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 books 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 book recommendations
I’ve divided my recommendations into several sections:
And each has a (non-affiliate) link for easy buying.
1. The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investingby 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 Streetby 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.
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.
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 Moneyby 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.
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.
8. Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasionby 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 Persuasionby 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.
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.
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).
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 Leadby 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 Actsby 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 Peopleby 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.
16. Creativity Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspirationby 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 Autobiographyby 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.
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 Bookby 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.
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 Richby 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 Gotby 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 Brandsby 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.
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.
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 Navyby 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 Businessby 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 Disneyby 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 Advertisingby 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.
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.
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.
32. Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Worksby 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.
33. Confessions of the Pricing Man: How Pricing Affects Everythingby 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 Businessby 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.
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 Gameby 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.
41. All Quiet on the Western Frontby 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 Craftby 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 Lusterby 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.
45. Invisible Ink: A Practical Guide to Building Stories That Resonateby 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.
47. Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parentingby 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.
49. One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officerby 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 Blackberryby 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.