I’m a big reader (I try to read two books a week), so people often come to me for good book recommendations. That’s why I decided to compile a list of 50 recommended books to read that I absolutely love — and think you will too.
I do have one request before you jump in: Follow Ramit’s Book-Buying Rule.
If you think a book looks even remotely interesting, buy it.
Don’t even waste five seconds debating it. If you glean just one idea from the book, it makes it even more than worth the price. That idea could be the one that changes your life or simply challenges long-held beliefs you’ve always had. And those moments are invaluable to your development.
So without further ado…
Ramit Sethi recommended books to read
I’ve divided my book recommendations into several sections:
And each has a (non-affiliate) link for easy buying.
Finance/Investment Book Recommendations
1. The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing by Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer, and Michael LeBoeuf
This is a great, no-nonsense guide to investing. The book draws on the principles of John Bogle, the founder of Vanguard, and is presented in short, bite-sized chapters in plain language — so don’t worry about running to Google to look up esoteric financial terms.
2. A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton Gordon Malkiel
Written by renowned economist Burton Gordon Malkiel, A Random Walk has proven to be a staple for any good investor’s bookshelf since it was first published in 1973. While I don’t necessarily agree with the entire book, the ideas presented between its covers are downright fascinating.
3. The Smartest Investment Book by Daniel R. Solin
A GREAT primer on investing in index funds. The book also shows you how simple it is to get started investing. You don’t need a bunch of brokers in your ear telling you where to put your money when you have easy-to-manage index funds you can hold onto for years.
4. The Millionaire Next Door by Dr. Thomas J. Stanley and Dr. William D. Danko
What’s a better way of learning how to be rich by studying…well, the rich?
That’s the idea behind The Millionaire Next Door — which draws upon the work of two doctors who studied the lives and financial philosophies of the wealthy.
5. Stocks for the Long Run by Jeremy Siegel
This one frequently appears in “best investment books” lists — and for good reason. Since its publication, the Siegel book has become known as the buy and hold bible, touting the overall benefits of long-term passive investments in equities.
6. The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money by Ron Lieber
I don’t have kids, but when I do, I’m going to make sure I have the talk with them early.
No, not THAT talk. I’m talking about the money discussion where I teach them all about the importance of diversification in their portfolios and the superiority of index funds over individual stocks. You know. Things kids like.
Luckily, finance columnist and father Ron Lieber has plenty of actionable and proven advice on how to approach talking to your kids about allowances, part-time jobs, college tuition, and even the tooth fairy.
7. I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
Ah, quite possibly my FAVORITE book on the list. (There’s got to be SOME benefit of writing this list.) My New York Times bestseller on getting the most out of your finances — no guilt, excuses, or BS involved.
I give you the exact word-for-word scripts you can use to negotiate everything and also how you can allocate your money to save without worry, spend without guilt, and invest with confidence.
Psychology Book Recommendations
8. Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion by Anthony Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson
Aronson, the co-author, guest-lectured at Stanford and his class was one of the most thought-provoking ones I ever took. Learn how the media, our friends, and even we ourselves cause us to behave in unexpected ways. Each and every aspect of this book is rooted in theoretical literature, but it is incredibly fascinating to read.
9. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
Dr. Cialdini put his years as the world’s foremost persuasion expert into this grandfather of psychology books. Impressively, this book is equally interesting to the ordinary reader as it is to experts. He distills years of research into a few critical principles that help you understand how to influence others and yourself — and how to protect yourself from unethical persuasion.
10. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Imagine being able to set a goal and know that you’re going to get it done. That’s the beauty of building habits and it’s exactly what Charles Duhigg explores in The Power of Habit. I sat down to talk to him about the power of habits a while back. Check out that discussion below.
11. The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
A good checklist can change your life — or at least that’s what surgeon, writer, and public health researcher Atul Gawande believes. In this book, he gives you the advice you can use to start leveraging checklists to streamline all facets of your life and business (just ask any pilot).
12. The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker
Gavin de Becker has helped politicians, actors, and other high-profile individuals recognize and react to violent threats. In The Gift of Fear, he offers a look at violent behavior and exactly how you can recognize it before it’s too late.
13. Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead by Tara Sophia Mohr
Tara Mohr offers insight and advice for talented women with big goals but little in the way of confidence. Find out exactly how she has helped thousands of women find success in their careers in Playing Big.
14. Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson
Age of Propaganda‘s Elliot Aronson teams up with Carol Tavris to explore the cognitive dissonance we embrace to justify our bad decisions. The two authors also offer up some tactics we can use to confront our own behaviors and learn from them.
15. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
There’s a reason a book older than some of our grandparents still shows up on “best psychology book” lists. Dale Carnegie’s tested and proven tactics on developing rock steady social skills are timeless. If you haven’t read this one yet, make sure you do ASAP as I definitely recommend this book to read.
Entrepreneurship Book Recommendations
16. Creativity Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace
From the mind of a guy who helped bring you the most tears you’ve ever shed during a children’s film comes a book packed with lessons on how you can effectively manage your team to embrace creativity. These same lessons helped Catmull propel Pixar from a small animation studio to a household name.
17. Iacocca: An Autobiography by Lee Iacocca with William Novak
In this insightful autobiography, long-time Ford CEO Lee Iacocca reflects on his illustrious career, sharing his success, failures, and practical business lessons that got him far with companies like Chrysler and Ford.
18. The Boron Letters by Gary C. Halpert
Legendary copywriter Gary C. Halbert provides timeless copy and life advice to his son Bond through a series of letters — now available to anyone who wants it. In this book, you’ll find some of the best actionable advice on creating copy that sells.
19. The Robert Collier Letter Book by Robert Collier
From one of the best marketers who ever lived, The Robert Collier Letter Book provides insight on how to craft the perfect sales letter. The advice here can be easily transferred to email copy, sales pages, etc.
20. The Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss
My good friend Tim Ferriss has distilled the lessons he’s learned from interviewing over 200 Top Performers for his podcast The Tim Ferriss Show. The result is a book full of actionable lessons and insights into how the most successful people live their lives (including a cameo by yours truly).
21. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9 – 5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss
Reading this book changed my life. Tim’s lessons on efficiency and his take on the concept of retirement have impacted an entire generation of entrepreneurs to pursue goals beyond the 9-to-5 and build their own Rich Lives. I can’t recommend this book enough.
22. Getting Everything You Can Out Of All You’ve Got by Jay Abraham
Years ago, I picked up a copy of this book and it opened my eyes to Jay’s philosophy on wealth-creation through proven systems. He has since become my mentor and I can tell you with confidence that his program will help you leverage the unseen resources right in front of you to help increase your earnings and reach your goals.
23. The Luxury Strategy: Break the Rules of Marketing to Build Luxury Brands by J.N. Kapferer and V. Bastien
The Luxury Strategy provides a fascinating look into building luxury brands such as Ferrari, Armani, Louis Vuitton, and Ralph Lauren. The authors also offer seemingly counter-intuitive marketing strategies used in luxury branding.
24. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
A hold-nothing-back look at what it’s like to build a business brick-by-painstakingly-placed-brick. Get the real origins of the Nike swoosh and how the company became one of the history’s most iconic brands from Phil Knight himself.
25. Chaos Monkeys by Antonio Garcia Martinez
Having worked for both Twitter and Facebook (not to mention founding his own startup), Antonio Garcia Martinez has penned a humorous and occasionally scandalous expose of Silicon Valley’s tech industry. This book’s going to give you a real-talk look into the reality of the tech world. A must-read for any burgeoning entrepreneur (or startup employee).
26. It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy by Capt. D. Michael Abrashoff
What can the former commander of a United States naval destroyer teach you about business? A hell of a lot. And assuming you don’t have time to rise through the ranks of the U.S. Navy and command your own ship, Capt. Abrashoff has distilled the management lessons he learned while at the helm of the USS Benfold that can help you lead your own team to success.
27. Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business by Danny Meyer
Drawing upon over three decades in the hospitality industry, restaurateur Danny Meyer provides unique insights on the client/business relationship and the methods you can use to create positive relationships with your customer. Though it’s told through the lens of running a restaurant, the lessons here are applicable to any business.
28. Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies From a Life at Disney by Lee Cockerell
When you’re in charge of the happiest place on earth for over a decade, you’re going to learn a thing or two about management. In Creating Magic, Lee Cockerell gives you the exact leadership principles that took him to the top of one of the world’s biggest companies and the methods you can use to become a better leader yourself.
29. My Life in Advertising & Scientific Advertising by Claude C. Hopkins
This is two books for the price of one — including one that David Ogilvy, the greatest ad man who ever lived, once said of it, “Nobody should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read this book seven times. It changed the course of my life.”
These are must-reads for anyone curious in the theory behind advertising and proven tactics you can use to approach it.
30. Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples
John Caples — the man who wrote one of the most successful advertisements in history — provides you with copy tactics that draw upon decades worth of experience. The book also provides you with his proven headline formulas that alone makes it well worth the price.
31. Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene M. Schwartz
If you want to increase sales and take your copy game to the next level, Breakthrough Advertising is the book that will help get you there. There is one catch though: This book is out of print. That means that it’s incredibly rare, with copies typically selling anywhere between $100 and $500.
If you need help making the money to buy the book, don’t worry. We have systems that can earn you the cash.
32. Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works by A.G. Lafley and Roger L. Martin
This book boils down to one mantra every business owner should constantly echo to themselves: “You are playing to win.” That’s what Procter & Gamble’s A.G. Lafley did when he took a dying brand and made it a powerhouse of sales which makes this a definite recommended book to read.
33. Confessions of the Pricing Man: How Pricing Affects Everything by Hermann Simon
One of the biggest roadblocks for freelancers and new entrepreneurs is pricing — namely, how the hell do you do it? You can blindly test out prices until you hit upon something that works. OR, you can turn to a man with over four decades of experience in pricing and read his book on the subject. I suggest the latter.
34. Your Move: The Underdog’s Guide to Building Your Business by Ramit Sethi
This is my second favorite book on the list!
Your Move is a no-BS guide to creating your own business from the ground up. You’ll learn the exact tactics you can use to come up with a profitable idea, find clients to sell to, and create a system to grow your business even further. And, the author is handsome. Highly recommend this book to read.
Miscellaneous Book Recommendations
35. Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Douglas Kent Hall
One part memoir. One part bodybuilding guide. Find out how Arnold became a Top Performer in and out of the gym — and how you can too.
36. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
One of the best books to come out of 2016. Hillbilly Elegy is a devastating look into the struggles of an American working class family — and what that means for a large cultural swath of the country.
37. Models: Attract Women Through Honesty by Mark Manson
Manson cuts through all of the pickup artist BS to give you actionable, straightforward lessons on how to attract women. This is a great read for anyone interested in psychology and social skills.
38. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Col. Chris Hadfield
An incredibly entertaining read from the astronaut who sang David Bowie’s Space Oddity…while in space. Col. Chris Hadfield details his life through a series of vignettes, showing you how he went from Canadian farm boy to the internet’s favorite astronaut.
39. Date-onomics: How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game by Jon Birger
The phrase “There are no good guys left out there to date” is practically a meme — however, the data backs it up. Date-onomics is a fascinating look at the numbers behind dating and the tactics women can use to find success.
40. Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola
A haunting memoir on the struggles of alcoholism and what happens when a heavy drinker decides to put down the bottle for good.
41. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
Though you were probably forced to read this in high school, this is a novel that deserves a second read. Having served on the German frontline himself, Remarque provides a haunting and gritty account of the realities of trench warfare — as well as the impact of war when soldiers are home.
42. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
The master of horror gives you an in-depth look on exactly how he got that way in one of the best memoirs you’ll ever read. King also gives you some no-nonsense advice on grammar and style in the second half of the book. If you’re a writer, make sure this one is on your shelf.
43. Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster by Dana Thomas
The shape of luxury has changed since Louis Vuitton was making clothes in 19th century France — and award-winning journalist Dana Thomas found out why through this in-depth book that tears down the shiny facade of the luxury industry to reveal what really drives it.
44. No Hero: The Evolution of a Navy Seal by Mark Owen
A follow up to his bestseller No Easy Day, this book gives you an eye-opening look into the life and history of one Navy Seal who took part in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
45. Invisible Ink: A Practical Guide to Building Stories That Resonate by Brian McDonald
Though the book is written through the lens of a screenwriter, the lessons on storytelling, character building, and narrative crafting that McDonald dishes out are universal for any writer. You’ll learn how to captivate and engage your audience while telling stories that’ll stick with them far after they stop reading.
46. The Red Circle: My Life in the Navy Seal Sniper Corps and How I Trained America’s Deadliest Marksmen by Brandon Webb
A Navy Seal sniper instructor gives you a look into his experience training some of the deadliest men in the world. Spoiler alert: It’s nothing like it is in video games.
47. Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman
The story of one American mother raising a child in Paris. Her observations on the differences in French and American parenting are eye-opening and can give any mom or dad fascinating insights on raising their child.
48. Joker One: A Marine Platoon’s Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood by Donovan Campbell
A thrilling look at one marine’s journey from Ivy League to leading a 40-man platoon in the middle of the longest conflict in our country’s history.
49. One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer by Nathaniel Fick
If it wasn’t obvious already, I love stories of awe-inspiring military leadership — and One Bullet Away is no exception. Fick’s account of leading his platoon in Afghanistan immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks is harrowing and gives any leader lessons to learn from.
50. Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of Blackberry by Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff
Excuse me while I put on my old man pants for a moment:
BACK IN MY DAY WE DIDN’T HAVE ANY FANCY IPHONES OR TINDER MACHINES. ALL WE HAD WERE OUR BLACKBERRYS AND THAT’S THE WAY WE LIKED IT! WHAT IS AN EMOJI, ANYWAY?
And while you’re probably never going to see someone sporting one again, the BlackBerry once commanded more than half of the smartphone market. Now, it has less than 1%. Journalists Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff explore the mismanagement and internal struggles that led to the fall of a once thriving cell phone empire.
What books do YOU recommend?
If you’re looking for a good book, you can’t go wrong with any of the suggestions above.
And remember: If you’re even remotely interested in buying one, go for it. You might learn a lesson you might never have otherwise gotten.
Now I want to turn it to you: What books do YOU recommend? Have you read any of the books above? What did you think? Looking forward to reading your answers.
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