I love reading and I read a book about every 2 weeks. Below are just some of my favorite books and I recommend them to everyone. I copied the Amazon description along with my take on the book. There are also links to Amazon to make ordering the book easier in case you want a copy too.
I read a lot of technical books too but I use them mostly for reference and will probably keep most of them off this list.
It is very important to mix up your reading with books that teach you something new, expand your mind, motivate you, classics literature, and fun to read. As you can see, my recommended books cover all these areas.
Business and Finance
I love personal finance books and this is my third largest book collection (my largest is technical eBooks followed by Literature). All these books have helped me greatly over the years and each have the same basic concept. You must “spend less money then you make”. I also love the idea of “paying yourself first” and creating automatic deposits into retirement or investment accounts before everything else.
The Automatic Millionaire
by David Bach
The Automatic Millionaire starts with the powerful story of an average American couple–he’s a low-level manager, she’s a beautician–whose joint income never exceeds $55,000 a year, yet who somehow manage to own two homes debt-free, put two kids through college, and retire at 55 with more than $1 million in savings. Through their story you’ll learn the surprising fact that you cannot get rich with a budget! You have to have a plan to pay yourself first that is totally automatic, a plan that will automatically secure your future and pay for your present.
My Take: This approach here is very simple. Pay yourself first, make it automatic, and forget about it and let compounding interest work for you in the background. Pick your investments well at the start, make minor adjustments along the way, and let it grow.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
by Stephen Covey
CONSIDERED ONE OF THE MOST INSPIRING BOOKS EVER WRITTEN, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has guided generations of readers for the last 25 years. Presidents and CEOs have kept it by their bedsides, students have underlined and studied passages from it, educators and parents have drawn from it, and individuals of all ages and occupations have used its step-by-step pathway to adapt to change and to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates.
My take: There is a reason why everyone has this book listed on their best books to read for self improvement. It is a great approach to getting stuff done. This book you cannot cheat on and just read summaries, here you need to read the whole book in order to completely understand and for it to have an impact on your life. The 7 habits are:
- Be Proactive
- Begin with the End in Mind
- Put First Things First
- Think Win-Win
- Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
- Sharpen the Saw
Who Moved My Cheese?
by Spencer Johnson
A timeless business classic, Who Moved My Cheese? uses a simple parable to reveal profound truths about dealing with change so that you can enjoy less stress and more success in your work and in your life. Probably one of the shortest books you will ever read.
My Take: This one I finished in about an hour and is critical in this every changing world.
- Change Happens
- Anticipate Change
- Monitor Change
- Adapt to Change Quickly
- Enjoy Change
- Be Ready to Change Quickly and Enjoy It Again
The Millionaire Next Door
by Thomas J. Stanley Ph.D.
This book looks at the seven common traits that continue to show up among people who have accumulated wealth. Most people picture wealthy people as living lavish lives, but a lot of truly wealthy people live right down the street, due to living below their means and investing well.
There is a lot of data and common sense in this book that proves to have surprising results. It is also full of information about both the emotional baggage and the freedom that money provides.
Regardless of your age when you begin to read this book, you will certainly be able to recognize people from your own social circles in it. Additionally, you will recognize a vision of yourself. And if you are willing to do an honest assessment of your financial habits, you will be able to recognize some areas that could use improvement.
While some statistics in this book may be outdated (as it has been around for 15 years), the principles remain the same. If you are able to follow these principles and create a plan, you can be well on your way to financial success.
My Take: This book was an eye opener for me not realizing that regular people could be very rich and still live normal lives. This book clearly separated a person’s lifestyle from their bank account and became a corner stone for my financial planning.
The 7 rules from the book are:
- Always live well below their means.
- They allocate their time, energy, and money efficiently, in ways conducive to building wealth.
- They believe that financial independence is more important than displaying high social status.
- Their parents did not provide economic outpatient care.
- Their adult children are economically self-sufficient.
- They are proficient in targeting market opportunities.
- They chose the right occupation.
by Dave Ramsey
Dave Ramsey is a businessman and entrepreneur who accumulated a $4 million real estate portfolio, only to lose it all – and nearly everything else he owned – by making the same mistake millions of Americans make every day: he got too far into debt to get out. Dave Ramsey is also a Christian family man who, through the turmoil of his financial nightmare, discovered a new way of life. He shared the lessons he learned by writing Financial Peace, a simple but powerful guide that offers practical lessons on how to get out of debt – and stay out.
My Take: I love Dave Ramsey and his very simple approach for managing finances. This was one of the first books I’ve read on personal finance and has completely reshaped my approach to spending money. My takeaways are:
- Follow the Baby steps
- Be 200% focused on getting and staying our of dept
- Apply a old fashion, common sense approach to finances because it works.
The Total Money Makeover
by Dave Ramsey
This personal finance book by Dave Ramsey is especially great for younger people who are just starting to really manage their money. Ramsey provides budget forms and worksheets for the reader to reference to make things simple.
While it may not be a very exciting book, The Total Money Makeover provides a lot of real-life success stories that can help inspire the reader to properly manage their own money. It is like taking your own personal finance class in college. It may not always be “exciting” but the information presented is top-notch and essential to long term success with money and finances.
Ramsey helps readers relate to their personal finances in this book by asking the important question of “Would you fire yourself if you managed the money for a company like you manage your personal money?” This helps the reader to reflect upon their own situation and apply the lessons in the book to their own life.
While it is not meant for retirees, this book lends a lot of knowledge to people in their early 40s and younger.
My Take: I read this book not expecting much new information. If you are a Dave Ramsey fan and listen to his radio program, then you can save your money here and just follow his up to date advice from his radio show. If you do not listen to his program, then you want to get this book because you will be able to adapt all the core lessons from his first book using real life examples.
Rich Dad Poor Dad
by Robert T. Kiyosaki
Rich Dad Poor Dad is Robert’s story of growing up with two dads — his real father and the father of his best friend, his rich dad — and the ways in which both men shaped his thoughts about money and investing. The book explodes the myth that you need to earn a high income to be rich and explains the difference between working for money and having your money work for you.*An interesting fact, the story of the 2 dads is completely made up and was created just to make the point.
My Take: It seems to me that Mr. Kiyosaki appears to teach people to be rather greedy. I am not a fan of this approach and prefer the “do what is best for the community and everyone does better”. My takeaway form the book is you will do much better in life if you work for yourself and not for someone else. This is why I have it on my recommended book list.
Think and Grow Rich
by Napoleon Hill
Here are money-making secrets that can change your life. Inspired by Andrew Carnegie’s magic formula for success, this book will teach you the secrets that will bring you a fortune. It will show you not only what to do but how to do it. Once you learn and apply the simple, basic techniques revealed here, you will have mastered the secret of true and lasting success. And you may have whatever you want in life.
The well-known & long time best selling book by Napoleon Hill is a classic that contains lessons for anyone who wants to find their purpose in life.
If you want to feel like a success or just feel there has to be something better to life than this, you must read this book. For most of us, this is a book that needs to be read, reread and then read some more until the secrets and principles of this book have sunk deep and hit home.
Here is the list of the 13 principles covered in this book
For anyone to be successful, it is crucial that there exist within them the desire to be great or at least better than their current state.
For a desire to come true, you must have faith that it is possible and that it will come true.
In order to get rid of negative beliefs and limitations programmed by society, you need to meditate. Go somewhere quiet, relax your mind and repeat the beliefs you want to plant within you.
Success is not acquiring knowledge but using it that makes one successful.
When you use creative imagination to visualize and picture the fruits of your desires as a reality, they soon take form and in fact become a reality.
In order to succeed, you need a concrete plan. This plan should be a way to achieve what you desire.
You need to make firm and resolute decisions and follow through on them. However, this it doesn’t mean a decision cannot be changed when needed.
In order to succeed, there should be an unwavering quality to the desire. In other words, you want it and you will do anything and spend as long as it takes to make this desire a reality.
Power of the Master Mind
You need to align your thought vibrations with similar vibrations which can be achieved by keeping company of like minded people. By choosing your company wisely, you will be surrounded by the right kind of motivation that will inspire and challenge you.
Charm can help us get what we want by convincing people around us to help drive our success.
The Subconscious Mind
Our subconscious is the real master mind that decides what will and will not manifest in our lives. We need to control our mind through meditation and mindfulness.
We need to focus on visualizing our goals and when we do, our subconscious mind cannot differentiate between the scene being a figment of our imagination or actual reality.
The Sixth Sense
This is your intuition or gut feeling and it becomes more profound when you start meditating and tuning into your subconscious mind. When we tune into our subconscious, we get answers to our questions that would otherwise have eluded us through hunches or gut feeling.
The 4-Hour Workweek
by Timothy Ferriss
This step-by-step guide to luxury lifestyle design teaches: how Tim went from $40,000 per year and 80 hours per week to $40,000 per month and 4 hours per week;
- how to outsource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and do whatever you want
- how blue-chip escape artists travel the world without quitting their jobs
- eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours using the principles of a forgotten Italian economist
- how to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and frequent “mini-retirements.”
My Take: This is a very interesting book but do not be fooled by the catchy title. His ideas are core for any entrepreneur and his get going approach is admirable. If the title is taken literately, then it would seem to be just a scam. If read for its interesting ideas on business and life, then it is totally worth the read. Core ideas I will take away are:
- Starting a business doesn’t need to be hard, just take the first step.
- Living your life is critical in your life purpose. Find balance and commit to it.
- Apply the 80/20 rule where you can so you can apply your time where it matters.
- Be effective, not efficient, not busy.
- “Doing something unimportant well does not make it important”
- Charge a premium, have fewer clients, apply the 80/20 rule here.
- Validate a business idea before jumping in with time and money.
- It’s easier to achieve something great than something that’s just “good”
The Richest Man in Babylon
By George S. Clason
I loved this book and highly recommend the audio version. The narrator does an excellent job of making the story very entertaining and fun. The lessons are core to anyone looking to build wealth and are truly timeless. If you can remember just one lesson from this book, it should be “A part of all you earn is yours to keep”.
Seven Cures for a Lean Purse
- Start Thy Purse To Fattening: Pay yourself first. Save at least 10% of what you earn – no matter what. Work hard at your current job and only spend 90% of what you earn.
- Control Thy Expenditures: Saving more means spending less – and it won’t hurt as much as you think.
- Make Thy Gold Multiply: Invest your savings. Once you start to build up some savings, invest that money so that it will make more money for you.
- Guard Thy Treasure From Loss: invest wisely and manage your risk.
- Make Of Thy Dwelling A Profitable Investment: Own your home, but purchase wisely.
- Insure a Future Income: Make sure you save enough for retirement and to care for your family when your life comes to an end.
- Increase Thy Ability To Earn: Improve your knowledge and skills consistently to increase your earning power. Work hard, look for opportunities, and educate yourself.
- Seek Advice Wisely: Only seek advice from those that are wise and knowledgeable on the subject.
- Be open for opportunities: Luck and fortune is found in opportunities. Don’t let opportunities pass you by but always remember the 4th law.
The Five Laws of Gold
- Gold comes easy and in greater quantities to the man who safes the tenth part of his income for his future and family.
- Gold works with speed and diligence for the wise owner that finds for it a productive use.
- Coins of Gold maintains itself under the protection of prudent persons who invests with the counsels of wise people.
- Gold escapes from people who invest without a purpose in places that are not familiar.
- Gold runs away from people who force gold to impossible profits and follows the seductive counsels of impostors.
Stop Saying Your Fine
By Mel Robbins
Great book for getting yourself unstuck and start making real changes in your life. The book starts off slow and rough but the points she makes really drive home in the second half. Stick with it to the end.
The appendix is a great summary. Well worth a second read for the motivation to get moving on your dreams.
The book is divided in 3 parts:
- Why you aren’t getting what you want
- The Method for becoming powerful and getting what you want
- Finding the stamina to keep getting what you want
In the appendix, Mel creates a great summary of the rules she covers in the book and I listed them here so I can refer back to them often,
Rule 1: Do the things your brain doesn’t feel like doing. Avoid Anti-Actions and get to your important things. Focus on your Game Changer Thoughts. Your mind will fight against anything new. Push through it.
Rule 2: You never know where things could lead. Just do it and see. If you need to adjust your directions later, that’s fine.
Rule 3: Use the 5 second Rule. Act on new ideas within 5 seconds.
Rule 4: Stop trying to pick one over the other. Try to find a way to do both.
Rule 5: Frequency trumps intensity. Something is better then nothing. Improve over time using daily habits.
Rule 6: If you get rejected, make a new map to how to get to where you want to go. Act like water always flowing around obstacles. Be relentless.
Rule 7: Do a brain dump. When you are overwhelmed, dump your brain in a notebook or somewhere to review later. Then focus again on your task. This is where the GTD process will help greatly.
Rule 8: If you cannot do something, delegate it. The work must get done but not necessary by you.
Overall a great book and recommended to anyone looking to make a change in their life but don’t know how to get going.
Money: Master the Game
by Tony Robbins
The best book on investing I’ve read. Particularly important is the goal setting and Asset Allocation.
Step 1: Welcome to the Jungle
Save as much as you can, automatically, each pay check and start as early as possible.
Step 2: Become an Insider, Learn the Rules
- Mutual funds and institutional investing = bad.
- Index funds are good.
- Roth are good.
Step 3: What is the Price of your Dreams?
- Financial security. Save enough so that the monthly returns on your investment portfolio will pay for your monthly housing, food, utilities, transportation, and insurance.
- Financial vitality. In addition to #1, save enough to cover half of your monthly clothing, entertainment, and “small luxury” costs.
- Financial independence. In addition to #2, add the rest of your necessary living expenses, and you have what you need to never have to work again.
- Financial freedom. In addition to #3, add the monthly payments for two or three significant luxuries (boat, vacation home, exotic car, etc.) to your number.
- Absolute financial freedom. Now dream big – what do you need (things/experiences, not their dollar values) to have everything you want and more?
Step 4: The Most Important Investment Decision
- “Rule 1: don’t lose money. Rule 2: see Rule 1. —WARREN BUFFETT
- Vanguard founder Jack Bogle suggests buying into low-cost, low-fee bond index funds that spread out your risk because you’ll own every part of the bond market.”
- Rebalance once or twice a year.
Asset allocation is everything! So you want to diversify between your Security Bucket and your Risk/ Growth Bucket. You want to diversify across asset classes, markets, and time.
You don’t want to hesitate to get in the market trying to have perfect timing; instead, use dollar-cost averaging and know that volatility can be your friend, providing opportunities to buy investments cheaply when the market is down.
Have a Dream Bucket that gives you emotional juice and excitement so you can experience the benefits of your investing prowess in the short term and midterm instead of just someday far in the future.
Use rebalancing and tax harvesting to maximize your returns and minimize losses.
Step 5: Upside without Downside, a Lifetime Income Plan
“Ray is showing us that if your money is divided equally, yet your investments are not equal in their risk, you are not balanced!”
Ray Dalio breakdown:
- 30% in stocks (ex the S& P 500 or other indexes).
- 15% in intermediate US Bonds [seven- to ten-year Treasuries]
- 40% in long-term bonds [20- to 25-year Treasuries].
- 7.5% in gold
- 7.5% in commodities.
Step 6: The Billionare’s Playbook
- Don’t lose money!
- Risk a little to earn a lot, risk one dollar to earn 5
- Anticipate and Diversify
- You’re never done. Keep learning, saving.
Step 7: Taking action
How to spend money to make yourself happy:
- Investing in new experiences
- Buying time for yourself
- Investing in others
Self Improvement, Health, Spirituality
by Phil McGraw
In Family First, Dr. Phil gives it to parents straight: even in this fast-paced world your family should be the center of your life and your child’s life. Parenting is the most important and noble act you will ever undertake, yet American families are threatened like never before from the inside as well as the outside—many of us fight too much, don’t get involved enough in our children’s lives, or get bogged down in life’s daily struggles instead of keeping our eye on the big picture of our family’s well-being.
My Take: I never had this problem in my life. Family always came first, always will, and I didn’t need a reminder to change my life to make it happen. I understand there are plenty of people who say family comes first but do something very different. For those people, this book is for you.
Spirituality For Dummies
by Sharon Janis
Want to get in touch with your spiritual side? Spirituality For Dummies. 2nd Edition, shows you how to use spiritual principles to understand and improve your life, empower you mind, and nourish your soul. Complete with a CD filled with calming, spiritual music, it is your personal guide to serenity and spiritual healing.
Spiritual philosopher Sharon Janis shows you how to discover the deeper calling of your soul, survive and thrive through adversity, and look at the world with optimism. You’ll learn how to use meditation, yoga, prayer, and journaling for inward reflection and to spark new vistas as you unfold your own spiritual wisdom and move forward on your spiritual journey in your own individual way. You’ll find similarities and differences among a variety basic spiritual concepts from different religious and philosophical traditions.
My Take: I take spirituality very seriously and really enjoyed this book. It doesn’t try to sway the reader towards one religion or another. The book tries to explain how they are all connected and shows we all have more in common then different. It is about you, your energy, and your spirit, and how to put it all in harmony.
Classics and Literature
I have a large book collection of about 100 classic leather bound books in my home library. What I do not have in leather bound I have on my Kindle or Google Play library and I plan to read every one of them. I have a lot more reading to do but I love every bit I get to do.
Harry Potter Series
By J.K Rowling
My Take: I am a major Harry Potter fan and have read these books many times and I reread them pretty often. I am a geek at heart and have spent time at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando with the family. I actually found 2 copies of the first 2 Harry Potter books in my leather bound collection too.
This book is my favorite of the series.
I love my classic literature collection and collect both the leather bound and eBook versions. The leather bound version is beautiful and I love the super high quality of the book but I prefer reading the eBook version. When I buy the book, I usually try and get the collection version when possible.
Here is a list of my favorites but will not include a summary of each book. They are so well known that summaries are easily available on the Internet already and recreating them will not be a good use of my time.
History and Science Fiction
I love history and science fiction and collect books in certain topics that relate to both. I have collected any book that a relative of mine was quoted in and even have a few that have been written about some of my ancestors.
The Greatest Knight
By Elizabeth Chadwick
A penniless young knight with few prospects, William Marshal is plucked from obscurity when he saves the life of Henry II’s formidable queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. In gratitude, she appoints him tutor to the heir to the throne, the volatile and fickle Prince Henry. But being a royal favorite brings its share of danger and jealousy as well as fame and reward.After learning that William Marshal was a great-great x## grandfather of mine, I fell in love with Elizabeth Chadwick’s historical series about this time period. I have about 8 of her books and have been able to read about 1/2 of them so far.
My Take: I am a major history fan and love reading about not what happened but how it happened. What was life like at certain periods in history? This series covers that perfectly. Another reason I loved this book is because William Marshal is my direct ancestor. Knowing more about his life brings me closer to him and in touch with my personal ancestry.
A Place Beyond Courage
By Elizabeth Chadwick
The early twelfth century is a time for ambitious men to prosper. John FitzGilbert is a man of honor and loyalty, sworn to royal service. When the old king dies, his successor rewards the handsome and ambitious John with castles and lands. But King Stephen has a tenuous hold on both his reign and his barons, and when jealous rivals at court seek to destroy John, he backs a woman’s claim to the crown, sacrifices his marriage, and eventually is forced to make a gamble that is perhaps one step too far.Rich with detail, masterful in its storytelling, A Place Beyond Courage is a tale of impossible gambles and the real meaning of honor.
My Take: Same reasons why I loved ‘The Greatest Knight’ is also why I loved this book. It will also be the same reason I will love the 3rd book in this series, and probably her others as well. I will not list every book I liked from Elizabeth Chadwick but I will just have these 2 to get you started in how great a writer she really is and the quality of her research on the topics.
The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
By Douglas Adams
This was one of those books that I find a lot of people have heard of but not a lot of people have read – if you’re one of those people and you like dry, satire-style humor and imaginative science fiction, certainly give this book a try. This book is super easy to read and is a humorous take on space and time travel. It follows a ‘normal’ man who unknowingly befriends an alien hitchhiker and is taken along on some entertaining journeys through space. They go to other universes, meet interesting characters, discover futuristic technology (including a melodramatic, depressed robot), and discover the ACTUAL answer to the universe! The only question left now is… what exactly was the question? Sounds ridiculous, I know, but you really get sucked in!
More books are being added all the time so stop by and see if anything new has joined the best books to read list.