- John, who runs personal finance blog ESI Money and doesn’t share his last name online, has spent the past few years interviewing millionaires.
- John was a business executive for 28 years before he retired at age 52 with a $3 million net worth, and has previously shared his own spending with Business Insider.
- He asked those 100 millionaires about their favorite books, and found the seven titles that came up repeatedly included classics like “The Millionaire Next Door” and “Your Money or Your Life.”
Today we continue reviewing information from my first 100 millionaire interviews.
We’re going to add to these by discussing books that have had the most impact on millionaires.
To reiterate from past posts, this is NOT a scientific survey of what millionaires read and I’m not pretending it is. It’s a summary from millionaires I’ve interviewed.
It’s no surprise that millionaires read a lot. If our own interviews were not enough to confirm this, a quick trip around the web confirms it.
Since reading seems to be a (vital?) part of their success, wouldn’t it be great to know the money books they like best?
I certainly think so.
There’s only one problem: I didn’t ask my first 100 millionaires what books they love (something I’m rectifying in future interviews). I know. Ugh.
That said, starting with interview #38 I inserted the following question that did generate some book mentions:
How did you learn about finances and at what age did it ‘click’? Was it from family, books, forced to learn as wealth grew, etc.?
In addition, many millionaires volunteered books they liked as they told their stories.
But this was still not enough information. So what did I do? I sent the millionaires an email, asking for the top three money books that made a difference in their life, and how. If there weren’t any books, I wanted to know that, too.
And I received a lot of great responses!
So between the emails and the original interviews, I now have a wealth of information (pun intended) on what millionaires read.
Before we get into the books themselves, let me state that there were many comments like “I read Dave Ramsey books” or “I like books from the Rich Dad series.”
Unless a book was mentioned by name, I did not count these in the results below. They were just too vague. I only included responses where a specific book was named.
I also want to note that while I might simply say “books” below, we are talking about money books specifically. I’m not really interested if they read Jane Eyre or Batman novels.
Here are the findings …
1. Millionaires have wide-ranging tastes in what they read
Overall, there were 56 different books mentioned by the group.
The grand total mentions was 114 (not all responded, but those who did often mentioned several books, many of which over-lapped.)
It’s no surprise that they read broadly and have various interests. Their stories illustrate different paths to a million dollars. The same diversity is realized in their favorite money books.
2. Millionaires love certain books disproportionately
While there’s a wide range of books listed, seven of the books received over half the mentions.
Here are the top seven books listed in order, along with my thoughts and quotes from millionaires:
Is this a surprise to anyone?
Millionaires like it as much as I do.
While their votes demonstrate this, their comments add even more love.
Here’s one that summarizes many others I received:
Like many others, the Millionaire Next Door would be by far number 1 and have re-read it multiple times throughout the years. It reinforced that there were multiple ways to accumulate wealth, to always live below your means, that you didn’t necessarily have make a high income to be a millionaire and that many millionaires were “hidden” living middle class lifestyles. I think your blog is the current version on the Millionaire Next Door and one of the reasons I was open to sharing my family’s story.
How kind. It’s hard to imagine being put in the same group with such a book.
Here’s another one:
I didn’t read The Millionaire Next Door until I was solidly on the path to financial independence. However, before I read this, I considered us to be the cheap people in our neighborhood. This book helped me to understand that the folks who are buying all the fancy stuff are usually the folks that really don’t have any money. The wealthy are generally the folks living frugally and not worrying about trying to keep up with the Joneses and just show off their material crap. It actually gave me
comfort to understand that we’re on the right path and doing things the right way.
And a similar comment:
The Millionaire Next Door is a very fundamentally important book. It displaces so many untrue but commonly held beliefs that surround how wealth is created. I think it’s message is incredibly empowering. It shows you that mostly everyone can achieve significant wealth if you are willing to make basis, smart decisions. I have actually read this cover to cover twice about 15 years apart.
Finally, here’s a thought about the book being the granddaddy of the financial independence movement:
The Millionaire Next Door This is a classic. I read it when I was in high school and it really opened my eyes. It is not about how much you spent but how much you saved. This book set me on the “FI” path before I knew what FI was.
This was my personal experience as well. I read it when the book first came out and tell people, “I did what it advises and I became wealthy as a result.” Pretty simple really.
Another of my top five books and contender for starter of the FIRE movement.
Here’s a representative comment:
Your Money or Your Life takes frugality to the next level. I learned from this book that a penny saved is worth a lot more than a penny earned. You pay taxes on the penny earned. You need transportation in order to earn the penny. Earning the penny can be stressful, etc.
This one offers a bit more detail:
The fundamental message in this book is so profound. Some of the sections come across a bit “hippy” but the message is so deep. Whether you realize it or not, you are trading your life energy every day. You need to do so mindfully or you will get to the end of this wonderful life disappointed.
I loved the mindset change this book gave me. The idea that my time was too precious to waste on anything but things that made me feel happy and uplifted, was liberating. It helped me focus more on what I was running to vs. what I was running from.
It gave me a great perspective on how to measure success in my life, and not just net worth.
You get the point. The book does an awesome job of relating time and money and showing that you spend your life (time) on so many worthless things. It’s a great perspective-builder!
This one was a surprise for me.
I’ve read it (of course) but it didn’t really do much for me (and thus didn’t make my top five list).
In addition, there’s been a lot of less-than-positive chatter from money bloggers about the book — is it a real story or made up, is the author legitimate or just a great salesman, etc.
One millionaire addressed these issues head on:
You can put down Robert Kiyosaki and say that he’s a fraud or that he makes more money from his seminars than his real estate. However, this was the book that was the light bulb for me. This was the book that made me realize that it’s possible for the everyday person to attain wealth. Although this was more of a motivational book than a step-by-step guide, it became the inspiration for me to get off my butt and try different things to get out of the rat race like real estate and starting my own businesses.
There’s no doubt this book has more of a focus on the accumulation of assets than many other money books. One millionaire noted this:
This book really taught me the importance of accumulating income producing assets. I never did get into real estate but I did get into the stock market. In my mind a stock paying a dividend is a lot less work than an apartment paying dividend. I read this in high school as well. Because of this book in addition to others I opened a Roth IRA at the ripe old age of 16.
Here’s one with a different takeaway:
Rich Dad, Poor Dad was one of the 1st books that I read when I started to get really serious about personal finance. I think that fundamental message that I took away from this work is how important it is to work smarter than harder. Working hard is important and fundamental but if you do not work wisely you are making it very challenging to succeed. You need to make sacrifices so that your money can work hard for you. It the 1st personal finance book that I had my oldest son read while in college.
Again, a surprise for me but there’s no doubt this book has had a major impact on millionaires.
#4 (tie): The Automatic Millionaire
This book didn’t make my top five list but made the honorable mentions.
My main issue with this one is that it can be summarized in one sentence — so why do we need a whole book?
But millionaires disagreed and found tons of value — many loving its simple yet powerful message.
Here’s a comment that encapsulates the general sentiment:
I loved David Bach’s simplicity on how to build wealth. The good news is that I was automating our savings at this time. However, I loved this book so much, I gave my copy away to a friend trying to get on the right track and have been recommending it to others as well. This is the perfect “starter” book for everyone struggling to get their finances moving in the right direction.
#5 (tie): The Richest Man in Babylon
Another one from my list and actually the book I recommend most these days.
I suggest it often because it’s simple in content, a quick read, and is written as a story which makes it easier to swallow for folks newer to money concepts.)
Interestingly enough, while so many people mentioned it, no one sent me comments.
#6 (tie): The Simple Path to Wealth
This one was a surprise for me as well.
Not because it’s a bad book — it’s a very good book, in fact.
But it’s so new compared to the others. They have had many decades to become well-known and popular while this book was published only a few years ago.
My guess is that this book will become the standard investing book for the FIRE community and replace the popularity of The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investingone day.
For millionaires, looks like that day has already come.
#7 (tie): Think and Grow Rich
A classic for sure.
It’s been a few decades since I’ve read this book, but millionaires had a lot of great things to say about it.
Think and Grow Rich is a very good read on how one should think about money. The big take away is to have the right “millionaire mindset,” and some how, you will start to attract money, and also the right people will come to help you achieve financial success.
Just positive messages to influence and grow your abilities and riches will come.
I remember it being just what they said — positive and inspirational.
I’m not going to comment on every book millionaires listed (or else this post would be the size of a book!)
Source: ESI Money/Business insider
Event Diary: JCI trains 200 entrepreneurs, awards grants in Ibadan
It was another historic day in the city of Ibadan, the Oyo state capital, yesterday as the Junior Chamber International, Ibadan (JCI) successfully organized the second edition of the Sina Adegunle Business Summit.
Mega Icon Magazine learnt that the Summit, which is poised to develop entrepreneurs is an annual event designed to honour Dr Sina Adegunle, Chairman of Princeton Group and a JCI Senator who was President of the Local Organization in 1997/98. The summit coincides with the birthday of the honouree.
The event had about 200 young entrepreneurs in attendance.
In his welcome address, the President of JCI Ibadan, Adeola Adelabu, noted that Adegunle is being honoured with the summit in recognition of his doggedness in business and his willingness to help others grow.
The Panel Session was moderated by JCI Senator Feyisayomi Oyeleke, the first female President of JCI Ibadan.
The Panelists, who discussed issues bordering on THE FUTURE OF BUSINESS included Adejoke Lasisi, Winner MSME Award of the year and multiple grant winner; Mr Jubril Aliyu, and award winning clothier; Mr Babatunde Ojobaro, Founder and Creative Director of Theatre Hub Africa; Mr Ayodeji Alayande, a fashion entrepreneur and Mrs Temi Alade-Mustapha , the convener of Money Mathematicians Network.
They shared lessons from their experiences, as well as tips and nuggets on how to navigate the world of business Ibadan, and Nigeria in general
The event also featured a Business Pitch competition by six people shortlisted from a pool of business plans earlier submitted by businesses based in Ibadan. At the end of the competition, Miss Fiyinfolu Olajolo emerged winner of the grand prize, while other finalists got cash compensations
Friends and guests of the Honouree used the occasion to fete Dr Adegunle. They appreciated him for his service to the Organization and humanity, just as they pledged their support for future editions of the Summit.
The honouree, in his remarks, thanked everyone for their presence and support. He reiterated his commitment to mentor young minds to business success.
He was presented with a portrait and a birthday cake while a saxophonist played some birthday tunes for the celebrant.
$1.5m Prize Pool: Top 10 Finalists of “Africa’s Business Heroes” Grand Finale Announced
The 2020 Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) prize, a flagship philanthropic program created by the Jack Ma Foundation’s Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI), has selected the top 10 finalists, who will pitch at the competition’s grand finale in November, for a chance to win a share of a US$1.5 million prize pool.
The ten outstanding entrepreneurs – half of whom are female – have been selected from over 22,000 applications across all 54 African nations, following several rounds of rigorous evaluation. With an average age of 34 years, the top ten represent eight African countries: Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, and their businesses span key industries such as agriculture, fashion, education, healthcare, renewable energy, and financial services.
“I continue to be amazed by the passion, resilience, and vision of Africa’s entrepreneurs, and I look forward to meeting these ten extraordinary businesswomen and businessmen at the finale. I am excited to learn more about how they are driving positive change and progress across the continent,” said Jack Ma, Founder of the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Group.
The passion, excellence, and diversity of the finalists reflects the DNA of the competition. The ABH program will recognize 100 African entrepreneurs and allocate US$100 million, over a ten-year period, in grant funding, training, mentoring and learning initiatives, access to key networks, and to develop a vibrant entrepreneur community to support Africa’s future business leaders. This is a testament to the Jack Ma Foundation’s long-term commitment to support Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“The 2020 Africa’s Business Heroes competition has been incredible. The quality of the entrepreneurs and their ideas has been exceptional and this is a testament to the talent that exists across the continent. I am extremely excited to follow the rest of the competition and see who will come on top as the 2020 African Business Hero!” said Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, ABH semi-finale judge and Founder of soleRebels, Garden of Coffee and Tefftastic.
“It’s been fascinating to be part of this unique initiative. From the start, I was struck by the diversity of people and projects involved, with the finalists providing almost even split of talented men and women from all over Africa. This competition has shone a light on our continent, and helped to showcase African solutions to African problems. As someone who knows how challenging it is to boot-strap their own business, I was heartened to see that many of the entrants are entirely self-funded, and have shown great determination, ingenuity and spirit to get this far. All the finalists are truly deserving of the opportunity they have been given. Jack Ma represents the very best in global entrepreneurship, so I am delighted to have been involved in such a fantastic project.” commented Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, ABH semi-finale judge and Founder and Chairman of APO Group.
On November 13th and 14th, Africa’s Business Heroes will host its Grand Finale, and winners of the 2020 ABH prize will be announced on November 14th, 2020.
During the online Grand Finale pitch, the top ten Heroes will present their business ventures, as well as their vision and leadership profile, to the finale judging panel that includes: Jack Ma, Founder of the Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Group; Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and Founder/CEO of The Chair Centre Group; Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group; and Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman of the Alibaba Group.
The next few weeks will be crucial for the finalists to finesse their pitches and leverage the in-depth training, learnings and insights that they have gathered along their ABH journey, culminating in the finale. All of this will be part of ABH brand-new business entertainment televised show, due to air in five episodes from November 21st to December 19th across Africa. The show will give the audience exclusive access to the real-world stories of the entrepreneurs of this edition, following them as they go head to head in the finale, and unveiling the key insights and advice shared by the finale judges, alongside the best moments and experience of the competition. By showcasing the huge talent of the contestants, ABH hopes to talk to the entrepreneurial spirit of startups and small businesses in Africa and around the world, inspiring them to pursue their aspiration and turn their ideas and solutions into concrete business ventures.
Meet the Top 10 finalists:
Abdulai A Dasana, CEO & COO, Amaati Company Limited (Ghana)
“We nourish the world” – Amaati is a social enterprise whose mission is to build sustainable communities through the use of an extinct and neglected crop called Fonio. The company is led by Abdulai A. Dasana, an agricultural technologist with a decade of experience in finance, banking and SMEs, and with a vision to revolutionize the agriculture sector to benefit the most vulnerable.
Aboubakar Karim, CEO & Founder, INVESTIV (Côte d’Ivoire)
“Technology and passion for agriculture” – INVESTIV is an Ivorian company whose mission is to help build the future of African agriculture by leveraging innovative technologies to support smallholder farmers throughout Côte d’Ivoire and West Africa. The company is led by Aboubakar Karim, a 25 years old agro-economist.
Axel Emmanuel Gbaou, CEO & Founder, Le Chocolatier Ivorien (Côte d’Ivoire)
“Cocoa revolution in progress” – Le Chocolatier Ivorien manufactures and offers Africa-made, handcrafted and quality chocolate, promoting sustainable cultivation techniques and a fairer distribution of income in the cocoa chain through a direct partnership with female growers. The founder Axel, who started his career as a banker and established the company in his mother’s kitchen, holds a degree in International Public Law, and a Master’s in Taxation.
Chebet Lesan, Founder & CEO, Bright Green R. Energy (Kenya)
“Revolutionizing Africa’s kitchens” – BrightGreen Energy produces life-saving fuel bricks that reduce the cost of cooking for underserved communities across Africa and save forests. The company is led by Chebet Lesan who has a background in Leadership from The University of Cambridge, Product Design from The University of Nairobi, Supply Chain Management from Rutgers School of Business and a Business-Design Fellowship from Massachusetts Institute of Technology D-lab.
Cyrille Nkontchou, Founder & Chairman, Enko Education (Cameroon)
“Your launchpad to the best universities” – Enko Education operates the largest single network of private schools in Africa that teaches the International Baccalaureate curriculum to democratize access to quality international education for African youth. The company was founded by Cyrille Nkontchou, an economist by training with extensive experience as a fund manager, a banker and a consultant.
Ethel Mupambwa, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Moneymart (Zimbabwe)
“Creating wealth; changing lives”- Moneymart is a Zimbawean based microfinance institution that offers tailor-made business loans to MSMEs and individuals who live off the power grid to access quality solar-lighting-kits. The company is co-led by Ethel Mupambwa, who has nine years of experience in finance and is a Level 2 Chartered Financial Analyst Candidate.
Dr. Emma Naluyima Mugerwa, Founder, MST Junior School (Uganda)
“Little seeds, big dreams” – MST Junior School is a Primary School with a unique approach and learning model. It aims to equip the pupils with unique skills to solve agriculture issues such as food insecurity, waste mismanagement and malnutrition. The school was established by Dr. Emma Naluyima, a vet, farmer and educator with a desire to train young people and change their lives through Modern and Purposeful Farming.
Joan Rukundo Nalubega, CEO & Founder, Uganics (Uganda)
“Buy a soap – save lives” – Uganics is a social business that manufactures life-saving organic anti-malaria soap to address malaria, which kills millions of people every year, and sells around the world at a high profit margin to subsidize sales to poor populations at the same price as regular soap. The company is led by Joan Rukundo Nalubega, a Malaria survivor and a social entrepreneur with a vision to fight Malaria.
Mame Diarra Bousso Gueye, CEO & Founder, Diarrablu (Senegal)
“Artisans & algorithms for a conscious lifestyle” – Diarrablu is a Senegalese fashion tech company merging African artisan traditions with technology to empower African artisans and build an ethical and sustainable fashion future centered around ancestral African craftsmanship. The company is led by Diarra Gueye who has experience in finance, mathematics, and design and recently completed her Master’s at Stanford University with a focus on creative mathematics.
Oluwasoga Oni, CEO & Co-Founder, Mdaas Global (Nigeria)
“Unlocking diagnostics for Africa’s next billion” – MDaaS Global builds and operates modern, tech-enabled diagnostic centers in clinically-underserved communities starting in Nigeria to provide a world-class patient experience at highly-affordable prices. The company is led by Oluwasoga Oni, an MIT-trained system engineer.
Naira strengthens against dollar
Barely 24 hours, the Naira was forced to a downward trajectory by dollar scarcity, it bounced back, closing at N477 to a dollar at the parallel market in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Pound Sterling and the Euro traded at N608 and N550, respectively.
The Naira, however, weakened marginally at the investor’s window, losing one point to close at N386 to a dollar.
The volume of trade at the window shrunk by 1.83 million dollars when compared to Tuesday, to close at 18.44 million dollars
The Nigerian currency exchanged at N381 to a dollar at the official CBN window.
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