Reading is the best way to gain someone else’s experience without having been there yourself. Don’t go it alone in business, or in the business of your personal finances, take charge of your money by arming yourself with the best wisdoms of the world’s financial gurus. Here is my list of the seven best financial books for CEOs… in no particular order.
1. Warren Buffett’s ‘Letters to Shareholders’
How can I begin a list of books with a letter and not a book, you ask?
These letters are good enough to be a book, and they’re free.
Buffett is the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, a skilled writer and a generous teacher. In his Letters to Shareholders, he spells out exactly what he does and why he does it in surprisingly easy-to-understand explanations. If you read them, not only will you glean insightful business sense, you’ll also learn good investing sense—and you need both to be a success as a business owner.
Warren’s humor and sensibility really serve to provide every willing investor the kind of no-nonsense, long-term, bedrock advice that lays a great foundation for winning at the long-run game of financial success.
2. ‘A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing’ by Burton G. Malkiel
Burton G. Malkiel is a Princeton economist who Warren Buffett rebuts. I always like to look at both sides of the investment world, and while Buffett is the investor I admire most, Malkiel’s book is often recommended as a primer for people who are just opening their first portfolio.
A Random Walk has sold more than a million copies, and is considered a must-read. In the most updated version of the book, Professor Malkiel describes the psychology of investment decisions to help the prudent investor protect himself… from himself.
3. ‘Double Double: How to Double Your Revenue and Profit in 3 Years or Less’ by Cameron Herold
This is an entrepreneur’s guide to planning, building and leading a fast growth company. I personally keep a copy on my night side table and credit it for helping me keep my business on track during the financial crisis of 2007-2008.
It includes the soup to nuts of hiring the right talent, executing the right public relations plan and even making meetings meaningful. This practical guide splits its focus into planning, building and leading a company on the fast track for growth. If you want to double your business in 3 years or less, this is the practical guide to achieving stellar results while also attaining a sustainable work/life balance.
4. Profit First: A Simple System to Transform Any Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz
Recently awarded as one of Amazon’s Best Books of the Year for 2014, this book teaches an accounting method that transforms your ability to see profit and be profitable. The frank, honest, empathy exhibited by the author makes this an easy read that gets you off of the treadmill of selling more for less.
His approach is counter-intuitive to the kind of “human nature” way you’ve been taught about struggling to survive. This book is not about things you have to wait to do or work to understand—it’s about turning a profit from your very next deposit.
5. ‘Sacred Success: A Course in Financial Miracles’ by Barbara Stanny
Barbara Stanny is one of those voices in my field that I admire. She’s been a leader in the area of women, power and money for two decades now—and her work really points to perceptions of power as a place to start for women when transforming their attitudes toward money.
Sacred Success gives a framework for women to redefine power and offers practical “take charge” guidance for transforming financial realities along the path to creating a richer and more fulfilling life.
Often referred to as a kind of “Course in Miracles” meets “Wall Street Journal” this book combines the best of what’s available to remind women that authenticity doesn’t exclude financial success.
6. ‘Money, A Love Story: Untangle Your Financial Woes and Create The Life You Really Want’ by Kate Northrup
This book, maybe better than all the others, talks about the relationship between you and money. It asks you to look at your relationship from a relationship view—just like any other kind of love story.
Recently, Steve Kidd on Thriving Entrepreneur interviewed me for his show, to talk about business owners and money. Steve is a third generation preacher, and he had a biblical interpretation—reminding me that the love of money is what is considered the root of all evil—but I feel that Kate Northrop gives us “eyes of love” lenses to look through when viewing our relationship cycles with money.
There’s a Cosmo style Money Love Quiz to see where you fall on the spectrum, and then Northrup offers some step-by-step relationship exercises to help the reader gain clarity and determine a new direction.
Using client stories and her own experience, Northrup is another great money guide to have in your money mastermind—if only in book form.
7. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
This is the book. This, if there is only one book, this is the book to read, to re-read, to grow up with. Napoleon Hill, way back in the depression, was hired by Andrew Carnegie to talk with all the great money minds of that generation. What emerged from those interviews and his life’s work of studying wealth is this book.
Written, originally, in the Old English of his time, it sometimes takes something to get through the original, but it’s worth it. Youtube, too, allows for you to see something of the man himself, sharing his thoughts that turned into this book. If you only get one financial book to take to the desert island of your current financial mindset, take this one.
In the comments below, let me know your favorite financial books and how they help you…