Being Smart With Money Is Important Even if You’re Going To Spend Your Life Sticking Your Nose in a Book

Money may not make us bookish people happy, but being good with it can ensure an almost endless supply of books. Ever thought about that?

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Vector illustration of a woman lying down and reading a book on making, saving, and investing money, besides a pile of books and a coffee mug

For us bookish people, there’s nothing more interesting than the written word and the intellectual pursuits that come with it. Just as it’s true for those dabbling in creative pursuits, most bookish people, too, tend to lean towards the creative right brain over the critical-thinking left brain, who end up romanticizing life, experiencing it through the rose-tinted glasses of fiction. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a dreamer all your life. In fact, to be a dreamer is a gift. And one does not have to choose between being a bookish person or being good with money. Financial literacy is a path all of us should walk on because it’ll only empower and equip us to live a fulfilling life where—this is our favorite part—we’ll never not have the budget for (more) books!

Finance can sometimes seem like a drudgy or vapid topic. This is especially true for us bibliophiles and creative souls. However, learning it can equip us with the tools to manage our finances in ways that enable us to strike a balance between pursuing creative pursuits and achieving financial stability and security. Moreover, what if you see yourself working towards becoming a published author? Or, a creative writer? Perhaps, a graphic designer or illustrator? Maybe even a publicist. Either way, earning money is one thing; managing it is a totally different ball game, which will only make your working life frictionless. As you progress in your career, you’ll find it wise to be financially savvy and to have mastered management skills, among a suite of other essential tools.

So, how does one get started? Lucky for us, we love to read, and there is no dearth of literature on financial literacy, freedom, and mastery. But…

Slow-Transition is key to going from engaging, light reads to jargon-heavy books about money.

Ask anyone, and their obvious book suggestion would be Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. While it is a brilliant book and a must-read for literally every single person on this planet, why not transition to reading non-fiction literature on finance, considering our tendency to escape the mundane? It is true that we as humans can experience ‘learned helplessness’ on our path to financial mastery because we either didn’t come across the right resources or we had excellent resources at our disposal but they didn’t engage us enough early on.

So, what do you do? You turn towards fiction. I said what I said. While non-fiction books are our go-to for educating ourselves on finance, until you develop the habit of naturally gravitating towards non-fiction, why not start with fiction?

Psst…if you’re already into non-fiction reads, we promise you will enjoy these amazing picks as well and, perhaps, have some valuable takeaways of your own from these engaging stories.

These three books are highly-rated works of fiction and are full of lessons on smarter financial decision-making and money management:

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald book cover

Through its exploration of the lavish lifestyles of the elite in the 1920s, this classic novel shows us the personal and social consequences of overindulgence, living beyond one’s means, and other such poor financial choices. Is this to say we shouldn’t spend our money on luxury? Not at all! Take this book as a guide on how not to spend your money when you want to spend it on luxury.

The Coffee Trader by David Liss

The Coffee Trader by David Liss book cover

A historical novel again, The Coffee Trader, offers invaluable insights into trade, commerce, and investment through the story of a Jewish merchant in Amsterdam who gets into the coffee trade during the 17th-century Dutch Golden Age.

The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe

The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe book cover

Set in 1980s New York City, this novel explores the world of high finance and the excesses of Wall Street. It offers a critical commentary on greed, corruption, and the social hierarchies that drive the financial world.

While there are relatively fewer works of fiction that are full of lessons about money, you can start with these three books, and if you’d like to read more, pick up any of the following reads before you switch to non-fiction books:

1. A Simple Plan by Scott Smith highlights the dangers of greed and the importance of making wise financial decisions.

2. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is filled with lessons about following your passions, taking calculated risks, and achieving financial success.

3. The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoevsky teaches us the importance of self-control and responsible money management while exploring gambling, how it’s dangerous, and how living beyond your means can have consequences.

4. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, which, although controversial, is a great book to understand capitalism and individualism and learn the importance of self-interest through personal responsibility in achieving financial success and hard work.

5. The Money Game by Adam Smith is a great satirical read that gifts us with insights into the pitfalls of greed and the importance of maintaining a healthy relationship with money.

And finally, you’ll want to read The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko, a book that was originally listed as non-fiction and later adapted into a fictional story, teaches us the ‘how’ of living frugally and investing money wisely. This is the perfect read with which you can transition to reading non-fiction books that educate on all things finance.

For non-fiction books on money, start with the easy reads.

Again, what you read should inspire and educate, not intimidate or disinterest you. So be picky, and if any book you pick seems to fail at engaging you, DNF it right away and turn to another book while you’re still on your quest to become financially wise. You can always come back to a book that does not interest you. Here are some non-fiction books we recommend to get started:

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki book cover

We know you expected this book to be recommended, and now that you’re ready to read non-fiction books on finance, this must be the first book you lay your hands on. This book is a classic when it comes to personal finance and money management, and through the story of Kiyosaki’s two fathers (as the title states), shares the lessons he learned from each of them on making money work for you and achieving financial independence.

The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins

The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins book cover

Another great read to start with, this book offers a straightforward, easy-to-understand approach to investing and personal finance. The author JL Collins, through his no-nonsense approach, breaks down complex financial concepts into simple, actionable steps that anyone can follow while talking about topics like investing in low-cost index funds, avoiding debt, and achieving financial independence.

The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel

The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel book cover

Through insights into the psychological factors that influence our decisions about money, this book explores the complex relationship between money and human behavior. This brilliant book will help you understand how you can overcome common biases and pitfalls in personal finance.

While those three books would’ve gotten you hooked into wanting to educate yourself more on finance and, hopefully, would’ve already made a difference in how you work with money, we’ve got some more great reads to suggest to you:

1. Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez will further help strengthen your relationship with money and put you on the path to achieving financial independence through actionable things like tracking your expenses, reducing your debt, and living more intentionally.

2. The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach is a great read for anyone who wants to learn how to build wealth without a lot of effort. This is a book that covers things like paying yourself first, automating your savings, and making small changes that can lead to big financial gains over time.

3. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason teaches the principles of financial success through parables set in ancient Babylon, as it touches upon the topics of saving, investing, and living below your means.

4. The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John C. Bogle will train you to take the first few steps towards investing in the stock market. It covers the importance of keeping costs low, diversification, and sticking to a long-term strategy.

These reads will enable you to look at money differently and understand the basics of budgeting, saving, and investing, which will equip you to achieve long-term financial security and enjoy financial freedom. Further, you will want to, and be equipped to start exploring how to analyze economic trends to understand how financial decisions made by corporations (and governments!) can affect your individual lives.

We hope you’ll make the most of these resources we’ve put together for you, and we wish you greater financial freedom and success (and a mansion full of books, because, why not!).

April is Financial Literacy Month, and all through April 2023, we’ve featured books and other content to help you become smarter about making and growing your money. Click here to read more on this topic.