- Date : 05/02/2021
- Read: 19 mins
If you’re planning to take control of your finances, you must read these 50 books.
Indians have always given importance to saving money. Traditionally, favourite modes of saving and investing have been real estate, gold, fixed deposits, and even life insurance. According to a 2020 survey, 41% invested in life insurance plans and 37% preferred fixed deposits for the purpose of creating savings for retirement. Real estate and gold weren’t far behind in the list of preferences. Incidentally, Indian households own about 25,000 tonnes of gold – the equivalent of an astounding Rs 110 lakh crore.
However, this trend is changing. Although barely 2% of Indians are believed to have invested in the stock market, various events are changing how Indians manage their money. About 24 lakh new demat accounts were opened during the first financial quarter of 2020. Thanks to the advent of discount brokerages, cheap internet, affordable smartphones, influencers, and the proliferation of regional content, Indians are discovering that their money can be managed better. They are aware of the importance of diversifying their portfolio, goal-based investing, and having insurance. Those who are younger are realising that they cannot invest and save like their parents did. For instance, fixed deposit rates, which used to offer double-digit returns, have been plummeting since 2016.
Individuals across income levels, age groups, and backgrounds struggle to find answers to various questions about money management. However, your questions might be different. A 21-year-old woman who has recently started earning money may be keen on creating a corpus to purchase a vehicle or pursue education abroad, whereas a 40-year-old father of two would want to focus on planning for his retirement and ensuring financial security for his loved ones. A 30-year-old woman who has been investing for a few years would look at evolving her investment philosophy, while a 60-year-old man would want to work towards ensuring stability in his sunset years and to pass on his legacy to his heirs.
Depending on who you are and your understanding of money, you might have different questions. Thankfully, there are some books that have answers to all such questions. We have categorised these books under the following subheads:
- Those who are starting off
- The Indian Tadka
- Insights into human behaviour (Behavioural finance/economics)
- Retirement planning
- Timeless classics
- Businesses and business models
Those who are starting off
Have no clue on anything to do with money management? Here’s a list of books you can start off with:
1) Rich Dad Poor Dad
First published in 1997, this is arguably the first book one should read on personal finance. Author Robert Kiyosaki, a successful businessman, writes about the contrasting perspectives of the two fathers in his life – his real father (the poor dad) and his father’s friend (the rich dad) – about work, money, and life. This bestseller highlights the importance of financial literacy and has deeply impacted how common people think about money.
2) I Will Teach You To Be Rich
This practical and handy book by Ramit Sethi offers practical tips, especially for those in their twenties. When young, one likes to live it up and avoid sermons on saving for a rainy day. Sethi understands this and offers a balanced yet effective method to become rich without leading a stingy life. His six-week action plan can be easily grasped and followed. Other powerful ideas in the book include automating one’s savings, spending extravagantly on what one loves, and creating a conscious spending plan.
3) Your Money or Your Life
The authors of this book force you to re-evaluate preconceived notions you may have about money and ask yourself how much is enough. The book highlights the fact that living frugally could be the path to achieve both happiness and wealth. Even though your job pays you well, you might dread going to work. Earning well shouldn’t come with a life of misery. By trimming your expenses and doing something that you like, you will have a lot more to gain.
4) You Need a Budget
This book provides a realistic method of budgeting for those who earn a regular income as well as for those whose income is irregular. It’s been written in a non-judgmental manner and provides four simple rules that one can follow. By doing so, it enables one to break the vicious cycle of living from paycheck to paycheck.
5) The Wealthy Barber
The author has woven a fictional tale about a simple yet savvy barber who dispenses pearls of financial wisdom to his customers (a group of friends). The most important advice offered by Ray Miller, the well-to-do barber in the book, is to put away 10% from every paycheck into safe financial instruments that bear interest.
6) If You Can: How Millennials Can Get Rich Slowly
Intimidated by thick volumes on investing? This is the right book for you. This useful and crisp read can help you get started with investing and saving for retirement. Although it is primarily intended for millennials in the US, the basic ideas outlined in it are relevant to readers across the world.
7) Personal Finance for Dummies
The author provides concrete tips on how to manage personal finances. This book lays out some common money-related mistakes and prescribes solutions to avoid them. It offers practical advice on saving and investing money. It also teaches you to measure your financial health using worksheets. Other areas that are covered include insights on investing in real estate, ways to manage taxes, and the approach that one should have towards creating a retirement account for oneself.
8) The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing
A Boglehead is anyone who follows the investing and money management philosophy of Vanguard founder John Boglehead. This book begins by espousing practical investment advice, such as spending less than what one earns, investing early and often, and knowing what to invest in. It then makes a compelling case for investing in index funds and holding on to them for creating wealth.
9) Clever Girl Finance
This is a must-have personal finance book for women from Bola Sokunbi, founder and CEO of the popular website ‘Clever Girl Finance’. Sokunbi simplifies personal finance dos and don’ts and explains intimidating financial concepts in lucid terms. She also shares her own experiences and encourages women to be vocal about money and finances.
10) The Indian Tadka
Wish to get an Indian perspective about money management? Here are a few popular books by credible authors that you could explore:
11) Stocks to Riches
This book by Parag Parikh answers various questions that plague the common investor’s mind. He provides a neat introduction into stocks and mutual funds, and goes on to share his perspectives about financial literacy and behavioural economics.
12) The Dhandho Investor: The Low-Risk Value Method to High Returns
This book draws heavily from the ideas of investing doyens such as Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. The author uses catchy one-liners to explain important value investment principles in an entertaining manner and also provides analogies from Indian culture.
13) Coffee Can Investing: The Low Risk Road to Stupendous Wealth
This is an insightful book if you are just starting on your investment journey. It introduces two people who make silly mistakes, yet hallucinate about sky-high returns. The authors take it from there and reinforce evergreen investment ways. At the same time, they introduce you to traits like patience and perseverance. They elaborate on the ‘Coffee Can’ approach, which is to buy and forget high-quality, low-risk investment options.
14) Gurus of Chaos
This is an apt book for those who want a deep insight into the Indian stock market and become a stock market guru. The author dives deep into a long-term and a fundamental-based investing approach to pick the right stocks. The book is replete with interesting anecdotes and interviews with industry experts.
15) Retire Rich: Invest Rs 40 a Day
PV Subramanyam offers a fresh perspective on how you should look at your life. He does this by introducing the concept that retirement involves saving a certain amount of money. He then takes you through the steps and importance of planning for retirement, and informs that one can retire comfortably if they invest as little as Rs 40 a day.
16) Easy Money
Vivek Kaul captures the big picture of the recent financial crisis. The book explains how money and the financial system evolved over the centuries. It then delves into the lessons of the crisis that have still not been ingrained by most of us. Governments globally are making the same mistakes that led to the current crisis in the first place.
17) Let’s Talk Money
Monika Halan gives a realistic perspective on how our savings are never enough, despite investing our blood, sweat, and tears. She offers a feet-on-the-ground system to build up deep financial security – a smart system that lets you achieve your dreams.
Insights into human behaviour (Behavioural finance/economics)
Wish to learn how human beings behave with money? This could be invaluable if you are looking to augment your ideas about investing. Here’s a compelling list:
18) Thinking, Fast and Slow
This best-selling book by Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman enables you to discover the power of your own mind and the way it thinks. It contains a lifetime of research and is able to successfully detangle the two ways of thinking: ‘system 1’ and ‘system 2’. This book is a must-read for all enthusiasts of behavioural science.
19) The Little Book of Behavioral Investing: How Not to be Your Own Worst Enemy
Understanding instincts is the key to investing better. Humans are designed to react in a particular way when exposed to certain triggers. In this one-of-a-kind book, James Montier whispers to you the secrets of becoming a successful investor. He lets you into his private circle of investors who have emerged victorious in understanding the role of instincts in investing. This book is mandatory for anyone aiming to make it big in the financial market.
20) Predictably Irrational
Dan Ariely takes us on a journey to make us understand why we react the way we do, financially speaking. The book lets us see how ordinary people react in certain market situations and how we can’t help but be attracted to words like ‘free’. Interestingly, research leads Ariely to the conclusion that even though economics works on the principle of rationality, humans are almost always predictable in their irrational actions.
21) The Art of Contrary Thinking
They say you grow more when you hear more views. Call it being the devil’s advocate or the art of contrary thinking, it’s rare but essential in this age to have your own unique way of thinking. For this, Humphrey Bancroft Neill sits down to have a friendly chat with you that could possibly change your entire life – by changing the way you think.
22) Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets
This book comes from the well-known author Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Hailed as one of the smartest books of all time, it has won many awards and will change your perception of the words ‘random’ and ‘bias’ – and life in general. Taleb always succeeds in making his audience initially uncomfortable with a very new perceptive, before comforting them with the exceptional logic and charm in his writing.
23) The Psychology of Money
For many middle-class folk, money remains a mystery despite all the information available on it. It’s claimed to be evil, but everyone wants a rendezvous with evil of this kind! Morgan Housel succeeds brilliantly in making the reader understand that money doesn’t necessarily come to those with the maximum knowledge, but to those who behave the best to attract it. This is one of the best and most original books relating to personal finance.
Keen on ensuring a smooth retirement? Let these bestsellers guide you:
24) How Much Money Do I Need to Retire?
One million dollars! Do you think it's that simple? Think again. This book, written by former hedge fund manager Todd Tresidder, tells you how you must plan your retirement, what factors play an integral role in your retired life, and how your financial advisor's approach might leave you bankrupt. He lays down three financial approaches to retirement planning: the traditional model, the lifestyle planning model, and the cash flow model. He also tells you about the pros and cons of each. This book is worth a read if you ever plan to retire – which you most certainly have to do, sooner or later!
25) The Path: Accelerating Your Journey to Financial Freedom
Financial freedom isn’t just a milestone to achieve, it's a lifelong journey. In this book, the author not only provides you with an overview of investment options and asset breakdown but also elaborates on the role of goals in your path to financial freedom. He explains how happiness can be achieved by donating and sharing your wealth.
26) Retire Young Retire Rich
If you have ever thought about retiring at an early age, this book is for you. In this edition, financial guru Robert Kiyosaki shares with you his personal experiences that helped him to retire by the age of 49. He also tells you how mindset and habits can make or break you.
27) Everyday Millionaires
Chris Hogan breaks the myths the general public has about millionaires. He bases his facts on research studies done by his team, and he concludes that you too can become a millionaire by the age of 60. It doesn’t matter if you have a well-paid job or have inherited wealth from your ancestors, just be aware that you CAN do it.
28) The Boglehead’s Guide to Retirement Planning
This time, the Bogleheads are back with a book focused on retirement planning and their age-old advice of investing in a low-cost index fund. It is enriched with various strategies that can help you maintain a comfortable retired life and also has various tales from other investors.
29) The Total Money Makeove
Dave Ramsey offers the best financial advice in a simple way. He correlates financial fitness with physical fitness and tells you that overnight riches means nothing – just as overnight fitness is nothing. He also explains the importance of patience with his famous line: “If you will live like no one else, later YOU can LIVE like no one else.”
The ideas and thoughts shared in the following books have stood the test of time and will continue to do so. They are must-reads for anyone who wishes to manage their money better:
30) Richest Man in Babylon
Imbibe pearls of financial wisdom delivered in the form of parables based in ancient Babylon. The book delivers its magic through multiple protagonists, each of whom delivers wise words on various subjects like paying off credit, saving, etc. which can help you walk the path of creating sustainable wealth.
31) Think and Grow Rich
This is your go-to guide on how to achieve anything you want by virtue of excelling in what you do. The book is a storehouse of revelations by people who have managed to achieve it all – happiness, health, financial independence. The author has put together the experiences of those who have been there and done that in the form of basic principles that are sure to set you on the path to success.
32) The Intelligent Investor
Would you like to reduce the chances of error and increase the probability of profit? ‘Value investing’ teaches you exactly how to do this. Retaining the authenticity of the original text, Jason Zweig tries to correlate the examples mentioned with present-day financial scenarios and how to apply these learnings to achieve your financial goals.
33) Beating the Street
This book is based on author Peter Lynch's own investment strategies and offers advice on how to put together financial products to build a portfolio that can spell success for you. Making investments isn't like purchasing a lottery ticket. Learning the right investment strategies and adequate research is all that you need to set yourself on the path to success.
34) One Up On Wall Street
As a lay person, you have some advantages over a professional investor. This book by Peter Lynch explains how you can use knowledge to your advantage to stay ahead of the game. According to the author, the early bird catches the worm; and as an investor, identifying and investing in the right stocks early is what will help you gain a clear advantage over the others. This book has a collection of tips and tricks to help you make it big as an investor.
35) A Random Walk Down Wall Street
A must-read for investors of any age who are designing their portfolio. It helps you evaluate different investments and shuffle your portfolio to suit your retirement needs. It's a must-read if you are someone who likes to manage their own finances.
36) The Only Investment Guide You Will Ever Need
A lay person’s guide to creating wealth regardless of how much or how little money you have. The book offers advice or various topics, including how and when to safely invest in stocks, how to save and spend smarter etc.
37) Poor Charlie’s Almanac
This autobiography showcases the author’s growth from humble beginnings to achieving tremendous success. It highlights different aspects of his life and the factors that led him to achieve stupendous success. It includes speeches and talks delivered over a twenty-year period, which makes for an interesting read.
38) Market Wizards
What does it take for a trader to be at the top of their game? Jack Schwager interviews top traders across markets to find out. While their individual responses differ, a common factor that led to their success was a solid methodology and the right attitude. The book features secrets from people who have made it big. It’s a must-read for novice traders.
39) Berkshire Hathaway Letters to Shareholders
The share price of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. grew an unbelievable 12,556 times to trade at $226,000. Do you wish to know how? This book is a compilation of Warren Buffett’s letters to his employees that emphasise his views on investing. Buffett’s letters are a storehouse of knowledge for anyone who’s keen on venturing into business or investing.
40) Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits
This evergreen book is written by Philip Fisher, a stock market veteran of 80+ years. Even Warren Buffett considers Fisher as his guru. In this book, Fisher gives a 15-point checklist for any common stock, on the basis of which we can evaluate its anticipated future path and accordingly decide our strategy. It also focuses on when to buy, how much to buy, and when to sell. How much importance needs to be given to dividends is also explained well in the book.
41) Security Analysis
In this book, the authors (and some famous stock market players of the time) pioneered what we now call ‘value investing’. In other words, they introduced the concept of hunting for bargain stocks. In this process, fundamental analysis of companies became a common practice, the credit of which goes to this book and its authors.
42) Reminiscences of a Stock Operator
This bestseller, originally published in 1923, highlights the importance of always being open to learning, trusting your limitations, learning from losses, and other lessons that hold value even in today’s changing times.
Businesses and business models
Sometimes, you can seek inspiration from businesses to experience personal growth and manage your money better. Here are some classics:
43) Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike
This is one of the best memoirs ever written by a business tycoon. Phil Knight shares his incredible journey about founding one of the most recognisable companies in the world. Starting off by importing shoes from Japan and selling them to local athletes, he ended up building a world-class sports apparel company.
44) The TCS Story
Do you want to read a raw, detailed story of the evolution of a firm that went from zero to hero through grit and perseverance, but at the same time made it all look so simple? CEO Subramanian Ramadorai gives a comprehensive account of the TCS success story, and his role and vision that took it to such heights. This book will convince you that good leadership is all that a business needs to prosper.
45) A Bank for the Buck
Ever wished to go back in time as a kid? Accomplish your ‘bachpan ka sapna’ by immersing yourself in the pages of this book. It is set in the India of the 1990s, when the banking sector had just started to flourish. HDFC was founded at this time, and the book chronicles the iconic birth and growth of this much-loved bank.
46) Inside Unreal Estate
Very few people have dared to speak publicly against the rampant corruption prevalent in the real estate industry in India. Sushil Kumar Sayal has gathered the courage to take the bull by the horns, as it were. Thanks to his outspokenness, the book has won several awards. Grab a copy today!
47) Empire of Cotton
In this comprehensive and provocative non-fiction book, Sven Beckert talks about the massive expansion of global capitalism. It is a detailed narrative of the impact of the cotton trade on different societies. The role of cotton in furthering the industrial revolution and its influence across the globe is a fascinating account by all means. Give it a read.
48) Elon Musk: Investing the Future
Based on the founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk, this book takes you on an exciting journey. It is an account of Musk’s life, right from his childhood days to his current role at SpaceX. The book is full of anecdotes and learnings that anyone will find useful. It is a must-read for beginners who are on the route to entrepreneurship.
49) The Art of Profitability
Adrian J Slywotzky, a well-known economic theorist and management consultant, has precisely yet impactfully laid out examples of various business models, citing how some rose to fame while others fell flat. The book is a collection of 23 compact lessons on how companies can generate higher profits, despite today's instability. You will love this book if you are a newbie to the business world.
50) The Art of Wealth Creation
The skill of creating wealth and further multiplying it may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it can be developed over time with the right guidance. Indian entrepreneur Raamdeo Agrawal talks along similar lines and explains how wealth creation is a science as much as it is an art. He attempts to help people overcome the fear of the stock market, how to identify successful stocks, and how to create an abundance of wealth through them.
Most of these books are available for Kindle users too. So what are you waiting for? Add these to your wishlist so that you can acquire them over time. Grabbing a cuppa and curling up up with one of these fantastic books can be an excellent way to spend your weekends.