I was browsing through my Amazon affiliate sales the other day and noticed that I had sold copies of two great books: The Millionaire Next Door and The Richest Man in Babylon. I got to thinking about these books, what they contain, and the people who bought them. I also started to think about my own life and how it's been impacted by a few good books. This is when I became VERY happy.
I became very happy for the people who bought the books. I know that if they read and apply the ideas found in these books (see Two Books that Will Change Your Financial Life for details), they will be much, much, much better off financially. In fact, if they apply the ideas over several years, they will become quite wealthy. So for a few dollars, these people now have the ideas that could help their net worth increase by tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars.
So what's the return rate on those investments? If you bought something for $10 and 30 years later it had helped you become worth $1 million, that's a pretty amazing rate of return. In fact, it's close to an infinite rate of return. Now you could get these books from the library and make the return rate infinite (since there's no cost to you), but based on my experience, you need to have your own copies of these so you can read and re-read them often, underline, mark, and write in them, and refer to them at various times in the future. (Now if you get one as a gift, the return could be infinite too.) ;-)
That's why I recommend the books that I do. It's because I've read them over and over, have applied the principles they discuss to my life, and have seen my net worth grow substantially as a result. That's also why my recommended book list isn't 100 books long -- there just aren't that many books (at least that I've found) that meet my criteria. For now, the only books I can give this recommendation to are:
If you don't have any of these books, I encourage you to get, read, and apply them. Doing so will give you a return close to infinite.
BTW, I like/listen to podcasts for the same reason!