Book Reviews

This book reviews page highlights the various books I have come across that have helped me on my journey towards financial independence.

I’ve read at least 100 books now on the subject of personal finance and building wealth. Many books contain the same message. Often, each book will only have one golden gem with the rest of the pages serving as filler.

Below are my top 5. I plan to add more to this section when I have time as I am missing some other great books on here. If you have a favorite yourself, feel free to email me or comment below.

The Way to Wealth

My favorite summary of financial advice (or even general advice) comes from Ben Franklin’s Way to Wealth. This essay is a 15-20 minute read (pdf link) or you can listen via this Youtube link. Here’s the amazon link for a hard copy. Ben Franklin’s writing is extremely tough to understand the first time because of the old language, so my advise would be to read or listen at least a few times. You’ll notice tons of short quotes that truly resonate.

In many ways, Franklin represented the first American entrepreneur and businessman, or “tradesman”, as they were called back in the day. He lived as a badass printer, working long hours, spending far below his means, and retiring at the age of 42. His early retirement included accomplishments like taming lightning with the invention of the lightning rod and creating one of the greatest start ups of all time – the United States of America.

The Way to Wealth is regarded by many to be Franklin’s highest literary and philosophical achievement. Franklin himself sums up the essay quite well: “These proverbs, which contained the wisdom of many ages and nations, I assembled and form’d into a connected discourse prefix’d to the Almanac of 1757, as the harangue of a wise old man to the people attending an auction…”

Millionaire Next Door

A classic. This book taught me the importance of having a strong financial defense in terms of spending habits. For spending habits, I primarily mean the largest purchases such as cars and a house.

I also walked away with a greater understanding of the importance of lowering our taxable rate each year by maximizing our tax efficient investments (401k, Traditional IRA, etc.).

This book contains a lot more useful information than what I mentioned above and everyone can find at least one useful piece of information from this book. I would recommend reading the 2010 edition which includes a 2 page preface from the author. If you come across an older edition, you can always click here and “look inside” to read the 2 page preface.

William Bernstein

If you’re a financial newbie, then this 16 page ebook, If You Can, by William Bernstein is a great start.

In case you wanted to read more by him, Bernstein wrote The Four Pillars of Investing: Lesson for Building a Winning Portfolio. Personally, I don’t approve of his methodology on to allocate such a large portion of our portfolio into bonds, but the book will still take someone from A to Z in terms of your investments.

The Lean Startup

In the today’s world, everyone needs to consider themselves an entrepreneur. Job security is a myth created from older generations. The reality is we need to constantly be learning & developing our skills so that we remain valuable to our employers and to the market. The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries, tackles how to best approach continuous innovation and development within ourselves and our teams.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Lastly, I’ll add Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad. This was a great 4 to 5 hour book which opened my eyes to truly understanding the impact of cash flows. Another critical takeaway was understanding how we can progress from employee, to self-employed, to business owner and ultimately to investor. If I could, I would add a 5th position to Kiyosaki’s book of philanthropist, or someone capable and willing to give back to society.

Anyway, that’s a ‘quick recap’ of some books that were highly informative and important to my development. As I mentioned above, if you have a recommendation you think would be helpful, feel free to email me or comment below.

I hope you find these books as useful as I did.

-Matt
Master Distiller

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