I have always been a voracious reader, but in my twenties I almost lost the habit of reading. But I'm so glad to have found back my habit of reading and these days I read a lot thanks to my Kindle. In this blog, I'm going to discuss with you five of my favorite personal finance books.
1. So, the first one on my list of personal finance, favorites, is a book called The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace d Wattles.
This was recommended to me by one of my senior mentors. The name sounded interesting. So, I picked up a copy, gave it a read.
In this book, the basic concept that Wallace discusses is that everything in the universe is made of something called the original substance. The original substance has a tendency to advance in life, so people who want to grow more, the original substance tends to flow towards those people.
It also says that original substance can be influenced through your consciousness and through your thoughts and original substance is limitless in this universe. Therefore, there will never be a crunch of resources. As a consequence, becoming rich is only natural and obvious.
Then he goes on to discuss how you can create wealth in your life. He says, don't compete, get into creation, creating more wealth. He also discusses that the way to communicate with this original substance is gratitude.
He further discusses the certain way of getting rich, which is:
Think - because original substance is influenced by thought. So think of the life that you want or think of the house that you want or the career that you want with razor precision, and then continue to act on it. He talks about will. So continuously keep thinking about that vision and then finally continue to act on that will. And once you continue to do that, the original substance has no other way than to respond to you.
However, you will not know which way that house will come to you, whether you'll buy it, whether you'll inherit it, whether you'll win it through a lottery or something. So, he says, that keep yourself open and keep acting on your precise vision.
Then he also goes on to say that the only reason people are not rich is because they are NOT following this certain way. If you want other people to get rich, the best thing you can do for them is to get rich yourself so that you can act as an inspiration for them.
I have to say that this doesn't sound completely scientific. However, I do take the basic point and the concept of the book, whereby it says that you are the master of your own destiny. If you set clear and focused goals, you will always find a way to do that because you are resourceful. You could either complain about what has gone wrong in your life, or you could actually design your life in the way that you want it and work hard towards it.
2. Second on the list is I will teach you to be rich by Ramit Sethi.
Ramit is actually one of my mentors, and he has been for the last eight years or so when I first found him on YouTube.
In this particular book, I will Teach You to Be Rich, Ramit's philosophy really comes alive. He makes a really strong case for why you want to become rich, and then he goes on to tell you how you can do that.
The first step he says is Optimize your credit cards.
The next thing, put your money into high interest, hassle-free bank accounts.
The third he puts a tremendous emphasis on negotiating fees and negotiating deals everywhere.
Then he says, invest and invest in tax advantaged accounts.
He also talks about spending consciously on things that you love and actually limiting your spending to things that you don't care that much about.
He also asks you to understand your inflow and outflow of money month on month.
Finally he says that personal finance advisors are actually as clueless as wine tasters and that you can actually make as much money without going to personal finance advisors.
I think in this book he specifically means for people who are just getting started on their personal finance journey. There are a couple of key steps that he mentions in his book that you can apply and become rich without actually needing expensive personal finance advice.
Ramit is big on the rich life. He asks you to create this vision for a rich life, pretty much like Wallace did in his book . Find your true vision for your rich life, and then figure out a way of how you want to get to it and use money as a tool to get there.
Do I agree with all of what Ramit says?
I don't, but I agree with almost 90% of what he says. You want to save and invest consistently. You want to negotiate better deals for yourself, and you want to live a rich life. I don't agree that personal finance advice is useless. It could be extremely useful for some people, but for the average person, it's probably a bit too expensive, which is why Ramit appeals to the average person and suggests that you actually can take control of your finances by tuning into your vision for your rich life.
3. The third one on the list is the Almanac of Naval Ravikant.
I absolutely love Naval Ravikant. I have been a huge fan since I heard him first on the Joe Rogan podcast. This specific book, it's not really a book written by Naval. It's a compilation of different tweet storms, et cetera, that Naval has actually put out. The book is actually divided into a parts
How to build wealth, and
How to build happiness.
How to build wealth primarily comes down to a few things. Focus on wealth, not money, which means that he's asking you to focus on assets rather than cash.
He's also big on generating passive income streams, and as an economist himself, actually, he says there are three ways of building leverage.
The first is through labor,
The second is through money, and
The third is actually through assets like books, videos, , social media posts, code, and so on. He says the third sort of leverage is actually what is accessible to all of us.
He says, that you want to develop a specialization within math and communication, but also follow your interest and your interest will become very evident to you. He also suggests developing good judgment about the world by actually leaning into mental models. Mental models are a whole field of study that I personally, myself want to get a lot more into, which I will explain in the later part of this blog.
He also suggests that you want to invest in long-term business partnerships and give more than take. That way you become this person who's trustworthy for the other person and they always want to do a deal with you. And finally, he talks about the need to be patient in life.
In the Almanac, one of the key lines that stood out to me was really this concept that if you leave me in any English speaking country without any money, I will become rich within the next 10 years. This was such a powerful concept for me that actually I personally truly resonate a lot with.
The next part of the book focuses on happiness, where he says that happiness is really a decision. You decide to be happy and therefore you keep up with your decision of being happy. He says you have to accept yourself as who you are, and then, invest a lot of time in self-care, including your health, both physical and mental.
This is something he said about happiness, that resonated a lot with me.
"I believe happiness is really a default state. Happiness is there when you remove the state of something is missing in your life. When nothing is missing, your mind shuts down and stops running into past or future to regret something or to plan something."
That was about the Almanac of Naval Ravikant. I highly recommend reading it. It will change the way you think about your life fundamentally,
4. The next book on this list I came across on the Almanac of Naval Ravikant and it's called Poor Charlie's Almanac.
Poor Charlie's Almanac is actually by Charlie Munger, who is Warren Buffet's right hand man, and he is actually the quiet, rational person behind Berkshire Hat. The key things that stood out to me in Poor Charlie's Almanac was the objectivity with which Charlie Munger looks at everything.
He suggests to practice contrarian thinking and actually entertain other points of view as practice so that we are thinking about an issue from a variety of different perspectives and angles.
He also talks about inverting your thinking. Instead of asking, why would this fail, you could ask a different question like, what is it that I haven't seen about this opportunity that could go wrong?
The next thing he talks about is knowing your circle of competence. I keep suggesting through this blog and other social media channels that you want to follow your leverage, and your leverage does actually come from your competence.
Charlie Munger and Warren Buffet actually really don't get into complicated businesses like within the technology world. They understand simple businesses and they know their competence for understanding simple businesses, and they have trained up their company and their staff to understand simple businesses. So, they are ruthless about understanding their zone of competence, and then ruthlessly following that.
Then Munger also talks about building a lattice of mental models, which means how do the ideas in other fields relate to this particular field? Mental models are a field in themselves. Naval Ravikant talks about it. I deeply resonate with this philosophy of how do different fields are around this field and the concepts in those fields relate to this field.
He talks about being patient and decisive. He talks about investing in high quality businesses, meaning businesses that you really understand and you can really get behind. He talks about moats and competitive advantages, meaning how long will the nearest competitor take to catch up to this particular business. he also puts a huge emphasis on the management of the company.
He will rarely ever put his money into companies that are just being IPO'ed. He believes that when a company is being IPO'ed, it's already at the highest price. Therefore, you are not getting the best value for your money when buying that company.
Finally, for happiness, he talks about having a good life with a low expectation and a good sense of humor. He talks about morals and being honest to yourself about constant learning and learning, not only for the sake of reading 500 books, but learning so that you can put some of that learning into practice in your life. He goes on to talk about working hard. All of these people have spoken about are proponent of working hard. No one says that have a vision and that vision will be manifested.
5. And the next book on the list is Die With Zero by Bill Perkins, a former hedge fund manager and energy trader.
This book Die With Zero, I discovered on short form and I really found the concept of it fascinating. Bill, in this book says that we over save and underspend on experiences that could give more meaning to our lives.
The radical idea in this book is that ideally, you should die with $0 in your bank account, meaning that you want to enjoy the money when you are alive and not hand over the money after you pass on. He also says if you are going to leave an inheritance to your children, you would rather , give it to them when they are younger in their lives rather than when they are 60 and well settled and probably don't need that money. Or, spend that money on experiences with other people in your life or experiences for yourself?
Interestingly enough, I came across one of Ramit's pieces of content a few weeks back where he was talking about an old grandmom taking her grandchildren out for a wild experience every year, and every grandchild had to go on that experience with their grandmom. And the concept was that this grandmom did not want to leave the children a pot full of money. She wanted to leave the children with some shared experiences that they had with her.
I found that concept so beautiful. I care about the shared experiences that we get to go on in this lifetime because the money is replaceable. That'll come. But the experiences, once you are gone, you are gone- experiences are worth more than the money that you can ever leave anyone.
Bill, in fact, in this book does keep on saying that this book is, especially for people who are upwardly mobile in terms of their salaries and their earning potential and so on. Which means that he is not suggesting that someone who can't make both ends meet, spend a lot of money on experiences and be reckless with their money. His audience for this particular book, are people who are probably saving more than they need to save and not enjoying their life to the fullest.
It does strike a chord with me because I think we teach people to earn more money and we teach people to save more money. I don't think we teach people to spend money in a way that is actually aligned for them. I think the radical concept is enjoy your life to the fullest and your ideal life has been lived. If you die with $0 in your bank account, and obviously that does not mean that you have to be exactly zero. It could mean like thousand, $5,000, even a hundred thousand for all I care. But the concept is enjoy your life.
So, those were my top five personal Finance books. If you have read any of these books, I would love to know from you which ones you have read and your take of the book.
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