MSN Money lists their five personal finance books that can change your life. Here are the books and a few comments from them:
- Gotcha Capitalism: How Hidden Fees Rip You Off Every Day-and What You Can Do About It - If you buy one money book this year, this should be it. "Companies under pressure to keep advertised prices low have seized on trickery to pump profits up," Sullivan writes. The good news is that he also outlines ways to fight back while making a compelling case that American consumers have been left essentially unprotected for far too long.
- Get Satisfied: How Twenty People Like You Found the Satisfaction of Enough - If you think simple living means retreating to a hut on a mountainside, you're in for a pleasant surprise. The 20 people whose stories are included in "Get Satisfied" for the most part live in regular houses in urban or suburban neighborhoods across the country.
- Living Rich by Spending Smart: How to Get More of What You Really Want - I thought I knew just about every way to trim a budget, but Karp, who writes the "Spending Smart" column that runs in Tribune newspapers nationwide, presented some ideas and strategies I hadn't considered.
- It's Not About the Money: Unlock Your Money Type to Achieve Spiritual and Financial Abundance - The first chapter alone is worth the price of the book. Titled "You Will Never Have Enough," the chapter discusses the Buddhist tradition of the wanting mind: the reason we endlessly, and fruitlessly, pursue happiness through purchases.
- Your Complete Retirement Planning Road Map: A Comprehensive Action Plan for Securing IRAs, 401(k)s, and Other Retirement Plans for Yourself and Your Family - The book reproduces the questionnaires and checklists that Slott uses with his own clients to help manage a variety of retirement accounts. Slott pays particular attention to two essential issues often ignored or downplayed by other advisers: choosing beneficiaries and managing distributions.
My take on these:
1. I have read only one of these (#4), so I'm just going by MSN Money's description in making my judgments.
2. I think the first three sound interesting. I'll be tracking down the publishers to see if they'll send me a copy to review.
3. #4 was a waste of time for me. Too much "zen money" thoughts and not enough practical suggestions for me.
4. Number 5 seems like a yawner.
5. I'm not sure any of these are "life changers." Some may be good, but are they really that good? Here's my list of books that I think really can change people's lives for the better:
- The Millionaire Next Door - Whether or not you agree with the research in this book (some don't), the conclusions are valid. I've build my financial life and wealth on the principles in this book and it's worked very well for me. For more details on key thoughts from the book, see my category on the Millionaire Next Door.
- The Richest Man in Babylon - Good, basic, effective money principles. At $6.99, it's a steal for anyone concerned with managing their own personal finances. I also have a category devoted to this book.
- The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing - The best book on investing I've ever read.
- The Automatic Millionaire : A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich - Simple, effective strategies for making yourself wealthy.
- Career Intensity: Business Strategy for Workplace Warriors and Entrepreneurs - Probably the best book I've ever read on managing your career. It's more for professionals, but if the principles are taken to heart, I think anyone can learn how to best manage their greatest financial asset by reading this book.
To me, this list of books can REALLY change lives. How can I say this? They've changed my life -- for the better. For the much, much better.
How about you? What books would you add to this list?