Self-education is one of the best things I’ve ever done! I’ve learned way more by teaching myself than from any degree I’ve ever done. Yup… I said it. These are some of my favorite books on career, personal finance, and a few other things. Check them out either through the links below or at your local library! This list will be updated periodically as I…ahem…read more.
The New Rules of Work
Alexandra Cavoulacos & Kathryn Minshew
If you’ve ever googled anything career-related, you’ve probably stumbled across The Muse, a website that mixes great career advice with a job bank of great postings. The site’s two co-founders wrote this guide to building a career that focused, well, on the REAL way that careers are built. You’ll see much more focus on networking, branding, finding out what you love to do, and then, yes it’s there, some resume advice.
What Color is your Parachute?
I first saw this book lying on a friend’s coffee table when I was in the process of reinvention. I went home and checked it out of the library. It’s a fantastic guide to career reinvention! It doesn’t just focus on the nuts and bolts, but also gives you advice and worksheets for discovering yourself and what you actually love to do. But it’s got practical advice too–and it’s here I learned about the “hidden job market.”
The Undercover Economist
I love this book! If I’d found it years earlier I would have been in a MBA or finance degree instead of my highly-lucrative humanities degree (*sarcasm*). Harford explains principles of economics and business in very simple and engaging ways. From opening with the economics of coffee chain locations, it’s also fascinating and un-put-downable. After reading it, I even incorporated Akerlof’s “lemon law” on inside information into my thesis on trading in antiquity, not to mention a whole chapter on New Institutional Economics.
Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
If you’re only going to read one book that’s an intro to economics, I’d read The Undercover Economist first. But Freakonomics is a close second. It also makes the principles of economics easily understandable, and it has sparked a spin off podcast.
Please note… These books recommend different and at times contradictory methods for managing your finances and growing wealth. I have learned from all of them, but there are none that I follow to the letter.
Rich Dad Poor Dad
I’m hesitant to recommend this book. It feels a bit gimmicky, and there are lots of criticisms of the book. But I can’t deny that it’s one of the most powerful and provocative wealth-building books I’ve read (BTW his “Poor Dad” character has a PhD). From Lesson 1: The Rich Don’t Work for Money, this book is packed with fascinating insights. Why do I recommend it? Because, despite coming off a little slimy, I think he’s right.
This book is so fantastic! Based on her website, Lowry shares great tips for Gen Y LIFE–not just for money. Everything from how to live with your parents to how to negotiate everything, this book is a money and life hack that’s super easy to read and engaging.
The Total Money Makeover
I discovered Dave Ramsey’s radio show and listened to it so much that, by the time I read this book, I knew most of what it said. I like Dave Ramsey’s approach (the “baby steps”), and his no-nonsense guide to getting out of debt–the debt snowball (that’s paying your smallest debts first, regardless of interest). This book is a perfect guide to building wealth based on “grandma’s wisdom.”
The Wealthy Barber
One of the first personal finance books I ever read, this book is another one that’s easy to read and packed with life lessons through visits to the barber–who happens to be wealthy.
Start Late, Finish Rich
This isn’t Bach’s best-known book, but it happens to be the first one I read. It also fits particularly well for many PhDs, who may be well into their prime earning years by the time they start earning serious money. This is a plan for financial freedom that can happen quick (spoiler, buying a house is a main part of his philosophy). I love this book, and if you think it’s too late for you, read this.
The Barefoot Executive
I don’t know how this book ended up on my shelf. But there it was staring at me one day when I had nothing else to read. And it’s fantastic! It’s a great source of both inspiration and practical advice–and has some good overviews of specific business models you can build on the cheap. This one is particularly applicable if you’re a parent–because Carrie’s whole drive was to be home more. And to be honest, so is mine!
The $100 Startup
This is a great book on starting a business from your living room with no money, and I think it should be a must-read for a lot of PhDs. Chris tells the stories of dozens of entrepreneurs who started with almost no money and built a micro-business up to prosperity–some to seven figures!–and gives you a road map for how to do it.
Everything is Figureoutable
This book is not specifically about business, but it is about an attitude that everyone who graduates with a useless degree should have. Everything is figureoutable. Read this if you’re feeling lost and stuck, and it will inspire you to keep moving.
Braving the Wilderness
I read this book at a really important time for me. I was struggling to find my own authenticity and voice. As a matter of fact, Roostervane was part of rediscovering my voice. The book explores authenticity and the need for human connection in an age of increasing polarization in a poetic way. I really like it, and found it totally inspiring.