The list itself is tiny, although this introduction isn’t. Most personal finance books are garbage.
Anything that includes worksheets, don’t buy. It’s a gimmick to increase the page count of a book, and besides, you’re never going to fill out the worksheets. No one does.
Ramit Sethi will tell you you’re an idiot. Dave Ramsey will patronize you. Suze Orman will draw you into an endless maelstrom of ancillary CDs, DVDs, sassy hair and pantsuits. The personal finance bloggers who hawk books – they know who they are – will do something even worse, which is repackage patently obvious information and call it a book. If you need to be told that you should spend less than you earn, build an emergency fund, and comparison shop before buying something expensive; and you couldn’t have determined that on your own, a reading list should be the last thing on your mind. Worry about food and shelter first, then move onto mastering fire and understanding the wheel.
Here are some personal finance books we don’t hate. Again, it’s a microscopic list.
The Intelligent Investor - Benjamin Graham with annotation by Jason Zweig
Benjamin Graham is the guy who taught Warren Buffett everything he knows. He wrote this guide to stock investing a long time ago, in a vernacular that can put you to sleep at times. Zweig, who writes for The Wall Street Journal, freshens the work up and contemporizes it.
The Wall Street Journal Complete Personal Finance Guidebook - Jeff Opdyke
It’s informative and comprehensive despite being short. Still, that didn’t stop Robert Rubin. The only downside is that Opdyke is the guy who writes that insufferable “Love & Money” weekend column that lots of local newspapers pick up for their business sections. Endless stories about what it’s like to have a wife and kids while holding down a job, something no one in the history of the world did before Opdyke. Fortunately, he mostly keeps this book free of such tedium.
Wow. That’s all we could think of? Apparently.
That just reinforces why we wrote Control Your Cash: Making Money Make Sense. It was the personal finance book we wanted to read, but no one had yet written it, so…
Get our book, and get it on Kindle. Buy a Kindle – the latest regulation-size one is $139 from Amazon and you can probably get a new one for less on eBay. You can take notes with the keyboard, and another labor-saving feature is that you can select memorable clips with the press of a button (they end up in their own easily accessible file.) Beats using a highlighter and hoping it doesn’t bleed over to the preceding or succeeding page. If you’re worrying about the formatting of Control Your Cash on a Kindle, don’t. The charts are easy to read and the footnotes line up just fine.
(The Kindle endorsement is moot if you don’t read, of course. But then again, you’re on a website that’s mostly text, and you’re on that website’s recommended reading list page.)