Published on August 6th, 2017
This is a guest contribution by Kostas with Finance Blog Zone.
Personal finance books are some of the most important resources you can turn to when you want to learn how to manage your money better. But with so many books out there, it’s not easy to find the ones that will provide the best support for your situation. And you don’t want to waste your time or money on a book that isn’t really all that relevant to you.
So to help you get the most for your money and your effort, follow these tips on finding the best personal finance books that will answer your questions.
#1 Go to Your Trusted Blogger First
If you already follow a couple personal finance blogs, this is a great place to start. If not, check out a blog to find some great tips on personal finance in general as well as books that can help you develop your skills.
On the blog’s website you can check for any book recommendations they already have posted. Their recommendations are a great place to start since these are often writers who work in personal finance on a regular basis so they are aware of the latest books.
You can also find out if the writers on your favorite blogs have published any books of their own. For example, if they wrote a great article about managing credit card debt, they may have gone even more in depth on the subject in a book.
So if you like their blog posts, there’s a good chance their books will be even more helpful. Finally, try to get in touch with your favorite bloggers directly. Use contact forms or any email address you can find to directly ask them for recommendations.
#2 Take Notes of Key Names and Ideas
As you read blog posts, articles, or even social media posts, take notes of words, phrases, or ideas that pop up often in the posts that are most relevant to you. Keep a running a list of these. At the same time, take note of any names of experts that are mentioned.
For example, if an article you found helpful quoted somebody, write down the name of the person they quoted. If their profession is also mentioned, write that down, too. If an insightful article about retirement planning talked a lot about dividend stocks, take note that you should look into that topic further.
This list of names, words, phrases, and ideas will become your jumping off point. When searching for books, you will start with this list. The easiest place to start is with the names of experts. Find out if those people who were quoted have written any books you might want to read.
After that, just start searching the key phrases, words, and ideas. Make sure to add the word “book” to the end of the search term to focus on books that cover these topics.
#3 Read Positive AND Negative Reviews
You may already know that it’s important to check book reviews. But you may not be using reviews as effectively as you should. Even if a book has overwhelmingly positive reviews, you still need to check the negative reviews.
What you really want to look for whether the review is positive or negative is whether or not the reviewer is making points that are relevant to you. For example, if a positive review is doing nothing but praising how easy to read the book is, that might be important if that is a priority for you. But if your top priority is whether or not there are useful worksheets in it, you might not care as much about whether the rest is easy to read.
So think about the key qualities and tools you are hoping to find in personal finance books. Then check positive and negative reviews for mentions of those key qualities and tools. If the reviews show that this book has what you need, it doesn’t really matter what the ratio of positive to negative reviews is.
#4 Ask Friends, Family, and Coworkers
Some of the best book recommendations will come from the people around you. That’s because they know your situation better than a complete stranger on the web. They know your struggles and the bad money habits you have developed so they will have a good idea of what kind of information you need, even when you aren’t sure.
They also make great recommendations because they tend to be in a similar situation as you already so the books they are most interested in are probably also going to be just as interesting for you.
This isn’t a fail proof strategy but it’s a good place to start. Just make sure that you check out the book before you read it. Check reviews and look into the background and education of the author. If it looks reliable and legitimate, go ahead and read it. If not, don’t waste your time.
#5 Check for the Audio Version
If you use all or even just a couple of the tips above, you’re going to end up finding dozens of books that you want to read. That’s when the reality might set in that you don’t necessarily have the time to read all those books.
To a certain extent, you can make time for it. Cut down your after-work TV time or practice the art of reading while you get your morning workout in on the treadmill. But even with those changes, you still might not be able to read as much as you would like.
That’s where audio books can come in handy. Download them to your phone. Play them in your car on your way to work. It’s not always possible to read while doing other activities. But it is much easier to pop in some headphones and listen to an audio book while you fold laundry, cook dinner, or do other things that would normally prevent you from physically reading a book.
So if there’s an audio version available, get it! Just keep a notebook nearby so that you can pause and jot down an important point or idea when it comes up.
Once you have found the best personal finance books to answer your questions, you are one step closer to achieving your financial goals. The next step is actively reading them. That means highlighting, taking notes, and actually writing out a financial plan based on the knowledge and skills you have just learned. So start reading and take control of your finances today!