There I was. 21 years old. $24,000 in debt.

I thought it was normal. I thought everyone had car payments. I thought debt was the only way of life.

The American way.

I also couldn’t sleep at night, because I was so stressed. I had no plan for an emergency, other than to go into more credit card debt. That’s when I got angry. A good motivating, driving anger. An anger that ultimately led me and my family out of debt.

I realized that debt was controlling our life. And I wanted to be in control. So, I started reading. I read every finance book I could find. Less than 2 years later, a few things happened:

  • We were completely free of consumer debt
  • We owned a large piece of land that we paid cash for
  • We owned an income rental property
  • We were building wealth for retirement

Things changed…but what really changed things for us? Books. The books I read are what not only pulled us out of debt, but also started us on the road to a fully funded retirement. I made the decision to become financially literate.

It’s amazing what the right book, at the right time, can do for you.

So I created this reading list. To help you do the same thing I did. Learn how to get out of debt, spend wisely and invest intelligently. These books aren’t in any specific order, because it really depends on what you need to read right now. I could rank them and talk about how a certain book changed my life, but it could be a different book that changes your life.

Scroll through the list and find what fits your needs at this moment in your life.

Related: How to Read More Books This Year Than Most People Read in Their Life


personal finance books

Getting Out of Debt

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  1. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
  2. Rapid Debt Reduction Strategies by John Avanzini
  3. The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason
  4. Maxed Out: Hard Times in the Age of Easy Credit by James Scurlock
  5. Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide To Financial Freedom by Lynnette Khalfani-Cox
  6. Debt Free for Life by David Bach
  7. Negotiate and Settle Your Debts by Mandy Akridge
  8. How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously by Jerrold Mundis
  9. Manage Your Money and Get Out of Debt Faster by JB Woods
  10. Debt is Slavery: and 9 Other Things I Wish My Dad Had Taught Me About Money by Michael Mihalik

Investing in the Stock Market

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  1. The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
  2. The Essays of Warren Buffett by Warren Buffett and Lawrence Cunningham
  3. Why Stocks Go Up and Down by William Pike and Patrick Gregory
  4. Financial Statements by Thomas R. Ittelson
  5. One Up on Wall Street by Peter Lynch
  6. Active Value Investing by Vitaliy N. Katsenelson
  7. Why Are We So Clueless about the Stock Market? by Mariusz Skonieczny
  8. F Wall Street by Joe Ponzio
  9. Beating the Street by Peter Lynch
  10. The Little Book of Value Investing by Christopher H. Browne
  11. Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes and How to Correct Them by Gary Belsky and Thomas Gilovich
  12. Value Investing: From Graham to Buffett and Beyond by Bruce C. N. Greenwald
  13. The Shortest Investment Book Ever by James O’Donnell
  14. Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits by Philip Fisher
  15. The Little Book That Builds Wealth by Pat Dorsey
  16. The Motley Fool Investment Workbook by David and Tom Gardner
  17. The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach
  18. Quality of Earnings by Thornton L. O’glove
  19. The Five Rules for Successful Stock Investing by Pat Dorsey
  20. Security Analysis by Benjamin Graham
  21. Bull: A History of the Boom and Bust, 1982-2004 by Maggie Mahar
  22. The Four Pillars of Investing by William J. Bernstein
  23. A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton G. Malkiel
  24. Million Dollar Portfolio by David and Tom Gardner
  25. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder
  26. The Little Book that Beats the Market by Joel Greenblatt
  27. Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist by Roger Lowenstein
  28. Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John C. Bogle
  29. The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco
  30. Stocks For The Long Run by Jeremy Siegel

Investing in Real Estate

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  1. The Beginner’s Guide to Real Estate Investing by Gary W. Eldred
  2. My Life & 1,000 Houses by Mitch Stephen
  3. Confessions of a Real Estate Entrepreneur by James A. Randel
  4. Who Says You Can’t Buy a Home! by David Reed
  5. The ABCs of Real Estate Investing by Ken McElroy
  6. The Millionaire Real Estate Investor by Gary Keller
  7. Real Estate: The Sustainable Investment by Glen Sweeney and John Gordon
  8. The Advanced Guide to Real Estate Investing by Ken McElroy
  9. Building Wealth One House at a Time by John Schaub
  10. Real Estate Advantages by Sharon Lechter and Garrett Sutton
  11. 2 Years to a Million in Real Estate by Matthew Martinez
  12. The Unofficial Guide to Real Estate Investing by Spencer Strauss
  13. Real Estate Finance and Investment Manual by Jack Cummings
  14. Buy It, Rent It, Profit! by Bryan M. Chavis
  15. Every Landlord’s Tax Deduction Guide by Stephen Fishman

Getting the Right Mindset

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  1. The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz
  2. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
  3. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
  4. Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker
  5. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley and William Danko
  6. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey
  7. 100 Ways to Create Wealth by Steve Chandler and Sam Beckford
  8. Cashflow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki
  9. Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath
  10. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

General Personal Finance

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  1. I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
  2. Your Money Or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin
  3. The Behavior Gap by Carl Richards
  4. The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles
  5. Get a Financial Life by Beth Kobliner
  6. Financial Peace Revisited by Dave Ramsey
  7. All Your Worth by Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi
  8. The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton
  9. Yes, You Can Get A Financial Life! by Ben Stein and Phil DeMuth
  10. Smart Couples Finish Rich by David Bach

The Reading List

It took me hours upon hours to put this list together. Every book on this list was carefully selected.

I have read almost every single one of these. I have read at least part of each book. I also did my research through reviews, popular opinion and articles to figure out which books should be on here.

That being said, if I missed something, let me know! I want this list to be a library that you can come to for ideas on what to read next.

If this list isn’t enough for you, check out this list of 200+ business books.

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This article was originally published Feb 23, 2015.
Last updated: Sep 4, 2018.