I'm going to keep it real with you guys. I hated reading with a passion when I was in school. I was a math and science guy who liked fixing things with my hands - which is why mechanical engineering fit me so well but that's not the point.
I hated the books we were assigned to read. I hated having to figure out the symbolism and foreshadowing and all the other literary terminology that the English teachers would get excited over.
It wasn't until college that I realized I actually did like to read, but only if it was something I was truly interested in. I would read car magazines cover to cover regularly. If something piqued my interest I would go down a Google or Wikipedia rabbit hole, absorbing as much information as I could. So it wasn't that I hated reading, it was that I hated what I was reading. Once I realized that I truly began to enjoy reading... as long as it what I wanted.
Flash to 2008 - I had just began my career and opened a 401(k). If you read my background story, you'll know that I knew nothing about investing and it was only after my mother broke down the numbers that I started. When I saw my money start making money, the game changed. Naturally, I wanted to learn more about investing which leads me to my first book:
by John C. Bogle
Bogle is the founder of the Vanguard Group and inventor of the index fund. In this book, he outlines why index funds are the best investment for long term investors. Index funds beat active investors over the long run, they require little to no effort on the investors end, and the fees are extremely low when compared to other investment funds.
This book made me understand that keeping my investing strategy simple was the best way to build wealth long term. It's hard to pick the winners, just buy the whole market and you're guaranteed to win.
If you are new around here, my favorite term is index and chill - meaning buy index funds regularly and don't stress about the market movements short term. Your future self will thank you.
by Ramit Sethi
After two years of boring investing, I heard about a book that was gaining popularity at the time. It appealed to me and I decided to buy it. Unfortunately it sat on my shelf for a few years until a podcast reminded me about it.
The podcast was by Matt D'Avella and the guest was Ramit Sethi, the author of the book. Ramit seemed genuine and down to earth, which intrigued me about his writing. Sure enough, the book is well written, relatable and makes understanding personal finance rather easy.
I have three main takeaways from the book. First, you need a budget. But the budget should be realistic. As he says in the book, "spend extravagantly on the things you love, and cut costs mercilessly on the things you don't." This was something I had done naturally but to read it in a book really put into perspective how important that is at the end of the day.
My second takeaway was that your habits, good or bad, compound. You have to be very mindful of your actions regularly. Those decisions affect your future.
My last takeaway was that the best time to invest was yesterday, the next best time is today. Thankfully, I had been investing for years and I realized how lucky I was. My money would have more time to compound over the years. No one regrets investing too early.
So glad I went back to this book as it definitely changed my life.
by James Clear
Just as I learned from I Will Teach You to be Rich, this book really dives into how your habits compound and affect your ability to reach your goals.
I learned that if you're having trouble reaching your goals or changing your habits, the problem isn't you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don't want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.
The most important thing you can do is be consistent. In order to do that, you need your habits to simple when starting. Want to read 10 books this year? Read one page before bed every night. Slowly that habit builds into two pages, a chapter and before you know it you finished that first book.
This can be applied to anything and the framework has helped me achieve many of my goals. I also implemented the two day rule, where you can't go more than two days of not performing a habit. Let's use the book goal from above.
Say you go out Friday night with friends and don't read before bed. That's fine don't beat yourself up. Just make sure that you read on Saturday and the two day rule isn't broken. This allows you to keep your habits in place and not start a bad habit.
by Saifedean Ammous
I am a proud proponent of Bitcoin. Many people do not agree with this sentiment and to be honest, I was initially a skeptic. As I've said before, I thought it was funny money and a ponzi. That was before I actually looked into it and just echoed what I had heard about say.
I started really digging into Bitcoin in 2015 and wound up buying my first Bitcoin in 2016. I realized everything I thought was wrong and this had huge potential. I saw it as a safety net from the current system. If you are like me and hesitant or skeptical, I wrote the best explanation of Bitcoin you will ever read.
And after you read that blog, grab the Bitcoin Standard. My conviction has only grown stronger since reading this book.
This book outlines the idea of sound money and how Bitcoin could be the perfect version. Sound money protects value across time and allows for trade based on a stable unit of measurement. Gold used to be the ideal version, but in the digital age, can Bitcoin be the new king?
This book dives deep into the history of money and Saifedean outlines why he believes Bitcoin is going to take the throne, once it overcomes some early volatility and issues. It's a great book to get the full history of money and a general introduction into Bitcoin.
by Morgan Housel
This book was a COVID read and it was fantastic. It's a relatively short read but packs a punch. I knew how much behavior affected personal finance and the markets but this book really drives the idea home.
And the best part is the book takes lessons from history, finance, psychology, etc. and applies it to everyday personal finance. The author has this uncanny ability to look at something as everyone else and see something different in it.
The number one takeaway for me though is that managing money has little to do with how smart you are and a lot to do with how you behave. Hence the psychology part. Be conscious of your behavior and learn to control your emotions when investing.
I highly recommend grabbing this one and reading it. Like today. Do it now. You won't regret it.
All five of these books have had a huge impact on my life. I'm glad I realized that reading didn't have to be chore as long as I was reading something I liked or could learn from. If you are looking for a new book, I highly recommend these five and believe they will change your life as well.
Thanks for reading and have a great day!
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I am not a licensed financial advisor or financial professional. This is not investing advice. I am simply sharing my research and opinion based on that research. It is very important that you do your own research and make investments based on your own personal circumstances, preferences, goals and risk tolerance.
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