favorite books on Personal finance

Everyone who is interested in personal finance has a set of favorite books. Here is my obligatory list. I will list them in the order that I originally read them.

I believe that books are the best source for information about personal finance, because authors in general have no conflict of interest; their only interest is to sell books. Of course, this excludes people like Robert Kiyosaki who are trying to get you to buy their other products. Most other sources of information, such as planners, websites and magazines, usually have a conflict of interest; they have to please their corporate owners, advertisers or sponsors, so their advice may not be in your best interest.

With that out of the way, here is my list:

I read Personal Finance For Dummiesby Eric Tyson when I was in my early thirties, and remember immediately regretting not having read it in my twenties. It truly is the best and most readable introduction to personal finance ever, and covers a whole range of topics.

I next read The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Needby Andrew Tobias. Most of it went over my head at the time; this stuff really takes a while to sink in. I never went back and read the book again, but I remember it as a good first book for investors.

My next book The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthyby Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko was a revelation. I can honestly say that it changed my thinking about money. Parts of the book are a little dated now, and some of the research methods used by the authors are questionable, but it was really an eye-opener for me.

Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independenceby Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin was the next significant book I read. It truly is a revolutionary book and I found later that it inspired a lot of people to strive for financial independence. The book has its problems, including a heavy dose of environmentalism and left-wing politics, and extremely conservative investing advice. But its explanation of the true nature and cost of work is indeed profound. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was named the most popular personal finance book by several bloggers.

I then read the updated edition of The Intelligent Investorby Benjamin Graham with annotations by Jason Zweig. This is a big book, considered the primer on value investing, based on nearly 100 years of US stock market data. Jason Zweig's contemporary updates make the book very readable, although his repeated references to Money magazine articles was annoying after a while.

The only other important investing book I have read is The Intelligent Asset Allocator: How to Build Your Portfolio to Maximize Returns and Minimize Riskby William Bernstein. This is a wonderful book, and covers everything one needs to know to put together a practical portfolio. Bill Bernstein is a physician by profession, but you will never guess that from his book. You will especially like this book if you are at least a bit mathematically inclined.

I will list two more books I have read that are usually recommended by many bloggers. While these books have great material, these books didn't do much for me, since I was familiar with much of their content by the time I read them. Maybe if I had read them earlier, my opinion might have been different. These are A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investingby Burton G. Malkiel and The Bogleheads' Guide to Investingby Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer, Michael LeBoeuf, and John C. Bogle.

An investing book I read and liked since I wrote the previous review is The Four Pillars of Investing: Lessons for Building a Winning Portfolioby William Bernstein. This is a comprehensive book about many aspects of investing that all investors should know about. Like Bernstein's other book, this book is especially suitable for those with some analytical background. I would now recommend this book for someone new to the financial world, but has already read an introductory book like the Personal Finance For Dummiesbook.


Life Insurance BC said...

Thank you for all the great posts from last year! I look forward to reading your blog, because they are always full of information that I can put to use. Thank you again, and God bless you in 2010.