Table of Contents
This Not That - This article is part of a series.
Why Should You Care? #
As the 1st entry in this section, I should explain what inspired these write-ups before getting into the book.
Self-help books, especially those within the Finance genre, have gained a degree of notoriety for various reasons. Many such books are simply considered scams, though it is important to recognize that there are also many reputable and helpful books in this genre. However, focusing on the problematic ones first, there are several reasons why these books can be considered scams:
- Sensationalism: Some books rely on sensationalist titles, marketing, and content to draw readers in. These books often promise quick and easy fixes to complex financial problems, which may not be realistic or attainable.
- Lack of factual information: Some self-help finance books are not well-researched or grounded in empirical evidence. As a result, they may contain misleading or inaccurate information.
- Oversimplification: These books may oversimplify complex financial concepts, leading readers to believe that there is a one-size-fits-all solution to financial success. In reality, personal finance is a nuanced and multifaceted field that requires individualized strategies.
- Prevalence of anecdotal evidence: Some authors may rely heavily on personal anecdotes or stories to support their claims. While these stories may be engaging, they are not a reliable substitute for evidence-based financial advice. Additionally, many such claims are later debunked in many of these books.
Rich Dad, Poor Dad #
A prime example of a self-help finance book that has received criticism is Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. Some criticisms of the book include:
- Lack of concrete advice: Critics argue that the book provides little in the way of actionable financial advice, instead relying on general principles and anecdotes.
- Oversimplification of complex concepts: The book’s emphasis on assets and liabilities is an oversimplification of the complexities involved in personal finance and investing.
- Questionable financial advice: Some of the investment strategies promoted in the book, such as using debt to invest in real estate, are considered high-risk and potentially dangerous, particularly for inexperienced investors.
Despite these criticisms, Rich Dad, Poor Dad has a few redeeming qualities. For example, the book encourages readers to think about their financial future and educates them on the importance of financial literacy. Additionally, it promotes the idea of generating passive income and challenges the traditional mindset of working a 9-to-5 job to achieve financial success.
That said, there are several books which address these issues, and more, with stronger arguments and a generally better overall approach. Continue reading below for some of these examples!
Read This Instead #
Rather than wasting time on an “incite-ful” piece of
nonfiction, here are several highly regarded self-help finance books that offer valuable advice and insights on personal finance and investing. These books are often recommended by experts and have received positive reviews from readers.
The Total Money Makeover #
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey provides a step-by-step plan for achieving financial stability and getting out of debt. Ramsey’s approach is based on his “7 Baby Steps” to financial freedom, which include creating an emergency fund, paying off debt, and investing for retirement.
- Focus on budgeting and living within your means.
- Emphasizes the importance of avoiding debt and paying off existing debts.
- Stresses the need for long-term planning, including saving for retirement and children’s education.
Your Money or Your Life #
Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez presents a comprehensive program to transform your relationship with money and achieve financial independence. It combines practical financial advice with a focus on personal values and conscious decision-making.
- Encourages readers to track their expenses and income to gain a clear understanding of their financial situation.
- Promotes the concept of “enough” and aligning spending with personal values.
- Offers strategies for saving money, reducing expenses, and investing in order to achieve financial independence.
The Millionaire Next Door #
The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko uncovers, based on extensive research, the habits and characteristics of millionaires, revealing that many live frugal lives and prioritize saving and investing over conspicuous consumption.
- Highlights the importance of living below your means and prioritizing financial independence.
- Debunks common misconceptions about the lifestyles of millionaires.
- Offers insights on how to accumulate wealth through disciplined saving and investing.
I Will Teach You to Be Rich #
I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi provides a six-week program designed to help readers take control of their finances, from setting up a high-interest savings account to learning about investing and automating their finances.
- Focuses on practical, actionable advice for managing finances and investing.
- Stresses the importance of automating savings and investments to reduce decision fatigue and ensure consistency.
- Provides tips on negotiating for better salaries, lower bills, and reducing expenses.
The Richest Man in Babylon #
The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason is told through a collection of parables set in ancient Babylon, imparting timeless wisdom on personal finance, wealth-building, and money management.
- Encourages readers to save at least 10% of their income (“pay yourself first”).
- Emphasizes the importance of seeking wise counsel and investing in oneself through education and skill-building.
- Advocates for investing money wisely and diversifying investments to reduce risk.
- These books cover various aspects of personal finance, from budgeting and saving to investing and achieving financial independence. By incorporating the insights and advice from these reputable sources, readers can improve their financial well-being and work towards their long-term financial goals.
In summary, it is essential to approach self-help finance books with a critical eye and seek out reputable sources of financial advice. Always consider the author’s background, qualifications, and the evidence supporting their claims before implementing any financial strategies from these books.
- Interesting review/synopsis of The Millionaire Next Door by Finmasters.
- Incredible episode on Rich Dad, Poor Dad by the Podcast If Books Could Kill