There are a lot of books out there full of investment advice, but it can be tough cutting through the clutter to find the strategies and tips that are truly worthwhile – and will be relevant to your savings and retirement goals.
Rather than consult a single expert, Money Magazine consulted the hive mind, asking readers; “What books have you read lately that you would recommend?”
The result was a deluge of replies, up-votes and enthusiasm; MONEY readers are, not surprisingly, passionate about the topic. And amid the dozens of books recommended, these were the five that rose to the top pretty dramatically:
Money: Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom by Tony Robbins
Although this isn’t Tony Robbins’ most recent finance book, it’s the one most MONEY readers raved about, perhaps because its accessible style demystifies a lot of perceptions people have about personal finance. Robbins has won the adoration of MONEY readers and nearly 2,700 Amazon reviewers alike by bringing complex ideas down to Earth, making sometimes complex concepts real and relatable.
That said, a sophisticated investor might find Robbins’ introductory hand-holding a bit too simplistic to hold their attention, and personal finance experts do flag a few flaws in Robbins’ fiscal paradigm, particularly with regard to his embrace of annuities – which can cost more in fees than they’re worth for many investors. Overall, though, Robbins gets kudos among money pros for urging investors to look at how much they’re paying in mutual fund fees, a “hidden expense” many people don’t realise is cutting into their retirement returns.
The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel by Benjamin Graham
Initially published in 1949, this “investing Bible” has stood the test of time, earning props from no less a stock-market guru than Warren Buffet. Buffett has written often about the wisdom he gleaned from Graham, who was Buffett’s professor at Columbia University and who Buffett credits as one of the three people who influenced his (now famous) sixth sense of market movement. “Long ago, Ben Graham taught me that ‘Price is what you pay; value is what you get.’ Whether we’re talking about socks or stocks, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down,” he said.
With its focus on value investing, The Intelligent Investor is the opposite of a get-rich-quick book. But by focusing on how to protect and preserve your assets, it gives motivated savers a great handle on the strategies they need to keep their nest eggs growing. Unlike the first two books on this list, The Intelligent Investor isn’t an on-ramp for people who have barely stuck a toe in the world of asset management, but MONEY readers are huge fans. For people who want a glimpse into how Warren Buffett thinks and approaches the market, The Intelligent Investor offers an insightful window.
A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing by Burton Malkiel
MONEY readers can’t say enough good things about this book, and the more than 800 Amazon reviewers that contributed to its 4.6-star rating agree. First published in 1973, this updated edition includes more detail on ETFs, emerging markets, and other considerations about which even novice investors today need to be educated.
MONEY has praised this book before, writing that it instils the idea that chasing day-to-day market fluctuations is an exercise in futility: “Past moves up or down won’t tell you much. More controversially, neither will a company’s income statement or balance sheet.” This might sound unhelpfully vague, but here’s why it matters: Even the pros have difficulty getting the timing right and beating the market; in fact, most can’t even beat passively-managed index funds, which are a much, much cheaper option for investors. A Random Walk’s great contribution to the average investor is illustrating that “Wall Street” isn’t this big, scary place where we need to pay high-priced guides to venture.
The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason
Nearly 3,100 Amazon reviewers have contributed to the 4.7-star ranking for this book, which is not your typical investing-guru manual. Author George Clason penned the material that would eventually be compiled into The Richest Man in Babylon back in the early part of the 20th century, and to make his points, he reached back even further into history – the Biblical-era “Babylon” of the title.
As it turns out, taking a storyteller’s approach gives this often-complex topic a refreshing accessibility. MONEY readers – and Amazon reviewers – praised the book for being an easy read that explains wealth and investing principles in a simple way. Investing guru Tony Robbins is also a fan, crediting what he called the book’s “common-sense financial advice” for giving him critical insight when he started amassing his fiscal empire as a young man. “I recommend it to everyone,” Robbins said of The Richest Man in Babylon.
Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money – That The Poor And Middle Class Do Not! by Robert T. Kiyosaki
Personal finance guru Kiyosaki is a big favourite of MONEY readers. Although this book was first published more than 20 years ago, its insights stand the test of time. Rich Dad Poor Dad covers much more than just investing. Kiyosaki also offers personal finance advice and breaks down money misconceptions across a broad spectrum. For investors, he emphasises the value in investing for the long haul. With nearly 7,000 reviews on Amazon, Rich Dad Poor Dad is now attracting a second generation of investors whose financial experience has been shaped by the Great Recession, and Kiyosaki’s advice remains relevant. NFL star Richard Sherman also recently told MONEY that Rich Dad Poor Dad is the one “book that opened my eyes to the way money really works.”
By the way, MONEY readers praised some of Kiyosaki’s books that don’t cover investing as much: Specifically, The Business of the 21st Century and Cash Flow Quadrant were singled out for great insights about money, alongside Rich Dad Poor Dad.
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