I read a lot of money books. As a result, a large section of my large library is devoted to books about personal finance. (And if I hadn't purged hundreds of money books when I sold this site in 2009, I'd have even more books — and no place to put them.)
Last week, a GRS reader named Lindsay dropped a line with an interesting question:
“I'm really enjoying your work back at GRS, the email newsletter, and your most recent FB live video! I'm wondering: Do you have a list of all the money books you've reviewed? I've been poking around to try and find one)?”
As it happens, I've been wanting a list of reviews myself. I know I have a million billion different projects around here, but one that I'd like to pursue is a free nicely-formatted PDF download that compiles every review I've written.
To answer Lindsay's question — and to satisfy my own curiosity — I sifted through the GRS archives yesterday to compile a list of every money book I've reviewed during my 12+ years at this site. In this post, I've linked to those reviews, plus I've included a short summary of each book.
Note: I'm certain that about half of the reviews are missing from the archives. The folks who purchased this site from me “unpublished” hundreds of articles (including many book reviews, apparently) during the time they owned GRS. Those reviews still exist, and I'll eventually find them and list them here, but it's far too cumbersome to find them at the moment.
For each book below, I've included a link to Amazon. I've also assigned each a book a letter grade and, in some cases, a star .
My letter grades might seem harsh. That's because I've tried to really think about these on a sort of curve, where the vast majority of books are average and only a few merit As or Fs. As a result, some important titles get average (or low) grades despite their contribution to the field.
- If I grade a book an A, I think it's excellent. It offers excellent advice with no real flaws.
- If I give a book a B, it's a good book with good advice, but something about it holds it back. Maybe it's poorly written or maybe it's off-base on a topic or two.
- If I give a grade of C, the book is average. That means it gives reasonable money advice in a typical way. There's nothing drastically wrong with the book, and it's worth reading.
- If I give a D grade, the book is flawed in some major way. It still has some value to it — maybe a core concept that you can't find elsewhere — but I'm hesitant to recommend this to average folks.
- If I give a book and F, I don't think it has any sort of value. I don't give many Fs because I think nearly every book has some nugget of wisdom in it.
Note that all of my letter grades were assigned today. They're based on who I am and what I know now, not when I wrote the reviews. And they're based on how valuable the book's info will be to a modern reader. (Some money books that were awesome in 1978 haven't aged well because their advice is specific to that era.)
When I've marked a book with a star , that indicates I believe regardless of my grade, the title should be considered part of a core personal-finance library. (I don't have a review of Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover here. If I did, it'd get a C or lower because the book's quality is mixed and it has certain drawbacks. But the book would also merit a star because it should be in any serious library of money books.)
Ultimately, though, you shouldn't let the letter grades and stars guide your decision to read a book. Use my reviews instead. They're much more nuanced than an arbitrary grade. The grades are meant as a sort of quick reference.
Finally, I've sorted the titles into roughly reverse-chronological order based on year of publication. I think most readers are interested in recent titles. (Because of my hiatus from money-blogging, there's a gap here between 2010 and 2016.) If, like me, you prefer older money books, you'll find them closer to the end of this list.
That's enough explanation. Here then is a list of (nearly) all of the book reviews from the archives here at Get Rich Slowly! [Read more…]