5 Books to Start your 2020 Out Right

5 Books to Start your 2020 Out Right

If reading more is your 2020 goal, you might like some book ideas to get you started. Here are a few that I really enjoyed this past year and would recommend. I experienced most of these as audiobooks—really, the only way I get anything read. They all come in various formats, so you choose your favorite way to read.

Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals by Michael Hyatt

No January book list would be complete without something to help you get your resolutions started right. At the start of the year, I usually block out a week to reflect on the past 12 months and plan for the next 12. Michael Hyatt’s book gives a structure for doing just that over five days, with plenty of motivation to get you going. There is a world of difference between working with clients who have gone through a process like this versus working with those who have set no goals at all. If you prefer the full (and more expensive) Best Year Ever experience, you can purchase his video program with the workbook instead. 

The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money by Ron Lieber

How would you describe someone who grew up the “opposite of spoiled”? In this book, New York Times columnist Ron Lieber points out that we don’t have a single word that serves as an antonym for spoiled. We know how we don’t want our kids to turn out when it comes to how they relate to money, but we’re not usually clear about what we do want for them. Ron gives a number of clarifying ideas as well as practical ideas for intentional parenting.

Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze

My wife and I gave a talk last year on raising financially healthy kids, and this is one of our favorite finds (in addition to The Opposite of Spoiled). Co-written by Dave Ramsey (of Financial Peace University fame) and his daughter Rachel Cruze, this was another great book on raising financially savvy kids with plenty of practical ideas. In particular, they offer various approaches for different ages, because they understand that talking about money with a 2-year-old is very different than helping a 20-year-old. We enjoyed the video series with similar content that was included in the Financial Peace University membership, but the book is a way to access the same ideas without buying the full FPU course.

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Nobel-prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman boils down decades of research on behavioral finance to provide insights into human behavior. This is a great read if you are looking to identify ways you may be subconsciously sabotaging your own financial progress. If you’d prefer a shorter book on the same topic, I also enjoyed Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness from another Nobel prize winner, Richard H. Thaler, and Cass R. Sunstein.

Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis by Jared Diamond

This book found its way onto my list after seeing it show up on Bill Gates’s recommended reading. It’s a fascinating look at countries in crisis, and it features several recent-history case studies of how nations made it through. Whether or not you agree with all of the author’s views, he offers a very thoughtful perspective rooted in a crisis therapy framework. He captivated me by telling stories about countries I’m unfamiliar with, such as Finland, Chile, and Indonesia. It was encouraging—the human spirit is resilient and has overcome quite a lot—while also serving as a warning for where our own country could go.

Bonus Book: The Art of Divine Contentment by Thomas Watson

If you’re really feeling up for a challenge, tackle this book written by a Puritan preacher in 1654. Specifically written for Christians, this is a book-long sermon based on Philippians 4:11: “…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (NIV) The book is not easy to get through, but it has a number of deep reflections on developing the lost art of finding contentment. If you’re serious about dispelling discontent this year, it’s worth a read. You can download a free PDF of The Art of Divine Contentment here.

Looking for more than just reading recommendations? Set up a meeting with one of our Wealth Advisers to discuss how we can help revamp your finances in 2020.

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