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Top 9 Self-development and personal finance books

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The world of personal finances and self-development is enormous. The amount of content can be paralysing; where do you start? So I have created a list of my 9 favourite personal finance books and also my favourite self-development books that I recommend you check out if they sound good to you! My preferred method of consuming content is through reading books, I hope this list of my favourites helps you get started!

Please note – I have included affiliate links from Amazon if anyone would like to purchase any of the recommended books. Although I want to point out, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you the buyer.

9. Getting things Done – By David Allen

getting things done book

What’s it about? – Getting things done is a book that will help you with productivity. Life is a never-ending to-do list, always trying to remember the next thing to do. But using David Allens’ method, you can unburden your brain with the excess baggage.

Your brain is excellent at thinking, but terrible at remembering things.

Your brain is made for ideas, being creative and solving problems. It’s not meant to remember everything you need to do or store great ideas you have long term. Think of Getting Things Done as a guide to building yourself a brain vault — a vault of everything you want to remember at a later day.

What did I like about it? – I am very forgetful, but I guess it’s not my fault since my brain isn’t a storage system like I had been trying to use it!

I liked that I was able to build my own adapted version of David’s method, and now I have a fully functioning digital brain. Microsoft OneNote is what I use. There are sections for business ideas, to-do lists, lists of books to read, and even an area for weird dreams I want to remember!

I can look back at any time on these thoughts as I have them stored forever. So a business idea I have randomly one day, I open up OneNote, type in the idea in as much detail as I have, close the app, and go about my day.

The other good thing about the book is that David Allen goes into how to break down tasks and create the next actions on those lists. Making them more manageable to tackle and letting you know where you left off and what the next step is to move forward.

Using the method will allow you to remember more things and be able to tackle tasks in actionable steps.

Who is this book for? – 

  • You have lots of ideas, but forget them just as fast
  • You have too much to do and not enough time to do it in
  • Too much time wasting trying to restart a task

But really, this book is for everyone with how busy life is these days! There is something to learn for us all, and we can apply the methods or our own adapted version to our lives and make sure we get more done!

Link to buy – Getting Things Done: The Art of stress-free productivity by David Allen

8. The Psychology of Money – By Morgan Housel

psychology of money book

What’s it about? – The psychology behind money and why people do the things they do with it. Good and bad! The full title of the book is – The Psychology of Money: Timeless lessons on wealth, greed, and happiness.

Everyone has their own experiences with money and the economy in general. Someone may have a completely different experience even though they lived through the same economic times. And it is each individual’s experience that shapes their financial decision making and habits.

It is looking into the psychology behind money habits that separates The Psychology of Money from other personal finance books.

What did I like about it? – I love psychology, and obviously, I am interested in personal finance books. I am deeply interested in people; why they think the way they do, why they do things. It is probably why shows like Big Brother are my guilty pleasures!

So The Psychology of Money is an excellent book for a few of my interests. I like that Housel explores the factor of luck and misconceptions we have in our thoughts, most of them being biased or even irrational.

I like that you can learn from the book. You can take what you learn to spot when you are emotionally thinking about money or business. Being aware of the emotions and the decisions you make from them is the first part of rectifying any issues.

Who is this book for? –

  • Someone with an interest in people and psychology
  • You have struggled or are struggling with your finances
  • You want to improve your financial situation

Link to buy – The Psychology of Money: Timeless lessons on wealth, greed and happiness

7. Broke Millennial – By Erin Lowry

What’s it about? – Broke Millennial is about our relationship with money. People are scared of their finances, and they don’t get a handle on them. This means they potentially miss out on experiences in life that they cannot afford.

What are the roadblocks that are holding you back from achieving your financial goals? Erin Lowry wants us to look into our past and find our roadblocks with money. She also breaks down steps you can take to tackle your roadblocks and move forward with fixing your money issues and rebuilding your relationship with money.

What did I like about it? – I like that Lowry gives us actionable steps we can take to address our money issues. Sometimes we don’t even realise we have an issue with our finances until an emergency strikes.

Understanding and realising that you are doing something, knowing why, and its effects on your long-term outlook can go a long way to addressing the behaviour.

I like that following the actionable steps will give us the foundation to build our financial empire.

Also, I love the book’s name; I have been a Broke Millennial for most of my life, so it resonated with me from the start more than other personal finance books!

Who is this book for? –

  • Anyone who thinks they are bad with money
  • Financial mistakes seem to repeat themselves
  • You can’t seem to get ahead, always chasing your tail
  • You feel negative towards money

Money is scary, and it’s a game we all need to play, but with Erin Lowry’s easy to read style, you will be able to get yourself on top of it and ahead of the game!

Link to buy – Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together

6. Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking – By Susan Cain

What’s it about? – It’s about understanding introverts and how the world underestimates them. Quiet isn’t a personal finance book, but it ticks the box as a self-development book for me.

The world rewards extroversion. Being an extrovert is seen as being ideal. But without introverts, we wouldn’t have some of the most significant advancements in human history! A few famous introverts –

  • Bill Gates
  • Steve Jobs
  • Albert Einstein
  • Mark Zuckerberg
  • JK Rowling
  • Emma Watson
  • Stephen Spielberg

I can’t even imagine living in a world without Harry Potter, never mind Einstein developing the Theory of Relativity!

What did I like about it? –  I liked learning more about myself, what it means to be an introvert and learning that it’s not just about being shy. You get introverts that aren’t shy at all! Being an introvert is about your energy. They gain energy from being alone, in quiet, where they can think and recharge. Unlike extroverts who love to be around people all the time, this gives them energy.

Look at modern workplaces. They tend to be open-plan offices, loud and crowded. Throw in some group discussions, and you have an introvert’s worst nightmare! The office is designed with the extrovert in mind. Susan Cain goes into this in more depth. She shows how the traditional setup could be burning out introverts and companies not getting the best out of their introverted staff.

But my favourite thing about Quiet was when Cain explored introverts acting as extroverts to achieve goals. I always wondered if this was possible, and it is. Although afterwards, an introvert will need time to recover from the social interactions that take from their energy.

Who is this book for?

  • Introverts
  • Parents of Introverted children – good section on this
  • Anyone in a management role looking to learn

Link to buy – Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

5. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

What’s it about? – The world is a stressful place, but why are we so stressed? Author Mark Manson explores why we are stressed and how to learn to focus on what is important to us as individuals.

We should concentrate on the most important things and forget everything else. This is a book about happiness. It’s about focusing your mind on your real goals and ambitions in life, and fuck everything else! Who cares what other people think about your goals in life? You shouldn’t!

Another big part of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is comparing your successes to other people and how that can harm your mental health. Also, depending on who you are comparing yourself to, it may be an unfair comparison that can only lead to unhappiness, regardless of how successful you are.

What did I like about it? As previously mentioned, I am introverted, so I struggle with worrying about what people think about me and how I am perceived. So reading this showed me that I am who I am and that I need to change my mindset.

We place mental constructs on ourselves, putting labels on ourselves. We give ourselves these labels, happy, sad, rich, poor, useless, a failure. But these aren’t real. I learned from Mark Mansons’ book that he shows why these identity labels are an illusion. Freeing yourself from this identity you placed on yourself can be liberating and help you focus on your actual goals.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck has significantly impacted me. I read it last year, and since then, I have been working on changing my mindset. I am putting myself out there and challenging the identity labels that I placed on myself before.

Who is this book for? –

  • People who struggle to say no
  • Serial people pleaser
  • People who worry about what others think about them too much

Link to buy – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

4. The Millionaire Next Door – By Thomas J. Stanley

and William D. Danko

Who’s this book for? –  The Millionaire Next Door shows you that not all millionaires fit into the traditional stereotype. You know the stereotype, sports cars, mansions, private jets, live-in nannies and children named after pieces of exotic fruit!

 But not all millionaires are like this. In fact, most aren’t.

Self-made millionaires are prudent and avoid spending cash on things they don’t need. They control their budget and think long term, planning for the future. They don’t buy flashy cars and flaunt their money. Financial Independence is more important to most real-life millionaires.

What did I like about it? – I liked that I learned what a real millionaire is really like. And it’s not what I see in films or on the TV! Personal finance books will show you the reality of the journey and maybe even the path to becoming a millionaire.

People spend their money to look good to their peers. They spend money on things they really can’t afford if they budgeted properly, to impress people they work with or live near. We all know someone who drives a fancy car they can’t afford. They give off the impression of having money. But, if they didn’t have the expensive car, they would ironically have some actual money!

Keeping up with the neighbours is a big problem in personal finances. The Millionaire Next Door beautifully breaks that down and shows why it’s not essential, which holds you back.

Who’s this book for? –

  • Anyone with an interest in Financial Independence
  • You suffer from ‘keeping up with the neighbours’
  • You struggle with your finances
  • You want a better life

Link to buy – The Millionaire Next Door

3. 4 Hour Work Week – By Tim Ferriss

What’s it about? – It’s about learning to cut out unnecessary tasks and distractions from your day to day life so you can maximise your time, in turn, saving you time. The 4 hour work week isn’t like other personal finance books, in fact it’s more a self development book, that can impact your personal finances.

We all waste a lot of time with distractions, primarily digital. Email notifications, Facebook, phone calls and group chats are a few common ones. These all take us out of our flow and drain time and energy out of our day.

Ferriss explains the 80/20 principle and how employing this allowed him to trim down his business, focus on what works and then automate as much as possible. This allowed Tim to travel the world whilst his company didn’t miss a step. It grew.

What did I like about it? – The 4 Hour Work Week is a must-read! We all suffer from distractions at work that derail our productivity. The 4-hour work week, shows how it is possible to focus on the most important parts of your business or working day whilst eliminating pesky distractions.

They say that a task will take as long as the time you have to complete it. So we tend to waste time and things take longer than they need to, as we have the time to fill. What Ferris is ultimately saying is that your efficiency can increase, but your actual working time can decrease.

The concept of increasing efficiency but lowering the amount of time is appealing to me. I have a few hobbies that take up a lot of time, later on this year I am going to work on improving my efficiency and saving time. Time is precious, we need to make the most of it. I know I waste a lot of time on distractions. But I am learning to slowly cut them out and increase focus.

Who’s this book for? –

  • Anyone who wants to spend less time working
  • Someone with remote working possibility
  • A business owner
  • Someone fed up with the traditional 9-5 and wants change

Link to buy – The 4-Hour Workweek

2. The Simple Path to Wealth – By JL Collins

What’s it about? – The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins is on all of these lists, but there is a reason for that! It is a great book that breaks down investing and shows you what the simple path to wealth is.

Investing is made to sound complicated by the professionals who want to take your money to help you! But it doesn’t have to be, and JL shows you how through investing in Index Funds. Personal finance books don’t come better than this!

What did I like about it? –  The simplicity of it was most appealing to me. I loved JLs’ writing style, it was easy to read, and I learned a lot about investing from him.

It is tough to invest in individual company stocks. When do you buy it? When do you sell? Do you buy back in after selling? You need to consistently be right more often than not, its time consuming and stressful! Index funds take that issue away. You invest in a group of companies, so you can set it and forget it! Time in the market is better than trying to time the market!

JL also shows how even the most significant and catastrophic market crashes of all time recover! So, don’t panic sell! You hold what you have, and you buy more!

Who’s this book for? –

  • Anyone with an interest in Financial Independence
  • Want to learn more about investing
  • You already invest – but are not doing very well timing the market
  • You pay a broker to invest on your behalf

Link to buy – The Simple Path to Wealth

1. Rich Dad Poor Dad – By Robert T. Kiyosaki

What’s it about? – Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki was the first personal finance book I ever read! I don’t know what attracted me to it the most, but what I learned in it changed how I saw money.

Rich Dad Poor Dad is a series of stories from the author’s life, where he shows how he learned specific lessons. Kiyosaki describes the differences between the ‘Rich Dad’ and his ‘Poor Dad’. I think the lesson in comparing both the successful Dads was eye-opening for me. The Poor Dad was an academic who worked all his life but died owing money. But the Rich Dad was a school dropout, but he had business smarts and had a wildly successful life building an empire.

What did I like about it? – Kiyosaki explains how the rich stay rich and why the poor and middle class stay poor and middle class. The biggest difference is that the Poor and Middle-class work for money; the rich make money work for them. This resonated with me, and it’s stuck with me.

The author also explains the difference between assets and liabilities. And how the rich manage their assets, build them up, acquire more, and limit liabilities.

Rich Dad Poor Dad will appear on all these types of lists; it’s a best seller in the personal finance world! But it resonated with me so profoundly that I have been trying to share the lessons from the book with friends and family since I read it last year! I hope you can give it a chance and take from it something that can help you in your life.

Who’s this book for? –

  • Been told to do well at school and get a good job
  • If you think your home is your biggest asset (it’s not, it’s a liability!)
  • Have an entrepreneurial spirit
  • If you want to know how the rich make money work for them
  • Have a degree, but can’t use it. There are no jobs!

I can’t recommend reading Rich Dad Poor Dad enough, and I genuinely believe it has changed my life. The lessons it taught me, the mindset it has given me. It’s invaluable.

Link to buy – Rich Dad Poor Dad

BONUS BOOK

The Fear bubble – By Ant Middleton

What’s it about? – The full title of the book is Fear bubble: Harness fear and live without limits. It is a book about mindset and follows Ant taking on Mount Everest. The book goes between the story of the climb up Everest and then discusses Middleton’s philosophy, the Fear bubble.

A fear bubble is something that causes you any stress, something you are scared to do. Ant gives examples of times in his own life, from his combat days to climbing Everest, when he used his fear bubble technique to conquer challenges.

What did I like about it? Firstly, I love Ant Middleton, like I have true man love for him! I have read all his books, but this one was my favourite. I have had anxiety for a long time. I get very nervous doing things I have never done before, meeting someone new or going somewhere unfamiliar. But reading Fear Bubble, Middleton shows how to tackle these everyday things.

Think about people who skydive or bungee jump; they have that sense of dread leading up to the jump. The jump is where their fear bubble is, so why are they scared leading up to it? They shouldn’t be until the time comes to jump and hurtle themselves towards the ground and potential death! But most of them do it again, don’t they! Why?

Have you ever had something on your mind for days? Something you are dreading doing, a potential conflict with someone. You think about it a lot, and it plays on your mind. It gets bigger and bigger, weighing you down until it’s all you can think about. That is a fear bubble. And the only way to get through it? YOU POP THE DAMN BUBBLE!!

You get yourself ready, and you commit to popping it when you are ready. Then get an adrenaline buzz by popping the fear bubble, and popping them becomes addictive! Tackling something scary to you becomes a challenge you want to seek out instead of avoiding.

As this is the longest section of what I liked about a book, I think you can see how much I loved this! It helped me take the leap a few times in certain situations. It’s definitely overdue another reading!

Who’s this book for? –

  • You ever worry about something to the point of it becoming obsessive.
  • Things play on your mind, even if they are days, weeks or even months away
  • Have an anxious personality
  • New challenges stress you out at work and in your personal life
  • You like adventure books – Ant takes on Mount Everest!
  • Or if you want to feel like you can achieve anything! – or at least that’s how I felt after reading it

Writing this review has reminded me how much I loved this book; I will reread it!

Link to buy – The Fear Bubble

So that’s my list of some of my favourite personal finance books/self-development books. There are so many books in this genre though, so what have i missed? What would be on your list? Comment below or use the Contact page to get in touch!

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