I’ve always liked to read. When I was a kid, I read a lot of fantasy and fiction novels. As I grew older, I gravitated more and more towards non-fiction as I tried to learn as much about the world as I could.
When I realized as a young professional that I wasn’t building wealth the way I thought I should, I cracked open the books and started looking for answers.
I read some conventional books and some unconventional books, trying to learn how others who had started poorer than me had made their fortunes.
Below is the list of my favorite books about building wealth. They range from general concepts, real estate and the stock market. Some of the books give different points of view, such as index fund investing vs. active stock picking, but knowledge is power, and I never turn down a chance to learn something just because I don’t agree with it 100%.
To me, it’s also great that you can get so much knowledge for not that much money. Books are much more affordable than seminars or classes that can sometimes run thousands of dollars. A book may cost $20 and make you hundreds of thousands.
I’ve read all these books, many of them more than once, and they have all helped me to build wealth over the years much more successfully than I thought I could. They have helped me reach financial security and put me close to financial freedom, and I hope they will do the same for you.
General / Business Books
The first category is fairly broad. It includes books that discuss the general concepts of building wealth, as well as starting businesses and biographies of great business people. I’ve used these books to help get my mindset right about spending less than I earn and investing the rest at high rates of return to break out of the rat race:
“Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki — This book is full of great, unconventional advice on money and building wealth. The lessons of assets vs. liabilities, good debt vs. bad debt, make your money work for you, etc, still serve me well to this day.
“Creating Wealth” by Robert G. Allen — This book sets out a simple path to wealth by first focusing on building net worth, then working to change that net worth into cash flow to provide financial independence.
“Cashflow Quadrant” by Robert Kiyosaki — Although Kiyosaki can get a bit repetitive throughout his numerous books, “Cashflow Quadrant” helps you understand that how you earn your money makes a difference. Being an employee is very different from being a business owner or investor.
“Stop Acting Rich” by Thomas J. Stanley — This book uses data to explain how trying to look rich is what makes you poor and that actual millionaires are frugal.
“The Millionaire Mind” by Thomas J. Stanley — This book lays out the ways that actual wealthy families have built their wealth. You can learn a lot by seeing how everyday millionaires got there through starting businesses, real estate, the stock market, etc.
“Expert Secrets” by Russell Brunson — Although all three books in this series are good, my favorite was “Expert Secrets” as it discusses how to get customers and how to be a leader and storyteller.
“Tax-Free Wealth” by Tom Wheelwright — This book is all about taxes and how to reduce them legally as you operate businesses, invest in real estate, etc. Reducing your tax burden is a great way to build wealth.
“The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life” by Alice Schroeder — Great biography of the word’s greatest investor.
“Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson — Good overview of the life of the founder of Apple and one of the most creative business titans of our lifetime.
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay
Real Estate Books
When I first realized that my net worth was staying flat, despite having a good salary, I wanted to learn how others had broken out and built wealth. One theme that kept coming up was investing in real estate and how many used it to reach financial independence. Not only can real estate help you grow your net worth, but it can generate monthly cash flow that can help you walk away from your day job.
Here are the books I have used to build up a portfolio of seven single-family rentals and one commercial property, each with growing equity and positive monthly cash flow:
“Building Wealth One House at a Time” by John Schaub — One of the best books on using single-family houses to build wealth, John Schaub is sometimes referred to as the Warren Buffett of real estate because of his simple manner of writing.
“The Millionaire Real Estate Investor” by Gary Keller — Written by the founder of Keller Williams Realty, this is a great overview of how single-family rentals can make you rich over time.
“HOLD: How to Find, Buy, and Rent Houses for Wealth” by Steve Chader — Another good overview of using single-family rentals to build wealth.
“The ABCs of Real Estate Investing” by Ken McElroy — A great intro to commercial real estate, McElroy invests mainly in apartment buildings. The concepts can be used for any category of real estate.
“What Every Real Estate Investor Needs to Know About Cash Flow” by Frank Gallinelli — This book walks you through the math you need to know to be successful in real estate. It’s not difficult, but it is important to know so you can run the numbers and help ensure success.
“The Due Diligence Handbook for Commercial Real Estate” by Brian Hennessey — This book is a checklist of all the items you need to check before you purchase commercial real estate. Know that commercial real estate is another level from single-family homes, so it is critical to get your due diligence right to be able to profit and avoid major issues.
“Loopholes of Real Estate” by Garrett Sutton — Learn the basics of protecting your investments, using LLCs, etc., in this book on legal strategies for real estate. Note that many of the concepts can be used for other businesses as well.
“Every Landlord’s Legal Guide” by Nolo — This is a great overview of your protections and requirements as a landlord. What can you charge for a penalty for late payment? How do you handle a tenant that doesn’t pay rent? How must you screen tenants? If you want to be a landlord, then you need to read this book to ensure you know your rights and don’t break the law.
“Every Landlord’s Tax Deduction Guide” by Nolo — This guide helps you understand the tax rules around real estate. What is the difference between maintenance and improvements? And how does that impact your taxes? What is depreciation, and how can it reduce your tax burden? What if you have passive losses? These are critical issues for landlords, so don’t be one without reading this book.
Stock Market Books
My first experience with the stock market was mostly one of bewilderment. I couldn’t understand how it worked or how people made money. Due to this lack of understanding, I stuck with low-cost index funds, which is the perfect strategy when you don’t know what you are doing.
Starting last year, with the crash 2020, I decided to focus my energy on learning how to value companies and purchase ones that are selling for less than their value. This active style of stock investing is not easy, but it has been a fun experience for me, and I have had success so far. I also sell options to enter and exit my positions, helping to generate extra cash flow:
“The Little Book of Common Sense Investing” by John Bogle — A classic from the founder of Vanguard and inventor of the low-cost index fund, everyone should read this book to better understand why index fund investing is so powerful.
“A Random Walk Down Wall Street” by Burton G. Malkiel — Another classic text on efficient markets and index fund investing; this book helped me be set as a passive investor for more than a decade.
“The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham — The classic book on active stock market investing for laypeople, Graham was Warren Buffett’s teacher, and this book is what Buffett credits with moving him from trying to read charts to doing fundamental analysis, which has allowed him to amass billions of dollars.
“Security Analysis” by Benjamin Graham and David Dodd — This book was published before “The Intelligent Investor” and goes into more detail on how to analyze companies. It was written more for professional investors, so is not as easy to read, but for me, this book helped me understand fundamental analysis and value investing.
“Value Investing: From Graham to Buffett and Beyond” by Bruce Greenwald — This book, now in its 2nd edition, is a great overview of value investing. It covers how to calculate asset value, earnings power value and also includes a new section on how to value growth for franchise businesses like Apple. This brings it all together for me and is the framework I currently use to value businesses for my personal investing.
“Margin of Safety” by Seth Klarman — Written by a great value investor, this is a good overview of value investing and how to ensure you buy securities at a good price to help ensure success.
“The Most Important Thing” by Howard Marks — Another detailed discussion of value investing and knowing where to focus to find success in the market.
“The Stock Market Cash Flow” by Andy Tanner — This is a high-level overview of selling options and other ways to generate cash flow from the stock market. Until I read this book, I believed that you needed to own real estate to get cash flow, but now I’m able to generate decent cash flow from dividends and selling options.
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Knowledge is key to success. Through reading the books above (and many more), I was able to transform my life from mediocrity to success. Instead of living paycheck to paycheck, despite having a good salary, I now have a large portfolio of assets in real estate and the stock market that will protect me financially from lay-offs or other surprises that may come up. I have built my financial ark.
But it is not enough to read. You must take action.
Once you get a decent idea of how investing works, you must start to risk capital. You can only learn so much from a book. Some mistakes, even when you read about them, you will not fully appreciate until you make them yourself. You will also learn things that you have not read about as you find your unique way of investing.
Spend some quality time learning about money, and you will start to have more. Start with the basics, then decide which asset class you want to focus on — real estate, stocks, or starting a business. Learn everything you can about that asset class, and then put your knowledge to work in real life.
It takes time to build wealth, but you’ll never get there unless you get started. So make yourself a promise to get started today so that in a few years, you can start to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Good luck learning and good luck investing!
After struggling to build wealth early in my career while following traditional financial advice, I set out on a path to learn about investing. A decade later, I’m financially secure and working towards full financial independence through real estate and the stock market. I founded Building Arks to help busy professionals like you ignore mainstream advice and build real wealth.
Join me and build your financial ark today!
Additional articles on investing and building wealth you may find useful:
Two Powerful Concepts For Building Wealth
And how to apply them
You Don’t Have to Quit Your Day Job to Get Rich
Ways busy professionals can secure their financial future in a few hours per week.
This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered Financial or Legal Advice. Not all information will be accurate. Consult a financial professional before making any major financial decisions.