If you’d like to have lots of extra money and don’t know where to start, I suggest reading these books.

The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko
Please, please, PLEASE read this book. This review of a study of many millionaires explains how most of them did it. Since it’s based on actual data it can be drab at times. Other times it’s amazing.

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki
Rich people think differently. You can too. This is a classic and has a lot of good motivational speak in it. It’s hard to extract concrete steps to take, but it’s still good because it’s so inspirational.

Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin, Joe Dominguez, and Monique Tilford
Good advice and a well thought out plan. This book introduces a new way to see your relationship with money. It’s very interesting and can help put the emphasis on what’s important in life.

The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
The easiest way to become successful. A motivational book that has actionable steps to follow to create success in your life (for lack of a better phrase). Yes, that sounds cheesy, but I’m not sure how else to say it.

The Simple Path to Wealth by J.L. Collins
A great introduction on how to manage your money and how to invest. I really want to say this is “the only investment book you’ll ever need,” but that would be silly because I would never get all of my information from just one source. I will say that if you’re thinking about reading The Intelligent Investor, don’t, and read this instead.

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My preferred budgeting tool. Search for 3 months free at signup and you’ll find it.
A free money tracking system with lots of advertisements. It tells you how much you have in all of your accounts (banks, credit cards, mortgage accounts, etc.) and allows you to categorize the transactions.

A free app to track your spending.

Other Good Books

10% Happier by Dan Harris
A great personal account of one man’s first experiences and eventual love affair with meditation (and Buddhism). I really enjoyed listening to this book. If you’ve never tried meditation or even if you have, this is a great place to start. While it’s not an instruction manual, it does give a first hand account and is “motivational,” I guess.

Stoicism and the Art of Happiness by Donald Robertson
Learn to appreciate what you have, deal with hardship, and take an exterior view.

The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday
You can’t control everything in life, but you can control how you react to it. An interesting look at how some people have done it through Stoicism. I don’t remember any actionable items, but I enjoyed the book and it’s a jumping off point at least.

Being Zen by Ezra Bayda
This book is kind of about reflections on having a zen mindset. Even expert meditators have trouble sometimes – it’s not just one big cupcake party all the time. This is a good personal account of some of a practicing Buddhist’s thought processes when experiencing life’s everyday struggles. This is not a book for someone who doesn’t know what Buddhism is, but is for beginners.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
Clean up your house! It’s not for everybody, but I liked it. Looking at clean, organized spaces just feels better.

I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
This one is geared towards younger folk that don’t know how to handle their money. It will be somewhat useful to older folks too, of course, because it’s packed full of information. I don’t remember anyone ever making me laugh while talking about investing before. Good job Ramit!

Rich Habits by Thomas C. Corley
The Rich Habits book is more like a pamphlet – skip it. Instead buy Rich Kids by the same author. It’s the same pamphlet, plus details on how to implement the advice outlined in said pamphlet. To me all of it seems like very good advice (except counting calories). This is the instruction manual for success – just add motivation and stir. Good for beginners to the “success” books niche.

Beyond Positive Thinking by Robert Anthony
Usually I find motivational books too hokey, but this one has action steps and is well done. It also explains in great detail why affirmations don’t work for most people and how to do them correctly. There’s a lot of good information in here!

Nonviolent Communcation by Marshall B. Rosenberg
This book explains how to understand what people might want when they yell ridiculous things at you. It also explains how you might express yourself better so that you’re understood. It also explains a bunch of other useful work and personal relationship stuff.


Mr Money Mustache
The blog that inspired me to be more frugal. About frugality, being happy, healthy, and reasonable.

Millennial Revolution
A great resource and a great story. How they retired early, investing, spending, traveling. Good stuff.

The Earth Awaits
Think it costs a lot to stop working and just live somewhere? Think again. This awesome website lets you set some priorities and then search the world for where your money can take you (to live). The results are cities around the world where your specified budget will support you. Things like crime rate, pollution, and average Internet speed are included.
Use this site to automatically invest in stocks, automatically diversify, and automatically rebalance your portfolio.

A competitor to that offers similar things.

Payoff Versus Invest Calculator
This is a good calculator for any invest vs payoff question (even though it’s themed around student loans). Should you invest extra money or pay off your mortgage first? This calculator will tell you which makes more sense financially, but not what you should do.


Let’s Talk About Money
A short (52 minute) introduction video to financial planning from MissBeHelpful.

Screamfree Parenting by Hal Edward Runkel
It worked for me. I think I’ll need to listen to the whole thing again here pretty soon to remind myself of everything in this book since I didn’t take copious notes. There’s lots of good information in here.

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman
I think this book would be good for couples doing well or having trouble. It really brings up how certain actions are perceived by your partner. Most people go through life assuming that they should “Treat others as you would have them treat you.” Of course, other people are not you, so when you do that you’re not actually conveying what you think you are. Anyway, this is a good book (and also psychologically interesting).

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus by John Gray
The point of this book isn’t to say that all men are a certain way or that all women are a certain way. It’s that we need to be aware of the differences that we all have to make our relationships work. It offers some ideas on how to do that and those ideas are useful.

Leadership and Self-Deception by The Arbinger Institute
It’s hard to describe exactly what this book is about. It’s about being better at what you do, understanding people, understanding yourself, and working with people. It will improve your work and personal relationships and give you a different perspective on your interactions with people, and how and why people act the way they do.

Blogroll / Friends

Retirement terminology and a FAQ from a collaborating website,, a personal finance and self-improvement blog.

Physician on FIRE A blog about personal finance, financial independence, and retiring early. By someone who’s lived it.

Lee Stacy shares his expertise in web content and social media at

Books to Avoid

So most people don’t do this. They don’t have a section on books to avoid, but it’s important. There’s a lot of information out there and what you read and what you expose yourself to affects YOU. It either changes who you are or simply wastes your time. As a reminder, these are all my personal opinions and many people disagree with me.

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
I only remember some of this – I’m not sure I read the whole thing. What I remember is a bunch of gobbledygook nonsense, visualizing, and thinking about what you want instead of actually taking action. Think about throwing this book in the trash. This is the kind of junk that gives the self-help section a bad name. Read Beyond Positive Thinking by Robert Anthony instead.

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
It seems like Eckhart must have good intentions with this book. The main idea is sound, but it seems to leave out every other idea related to Buddhism. For some reason it also has a bunch of nonsense phrases in it, about God amongst other things. Here’s an excerpt.

Don’t get attached to any one word. You can substitute “Christ” for presence, if that is more meaningful to you. Christ is your God essence or the Self, as it is sometimes called in the East. The only difference between Christ and presence is that Christ refers to your indwelling divinity regardless of whether you are conscious of it or not, whereas presence means your awakened divinity or God-essence.

He does not define all of these mystical words he’s using before he uses them. There are no details as to how to attain what he describes and there are no details on how to work towards it. You should “just be.” Forget about getting useful information from this – it’s just many strings of pretty words strung together. Watching a documentary about Buddhism will give you a lot more useful information and perhaps more actionable items for self improvement. I’m sure he’s a nice guy though.

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
This one is actually enjoyable to listen to! (I usually listen to books instead of reading them.) It does have some seemingly good advice also. Unfortunately, it’s a little sparse on the details. It conveys ideas through stories, which is why it’s entertaining, but that necessarily leaves out many details on putting the advice into action. Also, if I remember correctly, something like 40 of the 48 laws have you plotting against people for your own personal gain instead of working with them. This is not the way to get ahead in our modern society. This book could be titled “How to Make Enemies and Force Your Will On People” – I suggest Leadership and Self-Deception or Influence Without Authority instead.