“The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you.” – W. Somerset Maugham
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved reading. My mum is an avid reader and so I grew up in a home that had overflowing bookcases in almost every room. Until I moved to Canada in 1999 though, I’d never read a book on personal growth, self-help or finance. One of my best friends gave me a book for my 25th birthday that kick-started my journey into personal development and over the past 16 years, I’ve read many books connected to that genre. Several of them have had a profound impact on me personally, professionally and financially and, in this post, I wanted to share seven books that have changed my financial life.
Each of the books below has impacted me differently, but all of them have introduced me to new ideas and concepts and forced me to look at myself, my beliefs and my actions in a different way. I like books that are straightforward, no-nonsense and offer practical strategies that I can easily apply right away and all of the books listed below fit those criteria. Whether you prefer your books in physical, digital or audio form, if you choose to read some or all of the books on the list, I hope that you enjoy them as much as I did:
- The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason
This was the first financial book that I ever read. It introduced me to the concept of “pay yourself first” and inspired me to start saving in a different way. The lessons in the book are wrapped up in a story that is easy to read and easy to understand. It’s a small but powerful book.
- The Wealthy Barber (and The Wealthy Barber Returns) by Dave Chilton
Unfortunately, The Wealthy Barber is no longer in print so your best chance of locating it is at the library or in a second hand store. Last updated in 1997, The Wealthy Barber is the book that introduced me to the basics of personal finance and demystified products like RRSPs and life insurance through a fictional story that centres around Roy, the wealthy barber. In 2011 Chilton released a new book, “The Wealthy Barber Returns” which is a no-nonsense take on saving, debt and personal finance. His wit and humour are evident throughout the book and make it both easy and entertaining to read.
- The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach
David Bach has written a number of personal finance books. He is most famous for his “Finish Rich” series which is packed full of ideas and strategies to help you build wealth and achieve financial success. The Automatic Millionaire focuses on a different variable in the wealth building equation; highlighting the impact that automating our savings strategy can have on our financial goals and showing how making things automatic can get us to those goals faster and more easily.
- Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kyosaki
This is the book that challenged every idea I was raised with about which careers were considered desirable and commanded the most respect and taught me how you become successful and wealthy in business. Kiyosaki’s “Poor Dad” was his biological father, a man who had achieved considerable success and status in his career, but who had not achieved any level of financial success to go along with it. Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad” was the father of his best friend; a self-made millionaire who had achieved considerable success in business and finance despite his lack of a college or university education. This book shares the mis-information Kiyosaki learned from his poor dad together with the lessons his rich dad taught him about how to manage finances and build wealth.
- The 10% Solution by Marc Allen
This book gave me a reason to care about money and building wealth. As I was growing up, I didn’t have any particular desire to be rich, I’m not a very materialistic person (except when it comes to shoes and one particular make of car) and so the idea of accumulating money in order to buy “stuff” never excited me. However, I do have a real passion for inspiring/teaching people and making a difference. Once I figured out that I could do far more good in the world if I had money than if I didn’t, I had a motivator that was powerful enough to force me to make changes. In his book, Marc Allen explores the concept of tithing (giving away 10% of your income to charity or the church) and how the world might change for the better if more people committed to this simple act of giving.
- Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker
If this list was in order of impact rather than the order in which I read the books, this is the one that would be at the top of the list! T. Harv Eker is famous for saying that all he needs is a few minutes with someone and he can predict whether or not they’ll ever be able to achieve financial freedom. Eker focuses on identifying people’s “money blueprint” – the deeply ingrained beliefs and habits that either help catapult us to success or sabotage us along every step of our financial journey. This book literally changed my life. It showed me where I was tripping myself up and gave me strategies that not only altered my perspective but that allowed me to get myself out of debt and firmly on the path to financial freedom.
- The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
Several years ago, I spent a couple of years working for a courier company; driving expedited freight between Canada and the US. The job meant that I often spent well over 12 hours a day driving and I would often listen to audiobooks and talk radio along the way. One of my favourite radio shows down in the USA was the Dave Ramsey Show. Dave gives very direct, no-nonsense advice to people who are trying to get out of debt and build financial stability. The Total Money Makeover, is a compilation of his best ideas and core strategies in one very straightforward book. If you’re committed to making a change, then Dave’s strategies will get you there; all you need to do is commit to the process.
We live in an age where we are fortunate to have an abundance of resources available to us, for free, at the touch of a button. Sometimes though, the sheer volume of information can be overwhelming. I believe that the seven books listed above contain all the information you need to understand your situation, understand yourself and create a plan to get yourself from where you are now to where you want to be financially. While they’re definitely not the only books out there on this topic, and I would certainly encourage you to read as much as you can on the subject, reading them transformed my life. I hope they do the same for you.