★ Rockstar 360 Report: Best Financial Books as Ranked by Personal Finance Bloggers
What's up, everyone! We got a special treat for y'all today :) The Rockstar Finance team has been thinking about ways we can harness our network of bloggers and experts here to create even more value for the community, and we think we hit on something SUPER interesting (and helpful) that we're excited to share with you today. We're all so open and honest on our own blogs about stuff we love and hate in the financial world, so why not take that same concept in aggregate and focus the community on *ONE* main topic a month to get an overall "360" view from the people who live and breathe this stuff? A deep dive into finance from those who are truly passionate about it?
Introducing Our New Rockstar "360" Series!
Each month, we'll be picking a new financial topic to dive into, then sending surveys to our entire database of financial bloggers in order to get a comprehensive view of what our community thinks about it. The good, the bad, and most especially the ugly (the best part, right? ;) ). Then after gathering everything, we'll digest it, pluck out the insight, and then push it out in a full report at the start of the next month. Just like we're doing today with finance books. Here are the four angles we'll be hitting:
- Quantitative (statistics)
- Qualitative (opinions)
- Creative (fun questions)
- Community (interactivity)
If you're a blogger, you're going to want to participate, because the more you do, the more chance of being featured not only in this report, but in any sub-creations that come from it as well ;) Plus it all goes to help strengthen our monthly results!
A Few Notes Before We Get to Our First Report...
#1. You can always see the polls we send out for each month's report. Today's poll on financial books can be found here: Poll: Favorite Financial Books. (If you're a blogger and haven't taken it yet, make sure to do so!) #2. Every report will come with a live "stats" page where we make all numbers public! This page is automatically updated as new bloggers take the poll, thereby getting it as close to being well rounded as possible. You can find this live stats page to today's topic here: Live Stats: Books #3. We'll be using many of these polls to build out new sections of the Directory. Making this series a triple win for everyone as it produces a *resource* as well as interesting stats. You can find the new "books directory" we just added up based on this report, here: Rockstar Directory: Personal Finance Books One really cool thing to note with this particular sub-directory: not only did we tie in the popularity of these books by finance bloggers and linked to any reviews we've done here at Rockstar Finance, but we also took their opinions, verbatim, and shared them on each book's "profile page" so you can get even more insight on them when you click most of the listed titles. So kinda like what you'd find on Amazon, only better because it comes from our financial blogging community :) Our hope is that by presenting the directory in this way you'll be able to better determine which books to pick up next (or not), thereby making your life a tad bit easier. And we greatly thank everyone who participated in this so far to make this happen! Okay, now on to the report...
Rockstar 360 Report: Personal Finance Books
Here is our inaugural report after two hundred of you ridiculously good-looking bloggers took this poll last month. Click on the image to go directly to our live stats page, or any of the icons there to visit the bloggers' profile pages themselves! Now let's get to the analysis...
The Top 3 Most Popular Books
, to weigh in on why she thought it was the runaway favorite, and here's what she had to say:
The Millionaire Next Door book is a winner for a number of reasons:
- It's based on SOLID information, including a TON of statistics. It's really hard to hate on solid data. I mean the guy did his homework and then some.
- It shows that getting to the big "M" has more to do with lifestyle, partnership in marriage (for those who are married) and entrepreneurship than it has to do with fast money or high income earners.
- It presents evidence that there are far more millionaires milling about, and that they're not likely to be flashing the McMansions or fancy cars and couture items. It's the only book I know that made a Toyota Camry, a Timex watch and suits from Sears sound badass.
- It offers evidence that net worth creation and preservation has A LOT to do with building it ourselves as opposed to receiving it as a windfall (inheritance or winnings of some sort). Case in point: very few millionaires in this book are willing to just give money to their kin/children if they deem it unearned because it might "ruin" their ability to create it for themselves.
If you want to read Hélène's full review of the book, you can find it here. Reviews from other bloggers: "I love this book for reinforcing all my frugal tendencies. The basic premise is that wealth isn’t about spending up a storm and owning loads of fancy possessions. Instead, even people on average incomes can become wealthy, if they cut back on consumption to stash some cash and start investing. Sounds eminently sensible to me, and a lot more likely than winning a lottery jackpot!" -- Faith Archer @ Much More With Less "It dispels the preconceived notions and fantasies we all have in our minds about wealth. It promotes the steady and honest building of wealth through hard work, productivity, a plan, and simplicity." -- Right Hand Money Man
And in Second Place...
, which also had a strong showing among financial bloggers, with a few dozen positive reviews and only one negative review! That one negative review, however, was a decimating critique on the current oversaturated state of the personal finance environment and the collapse of our national dialogue on the topic: "My Goodreads account shows that I did not finish this book. I almost never do that, even for books I don't like. That tells me that I really had little use for this book. Don't ask me why, though. My memory is terrible." Um... okay. Thank you for your contribution.
Third Place Goes to...
Speaking of confusing responses, we did see a number of books making the Favorites list that had us scratching our heads. If anyone can tell us what personal finance niche these selections fill, please let us know:
- The Pumpkin Plan
- Shoe Dog
- The Way of All Flesh
- The Winter of Our Discontent
- The Rational Animal
- More-With-Less Cookbook
- Triumph of The Optimists
- Various Short Works by Borges
- Tap Dancing To Work
- Wealth of Nations
- The Legend of The Monk and the Merchant
- The Secret
- Confessions of An Economic Hit Man
- Down and Out in Paris and London
- Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco
- My Maid Invests In The Stock Market
- How Come That Idiot's Rich And I Am Not
The Top 10 Finance Books
Here is a snapshot of the Top 10 most popular financial books, as chosen by hundreds of members of the personal finance blogging community. If you want to see the entire list, just head on over to our Directory of Best Money Books!
The Top 3 Most "Overrated" Finance Books
." You may be wondering why she added that capitalized bit at the end about Dave Ramsey. Well.... It's because we got _so many unsolicited "anything by Dave Ramsey" answers to this question as well. I mean, we never even asked for an author in the poll, we were asking for a specific book, but many of you were super excited to jump right in and condemn his entire body of work, haha... But that's fair too, because when that kind of thing happens, we think it's valuable information and want to report it back to you. It turns out that if you add up all the "Ramsey himself just as a person who probably hates puppies"-type comments, he would finish in a clear second place on the overrated list. We asked Hélène for this reasoning as well, and here's what she posits:
- He's loud and obnoxious, and that leads people to either love him or hate him.
- He's irreverent of the opinions and beliefs of others (his penchant for flippant writing and his harsh rebukes on his radio show when a caller wants to deviate from his advice, even when s/he has solid grounds to do so).
- He can come off sketchy, in that he suggests that his listeners/readers use companies/agents from his list of "authorized service providers" with the suggestion they are heavily vetted and that they can deliver sustained, superior returns to the tune of 12%. First, they're not and second, he gets a kickback, including from brokers who are charging high fees to his listeners to place them in "good, solid, superior-return" investments.
- He can come off sketchy because he touts his Christian values but seems to have hit up Churches only because of the win/win: he preaches that 10% of earnings should go to tithing and that makes churches want to push his book and Financial Peace University program. No question he's doing a lot of good, but he's also making a killing in the name of being a good Christian, being of service to others.
The Second Most Overrated Book...
The Third Most Overrated Book...
The Top 10 Most Overrated Finance Books
Here is a snapshot of the rest of the books that showed up on our list: So that's the Favorite/Not Favorite breakdown from our survey. Now let's take a break from the opinion-based questions and jump straight into a few quick facts:
Where Finance Bloggers Get Most of Their Books From
In this part of the survey we asked our community a simple binary question about how they obtain most of their financial books: _
How Bloggers Read Most of Their Books
This one was a little more interesting, because we wanted to see how everyone tends to consume their financial books, and the results were just a little bit surprising:
The Most Important Types of Finance Books
We gave our members ten choices to rank in terms of which they felt were the most important topics covered by financial books. It was a virtual tie for the top four categories of Money Management, Mindset, Self Improvement, and Investing, and then a significant dropoff to the rest of the pack. Here are the full results: dedicated to the subject alone. Yet it gets beat out by literally every other topic on the list in terms of importance?!? Probably the most surprising statistic in this entire survey...
The Total Number of Finance Books Owned By the Financial Community
The average number of personal finance books owned by the personal finance bloggers in this community is 29 apiece. That seemed pretty legit, though maybe a bit high. We then did a search for the highest number of books owned by a single person, and it was... 510!!! At first we thought maybe that number was skewing the average, and we could maybe throw it out, but upon more sorting we found dozens of other responses in the triple digits too. Obviously some of you are financial book hoarders! We decided to reach out to a couple of the bloggers who claimed to own over 400 books each to get a little more detail from them. Here's what they told us:
A good number of the total I mentioned were combo money/finance/business. I started a business in 96, bootstrapped, and grew it (sold in 2014). I had to learn a lot on my own, so read a ton. Learning the power of P&Ls, Balance Sheets, Cash Flow Planning, Project Budgeting, etc. is actually what got me started researching similar topics for personal finance. So the books I’ve read on the topic have spanned almost 20 years. -- Brad Kingsley, www.MaximizeYourMoney.com
Our Final Question: "Would You Rather Have All The Knowledge From Every Financial Book in the World -OR - $100,000 in Cash Money?"
This was such a great question to see everybody answer! Getting the knowledge barely won out over taking the cash, by a margin of 52% to 48%. So basically, in our unscientific poll with a decent margin of error, it's essentially a tie.
Hopefully you enjoyed our first deep dive in this 360 series! You'll have to let us know what you liked, what you didn't, what you want more of, etc. And if you did like this one, you're in luck, because we're about to roll out another in just a few weeks ;) Three last things before we go:
- Make sure to check out our new directory of finance books!! It features breakdowns of all books shown here in this report, as well as 50+ others recommended by both personal finance bloggers as well as our team here at Rockstar Finance.
- If you haven't checked it out yet, click over to our master "stats" page where these stats will be updated automatically every day! --> Book Stats
- If you're a finance blogger in our Directory and haven't taken the poll yet, do so here! (And if you're not in our Directory yet, make sure to do that first so it connects to your profile: submit your blog) We'll be emailing y'all the next poll in a few days...
Lastly, THANK YOU - THANK YOU - THANK YOU to everyone who participated in this endeavor! There's no way we could have done any of this without your support, and we hope all the cross linking to your blog and Directory page we've done throughout this new sub-directory helps you. It'll most definitely help everyone else reading this every day going forward :) We have to give special thanks to the core team here at Rockstar Finance for making this happen as well. Specifically Steve Adcock from ThinkSaveRetire.com for building out the infrastructure for the poll and sub-directory, Hélène Massicotte from FreeToPursue.com for the insight on all books featured here and in the Directory itself (she hand-wrote all book blurbs from her years of experience!), and last but not least - Nate St. Pierre from ValuableAndRare.com (a blog documenting his journey to build out a rare book collector directory!) for helping with overall strategy and putting together the bulk of the analysis on this page. We hope you liked it! Please share it around if you did! - J. Money & Team