The 5 Books That Changed My Money Life


I’ve been talking a lotlately about the importance ofeducating yourself about money before you start investing and saving for retirement.

Money education shouldn’t follow investing so if you have any interest start today. The benefits of even a little money education will pay-off huge in the long run.

I started learning about money after stumbling upon some personal finance blogs via Lifehacker. I decided to try out some books those sites suggested and I became enamored with the topic.

It sounds ridiculous, but those books opened my eyes to a whole new side of money that I never knew existed.

Here are 5 short reviews of those personal finance books that I read when I first started. I would recommend these books to any one and will always hold them close to my heart for everything they did for my wallet.

I would love to do full reviews, but with a lack of libraries in Japan I’m out of luck.

In the meantime enjoy the 5 micro-reviews!

The Automatic Millionaire: A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich

The one that started it all. I was a naive 21 year-old and attracted to the “Millionaire” in the title, but the book was surprisingly simple and flipped on a hundred light switches in my head.

Author David Bach introduced me to the paying yourself first – taking a certain percentage of your paycheck – maybe 20-35% – and automatically saving that every time. No excuses, if you do this consistently your money will grow over time and you’ll be thankful you never skipped a paycheck.

This book prompted me to start tracking my money and introduced the idea that people knew how much was going in and out of their accounts – I literally had no idea and never once tracked a penny before this book.

Verdict: A great starter to make you excited about money and the future.

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns (Little Books. Big Profits)

The first book about investing I ever read. Written by Vanguard legend, John Bogle, this book is an ode to the index fund – Bogle’s invention.

This book stresses the simplicity of the index fund for the novice investor. It does a terrific job of backing up its claim by emphasizing how many fund managers don’t beat index funds averages – yet, they spend months of time studying graphs and numbers.

If you’re not sold on index funds after reading this book, you have a strong will. It also presents some staggering graphs about the low-cost of index funds related to actively-managed funds. The savings are enough to buy a nice car by the time you retire.

Verdict: Interested in investing, but don’t want to make it your life? This is your book.

I Will Teach You To Be Rich

If you’re a regular to my site you know I’m a huge fan of Ramit Sethi (check out part 1 and part 2 of my interview with Ramit).

This is single-handedly the best personal finance starter for anyone 16-35. The book is 266 pages, but it reads so fast that you’ll finish it in a weekend. His writing is infectious and it’s like reading a friend tell you to stop being an idiot with your money.

Credit cards, banking, investing, savings, retirement. It’s all covered in great depth with eye-popping example and diagrams.

Ramit’s also a marketing guru and has entire CHAPTERSposted on his site for free. Check them out for a taste – it’ll immediately make you want to read more.

Verdict: My favorite personal finance book ever. Hands down.

The Millionaire Next Door

This book took millionaires off an untouchable pedastal for me.It turns out that The Millionaire Next Door acts just like the average Joe who’s making $50,000 and supporting his family of 4.

The millionaire next door doesn’t drive a Bentley, wear a $15,000 suit, or have 7 houses. He or she spends on things they love (vacations or dinners) and saves on the things they don’t (cars or watches).

There’s a good amount of research done in this book about millionaires. The author attempted to pinpoint the specifics of millionaires spending and the results are really helpful for the average consumer who is just trying to get by.

Overall, the book provided me a lot of confidence and made me create the goal of becoming a millionaire in my life – a real goal, not just a pipe dream.

Verdict: May not immediately help your bottom line, but a great read for perspective and relating your money situation to others.

The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing

This book supplements the Little Book of Common Investing. It highlights Bogle’s career and the invention of the index fund in more depth than the book above (336 pages vs. 216).

The book then gets into investing specifics based on the ideas of the Bogleheads (John Bogle’s followers). It reads like an entertaining textbook for novice investors.

The book is more in depth than other generic investing overviews, so I wouldn’t suggest starting with this book. After you’ve created a thin base of money knowledge, pick up this book, and it’ll take you to the next level.

Verdict: Not for money beginners, but an appropriate follow-up to a Money 101 book.


There you have it. The 5 books that formed my money base and propelled me to change how I view and handle money for life. This site wouldn’t be around without these books and I would suggest them to anyone who is even moderately interested in money.

The links above are affiliate links, but I stand by these books as quality projects that will change your life.

Get to your library, order it on Amazon, or buy the Kindle electronic version but pick up one of these books today!

I promise you’ll never regret it.

Hey, readers! What were your first money books and which do you suggest to money beginners? Leave a comment below with your suggestions, thanks!

Photo: Stewart


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