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Tim Maurer’s Top 10 Personal Finance Books

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So a good friend of mine challenged me to come up with a top 5 personal finance books list and so I went after that task and I failed. unfortunately, in attempting to pull
together the best 5 personal finance books I couldn’t keep that list to any fewer than 10. So I’m going to attempt to give
you my top 5/10 personal finance books list as quickly as possible. This book top 10 list isn’t necessarily
in order of importance but a friend has taught me a great concept that we should always begin in gratitude. So I’m going to begin with the book recommendation for The Rent Collector by Cameron Wright it’s a fictional book that is based on a
real place in Cambodia with real people living life as a family in the midst of
the worst, biggest dump in that country. Imagine that for a second. So often times
when we read personal finance information we read articles in the
newspaper and financial publications. It fills us with a sense that we need so
much more why not then begin in a place of gratitude recognizing how little so
many people throughout the world have. It will change your perspective on money, on life, on work. Now the guy who recommended The Rent Collector to me is a friend, colleague, mentor and prolific author himself Larry Swedroe. Larry’s written a number of books, but I need to give you two of
them on this top 10 list. The first is The Only Guide To A Winning Investment
Strategy You’ll Ever Need. Now the only problem with this book is that it says
it’s the only guide you’ll ever need and Larry’s actually written about 14 books
since then. But it is absolutely true that this book helped fuel a movement
away from active stock picking to an evidence-based approach to investing
that you can apply. Now a more recent book of Larry’s co-authored with another
friend Kevin Grogan is called Reducing The Risk Of Black Swans, and what’s fascinating about this book and why it’s on the list is that it begs a question
that is different than I think the industry is asking. The industry is
trying to encourage you to take the most risk so that you can make the most money. But what Larry posits in this book is that you should consider the question
how little risk can you take and still reach your financial goals. Now I have to
mention a trio of books that comes from the field of behavioral economics.
Behavioral economics is a relatively new field that screams the way people think
and interact with money is absolutely wrong. Indeed the mere premise of
behavioral economics has turned centuries of economic theory on its head,
questioning their very existence. I recommend that the place to start here
is with Michael Lewis’s The Undoing Project. You might know Michael Lewis
from The Blind Side and The Big Short. He has an ability to take very complex and confusing topics and distill them to very readable narrative forms and he
succeeds to do that here with the dismal science. So if you want to graduate from
the undoing project I recommend you look at Richard Thaler’s book Misbehaving. Now Richard Thaler is the economist and newly minted Nobel Laureate who helped
bring the work of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky into the field of economics
and really coined the term behavioral economics. Misbehaving is also a highly
readable history of the field of behavioral economics and the only
recommendation I have for you here is that when you go to look for this book
don’t necessarily just google the word “misbehaving” And if you have not yet
quenched your thirst for behavioral economics I recommend you go straight to the source and Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking Fast and Slow. It summarizes
decades of research that he did with his late research partner Amos Tversky, but
if you really want to see precisely the origin of the research of behavioral
economics, this is the only place to go. What happens if a Harvard trained
economist and CPA would marry and have a child with Yoda? The answer is George Kinder. Now known as the father of life planning. Kinder has taken much of the field of behavioral economics and blended it into the realm
of personal finance and he does so beautifully in his seminal work — The
Seven Stages of Money Maturity. It really is a blend of personal finance, along with philosophy, psychology, behavioral economics and spirituality that I could
not recommend more highly. Okay we’re coming down the homestretch and now I’m gonna mention a duo of books that aren’t explicitly even about personal finance,
but I think you will find that the information therein is absolutely
applicable and actually change the way that you look at money.
The first book is Adam Grant’s Give and Take — Adam Grant is a guy who
takes a look especially at the value of work in our lives and getting the most
out of our work and one of the things that he posits in this book, based on
research, is that those who have more of a giving mindset tend to do better
throughout the course of their careers, and enjoy their work more, than those who
have a taking mindset. And indeed I found this to be true in personal finance I
remember a mentor who told me early on in my career, that when you’re working
with people, if they have a tendency to hold tightly to everything that they
personally acquire they may indeed hold on to much of it although some will slip
out of their fingers. But those who have more of an open handed philosophy in
life they have more of a willingness to give, also give themselves the
opportunity to receive, because their hands aren’t so tight. I find this to be
incredibly true not only in what we do for our work, like in Give and Take, but
also with our money. And then we come to The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan
Heath. What this book gives is an evidence-based case of what I think you
already know. That the most valuable stuff in life isn’t actually stuff, it’s
the memories that we create, it’s the moments that we share together, and that
we cultivate, and that’s what The Power of Moments teaches us. That we can use
our time and our effort to be an investment into the lives of others that
creates lasting memories and an impact that we would love to have. I’ll warn you in
advance that my final book recommendation might also require a box
of tissues handy. When Breath Becomes Air is an autobiographical account written
by Paul Kalanithi. A brain surgeon who is diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
As he wrestles with this in his final days, he helpfully causes us to ask the
questions about that which is tangible yet fleeting, versus that which is
intangible and eternal. I’m Tim Maurer, Director of Advisor
Development with The BAM ALLIANCE, a collective of over 130 independent
wealth management firms throughout the country. Thank you for bearing with me
through my attempt at a top five personal finance book list that turned
into a top ten. I certainly don’t expect that you’re gonna read every single one
of these books, but I hope you’ll glance the links below and maybe choose just
two or three of them that really seem to be calling out to you. Happy reading!

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