Book Reviews Recommended Investment Books

There’s a ton of material out there about investing, but you would do well to look at just a few.

Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad has gotten lots of press, and it’s a great book; however, much of what Kiyosaki talks about is applicable to real estate, which is his specialty. It’s a great way to build wealth, but not a great way to get started. Take his idea of the Cash Flow, though, as central to wealth building and management-you want to build investments that create a positive cash flow. It’s not enough for your investments to simply go up in value because you have to get rid of them to benefit (through selling, for example) and then you’re back to square one.

David Bach’s The Automatic Millionaire is a much better book for getting started because he focuses on building habits, and saving in spite of yourself.

Both these authors, and many others (Jim Cramer, Suze Orman), begin by saying that for any financial plan you need to know yourself and your goals. This is why I think Bach’s a good starting point because he writes about habits and the behaviors that keep most of us from saving or investing as we should (or say we want to). Kiyosaki can help you with this as well; he writes about how the rich, versus the poor, see money and debt. This is no doubt invaluable advice, but it’s not advice we can necessarily put into practice immediately.

Finally, The Unofficial Guide to Investing is a fantastic beginner’s manual for investing, because it covers all the basic kinds of investing you’re probably going to be interested in (cds, stocks, bonds, real estate, and retirement, on and on). This is a great resource because it works as an introduction to all kinds of investing and can serve as a touchstone that you can go back to over and over again as you build a comprehensive financial plan for yourself, which should include a wide variety of investments. It’s not sensational, but it’s comprehensive and readable.

Ultimately, as is the case with all things, you should use what works for you, but I think these are good starter books if you’re not too familiar with the subject.

Finally, read financial magazines regularly, Kiplinger’s is my favorite. This is extremely useful because the information is more up-to-date, and the magazines will give you ideas for investing, whereas the books might be dated. Books take longer to write, so while they might give great advice, it’ tough for them to speak plainly about current stocks. Good luck.