Eight must-read books about finance

24th February 2016


As World Book Day  approaches, Andrew Craig, author of How to Own the World, shares his eight favourite books about finances in time for you to get your online orders in by March 3rd..

We often hear people saying something along the lines of “you can’t learn everything from a book” – and they probably have a point.  That said, I do believe that we live in an era where books are severely under-rated.  Reading does make a truly massive difference to our lives and this is particularly true of personal finance as a subject.

I have therefore put together a list of some of the very best books for learning about personal finance in my opinion.  Each of the books in the list below has the potential to have a significant impact on your financial future.  Making the decision to buy and read just one of them can have a huge impact on your wealth.   I cannot recommend strongly enough that you do at least start the journey.  Remember, if you have a basic grasp of what you are doing, making money from money is far easier in the long run than making money from work. The faster you do this, the better.

1. The Next Big Investment Boom: Learn the Secrets of Investing from a Master and How to Profit from Commodities by Mark Shipman

Mark Shipman was one of the first hedge fund managers in the UK.  My main reason for recommending this book so highly is that it is a very easy and quick read.  It contains important and compelling points in easy language early in the book.  A few minutes of reading will reward you with some eureka moments and a tangible money-making strategy.

2. One Up on Wall Street by Peter Lynch.

Peter Lynch is one of the most famous American investors of all time. The great thing about this book is that he shows you how and why, with a little bit of knowledge, you can have a very good chance of making a better return on your money than the large majority of professional investors. This book is all about giving you confidence in your ability to run your own money with the knowledge you already possess.

3. Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom by Dr. Van Tharp.

This book is very often referred to as one of the all-time finance classics.  It offers a very wide overview of the various different types of investment and trading strategy in simple language.  As such, it is an incredibly compelling read and will very quickly open your eyes to the possibilities afforded by successful investment and trading strategies.

4. The Gone Fishin’ Portfolio:  Get Wise, Get Wealthy… and Get on with Your Life by Alex Green.

Alex Green is an exceptionally successful investor and the author of a high-quality advisory newsletter called the Oxford Club.   In “The Gone Fishin’ Portfolio” he shows you how to build a very well diversified, consistently performing portfolio at very low cost.  The book is explicitly targeted at the US market but is still extremely useful to anyone who is UK-based.

5. Way of the Turtle:  The Secret Methods that Turned Ordinary People into Legendary Traders by Curtis Faith.

Another true classic in the space:  The “Turtles” were a group of traders in Chicago in the 1980s.  A very famous Chicago options trader bet his friend that he could turn anyone into a successful trader in one or two weeks by giving them strict rules to follow.  What then took place is very well known in trading circles:  The “Turtles” were amazingly successful.  The youngest of them, Curtis Faith, who was then just nineteen years old, turned $2m into over $30m in four years.  A fantastic book if only to open your eyes to the possibilities afforded by a disciplined approach to trading.

6. Rich Dad, Poor Dad:  What the Rich Teach Their Kids about Money That the Poor and the Middle Class Do Not by Robert Kiyosaki.

This book is not specifically about investment or trading.   It is about personal finance in general.  The key message in the book is that “…the poor and the middle class work for money,” but “the rich have money work for them”. Another point dealt with by the book is just how poorly education systems prepare the vast majority of people to look after their personal financial situation – again a view shared very strongly by this site.  This book has changed the financial lives of a vast number of people since it was first published.

7. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

People who believe that money is scarce and hard to come by are the least likely to succeed in getting hold of it.  Those who believe that it is within their power to become wealthy vastly increase their chances of doing so.  Napoleon Hill’s classic book on this very subject was originally published in the 1930s.

8. The Ascent of Money:  A Financial History of the World by Professor Niall Ferguson.

This is probably the single best book in print about what money actually is, something which it is crucial to understand.  Professor Ferguson explains to the reader how the world got to its current state financially with a very readable yet detailed account of how money came about and the main financial innovations in monetary history.   This book does not contain any specific advice on investment or trading, but I would argue that it is required reading for anyone who wishes to really get to grips with their financial affairs.

Andrew’s book, How to Own the World, aims to give readers a proven investment method that is easily understood and works consistently over time – and in any economic cycle. See www.plainenglishfinance.co.uk for details

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